This evening I – and the chairman of Wansbeck Conservatives, Richard Wearmouth – had the pleasure of meeting the two organisers of Make A Noise for Bedlington, Wendy and Brian, at the Red Lion.
It was a very useful meeting and we exchanged ideas and suggestions, as well as questioning us on our approach. I told them how impressed I was with what Wendy and Brian had achieved in such a short time. They are clearly pushing at an open door. I was amazed at some of the pushback they have received. This is a non political group, determined not to point fingers or cast blame, looking just for the future. It deserves the support of all who have pride in Bedlington, whatever their politics or background.
My chairman, who knows more about the arcane processes of County Hall than is good for him (or anyone!), was able to point towards some of the processes involved, notably the differences between a “Town Plan” and a “Neighbourhood Plan”. We will continue to work with Make A Noise before and after the election.
Earlier on in the day I went to see some of the shopowners in Bedlington Station. They are doing a remarkable job keeping that end of East Bedlington alive, and yet the parking restrictions are really hammering the trade there. Have a look at this photo:
Now the road isn’t very wide, which means parking can only be on one side. The car nearest the camera is actually slightly on the double yellow lines. The double yellow lines should be brought further back, and it seems that the users of the Community Centre are taking what very little free parking that is available there. Now the problem is that the residents on the left would presumably prefer not to have car parking in front of their houses, but if any more shops close in that street their houses will be well and truly blighted.
UPDATE: a concerned local resident has contacted me about this photo, I need to clarify a couple of points. The car I’m referring to is the black car above. It is in no way a nuisance, nor are the other cars. The community centre users have every right to be there, and it is good they are contributing to keeping Bedlington Station lively. The point I want to make is that there needs to be better, reliable parking for all people who want to use this street, we need more people to visit, whether for the shops, community centre or the chemist and other shops around the corner.
I’ve got more to write on parking in Front Street, but that will have to wait!
Now one political party has, it has to be said, has taken the issue of shops in Bedlington to a very practical outcome: UKIP have opened their own “boutique” in Front Street. However I was also interested by the reception it had received from 2 young protesters (under 20 years old I’d reckon) who have not joined the Apathy Party, to their eternal credit. They were standing outside with these placards: