Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council

held on Monday 4 November 2019

at Stocksfield Community Centre

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

Dr P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Mrs H Rae, Mrs J Robson, Professor R Thompson.


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

19/11/134 Declarations of Interest

The Clerk declared an interest in the item relating to the arrangements for the Remembrance Service 2019.

19/11/135 Public Participation

There were no items of public participation.


19/11/136 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had given her apologies and had been unable to provide a written update.

19/11/137 Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 October 2019

It was AGREED that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2019 were a true and accurate record (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mr Parke).

19/11/138 Matters Arising

Land west of Guessburn

The Clerk reported that the cutting of grass by Allendale Estates had been delayed due to the weather and Mr Parker said that the work was now complete.           DISCHARGED


19/11/139 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 Mr Parker, seconded Mr Parke) and the summary of receipts and payments for the month was noted.

b)Budget monitoring to 31 October 2019

Members noted the previously circulated report.

  1. c) Bank reconciliation to 30 September 2019

Mr Parke had been unable to check the previously circulated documents and AGREED to do so after the meeting.                                                                                Action: Mr Parke

19/11/140 Parish Council Representatives

East Tynedale Town and Parish Councils’ Forum

Mr Parker had attended this meeting where Mr Rob Murfin, the Director of Planning, had spoken about a range of issues affecting planning processes. The Clerk updated members that Mr Murfin is to schedule his attendance at a future meeting of the Council.

Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership AGM

Dr Vickers had attended this meeting at which the existing officers, who were all re-elected, updated on their activities over the year. Broader work of the Partnership was also discussed.

19/11/141 Advisory Groups

  1. a) General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)
  2. i) Notes of GGAG meeting 21/10/19

Members noted the previously circulated notes.


  1. ii) Remembrance Service 2019 arrangements

The Chair updated members about the arrangements for the provision of buglers in neighbouring councils and, as a result, it was AGREED to make a payment of £30 plus travel expenses to the bugler at Stocksfield’s Remembrance Service. Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

iii) Tenders for grass cutting 2020-2023

The Chair reported that tenders had been received in respect of the grass cutting at the sports fields and at the play areas. After discussion it was AGREED that the sports fields contract be awarded to Stocksfield Cricket Club and the play area contract to Northumberland County Council (NCC) as detailed in their respective tenders.        Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

  1. iv) Non competitive contracts 2020-2023

After discussion it was AGREED that the contracts for the grass cutting of estates and verges and for the removal of litter be awarded to NCC.                   Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

  1. v) Budget and precept 2020/21

The Chair referred to a previously circulated document that was prepared by the Clerk at the request of the GGAG. The majority of the budget related to ongoing maintenance of the area although some budget areas have increased due to additional costs. Members discussed various projects which the Council intends to undertake in the next financial year and how they might be funded. In particular, the provision of sufficient defibrillators to cover the majority of households in Stocksfield, Hindley and Broomley was considered a high priority. Members recognised that this would be costly and, despite the £6,000 earmarked for this purpose and the fundraising by residents, the costs are likely to exceed £20,000. The Council is also required to make provision for contingencies and members discussed various options. After discussion it was AGREED that £5,000 should be included for contingency funds in order to ensure that the Council’s reserves are not used for routine operational matters and that the reserves continue to grow in the event that the contingency funds are unused. It was AGREED to set the budget as shown in the table below.

Approved budget 2020/2021

Budget heading

Receipts (£)

Payments (£)













Sport Facilities



Play Facilities



Community Support









Members noted that the difference between anticipated receipts and payments is a deficit of £99,366, an increase of £14,106 on the current financial year. The results of the Council’s survey of residents, which was reported in early 2019, revealed that the principle of increasing the Parish precept to fund additional work received significant support from respondents with only 16% opposed to the idea. After further discussion it was AGREED to set the precept at £99,006 for the year 2020-2021 and to ask the Clerk to inform NCC accordingly. Members noted the estimated Band D equivalent cost of £74.24 for the full year, an increase of £9.62 compared with 2019/20.                                                           Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

  1. vi) Donation requests

After discussion it was AGREED to make donations as follows: £150 to Great North Air Ambulance, £100 to Community Action Northumberland and £100 to the Royal British Legion, all under Sec 137 Local Government Act 1972.               Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

vii) Grant application – Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm (SCATA)

