Chairman’s News


Councillor Paul Vaughan


Week 5th November

Our Neighbourhood Plan – Please complete the Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire delivered next week.

Neighbourhood Plans are legal planning documents that give strength to local communities; a document which must be ‘taken into account’ by the planning authority when considering planning applications.

By developing a neighbourhood plan we will be better able to protect our green spaces and the interests of local residents.

The planning system is heavily weighted towards the developer and it is becoming harder for communities to control housing and industrial development. Our Neighbourhood Plan will be a recognition that there are areas of value to local people that should be ‘protected’. It will also seek to identify other areas that are appropriate for housing.

Coming through your door next week is a questionnaire which we ask you to complete as the first step in shaping this area’s Neighbourhood Plan.

In coming months we will be holding local meetings to firm up the results of the questionnaire. We then produce a draft plan that goes out to the public for approval.

If you are interested in becoming more involved please get in touch with the office. The more people who are involved the better and stronger our plan will be.


Week 1st November

The centenary gardens at Guide Post and West Sleekburn now have plaques commemorating 100 years since the beginning of WW1. It has taken us time to source the right sized stones for the plaques and I would like to thank the efforts of Northumberland County Council staff who identified suitable stones and sited them at the gardens. The garden at West Sleekburn is still to be planted after the new building work for the Village Hall, but the one at Guide Post, opposite Guide Post Medical Centre is now complete. I hope everyone agrees that the plaques are perfectly displayed and provide an appropriate focal point in the centenary gardens.

As usual memorial services are taking place at the War Memorials at Choppington on Friday 9th at 11am, Guide Post and Stakeford on 11th at 11am and our Parish Councillors will be joining others in laying wreaths in memory of those who died in the line of duty.


Week 23 July      the school holidays have arrived, remember that the Parish Council provides activities for children between 5yrs and 14yrs throughout the school holidays.  Grandparents resident in the area can join up their grandchildren as well.  Details can be found belowHoliday play summer 2018


Week 11 June   Horsetail or Mare’s tail weed has an extensive root system and thick silica structure that has proven resistant to normal spraying. It spreads quickly and forms a dense carpet of foliage along our pavements and walls. This week we are trying something new to fight it, fingers crossed that Colin and his team have the right solution.

More green news, the flower beds are being replanted this month. One of the delights of the summer is seeing the bright splashes of colour that the flower beds give to the green edges along our roads.

We are still looking for walking footballers…might the world cup be an inspiration? Contact the Parish Council at 01670 858664 or to sign up.

Week 30 April   This month the sun came out at last and the grass cutting could commence. We also started the sowing of wild flower seeds along the tree line between Westbourne Avenue and Bankside Walk. I am looking forward to seeing the display of colour later in the summer. Of course, the sun has also encouraged weeds. We have noticed the beginning of some unwelcome activity along road gutters and walls. We do enhanced spraying during the year which keeps most at bay, and we will continue to monitor those areas we know are resistant.

This month saw the start of the girls ‘wildcat’ football coaching sessions at Stakeford and Bomarsund Welfare Centre. The Parish is sponsoring these sessions as part of our youth programme. They are open to girls in the Parish aged 5yrs-11yrs. Its not too late to join just turn up on Friday at 5.30pm at the Welfare and have some fun.

Similarly, we continue our search for walking footballers as part of our older persons activities. We would love to put on a regular walking football session but so far only a handful of footballers have signed up for the coaching. We need a few more names before the Friday mornings sessions are viable. If a Charlton can do it so can you!

Week 28 March    This week the Parish signage arrived. Our Parish comprises several areas, West Sleekburn, Stakeford, Bomarsund, Old Red Row, Scotland Gate, Choppington and Guide Post and Johnson villas/Home Farm. It may not be entirely cast in stone where each starts and ends but now at least we have some indication, with our green roadside signs.

Week 26th Feb.  Just as I was looking forward to spring, winter appears again.  Luckily the Choppington dedicated team were out in force clearing the worst of the ‘beast from the east’.  We have modified our ride-on grass-cutters with snow blades which allows them to sweep along the paths.  I noticed that the night before the forecast of snow, the roads and paths had been gritted in readiness for the plummeting temperature and that the team were out the next day gritting the most used paths by hand.  They concentrate on the shopping areas, around schools, main pathways, steep roads and difficult paths, and once they are clear move onto other thoroughfares.  Although if it snows overnight they must start again with the priority areas.  Thank you to everyone involved!

Week 19th Feb. I am pleased to report that work on the West Sleekburn Residents hall began on Thursday. The contractors swooped in early on Thursday and quickly knocked down the old building. The replacement one should be up by the end of March. The Residents Association has worked hard over many years to keep activities going in the Village and it’s up to all residents to use this new indoor and outdoor space. In six months I would like to see a new generation of volunteers from the village and surrounding area, brimming with ideas, and this new building bursting with community events.

After dropping off your children at Choppington Primary School on Thursday, pop across to the old early years building and join the Get Fit class. Running from the 22nd February there is a new class to try each week. For gentler exercise join the Golden Zumba class in the same building at 9.30am each Wednesday. Until we get permission from the Secretary of State for Education to take over the building, the Parish Council is hiring the hall from the school for use by the community.

Have you noticed evidence of Spring – our daffodils are shooting up around the area. Every year the show of yellow gets better and better. The Green Team has been busy making our open spaces look better by edging the grass along pavements and tidying flower beds.

If you need any information about the work of the Council, contact our Parish Clerk on 01670 858664 or