CALLS by almost 2,700 members of the public for for the immediate restoration of public notices in the Hexham Courant will not be examined until next month.

Acknowledging receipt of the petition handed in to County Hall last Wednesday, Northumberland County Council told the Courant any petitions received during purdah would not be addressed until after the local elections on May 4.

The council said it would write to the Courant shortly after the election to provide further details about the next steps in the council’s response to the petition.

Courant editor Colin Tapping said he was surprised by the refusal to look at the petition.

“The council appears hell-bent on using purdah as an excuse to stifle any debate on this matter of vital public interest.

“This not a political issue, which has any bearing on the election campaign. It is a legal and democratic issue, in which the public of West Northumberland are being denied readily accessible information about things such as planning applications and road closures, which continue to be considered during the election campaign.