Alnwick Civic Society

Archive for July 2013

Planning performance

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Today DCLG released interim planning performance statistics. The measures are based on the speed of decisions (% of decisions within 13 weeks) and the quality of decisions (% overturned on appeal).

Among all district councils Northumberland comes out better than average on quality, and worse than average on speed.

Measure Speed (% decided in 13 weeks) Quality (% overturned)
Best district 100% 0%
Worst district 14% 13%
Average all districts 56% 2%
Northumberland 44% 1%
Rank 260 out of 330 116 out of 330

Written by Peter

July 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Twitter followers

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We currently have over 250 followers on Twitter. Almost half are businesses, 30% are individuals, and the remainder are different types of society and voluntary organisations.



  • Arts / culture / media
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  • Property services
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  • Attraction / activity
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  • Civic movement
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Written by Peter

July 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Approaches to Alnwick

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Charles Harper wrote several books on cycling around the start of the 20th century. “The Great North road, the old mail road to Scotland” was first published in 1901. A revised edition was published in 1922.

Here he is on the approach to Alnwick:

“It is something of a shock to the sentimental pilgrim, northward-bound, that the entrance to historic Alnwick should be by the gas-works, the railway station, the Farmers’ Folly (of which more shall presently be said), and other unmistakable and unromantic evidences of modernity that spread beyond the ancient confines of the town to form the suburb of Bondgate Without ; but man cannot live by medievalism alone”.

Written by Peter

July 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Posted in approaches

Civic Society Awards

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Each year the Civic Society recognises projects that have made a noteworthy contribution to the built environment. We aim to encourage high standards in conservation and development and the purpose of the awards is to raise awareness, stimulate interest, and to recognise and reward best practice.

Alnwick Civic Society invites local people to suggest recent development projects in Alnwick which merit an award in 2013.

Anyone who considers that a recent development looks particularly good and enhances the town can let us know by the end of July 2013 and we will consider it for a 2013 Alnwick Civic Society Award.

The award criteria are that the project has been completed within the last 12 months, makes a positive contribution to the townscape and demonstrates good design and workmanship.

The size of the development does not matter.

Nominations can be made by email to alncivsoc[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

Written by Peter

July 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Visit to Berwick

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Berwick VisitIn the best tradition of Civic Society trips the weather was perfect for our visit to Berwick Civic Society on 13th July. We began by meeting socially with members of their committee, hosted by Marion Mead Then we were guided on a tour of the town, which began at the heart of Berwick, and worked along the river, round the walls, and back to the Main Guard, where the Civic Society are responsible for a permanent display on the history of the town.

On the way we had plenty of opportunity to admire fine examples of Berwick’s historic townscape, as well as being introduced to some less obvious, but equally interesting aspects of the town’s rich past. We saw the impressive results of recent conservation and improvement work, as well as some of the areas which are currently of concern to the Civic Society.

We came away with a great deal to think about – not least, deciding on the aspects of Alnwick that we want to highlight when Berwick pay us a return visit in September. We are keen to hear suggestions from members of the most impressive, quirky, intriguing, and historic sights of Alnwick that would interest visitors from another Civic Society; the successes we should brag about, and the most important challenges that we currently face.

Meanwhile, our thanks to Alison Cowe (our guide), Marion Mead (treasurer), Zoreen Hill (vice chair), Julia Butler (honorary secretary), Georgie Hill, and other members of Berwick Civic Society for a warm welcome, a thought-provoking discussion and a fascinating tour of their fine town.

Written by Peter

July 21, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Essay Competition

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Essay Competition

Left to right: Mary Manley of Barter Books, Catherine Jackson (2nd prize), Callie Martin (3rd prize) and Elizabeth Jones, of Alnwick Civic Society, one of the organisers.

For this year’s Essay Competition middle schools were invited to write on the subject “If pants had eyes”. The winners were recognised on 8th July, with prizes donated by Barter Books and awarded by Mary Manley.

First prize was awarded to Joe Bennett of The Duke’s Middle School for a moving description of events as seen by the pants. Second prize was awarded to Catherine Jackson of Lindisfarne Middle School, for a beautifully imagined piece with an Alice in Wonderland feeling. Third prize was awarded to Callie Martin of St Paul’s Middle School for a thoughtful piece on a modern girl, oblivious to the important place that pants have played in everyday life.

Essays by Abby Wilson (Duke’s), Oscar Wilson (Lindisfarne) and Lauren Vickers (St Paul’s) were highly commended.

Our congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all involved.

Written by Peter

July 21, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Pants, Uncategorized

Robertson’s Fountain

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Robertson’s Fountain flows again

This summer Robertson’s fountain is flowing again, thanks to a joint initiative by Alnwick Civic Society and Alnwick Chamber of Trade. It was originally erected in 1890 to commemorate a leading local figure, but no water has flowed for more than 15 years after pedestrians complained that they were splashed on windy days.

This was the last pant to be built in Alnwick, and the only one which is connected to the mains water supply.

Robertson’s wife laid the foundation stone on 3rd February 1891 and Earl Percy declared the fountain open on 8th June 1891 attended by the Northumberland Fusiliers band and a large group of freemasons. This time the ceremony was more low-key, but was attended by representatives of the Town Council, Chamber of Trade and Civic Society.

The pant will be operated until September, at which point the council will assess the response of the public before deciding what steps to take next.

Nearby St Michael’s Pant, is one of the oldest pants in Alnwick, and has been in operation more-or-less continuously for the last 250 years.

Details of all the old pants in Alnwick are available from the Tourist Information Centre and on the Pants of Alnwick web site. In early 2014 Bailiffgate Muesum are planning to hold an exhibition on the history of the Pants of Alnwick.

Written by Peter

July 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Posted in Pants