Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on Monday 4 February 2019 at Stocksfield Community Centre
Present: Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mrs J Furniss, Mr C Liddle, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker, Mrs H Rae, Mrs J Robson, Professor R Thompson.
Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).
Apologies: Dr P Vickers.
Also present: Mrs A Dale (County Councillor), Mr J Carslake, Mrs E Cowie, Mrs J Page, Ms C Smith, Mrs G Smith (all residents) and Ms L Grabham (Eljay Research).
The Chair opened the meeting at 7.30pm and welcomed those present.
19/2/13 Declarations of Interest
The Clerk declared a personal interest in both items concerning planning applications at New Ridley.
19/2/14 Public Participation
There were no items of public participation.
19/2/15 Stocksfield Residents’ Survey
The Chair introduced Lisa Grabham of Eljay Research whose company had been commissioned to undertake the Council’s Residents’ Survey in late 2018. Ms Grabham said that the research had used the same methodology employed by the Housing Needs Survey in 2013. The response rate of one in three has enabled a focused and independent analysis and its results are representative of the area. The overwhelming message from residents is that they are satisfied with living in Stocksfield (many very satisfied) with 97% revealing express satisfaction linked to living in Stocksfield. She said that in thirty years of undertaking this type of research, she had never seen such a high level of satisfaction. The average length of residency was 25 years, indicating that many people don’t want to leave – there is a feeling of community and local people are regarded as friendly. The main thing that residents wanted to protect is the Green Belt whilst the worst aspect of living in Stocksfield relates to transport and vehicles and the need to reduce both the speed and quantity of vehicles using the roads. There was a significant call for somewhere central to eat and drink and also recognition that there is no hub or central focus point for the village.
NE43 News (the Council’s newsletter) is consistently being read and highly regarded. It is the main method by which residents want to be contacted. The internet is accessed and used with confidence by 80% of respondents and there is a huge interest in full fibre broadband. The majority of respondents either agree or potentially agree that the Council should spend money on additional services and possibly increase the precept as a result. Over 80% were satisfied with the work of the Parish Council, commenting on the voluntary nature of the work and level of commitment of councillors. In respect of care provisions, 2% did not receive sufficient help to provide care to others within their household. She said that much more detail is contained within the report and added that there is a great opportunity to provide positive feedback to residents whilst acknowledging the concerns expressed.
Members were complimentary about the standard of the report. The Chair said she was surprised and encouraged by the level of satisfaction with the Council and reminded members that the survey provided a good basis upon which to develop the Council’s Plan. After further discussion it was AGREED (proposed Chair, seconded Mr Liddle) to accept the report and to publish it on the Council’s website. The Chair thanked Ms Grabham for her efforts and for the quality of the work, after which Ms Grabham left the meeting. Action: Chair
19/2/16 County Councillor update
Mrs Dale said that, having followed up matters from the last Parish Council meeting, Hexham Hospital is closed overnight due to a lack of staff. Gullies are being cleaned this week and LED lighting complaints are being addressed. In respect of the A695 through Stocksfield she said that a design is awaited for the road which will be subject to public consultation; the road is a strategic route and Northumberland County Council (NCC) has no power to amend its hierarchy; because of this the road is a high priority in respect of maintenance and gritting; the recent planning application at Prudhoe needs to provide a wider transport assessment to identify its impact; the road is mainly used by local people travelling to work or school; NCC is due to monitor traffic on the A695 at Mickley and Stocksfield; companies are required to meet contractual obligations where they relate to use of roads; and planning applications need to be managed properly, something which Mrs Dale monitors. Mrs Dale said that she would provide further information to a future meeting of the Council. She also said that the Local Transport Plan includes resurfacing of New Ridley Road and then left the meeting.
19/2/17 Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 January 2019
It was AGREED that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 January 2019 were a true and accurate record (proposed Mr Parke, seconded Mrs Rae).
19/2/18 Matters Arising
Complaint against the Parish Council
The Clerk reported that NCC expect the implementation of the A695 scheme during 2019/20. A design brief has been submitted and, when complete, will be subject of consultation with the county councillor and the Parish Council, before a public consultation.
Public Access Defibrillators
The Clerk updated members that a local resident, Dr Lucy Booth (a practising General Practitioner), is planning private fundraising activities in order to provide additional defibrillators in the village. She has met the Clerk and it is her intention to work closely with the Council to maximise the impact of additional defibrillators.
a) Approval of January payments
It was AGREED that the payments for January be approved as detailed in the previously circulated schedule (proposed Prof Thompson, seconded Mrs Furniss).
b) Budget monitoring report to 31/01/19
Members noted the budget monitoring report.
19/2/20 Parish Council Representatives
East Tynedale Town and Parish Councils’ Forum
The Chair attended the most recent meeting of the above forum. She said that there had been presentations on the Empowering Local Communities initiative, Community Action Northumberland and the A69 proposals about which Bywell Parish Council is co-ordinating comments despite it being cancelled.
