NEARLY 2,000 people have signed a petition which calls on Northumberland County Council to reinstate the publication of statutory notices in the Hexham Courant with immediate effect.
Pressure for a U-turn on the decision, which has angered communities across Tynedale, continues to grow as the council maintains its position on a controversial new policy to publish the notices on road closures and planning applications relating to the district in the Northumberland Gazette, which is based in Alnwick.
Residents, who already feel marginalised in such a vast unitary authority, have been turning out in droves to add their name to a petition which asks the council to deliver on its legal obligation to ensure vital public information is readily available in a relevant local newspaper.
As well as being available online, paper copies of the document can now be found at 18 local businesses across the district.
And such is the strength of feeling on the issue that a motion calling on the council to review its decision received unanimous support during a meeting of the county council’s own west area committee on Tuesday night.
When questioned on the reasons behind the council’s decision, deputy leader Coun. Dave Ledger, maintained that the decision had been driven by the need for the council to make savings and had been made by council officers, not councillors.
“What you have to remember is that this council has had to deal with £200m in cuts since 2010,” he said.
“The pressure is on our officers to come up with ways of making those savings and decisions.”