Although we are well into 2018, the early month’s are always a good time to both reflect on the year we left behind and also to look forward and both plan and face up to the challenges that lie ahead.

There was certainly much action and news in 2017 which was also the 150th anniversary of the town. Against the backdrop of celebrating the past, work also continued in planning for the future with the site clearance in the “Portland Park” area in readiness for the commencement of major regeneration work in the Town Centre. The change of administration at Northumberland County Council in May 2017 also brought a change in plans for Ashington with the abandonment of the expected development of a new corporate headquarters in Ashington. While work continues at present on the essential highways construction, there is currently a lack of clarity and understanding as to what will be developed within the site. The leader of the County Council has however made it clear that they will listen to local people.

Despite the changes, what remains important to the Town Council is that all residents get a real equal and open opportunity to have their say in shaping their town. That is exactly why the Town Council is currently undertaking a major town-wide survey; you should all have very recently received the survey “20 questions to help shape the future of Ashington” for completion.

We are looking for the best possible response in order to get and present the clearest possible message across a range of subjects...can I strongly urge you to take the time to make your views known and return the survey. You can also find the survey online at:

www.ashingtontowncouncil.gov.uk/residents-survey-2018 

The last year has also been an extremely busy time for the new Town Council also elected in May 2017. We have continued to work with all partners to try and deliver improvement and enhancement in a number of areas. The Town Council has invested in and funded the new Town Centre CCTV system, Interactive Highways Speed Signs, a dedicated Environmental Enforcement Officer and a new partnership with Wyevale Garden Centre for floral presentations for summer 2018. The Council has also recently been asked to deliver the project for new play facilities in People’s Park and remains a key partner in the proposed redevelopment of Hirst Park.

It’s a busy time in Ashington; with increasing interest in new housing provision and development. The forthcoming years will prove critical in the further almost inevitable growth of the Town...I often wonder what the town will be and mean for those who get to commemorate and celebrate its 200th Anniversary in 2067!

I genuinely hope that 2018 proves to be a rewarding year for you all; I also hope it’s a year where you help play a part in shaping your town in readiness for a bright future.

Cllr. Stephen Fenwick - Leader of Ashington Town Council