Why I am standing for Bellingham …

I have lived in Kirkwhelpington, in the Bellingham Ward, for twenty six years. I have two children who grew up here and went to local schools. I am a retired solicitor, having worked for Newcastle City Council for nearly twenty years, and for CQC (Care Quality Commission, formerly the Commission for Social Care Inspection) for twelve years. I used to work in Newcastle, and know very well the problems of commuting, and juggling a career with bringing up children in a rural area, with very little childcare or public transport.

Since retiring in 2017, I have become more involved in more local affairs; I am the ward secretary for Bellingham Ward, and within the wider constituency party, have tried to promote both social interaction and awareness of our beautiful county through a series of organised walks. I have recently been involved in a campaign to “Keep the Wannies Wild”; a Public Inquiry has recently concluded into a proposal to erect a landmark on Cold Law, near where I live. I spoke against the proposal at the original Planning Committee meeting, and have subsequently become a founder member of the pressure group, Keep the Wannies Wild. I have given evidence to the Inquiry in that capacity and, as a retired lawyer, helped present our case generally. The decision of the Planning Inspectorate is awaited!

I feel very passionately that the Wildness for which Northumberland is renowned should be preserved as far as possible, and that necessary development such as wind farms should not be used as a “Gateway” to insensitive intrusions into our special areas.

I am also Secretary of Kirkwhelpington Show and a trustee of the local education fund. Years ago, when my own children needed it, I helped to set up out of school childcare at Belsay First School. My hobbies include walking – I am a Director of Haltwhistle Walking Festival, and in normal times, help to arrange an annual programme of walks in and around Haltwhistle and the wider Northumberland area, so that more people can enjoy the countryside. I am a walk leader, and so far, I haven’t lost anyone! I have taken up new hobbies in Lockdown – I am a much more competent gardener these days, and a some time stand up comedian.

Having worked for a Council, I am aware of how they operate, the powers they hold, and the ways in which that power should be exercised in the interests of all who live here. I believe that the role of government, and especially local government, in our lives has become more critical than ever in the wake of the pandemic, and more than ever, we must ensure that local services are provided and function well.

There is a new focus on our locality, the services we have and can co-operate to improve, and the ways we can help each other back to normal life. The county council is key to that, and I would like to represent the interests of the Bellingham ward as critical decisions are made.

Anne Palmer, Labour Candidate for the Bellingham ward

Promoted by Hexham and District Branch Labour Party on behalf of Anne Palmer.