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

Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), 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).


Apologies:     Mrs J Furniss, Mrs J Robson.


The Chair opened the meeting at 7.33pm and welcomed those present.

18/12/140 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

18/12/141 Public Participation

Stocksfield Methodist Church

Mr Parker reported that residents had complained about the Methodist Church being referred to within the Christmas card as in Guessburn. The Chair said that the card was produced by Churches Together and was distributed by the Council with its newsletter. The Clerk added that the road from the A695 is referred to as Guessburn within the national gazetteer of roads.


18/12/142 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale was unable to attend the meeting and had submitted a written report which had been circulated to members beforehand. The report updated on highways issues in the village, the A69 improvements, work on the A68/A695 roundabout and the new street lighting. Mrs Dale also referred to her opposition to Northumberland County Council’s (NCC) proposal to introduce parking charges at Prudhoe Railway Station and Tyne Riverside Country Park car parks.

18/12/143 Minutes of the Meeting held on 5 November 2018

It was AGREED that the minutes of the meeting held on 5 November 2018 were a true and accurate record (proposed Mr Parke, seconded Dr Vickers).

18/12/144 Matters Arising

  1. a) Heavy Goods Vehicles Traffic in Stocksfield

The Chair referred to further email correspondence between the Clerk and a resident in respect of the above and a planning application at Prudhoe which is to be considered in a subsequent item. After consideration it was AGREED that no further response is to be provided to the resident.                                                                                                     DISCHARGED

  1. b) Parish Council Residents’ Survey

The Chair reminded members that the survey is being circulated with the Council’s newsletter and is now available online. She asked members to encourage its completion by residents.

  1. c) A69 improvements

The Chair said that the Secretary of State is to hold an Inquiry into the proposals that are contained within the relevant Order and that further information will become available.


18/12/145 Finance

  1. a) Approval of November payments

It was AGREED that the payments for November be approved as detailed in the previously circulated schedule (proposed Mr Parker, seconded Prof Thompson) and the summary of receipts and payments was noted.

  1. b) Budget monitoring report

Members noted the budget monitoring report.

  1. c) Society of Local Council Clerks

It was AGREED to renew the Clerk’s membership of the Society of Local Council Clerks.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

18/12/146 Parish Council Representatives

There were no representative meetings.


18/12/147 Advisory Groups

  1. a) General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)
  2. i) Notes of GGAG meeting 17/11/18

Members noted the previously circulated notes.

  1. ii) Budget and precept 2019/2020

Members discussed a previously circulated report and AGREED (proposed Prof Thompson, seconded Mr Parke) to approve the budget for 2019/20 as circulated and set out below.

It was further AGREED to set the precept for 2019/20 at £85,260, unchanged from the current financial year.                                                                            Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

iii) Environmental Enforcement Officer joint role

Members considered an outline proposal to enter into a partnership with Prudhoe Town Council (PTC) which would involve an additional Environmental Enforcement Officer (EEO) being recruited by NCC and deployed locally. The likely cost to the Council is in the region of £10,000 in the first year. Members noted the remit of an EEO and contrasted it with the role of a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) which also has powers to deal with parking offences. After discussion it was AGREED that the environmental issues within the area do not justify the employment of an EEO, however the Council remains interested in progressing the matter if the role included that of a CEO.                                                          Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

  1. iv) Keep Britain Tidy campaign

The Chair referred to the above mentioned campaign and the availability of high impact signs in respect of dog fouling. After discussion it was AGREED not to make a purchase.DISCHARGED

  1. v) Subscriptions – East Tynedale Town and Parish Councils’ Forum

Members AGREED to renew the subscription.                     Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

  1. vi) Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm (SCATA) – review of relationship

The Chair said that this matter had been brought forward from a previous meeting in September 2017 and reminded members of discussions about the membership of the SCATA Board. On the advice of NCC’s Community Regeneration Officer, members of the Board could not be representatives of other organisations which meant that the previous agreement to include a parish councillor on the Board no longer applied. It was AGREED to accept the decision of Stocksfield Community Association regarding membership of SCATA Board and to continue to co-operate with the Board on appropriate projects.                      DISCHARGED

vii) Review of trees at Branch End Play Area (BEPA)

