Our move to a much smaller, efficient multi-use central point in Ashington which will contain a Cinema and Theatre in the Council Chamber area for public use and only 6ml away from the current site along a brand new £30M bypass that will whisk the Councils much smaller centralised workforce from the A1 into Ashington without the need to block up Morpeth where traffic moves quite slowly by North East standards, even though the Labour administration removed the Andrew Tebbutt Traffic Lights from the Telford Bridge. There's £200m reasons why we have to move out of a dilapidated building which both Tebbutt and Bawn axis ignore and that's their government cuts.
The lasting legacy and only achievement of five years of Tory-LibDem Coalition rule at County Hall, the lights caused tail backs of almost biblical proportions. The removal of the lights was hailed as ‘miraculous’ by local people. So it's somewhat cheeky of the Morpeth ConDem coalition to suggest that there will be traffic chaos in Morpeth when we're removing an estimated 870,000 journeys by staff from the town through the move and their legacy was, yes, traffic chaos in 2013.
Recently a number of very clever people have looked at the move to ‘The Hub’ and how the spoke system is going to work in all our market towns. One of those is Professor Peter Kelly, Centre Director, Public Health England North East, who e-mailed in his thinking, we quote:
"I have had a further chance to learn about the development of the new Northumberland County Council headquarters in Northumberland. I am impressed by the low carbon footprint - an important public health indicator of sustainability, the flexibility of the concept and design and the accessibility to the public. Above all, such a large public investment in one of the towns in Northumberland that experiences significant heath inequalities compared to much of the rest of the county will make a major contribution to regenerating the area and improving the long term health and wellbeing of local residents. Furthermore, actually relocating the county council HQ from a far more prosperous part of the county to a disadvantage area in need of regeneration is an excellent example of local government taking action to address the wider economic determinant of health and well being in order to reduce health inequalities".
Ernst Young, the Governments chosen auditor for Northumberland wrote a report which said that decisions made to move from County Hall to Ashington and invest £23M in building ‘The Hub’ were rightly taken and are best value for the Council Tax payers of Northumberland.
You do just wonder what Cllrs like Bawn and Tebbutt along with Cons like Cramlington's Wayne Daley and Barry Flux have against the South East of Northumberland where half of the county population lives? Short memories - it was just 3 years ago when Labour had to stop the Lib Cons plans to privatise over 50% of council services and putting thousands more jobs at risk. 1500 Northumberland families lost their jobs and livelihoods because of the Lib Cons decisions.
So forgive us if we take their protestations about our way of dealing with over £200m Tory government cuts with a ton of salt - clearly still putting politics before people.