Signatures opposing Morpeth County Hall sale are to be handed in

Six hundred signatures opposing the sale of County Hall in Morpeth are to be handed to Northumberland County Council next week

Exterior of County Hall in Morpeth Northumberland
Exterior of County Hall in Morpeth Northumberland

A petition opposing the sale of a council HQ is to be handed over to councillors next week.

Morpeth Town Council raised a petition after Northumberland County Council revealed plans to sell its County Hall as part of budget cuts. 600 signatures were received and will be presented to the county’s petitions committee next Wednesday.

The council announced plans to sell the Morpeth site earlier this year, possibly to a housing developer, and to create nine service hubs in its place.

Labour leaders said the move was designed to save money on the back of Government cuts to its budget. They later revealed plans to create a new base at Ashington.

The town council unanimously endorsed a motion seeking justification for the move and set up the petition .

Coun David Parker, who is to hand over the signatures, said: “Whilst the county council is still to confirm its decision, so far its actions sadly suggest that it is determined to go ahead with its plans. Hopefully when the council administration makes its policy decision in October it will decide to solve its problems with the County Hall building in some other way.

“To date, it has not produced satisfactory evidence to show that the removal of Morpeth’s major employer from the town will not pose a threat to Morpeth’s long term sustainability.”

Council leader Grant Davey said: “We are working in an extremely challenging financial context – a significantly reduced budget means we have to change the way we do business, looking at everything we do and taking action to reduce costs and support local communities.

“A number of options are currently being considered for the future of all our buildings, which could create significant savings, offer lower running costs, create a more flexible environment for new ways of working and provide accommodation fit for 21st century working. Detailed work is currently being carried out on all the options, including an economic impact assessment of the effect on Morpeth if County Hall were to be closed.”

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