The Chair reminded members that this item had been brought forward from a previous meeting of the Council in November 2017 when discussion had taken place about trimming the trees in BEPA. In the interim period, concerns had been raised about the liability of Parish Councils should trees on the land for which they are responsible fall and injure someone. Current advice is to carry out regular, documented inspections of all such trees in order to ensure safety of all users. After discussion it was AGREED to ask the Clerk to

  • ascertain the Council’s responsibility for all trees on the land owned or leased by the Council
  • instigate an inspection regime, starting with the trees in BEPA and
  • produce a report for approval on the likely costs of the inspection and any remedial work necessary.                                                 Action: Clerk

  1. b) Planning Advisory Group
  2. i) Planning report

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


Broomley House, Main Road

Retrospective application to build retaining wall on site adjoining Main Road

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Apperley Farm West Cottage

Construction of single storey rear extension, first floor side extension with dormer

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


239 New Ridley Road

Single storey side extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


16 Painshawfield Rd

Construction of part first f           loor side/rear extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


6 Birkdene

Two storey extension to side and rear, demolish existing single storey garage

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


61 New Ridley Rd

Replacement conservatory with new structural opening

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

  1. ii) 18/03945/REM Land south of Regents Drive, Prudhoe.

Although this application relates to land in Prudhoe, the Council considered the potential impact on Stocksfield. Members AGREED with the concerns expressed by PTC in their objection to the application and supported the comments of PTC, namely to ensure that

  • an Employment and Skills Plan is agreed to align the opportunities for skill and jobs with residents,
  • a litter strategy is developed to mitigate the additional litter (not only in Prudhoe but also that thrown from cars in neighbouring areas) and
  • a Local Travel Plan is agreed that ensures the area is accessible other than by car and mitigates the impact of additional traffic on neighbouring areas, particularly Stocksfield. It was further AGREED to comment to NCC accordingly Action: Clerk


18/12/148 Car parking charges at selected coastal and railway station car parks – consultation by NCC

Dr Vickers declared an interest as a Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership volunteer. The Chair referred to a previously circulated document which outlined proposals by NCC to charge for parking at Prudhoe Railway Station and Tyne Riverside Country Park car parks. She stressed that there is no proposal to charge for parking at Stocksfield Railway Station and that plans exist to reconfigure car parking at Hexham. After discussion it was AGREED to object to the proposal on the following grounds:

  • daily commuter costs will increase by up to 50%
  • residents will be discouraged from using the railway and be more likely to drive
  • the revenue predicted is unlikely to be realised as cars are parked elsewhere (as experienced recently in Wylam)
  • passengers are likely to travel from alternative stations where parking is free –Stocksfield is one example where there is already insufficient space on many days
  • there will be an increase in parking on local roads
  • Prudhoe is an important ‘railhead’ for passengers travelling from outlying areas and from where walking or cycling is impractical
  • the proposal is contrary to Department for Transport advice.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


18/12/149 Any other urgent business

Stocksfield Golf Club – Financial position and planning application

The Chair referred to a previously circulated letter from the secretary of Stocksfield Golf Club in which he would welcome an opportunity to attend a future Parish Council meeting to discuss the content of the letter. It was AGREED to offer to place this item on the agenda at the January or February meeting dependent on the commitments of the club’s secretary.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk

Village Hall Project – Northumbria Police

The Chair referred to a previously circulated document from Northumbria Police which sought to enable the police to link with local village hall representatives across Northumberland. The project had been brought to the Council’s attention by the Chair of Stocksfield Community Association. The aim of the project is to improve policing services to rural communities through a voluntary network and community engagement. Members noted the information provided and that a further meeting is to be held in early December.

Christmas tree at Broomley First School

The Chair commented that the Christmas tree at the school looked particularly impressive and festive and asked that the minutes record the Council’s thanks to its groundsman, Martin Stewart.

Letters of thanks

The Clerk reported that letters of thanks had been received for donations from Community Action Northumberland, the Great North Air Ambulance, the Children’s Foundation and Core Music.


18/12/150 Date of next meeting

Monday 7 January 2019

The Chair wished all those present a happy Christmas and closed the meeting at 9.12pm.