Saturday, 24 January 2009

Leisure Centre Re-Opens

Riverside Leisure Centre will be open again on Monday 9th February, both dryside (i.e. sports hall, studio, gym) and swimming pool.

The centre will be open for bookings from Monday 2nd February 2009. All routine club bookings will be honoured to their original sessions prior to closure in September. To confirm bookings, clubs should contact Riverside Leisure Centre from Monday 2nd February tel 01670 514665. Please note that this number will not be in use until Monday 2nd February due to the installation of the new booking system.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Some things to watch out for...

With the flood recovery activity, the Dransfield development and Castle Morpeth BC desperately trying to get things done before it disappears, there's a whole load of starts, completions and re-openings to look out for over the next couple of months.

Here are some, according to me best sources of information:

within the next fortnight: work on fixing 'anchor points' in the Market Place - these will allow market stalls etc to be fixed to the paving slabs, making them more wind-resistant

end of January: Riverside Leisure Centre re-opens

16th Feb: New Bus Station opens. I'm told that the bus operators are getting a site visit 1-2 weeks beforehand 'to see if their buses will fit'

mid-end of March: The Chantry re-opens

end of March: Morpeth Library re-opens

end of March: Phase 2 work starts at the Town Hall (depending on planning permission). This should include installation of a lift, clearance of the Butter Market (and new toilets being fitted), renewal of heating pipework and overhaul of electrics

Monday, 5 January 2009

Cycleways in Winter

A comment received from a local resident:

“As a regular commuter into Morpeth I am shocked about the state of our cycleways in winter. It is not the first time this year that the cyclepath into Morpeth had black ice or was covered in frozen snow. I clearly think we should lobby to have our cycleways cleared in winter. Not only from snow and ice, but also from hedge cuttings. My daughter fell this morning and I know of at least one other cyclist who fell on the Whorral bank cycle path due to icy conditions.”
I received this on 11th Dec – and forwarded it to the local county councillor, but when I followed it up with the local resident on 4th Jan, he replied:

“I didn't get much feedback from the people I contacted in Morpeth More encouraging was the response from the Cycle Touring Club, who mentioned the video in their weekly newsletter. The video has now been watched 1895 times and I had replies from as far away as the Netherlands and Germany. In both countries they were surprised about the ridiculous state British cyclepaths are in.“
I appreciate that the additional cost of clearing all cycle ways in winter would be forbidding, but I think, we should identify some key routes to be cleared. There seems to be a lot of encouragement from the government for sustainable transport and I wonder if there would be funds available for projects like this.”

Friday, 2 January 2009

Flood Protection Scheme

Lots of rumours going around about the timetable for the Environment Agency's Flood Alleviation (Protection & Prevention) Scheme for Morpeth. The version I've heard is:

  • consultation on options for scheme: March - June '09
  • early summer - decision on preferred option and design work carried out
  • construction work to start in early 2011, depending on the scheme design - and it will take about two years to complete
  • Cost will be £10-15M out of a total £600M national pot - and the money has been earmarked for Morpeth
Incidentally - the EA flood defence work was delayed nationally because the Government cut the funding. They cut the funding because DEFRA (under which the EA comes) was fined by the EU. DEFRA was fined because of delays in making Single Farm Payments to hard-up farmers. The delays were caused by Government trying to introduce the new single payment scheme in one year instead of five years (as happened in most European countries).