DAM: Keeping my powder dry

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As one of the ‘newly-elected county councillors’ Mr Rugman-Jones mentions in his letter (News Post Leader, August 17), I would like to have the opportunity to respond.

I can’t speak for West Bedlington Town Council as such, only to say that at its annual meeting, to which everyone in the town is invited, there was a presentation about the very subject of the dam and the possibility of it being taken out.

Along with many others, I was there and heard the presentation, which basically gave the reasoning behind the idea of removing the dam.

I don’t think the presenter was left in the dark about the feelings from the floor, which were probably universally and quite vocally against this project.

Herein lies the Catch 22 for myself as an elected representative, and I explained this to the audience in detail on that night, seemingly to its satisfaction.

Because I sit on a planning committee, if this project goes ahead I would expect it to need some planning permission, as the presenter admitted. If I make comments before it comes before the committee, I can be accused of predetermination and debarred from taking part in any vote.

As it stands we should have four Bedlington councillors sitting on that planning committee, and I, for one, think that’s the very best result we can get for a local project such as this.

It’s no longer councillors from Berwick, Hexham, Alnwick or Prudhoe making these decisions that affect our locality, it’s our local councillors who know the local landscape very well.

The town council will also have valued input, as long as it doesn’t predetermine its position.

So Mr Rugman-Jones, it’s maybe not the simple case of not stepping up to the plate, its maybe a case of keeping powder dry.

Malcom Robinson

County Councillor for Bedlington West