Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on Monday 5 November 2018 at Stocksfield Community Centre

Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mrs J Furniss, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker, Mrs H Rae,

Dr P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Also Present: Mrs A Dale (County Councillor), Rev. Dr P Moran.


Apologies:     Mr C Liddle, Professor R Thompson, Mrs J Robson.


The Chair opened the meeting at 7.32pm and welcomed those present.

18/11/124 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

18/11/125 Public Participation

Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) traffic in Stocksfield

The Chair referred to a previously circulated summary of emails between a resident and the Clerk concerning the above subject in which the resident criticised the performance of councillors in addressing the problem of traffic generally and HGVs in particular. After discussion it was AGREED to note the comments and to invite the resident to apply to be co-opted onto the Council, thereby enabling the resident to make a full contribution to the village.

Action: Clerk


18/11/126 Rev. Dr Pat Moran

The Chair introduced Rev Pat Moran, the priest in charge of the Anglican Church in Stocksfield, who has been in post since January 2018. Rev Moran spoke about her background in linguistics and education and the work she is doing, for example in schools, to ensure the Church is more open and accessible to the community. Members discussed the future relationship between the Council and churches across the parish including the provision of care and support for the vulnerable and lonely, the support for burial facilities at Hindley and possible funding opportunities. The potential for councillors to talk to church members about the role of the Council was discussed, particularly in relation to the development of the Parish Council Plan. The Chair thanked Rev Moran for attending and introducing herself to the Council. Rev Moran then left the meeting.


18/11/127 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale updated members on the results of the parking restriction consultations at Alexandra Terrace and at New Ridley Road/Batt House Road, contact she has had from residents about the hedgerow at 162-180 New Ridley Road, the charging point on New Ridley Road and the A695 anti skid surface. In respect of speeding issues she added that, after consultation, the residents of New Ridley have indicated the most popular preference is for chicanes at either end of the village and a consultation will be undertaken in respect of proposals for another section of New Ridley Road. Mrs Dale said that two new litter bins have been installed by Northumberland County Council (NCC) on the A68. Mrs Dale then left the meeting.

18/11/128 Minutes of the Meeting held on 1 October 2018

It was AGREED that the minutes of the meeting held on 1 October 2018 were a true and accurate record (proposed Mrs Rae, seconded Mrs Furniss).

18/11/129 Matters Arising

  1. a) Proposed amendments to parking restrictions – A695 at Alexandra Terr and New Ridley Road at Batt House Road.

The Clerk reported that both proposals are to proceed, as notified by NCC. DISCHARGED

  1. b) Speed enforcement New Ridley Road

The Clerk updated that NCC has carried out the necessary works so that speed enforcement on New Ridley Road between New Ridley and Apperley Road can commence. The camera van has been deployed twice in late October with 36 speeding offences being detected and one offence of a vehicle not being in proper control.                                              DISCHARGED


18/11/130 Finance

  1. a) Approval of October payments

It was AGREED that the payments for October be approved as detailed in the previously circulated schedule (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mr Parke) and the summary of receipts and payments was noted.

  1. b) Budget monitoring report

Members noted the budget monitoring report and AGREED to vire £500 from contingency to sports facilities.

  1. c) Interim Internal Report 2018/19

Members noted the interim report of the internal auditor which raised no issues.

  1. d) Reserve funds

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk which detailed the current position of reserve accounts as at 20 October 2018 as follows:

Unallocated reserves


Allocated reserves


Total reserves


Members noted the update.

  1. e) Bank signatories - review

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk and it was AGREED to remove Mr Davison from the list of authorised signatories and to retain the authorised signatories for all accounts as follows: Chair, Mr Parke, Mr Parker, Clerk.                                               Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


18/11/131 Parish Council Representatives

  1. a) Annual Town and Parish Council Conference

The Clerk attended on behalf of members and had previously circulated his notes of the conference.

  1. b) Essity Community Forum

Mr Parke provided an update for councillors and AGREED to circulate the minutes of the meeting.

  1. c) East Tynedale Town and Parish Council Forum

The Chair updated members on discussions at the forum. The notes of the meeting will be forwarded to members when available.

18/11/132 Advisory Groups

  1. a) General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)
  2. i) Notes of GGAG meeting 15/10/18

Members noted the previously circulated notes.

  1. ii) Bank reconciliation to 30 September 2018

Members noted that the bank reconciliation to 30/09/18 had been checked and signed by Mr Parke.

iii) External audit report 2017/48

The Chair referred to the previously circulated reports of the external auditor which completed the audit process. There were no matters to bring to the attention of the Council. Members expressed concern about the delays in the audit process by PKF Littlejohn and AGREED to accept and note the report.


