Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on Monday 3 September 2018 at Stocksfield Community Centre

Present: Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mrs J Furniss, Mr C Liddle, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker,
Mrs H Rae, Professor R Thompson, Dr P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).

Also Present: Mrs A Dale (County Councillor)

Apologies: Mrs J Robson.

The Chair opened the meeting at 7.30pm and welcomed those present.

18/9/91 Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.

18/9/92 Public Participation
There were no items of public participation.

18/9/93 County Councillor update
Mrs Dale updated members about items discussed at the previous meeting during the public participation section, the Local Plan consultation, speeding heavy goods vehicles, a planned electric vehicle charging point on New Ridley Road, the planned improvements on the A69 at Brocksbushes, her priorities for the Local Transport Plan Programme and grass verge cutting. She said there have been two further accidents on the A695 at Ford Rise and funding is available to address the issue, including the potential positioning of large planters which she asked if the Council would maintain. Mrs Dale said that the proposed parking restrictions at the sports fields had been rejected because there was a lot of negative response. The school, the cricket club and nearby residents do not support the proposals. Mrs Dale explained that parking of vehicles on the road was seen as providing a barrier for children walking on the footpath and slowed vehicles down on A695. Mr Parker questioned how much weight is given to views of the Parish Council particularly when the Council is providing additional parking specifically to prevent parking on the A695. Prof Thompson raised concerns about the narrowing of the road by parked vehicles and said the safer option is for all cars to use the car park to drop off pupils. Mrs Dale said that the proposed parking restrictions at Alexandra Terrace and New Ridley Road/Batt House Road had been approved whilst those at Mount View Terrace had been rejected. The Chair thanked Mrs Dale for her update and said that the request about the maintenance of planters would be discussed by an advisory group once more detail is provided. Mrs Dale then left the meeting.

18/9/94 Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 July 2018
It was AGREED that the minutes of the meeting held on 2 July 2018 were a true and accurate record (proposed Mrs Furniss, seconded Mr Liddle).

18/9/95 Matters Arising
Proposed amendments to parking restrictions
The Chair reminded members of the update from Mrs Dale and asked the Clerk to update members further. All of the proposals for additional parking restrictions in Stocksfield were being funded by Northumberland County Council’s (NCC) Members’ Small Scheme so that the County Cllr, Mrs Dale, had to approve all plans, consultation letters and the final decision about each scheme. No special instructions were given in relation to the proposal from the County Cllr on the A695 at the sports fields other than to preserve three parking spaces near the existing ‘keep clear’ markings and no information was provided to consultees about the additional parking that is being provided. Members were of the view that the requirement for increased parking restrictions remained a safety issue, both for the school’s pupils and at weekends when the sports fields are busy. Members expressed concern that the reasons provided by Mrs Dale for the scheme’s rejection were flimsy, the Council’s collective view appeared to have carried no weight and decision making had not been based on safety grounds but a simple majority of responses. It was AGREED to submit a request direct to NCC for double yellow lines, as depicted in the previous proposal whilst allowing two parking spaces near the houses between the school and the sports fields. Action: Clerk

18/9/96 Finance
a) Approval of July/August Payments
It was AGREED that the payments for July and August be approved as detailed in the previously circulated schedule (proposed Mr Parke, seconded Mrs Furniss) and the summary of receipts and payments was noted.
b) Annual insurance premium
Members AGREED to renew the Council’s insurance at a premium of £1,519.49. Action: Clerk
c) Christmas trees 2018
Members AGREED to purchase two Christmas trees to be located at Broomley First School and the Dr Syntax at a cost in the region of £600. Action: Clerk

18/9/97 Parish Council Representatives
There were no representative meetings although the notes of the East Tynedale Parish and Town Councils’ Forum had been previously circulated.

18/9/98 Advisory Groups
a) General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)
i) Notes of GGAG meeting 23/07/18
Members noted the previously circulated notes.
ii) Bank reconciliation to 30/06/18
Members noted the completion of the bank reconciliation to 30 June 2018.
iii) Risk assessment
The Chair told members that the risk assessment had been reviewed and updated as previously circulated. It was AGREED to accept the revised document. Action: Clerk
iv) Local Transport Plan (LTP) Programme 2019-20
Members discussed the request from NCC to nominate priorities for the LTP Programme and AGREED the Council’s priorities as
• Installation of strategically placed dropped kerbs on New Ridley Road (as previously submitted)
• Installation of a footpath from the junction of Lead Road and New Ridley Road to the southern end of New Ridley village on safety grounds (as previously submitted).
Action: Clerk
b) Planning Advisory Group
Members noted the planning report and the delegated authorities used as set out below.
52 Birkdene Flat roof extension to existing playroom at rear of attached garage to form slightly larger sun room and extension to porch. No comment
Note use of delegated powers
16 Painshawfield Road Two storey side and single storey rear extensions No comment
Note use of delegated powers
Mr Parker said that two new applications had just been received which would be considered in due course and reported at the next meeting.

