Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council

held on Monday 2 September 2019

at Stocksfield Community Centre

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

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Mr M Parker, Mrs J Robson.


Also present: Mrs A Dale (County Councillor).

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

19/9/100 Absence of Mrs Robson

Members AGREED to grant permission for the continued absence of Mrs Robson.


19/9/101 Declarations of Interest

Mr Liddle said that he is now a member of the Board of Tyne Rivers Trust and the Clerk declared an interest in the planning applications to be considered.

19/9/102 Public Participation

Footpath at rear of Mount View Terrace

The Chair said that a resident had contacted her about the condition of the above footpath which is being eroded by Stocksfield Burn. The matter has been reported to the County Councillor and Northumberland County Council’s (NCC) Area Countryside Officer.

Parking at Brettonby Avenue

The Clerk said that a number of residents have complained about indiscriminate parking at the above location and, at her request, all have been advised to contact the County Councillor. Mrs Dale said that all of the parking issues relate to private land.

Lead Road at the ford

Mrs Rae has been approached by a resident who complained that the verges at the above location have not been cut, restricting the ability for riders of horses to move out of the way of passing cars. Additionally the placement of signs warning drivers to slow down near horses was discussed. Mrs Dale AGREED to look at both issues.


19/9/103 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale updated the right of way to Ridley Mill at the rear of Guessburn, hedges, litter picking, Tyne Community Learning Trust, blocked gullies, sewerage, repairs at the fords, chicanes on New Ridley Road and the Local Transport Plan priorities. Mrs Dale left the meeting.

19/9/104 Minutes of the Meeting held on 23 July 2019

It was AGREED that the minutes of the meeting held on 23 July 2019 were a true and accurate record (proposed Chair, seconded Mr Parke).

19/9/105 Matters Arising

  1. a) Sling Rotator at Branch End Play Area

The Clerk reported that the equipment is now back in use having been repaired. The movement in the central column required that the equipment be removed and reinstalled correctly, although there is no immediate safety issue. After discussion it was AGREED to undertake the work to reinstall the equipment and to secure further quotes before proceeding.     Action: Clerk

  1. b) Fireworks and Bonfire Event 2019

The Clerk said that Stocksfield Cricket Club intends to stage the above event although further costs are needed before they commit to it. Members asked that the matter be listed for discussion at the next meeting.                                                      Action: Clerk


19/9/106 Finance

  1. a) Approval of July and August payments

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

  1. b) External audit 2018/19

Members considered the report of the external audit which concluded there were no issues to draw to the attention of the Council. Members AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mrs Rae) to receive the report.

  1. c) Insurance renewal

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk which outlined a number of aspects relating to the renewal of the Council’s insurance from 1 October 2019. After discussion it was AGREED to insure with ‘Inspire via Axa’ based on a three year agreement; to include cover for material loss for the footbridge crossing Stocksfield burn; and to delegate authority to the Clerk to amend the premium in light of the recent change to the asset register.

Members also discussed ownership of the war memorial which is currently formally owned by NCC, upon whose land the memorial sits. It was AGREED that ownership of the memorial should be reconsidered at a future date once more information is provided by NCC.

Action: Clerk

19/9/107 Parish Council Representatives

  1. i) 6th Annual Town and Parish Council Conference 3 October 2019

The Chair asked that any councillor who wishes to attend should inform the Clerk.

  1. ii) East Tynedale Town and Parish Councils’ Forum 16 October 2019

The Chair normally attends this forum but is unable to be present in October. She asked any councillor who is able to attend to contact her.

iii) Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership AGM 15 October 2019

Dr Vickers will attend this meeting.

19/9/108 Advisory Groups

  1. a) General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)
  2. i) Notes of GGAG meeting 22/07/19

Members noted the previously circulated notes.

  1. ii) Bank reconciliation to 30 June 2019

Members noted the completion of the above and its verification by Mr Parke.

iii) Sports Field improvements

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk and outlined the next steps to explore potential improvements to the playing areas. The only feasible improvement related to the creation of a new artificial playing surface that would provide greater flexibility for existing sports and the potential for sports currently not available locally. After discussion it was AGREED to employ the design consultants to provide a detailed plan, together with the necessary investigative testing in line with the report, and to seek the initial views of the owner of the land, Allendale Estates.                                                                                           Action: Clerk

  1. iv) Contracts for services 2020 – 2023

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk and previously circulated draft contracts for services in respect of grass cutting (sports field), grass cutting (play areas), grass cutting (verges) and litter collection. Members noted that previous contracts in respect of grass cutting (verges) and litter collection had been awarded to NCC on the grounds that NCC already provides services in respect of both and to award the contracts for the additional services to another provider would cause uncertainty for the public and irreconcilable operational difficulties. After discussion the contracts were approved and it was AGREED to commence a competitive tendering process for grass cutting (sports field) and grass cutting (play areas). It was also AGREED to award the contracts for grass cutting (verges) and litter collection to NCC without competition for the same reasons outlined above and to waive financial regulations for this purpose. Action: Clerk