  1. iv) Stocksfield Sports Field – potential to improve playing facilities

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk which explained the potential opportunities to improve the playing facilities at the sports fields. After discussion it was AGREED to

  • approve topographical surveys and initial design work to identify a small number of options for change
  • vire £1330 from contingency funds to sports facilities for that purpose and
  • receive a further report in due course.             Action: Clerk
  1. v) Letter of thanks to Nick Jones

Members expressed unanimous praise for the outstanding voluntary contribution made by local resident Nick Jones to the development and project management of the overspill car park at the sports fields. It was AGREED that a letter of thanks should be sent to him on behalf of the whole Parish Council, and that articles describing his work and its impact on the local community should be placed in the Hexham Courant, if possible, and in the next edition of NE43 News.                                                                            Action: Clerk

  1. vi) Donation requests.

Members AGREED to make donations under Sec 137 Local Government Act 1972 as follows:

Core Music £100, The Children’s Foundation £50, the Great North Air Ambulance £150, Community Action Northumberland £100 and the Royal British Legion £100. Action: Clerk

  1. b) Planning Advisory Group

Members noted the planning report and the delegated authorities used as set out below.


Dell Garth, 6 The Paddock

Proposed garage to side of property

No comment

Note use of delegated powers



  1. c) Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group (RoW&EAG)

Dr Vickers informed members that Mavis Harris, until recently a member of the RoW&EAG, had sadly died after an illness. Members expressed thanks for her work over the years and offered their condolences to her family.


18/11/133 Review of contracts 2019/20

The Chair referred to previously circulated draft contracts in respect of groundsman services and sports field grass cutting which had been amended to take account of changes in circumstances, including revised annual costs. Members AGREED (proposed Mr Parke, seconded Mr Parker) to approve the revised documents.         Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


18/11/134 Parish Council Residents’ Survey

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report and draft of the residents’ survey which highlighted the benefits of using a commercial research company. It was AGREED to approve the content of the survey (subject to any amendments as a result of any decision to use or seek advice from a commercial research company). The Chair reminded members that a housing needs survey had previously been undertaken on behalf of the Council by a Durham based company and a return rate of almost 50% was achieved. The Council recognised the professional and efficient methodology applied by the company to the housing needs survey, the successful outcome achieved, and the detailed insight and background knowledge which the company gained during the exercise. After discussion it was AGREED to

  • suspend paragraph 11.9 of Financial Regulations given the foregoing comments,
  • appoint Eljay Research to undertake the residents’ survey on behalf of the Council and
  • vire an additional £2,000 from contingency funds to the communications budget.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk


18/11/135 Commercial use of sports field car park

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk which outlined potential commercial uses of the car park which had not been considered when the Council last discussed the matter in 2015. After further discussion it was AGREED to amend the Council’s position as follows:

The commercial use of Stocksfield sports field car park is prohibited except when used with (i) the permission of the Council in connection with sporting or other community based events or (ii) the consent of, and in connection with, Stocksfield Cricket Club on any day after 5pm or at any time on any Saturday, Sunday or school holiday.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


Members resolved to suspend paragraph 2.18 of Standing Orders relating to the length of meetings.

18/11/136 A69 Improvements

The Chair referred to previously circulated documentation concerning the proposed improvements to the junction at the A69/A68/B6530 and the proposed partial restrictions on the junction of the A69 at Shaw House. After discussion, it was AGREED to object to the proposal on the grounds that it adversely affected the ability of Stocksfield residents to join the A69 to travel east or cross the A69 to travel north at Shaw House.        Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


18/11/137 Seat at War Memorial

The Chair referred to a request from Daphne Threadgold-Reay, a local resident whose forebears died during the Great War, to donate a commemorative seat to the Council and for the seat to be located at the war memorial. After discussion it was AGREED to accept the donation from Mrs Threadgold-Reay, install the seat at the war memorial, fund the cost of installation and review whether any action is needed in respect of the existing seat in due course.                                                                                  Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


18/11/138 Any other urgent business

Borderlands Growth Initiative

The Chair reminded members of a request for ideas that might be used in the Borderlands Growth Initiative. It was AGREED that this matter should be reviewed once further information is made available about the initiative.

Letters of thanks

The Clerk reported that letters of thanks had been received for donations from Tynedale Hospice (including a newsletter which features, as its cover story, the personal experience of a Stocksfield resident), Northumberland Age UK and Tyne Rivers Trust.

Commemorative outlines of soldiers

The Chair said that members will have seen that commemorative outlines of figures of soldiers have been erected at various locations around the village. She informed members that the Council had not been approached about the matter and that permission to erect anything on the highway needs to be obtained from NCC. The Council has received information from NCC that, whilst technically illegal, given the subject matter the figures will be allowed to remain provided they are removed soon after Armistice Day.


18/11/139 Date of next meeting

Monday 3 December 2018

The Chair closed the meeting at 9.45pm.