18/9/99 Parish Council Residents’ Survey
Mr Liddle referred to the previously circulated draft survey and invited comments from members by email as soon as possible in order that the final version can be agreed in October.
Action: All

18/9/100 Parish Council Name
The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk which outlined the benefits of changing the Council’s name. There have been three responses to the Council’s consultation with residents. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Chair, seconded Dr Vickers) that the Council’s name be amended to Stocksfield Parish Council and that NCC is asked to approve the change using its powers under Section 75 Local Government Act 1972. Action: Clerk

18/9/101 Stocksfield Play Areas
The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk that updated members on the completion of the annual independent inspections of the play areas and the work that is being done in respect of play equipment maintenance, repairs of wet pour surfaces, litter bins and fitness equipment. Members noted the update. The report also provided information about the footbridge crossing Stocksfield Burn near Kate’s Plain Play Area which is the responsibility of the Council. It was AGREED to instruct NCC to undertake a full assessment of the bridge as outlined within a report from NCC’s engineers and to ask NCC to undertake subsequent biennial inspections.
Action: Clerk
18/9/102 Seat at New Ridley
The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk which updated members on the planned work around the seat at New Ridley. Members noted the update and AGREED that the original decision to relocate the seat had taken account of the Council’s general equality duty. DISCHARGED

18/9/103 Stocksfield Sports Fields
a) Overspill car park
The Clerk said that the car park was complete except for minor works to paint the tarmac access road. The opening has been delayed until the newly seeded grass is established which is likely to be the end of September. There has been a need to incur some costs from contingency funds for items not within the original specification, amounting to £2,624.60.
b) Eastern field – lease
Members discussed the potential to incorporate into the lease a small area of land between the eastern and western field, if acceptable to Allendale Estates. Whilst there would be a small cost in additional maintenance, members AGREED to this proposal provided there were no additional costs involved in the transfer or lease.

18/9/104 Control of invasive species: volunteer risk assessment
Members noted the previously circulated risk assessment. DISCHARGED

18/9/105 Any other urgent business
The Chair reminded members that the next GGAG had been re-scheduled for Tuesday 18 September at 6.30pm
External audit 2017/18
The Clerk informed members that the external auditors had written to the Council raising concerns about the Council’s apparent failure to submit its annual return. The Clerk has resubmitted the original return (previously submitted on 16 May 2018) and its receipt has been acknowledged.

18/9/106 Date of next meeting
Monday 1 October 2018

Mrs Rae left the meeting.

Members resolved to exclude the press and members of the public under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act1960 to consider the following items.

18/9/107 Stocksfield Sports Field – vermin control
Members considered a report of the Clerk and after discussion, notwithstanding the absence of any reported problems, it was AGREED to terminate the current arrangements for all types of vermin control on the sports fields with immediate effect and that the Clerk should continue to explore other arrangements on the grounds of health and safety. Action: Clerk

18/9/108 Land adjacent to 15 Branch End Terrace
The Chair reminded members that the Council has maintained a parcel of land at the above location for a considerable period of time. She referred to a report of the Clerk that set out the land’s history and discussed options for the future. After discussion it was AGREED that the Clerk should continue to explore options referred to within the report. Action: Clerk

The Clerk left the meeting for the next item.

18/9/109 Personal Development Review of the Clerk, salary review and revised job description.
The Chair reported that, in conjunction with the Vice Chair, Dr Vickers, the Clerk’s Personal Development Review had been completed satisfactorily in August and the Clerk’s job description had been revised in accordance with the previous decision to appoint the Clerk as the Council’s Data Protection Officer. The Chair also referred to a previously circulated report that outlined a review of the Clerk’s salary that had been undertaken by the Chair and Vice Chair in accordance with National Agreement on Salaries and Conditions of Service of Local Council Clerks in England and Wales. After discussion it was AGREED to increase the Clerk’s salary to point 33 with effect from 1 September 2018 and to approve the revised job description. Action: Chair

At 9.25pm the Chair thanked members for attending and closed the meeting.