19/2/21 Advisory Groups
a) General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)
i) Notes of GGAG meeting 21/01/19
Members noted the previously circulated notes.
ii) Bank reconciliation to 31/12/18
Members noted that the bank reconciliation had been completed.
iii) Sports Field User Group (SFUG) meeting 14 January 2019 notes
Members noted the notes of the SFUG.
iv) Use of Sports Field for Stocksfield Festival and wedding marquees
After discussion it was AGREED to permit the use of the sports fields for the Stocksfield Festival and for a marquee in connection with a wedding on 3 August 2019.
v) Vexatious communications policy
After discussion it was AGREED to amend the policy as recommended and review it in January 2021.
b) Planning Advisory Group (PAG)
Members noted the planning report and the delegated authorities used as set out below.
Appeal against refusal
Stable Cottage and The Granary,
Old Ridley Proposed single storey rear extension, infilling current area between Stable Cottage and The Granary No comment
Note use of delegated powers
13 Painshawfield Rd Remove rear conservatory and provision of new single storey garden room No comment
Note use of delegated powers
19/00126/FUL Walnut Cottage, New Ridley: Construction of new boundary wall, fences and gates. After discussion, it was AGREED (proposed Mr Parker, seconded Mr Parke) to make no comment.
18/04446/OUT Stocksfield Golf Club, New Ridley: Outline planning application for residential development (flats or apartments) with all matters reserved on land east of the golf clubhouse.
Prof Thompson declared a personal interest in the item as a member of the golf club and said he would not vote. Mr Parker referred to a previously circulated recommendation of the PAG. The application is essentially the same proposal as previously submitted and commented upon with additional financial information. The application’s Green Belt Assessment refers to New Ridley as a village which the Council contests. Information from the Housing Needs Report has been presented selectively, particularly with regard to the level of opposition to building on the Green Belt. Mr Parker expressed concern that the Parish Council has not seen the golf club’s five year business plan which was submitted to NCC. The current proposed Local Plan provides sufficient housing within the Central Delivery Area, either planned or being built. It is the recommendation of the Planning Advisory Group that the Council objects to the proposal on the grounds set out in the report. A number of members of the public present spoke both in opposition to and in favour of the proposed application. The Chair reminded those present that the Parish Council is not the decision maker, merely a body which is consulted by the Planning Authority. After further discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mr Parker, seconded Mr Parke) to object to the planning application on the grounds that it is an inappropriate development in the Green Belt for which very special circumstances do not exist, in accordance with the report of the PAG (as amended). Action: Clerk
19/2/22 Community Transport Survey
The Chair referred to the Community Transport Survey undertaken by Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm (SCATA) in the autumn. They received 75 responses from surveys distributed to every house in the Council’s area. 90% of respondents had access to a car and were not interested in community transport, over 50% used a taxi if they didn’t want to use a car and 70% used bus services. There is a fairly low number who might be interested in community transport although the overall number of respondents is also low. SCATA thinks there may be sufficient need and community support for a community transport scheme, particularly for those who live at a distance from public transport. A public meeting is to be held by SCATA at 7.30pm on Tuesday 26 February at the Community Centre to which all residents are being invited by letter. This will include a presentation by the Belford Community Transport Scheme. If SCATA wishes to progress this for Stocksfield, the matter may be taken to the East Tynedale Town and Parish Councils’ Forum to gauge interest amongst other councils. Members noted the update.
19/2/23 Northumberland Local Plan Consultation
The Chair referred to the previously circulated revised Local Plan for which NCC requests comments by 13 March 2019. Mr Parker said that there have been few changes when compared to earlier versions, although there is greater clarity about where future housing is to be provided. The targets for future housing also appear much more realistic. After discussion it was AGREED that members should pass any individual comments to Mr Parker and, if necessary, a response will be provided by Mr Parker, the Chair and the Clerk.
19/2/24 Change of name of the Civil Parish of Broomley and Stocksfield
The Clerk reminded members that the name of the civil parish was amended as of 11 January so that this Council is now known as Stocksfield Parish Council. Some immediate changes have been made, such as the name on the website and bank account details, whilst others will take place in due course. Members noted the update.
19/2/25 Any other urgent business
Letter of thanks
The Clerk has received a letter of thanks from Tynedale Hospice at Home for the Council’s recent donation, which follows their previously circulated email.
The Clerk said one of the flood warden volunteers, Mrs Christine Armstrong, is unable to continue in the role but her husband, Peter Armstrong, has agreed to take her place. Members asked the Clerk to thank Mrs Armstrong for her efforts in the role.
19/2/26 Date of next meeting
Monday 4 March 2019
The Chair thanked those present for attending and closed the meeting at 9.00pm.