The Chair referred to a previously circulated grant application from SCATA for a contribution towards the cost of the purchase of a vehicle to establish a community transport scheme in Stocksfield. It was AGREED to award a grant of £500 for this purpose.                                                                                                                         Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

viii) Consultation – 20mph speed limit Painshawfield Estate and surrounding roads

Members considered the previously circulated document from NCC and AGREED to make no comment.                                                                                  Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

  1. ix) Document reviews

It was AGREED to add the following sentences to the terms of reference of the GGAG at 2.4:

“In the event that insufficient members of the GGAG are present at any meeting, the convenor of the Group may, given the nature of matters listed on the agenda, directly refer all matters so listed for consideration by the next full meeting of the Parish Council. In such circumstances, the convenor would cancel that meeting of the GGAG”.

Members also AGREED to defer the review of the Disciplinary and Grievance procedures pending the publication of revised model procedures by the National Association of Local Councils.

  1. x) New seat at New Ridley

The Chair reported that a new seat had been installed on Lead Road, just outside of New Ridley, on 7 October 2019. The seat had been placed on the site where there was previously a seat owned by the Parish Council. This seat was replaced and moved to a different location on the other side of the road some time ago, partly to provide a better view, as gorse was obscuring the view from the other site, and partly due to concerns about the risk to users of the seat of speeding traffic entering the village. The Parish Council had agreed to review the placing of the seat once proposed traffic calming measures had been taken in New Ridley. The Clerk had enquired about the source of the new seat, and had been informed by a Senior Programmes Officer in Technical Services at NCC that Councillor Dale had been given permission to site the seat at its present location.

It was pointed out that a Parish Council meeting had taken place on 7 October at 7.30pm, at which Councillor Dale had been present and had provided her regular update. However, she had made no mention of the seat. Prior to its installation, Councillor Dale had not discussed the matter with the Parish Council, nor had she given any indication as to ownership, ongoing maintenance or insurance. Councillor Dale is aware of the Parish Council’s earlier decision to move the original seat for health and safety reasons. Discussion took place about the contents of the Northumberland Town and Parish Council Charter, a final version of which, dated October 2019, had recently been circulated. This makes clear that public seating is the responsibility of Town and Parish Councils, and also highlights that County Councillors should work in close partnership with Town and Parish Councils. It appears to members that Councillor Dale, in this case, is in breach of the Charter.

After further discussion it was AGREED that the Council will write to Councillor Dale asking for an explanation and to Councillor Jackson, the leader of NCC, to ask for guidance about the situation.                                                                         Action: Chair and Clerk


  1. b) Planning Advisory Group (PAG)

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



168 New Ridley Rd

Proposed extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers



31 Apperley Rd

Proposed demolition of conservatory and construction of new sun room and single storey side extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

19/11/142 Stocksfield Sports Fields – partial surrender of lease

The Chair said that the deed of surrender relating to the small section of the eastern field had been examined by the Council’s solicitors and was ready to sign. It was AGREED that the deed should be executed accordingly.                                              Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


19/11/143 Stocksfield Flood Plan

Mr Parker said that he had examined the Council’s Flood Plan and there was no reason to amend it. Members noted the update.                              Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


19/11/144 Parish Council Plan Group

The Chair said that a new meeting of the group is to be arranged.

                                                                                    Action: Parish Council Plan Group


19/11/145 Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)

A new PSPO relating to the control of dogs had been circulated by NCC for comment. Members were disappointed that the only areas affected by prohibition of dogs were enclosed children’s play areas and two beaches. It was AGREED that greater emphasis should be placed on other spaces where dogs pose a risk to the health of residents, such as sports fields and particularly those where young children play. The Clerk was asked to provide feedback accordingly.                                                                                                    Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


19/11/146 Any other business

Letters of thanks

The Clerk said he has received letters of thanks from Northumberland Age UK and Sport Tynedale for previous donations by the Council.


19/11/147 Date of next meeting

Monday 2 December 2019.

The Chair thanked those in attendance and closed the meeting at 9.15pm.