  1. v) Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) inspection of play areas

The Chair referred to the previously circulated reports of RoSPA and noted that there were no major issues highlighted. It was AGREED that the Clerk should liaise with the Groundsman to ensure that the reports’ recommendations are addressed.      Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

  1. vi) Local Transport Plan (LTP) Programme 2020 – 2021

Members considered the Council’s highways and transport priorities and AGREED they should remain as the installation of (i) strategically placed dropped kerbs on New Ridley Road and (ii) a footpath from the junction of Lead Road and New Ridley Road to the southern end of New Ridley. Members also supported a priority of the County Councillor to complete the footpath on the A695 between Stocksfield and Riding Mill.                    Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

vii) Annual Risk Assessment 2019

Members AGREED to approve the risk assessment with additional comments relating to the inspection regimes for trees and the footbridge over Stocksfield Burn. Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

viii) Polling District Review 2019

It was AGREED that the current arrangements for polling are adequate.

  1. ix) Donations – Hindley St Margaret’s Burial Board

It was AGREED to donate £1,200 to the Burial Board.          Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

xii) Christmas trees

It was AGREED to order two Christmas trees (as in previous years) to be located at Broomley First School and the Dr Syntax public house.              Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

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

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


Nene Cottage, 13 Meadowfield Road

Demolition of existing dwelling and replacement with new dwelling

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


31 Baliol Road

Proposed single storey side and rear extension and porch

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

  1. ii) 19/02322/FUL 19 Guessburn: Porch to front.

It was AGREED to make no comment.

iii) 19/02323/FUL Lilac Trees, 2A Guessburn: Extension to front elevation

It was AGREED to make no comment.

  1. iv) Northumberland Local Plan

Members noted that the Local Plan commences its examination phase with hearings on 8 October 2019.

  1. v) 16/02082/OUT Land south of Regents Drive, Prudhoe.

Members noted the hearing date for the above application.

19/9/109 Greenfield House, Main Road: replacement of party wall

The Chair referred to a notice served on the Council in respect of the party wall at the above location. After discussion it was AGREED to consent to the proposed replacement party wall and to grant permission for the owners and their contractors to access Council land to enable the works to be completed with the following conditions: suitable fencing is erected to ensure the safety of the public using the footpath to the school and the sports fields generally, materials and debris are removed from the land at the conclusion of the works and the land is left in a suitable condition.                                                                      Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


19/9/110 Tyne Rivers Trust (TRT) – request for funding

The Chair reported that TRT is submitting a bid for funding to Northumbrian Water to enable the provision of interventions to control invasive species in the Tyne and its tributaries for a three year period. After discussion it was AGREED to donate £150 per annum to TRT for this purpose.                                                                                 Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


19/9/111 Parish Council Plan Group

Mrs Rae referred members to a previously circulated draft plan. The Chair commented that the themes fit well with the Residents’ Survey and with other themes within the draft. It is the intention to consider a final draft at the next meeting.       Action: Parish Council Plan Group


19/9/112 Joint Musculoskeletal and Pain Service

Members noted the previously circulated briefing document from the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group.                                                             DISCHARGED


19/9/113 Broomley First School

The Chair updated members that Broomley First School converted to an Academy on 1 September 2019 as part of the Tyne Community Learning Trust.                   DISCHARGED

19/9/114 Northumberland Day 2020

The Chair referred to a previously circulated briefing from NCC in respect of a proposed ‘Big Northumberland Day Flag’ Parish Challenge connected with Northumberland Day on 24 May 2020. Members AGREED that the Council would not be involved.                        DISCHARGED


19/9/115 Meetings of the Parish Council ion May 2020

The Chair referred to the revised date of the first bank holiday in May 2020 and after discussion it was AGREED to amend the date of both the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council and the Annual Parish Meeting to Monday 4 May 2020.               Action: Clerk             DISCHARGED


19/9/116 Performance Development Review (PDR) of the Clerk

The Chair reported the Clerk’s PDR had been completed by her and the Vice Chair and there are no issues to report.                                      DISCHARGED

19/9/117 Any other urgent business

Branch End Play Area – use for photo shoot

The Clerk said that a ‘photography, television and film company’ has asked for permission to use Branch End Play Area on the afternoon of Saturday 7 September. The company intends to take still photographs of a local family (previously identified) using the facilities and have undertaken that no other members of the public will be included. The company also accepts that the area is a public space to which entry cannot be prohibited or controlled by them and has provided evidence of public liability insurance. A donation to Council funds has been offered in the event that the area is used. After discussion it was AGREED to offer no objection to the proposal as outlined.                                       Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

A69 Bridge End improvements

The Chair reminded members that the Clerk had circulated an update from Highways England about the above mentioned proposal.                                       DISCHARGED

19/9/118 Date of next meeting

Monday 7 October 2019.

The Chair thanked those in attendance and closed the meeting at 9.27pm.