Morpeth Conservatives take first step to overhauling council

Conservative members of Morpeth Town Council have taken the lead on restructuring the council, which they hope will make it ‘more relevant’ to the public. When the Conservatives became the largest party on the council in May, there were three separate committees which met in addition to the full council. They immediately set about removing one of those which was deemed to be surplus to requirements, which was passed with unanimous support at Wednesday’s meeting of full council.

The change is part of a wider push to make the town council more efficient and widen participation from the public. By merging the Property and Assets Committee into the Finance and General Purposes Committee, it is hoped that more people will take an interest in the outcomes of meetings. It will also give the public a better opportunity to attend a greater share of meetings.

Councillor David Bawn, who will chair the new committee stated: “The streamlining of committees will save money and free up the time of Council officers and councillors to concentrate on delivering services that people care about.”

A further change passed on Wednesday was an amendment to the role of the Planning and Transport Committee. The committee will now meet less frequently, and only consider applications where an objection has been raised, or which could cause either a threat to local amenities or contravene the Neighbourhood Plan.

Conservative group leader on the council, Johnny Wearmouth said “I sat on the previous council where we met every fortnight to consider every single planning application lodged, no matter how small or uncontroversial. This wasn’t a good use of the council’s time and delivered no material benefit to residents.

”I hope, having proposed these amendments, that people will see more clearly how the work of the Town Council is relevant to them.”