I have agreed to work together with my fellow Stobhill Town Councillor, Johnny Wearmouth, on this important local issue.
Due to our campaigning, together with the Low Vision Action Group, local guide dog owners and concerned residents, the scheme, which was due to start on 3rd October, has now been postponed for further consultation, particularly with disability groups. We will continue to campaign to ensure that a public consultation will also take place and await news of these promised new consultations from NCC.
Johnny and I sent the following letter to the Editor of the Morpeth Herald, published on 6 October 2016:
“We were delighted to hear on Friday of the 11th hour postponement of this controversial scheme for further consultation, particularly with disability groups.
We welcome this decision as we feel that insufficient public support for this scheme has been demonstrated to justify the spending of £280,000 of public money.
We are also curious to see how NCC can ‘square the circle’ and make the removal of kerbed pavements acceptable to guide dog owners whose dogs are trained to work with kerbs.
However, we have written to NCC to suggest that these further consultations involve the following:
The Low Vision Action Group
Morpeth Area Partially Sighted Group
Northumberland County Blind Assoc.
Castle Morpeth Disability Assoc.
Stobhillgate First School
Morpeth Town Council
And last but certainly not least, Stobhill residents.
Previous public consultations were poorly publicised and therefore poorly attended. We feel it is essential to let residents have their say. NCC must hold a public meeting at a convenient time and in a Stobhill location, such as St Aidan’s Church Hall, and include the Stobhill Community Forum.
We think we can confidently say that this public consultation would be much better attended than the last one!
Alison Byard and Johnny Wearmouth
Morpeth Town Councillors, Stobhill Ward