Town needs new council of its own, says campaigner

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CALLS are being made for the creation of a town council in Wallsend.

A meeting next Wednesday at Wallsend People’s Centre will see the launch of a petition to be handed to North Tyneside Council explaining why the town needs its own council.

The aim of the meeting is to establish a group to oversee the campaign for a new council cover the area of the old borough of Wallsend.

The area the proposed town council would cover would run along the Tyne to Willington Cut, up St Peter’s Road to the Coast Road and along the Coast Road to the Newcastle borough boundary and back down to the river.

It would miss out residential areas including Willington Quay, Hadrian Park, Battle Hill, High Farm and Redesdale Park.

A town or parish council can be formed under the 2007 Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act if a community governance review establishes that there is a need for one.

Campaign organiser Martin Collins, pictured, said: “Wallsend is in a mess. Its shops are closing. Its roads are decaying. Its entertainments are closed.

“The needs of the people who live and work here are generally perceived to be ignored by North Tyneside Council.

“Wallsend needs an official voice that is in touch with the local people while having the authority to speak for the community. Wallsend needs its own town council.”

The meeting starts at 7.15pm at the Frank Street centre, and all are welcome to attend.

Martin, 61, a Wallsend resident for 23 years, is a co-ordinator for the Green Party but says he wants the town council campaign to be non-political.

A North Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “As long as the petition meets statutory criteria, the council is obliged to undertake a community governance review on this matter.

“This would include full consultation with residents on the town council proposal.

“However, if Mr Collins attended a meeting of our Wallsend area forum, he would have an opportunity to get involved in decisions on how to improve the local area.

“He would also receive detailed information about the many positive developments in Wallsend that the council is directly delivering or working with partners to bring forward as soon as possible.

“These include the designation of a new low carbon-advance manufacturing enterprise zone for the North Bank of the Tyne, which the mayor and council strongly campaigned for to support our regeneration plans for the river corridor.

“The area is now set to create thousands of new jobs.

“Wallsend’s parks are being transformed through a £7m investment, including a new £400,000 play site.

“The current proportion of vacant retail units in Wallsend is much lower than the national average.”