Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council

held on Monday 2 December 2019

at Stocksfield Community Centre

Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mr C Liddle, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker, Mrs H Rae, Professor R Thompson.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Mrs J Furniss, Mrs J Robson, Dr P Vickers.

Also present: Dr. H Brown (Newcastle University).


The Chair opened the meeting at 7.30pm and welcomed those present, including Dr Brown, a senior lecturer at Newcastle University.

19/12/148 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

19/12/149 Public Participation

There were no items of public participation.


19/12/150 Establishment of an online dataset of the food environment

Dr Brown said that all food establishments selling or producing food that is served at a temperature other than room temperature is graded by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) which includes documenting the geographical co-ordinates of the premises. This provides the potential to create a map of all such premises and online data from the FSA is available back to 2012. The current project involves providing access to all grading data from every premises selling food, including takeaways, shops, cafés, public houses, schools and nurseries. The potential exists to develop a tool that can be used for planning purposes, perhaps to limit the quantity of hot food takeaway facilities. Many principal authorities have supplementary planning documents that seek, amongst other things, to control obesity and this project provides opportunities to make full use of existing data. Dr Brown answered questions from members, who also discussed the need to search the data by postcode area. The Chair thanked Dr Brown for her input and asked that the Council be updated with future developments. Dr Brown left the meeting.


19/12/151 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had given her apologies and the Chair referred to her written updates which related to New Ridley traffic calming measures (including post installation concerns raised with Mrs Dale and which she has taken up with Northumberland County Council (NCC)), main river and ordinary watercourse cross section survey, gullies, potholes, scout hut funding, delays in 20mph schemes at schools, litter picking project and complaints from residents about undefined matters.

19/12/152 Minutes of the Meeting held on 4 November 2019

It was AGREED that the minutes of the meeting held on 4 November 2019 were a true and accurate record (proposed Mr Parker, seconded Mr Parke).

19/12/153 Matters Arising

Bank reconciliation to 30 September 2019

The Chair reported that the bank reconciliation had been checked by Mr Parke and signed accordingly.                                                                                      DISCHARGED


19/12/154 Finance

a) Approval of November payments

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

b)Budget monitoring to 30 November 2019

Members noted the previously circulated report and AGREED (proposed Mr Parker, seconded Mr Parke) to vire £750 to the Environment Budget (£500 from Contingency and £250 from Play Facilities).                                                                                              Action: Clerk

c) Interim audit

The Chair referred to the previously circulated report of the auditor. After discussion it was AGREED to accept the report and note its content. The Clerk added that the internal auditor has indicated he cannot continue to provide the service for the financial year 2020/21 and alternative arrangements are being sought.                                          DISCHARGED

d) Society of Local Council Clerks

After discussion it was AGREED to renew the Clerk’s membership of the above society.

                                                                                                            Action: Clerk

e) NE43 News

The Clerk said that the current edition of NE43 News included two additional pages due to its content and the Communications Budget has accommodated the associated increased costs. Members noted the update.                                                                      DISCHARGED

19/12/155 Parish Council Representatives

Climate Change Meeting

Mr Liddle said he is unable to attend a climate change meeting on 5 December but a member of the Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group will attend and provide an update to the Council.


19/12/156 Planning Advisory Group (PAG)

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


Mickley Bank Farm

Retrospective: Construction of storage sheds

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

19/12/157 Stocksfield Sports Fields

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk concerning proposed works at the sports fields. After discussion it was AGREED to authorise

  • replacement fencing and an additional sign at the entrance to the car park,
  • new fencing and hedging around the metal container and
  • virement of £1,510 to the Sports Facilities Budget from Contingency funds.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


19/12/158 Foot bridge over Stocksfield Burn

The Chair reported that Northumberland County Council (NCC) has agreed to provide a rebuild price for the bridge on a like for like basis and this has been authorised using delegated powers. Members noted the update.                                                      DISCHARGED


19/12/159 Branch End Play Area: reinstallation of sling rotator

The Chair reminded members that the sling rotator needs to be reinstalled and a local installer has provided a more competitive quote. Members AGREED to authorise the work by RHD Construction and to reconsider options around recovery of the cost at a later date.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk


19/12/160 New Ridley Road/Lead Road: new traffic calming

Members noted that the Council had not been consulted by NCC in relation to this matter, the report of the Clerk in respect of some changes to signage and the comments of the County Councillor in relation to complaints from residents.                                 DISCHARGED


19/12/161 New Ridley Road between Meadowfield and Batt House Roads: proposed traffic calming

The Chair referred to a plan and letter from NCC proposing a single chicane at the above location. She reminded members that the Council had objected to a previous proposal on the grounds that a single chicane was unlikely to make a significant difference to the speed of traffic, taking into account traffic volume. The current proposal differs only in regard to the addition of an area of white hatching on the opposite side of the road to the chicane. After discussion it was AGREED that the proposed additional hatching would not make a useful contribution and to reiterate the request for a double chicane.       Action: Clerk


19/12/162 Remembrance Service 2019

The Chair, Prof Thompson and Mrs Furniss attended the recent Service on behalf of the Council. Members were told of the significant changes in safety brought about by the full closure of the A695. Additionally the conduct of the Service benefitted considerably from the relative quiet and the army and scouting/guiding associations were able to march in procession along the road. The road closure was welcomed by many residents who provided feedback afterwards. After discussion it was AGREED to apply for a full closure of the A695 for the Remembrance Service in 2020 and to inform NCC of this intention on the grounds of safety.                                                                                      Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


19/12/163 Grant Application: 1st Stocksfield Scouts

The Chair referred to a previously circulated application and supporting budget relating to the replacement of the scout hut at Guessburn. The project is in need of additional funds to enable completion of works which will then allow ‘sign-off’ by NCC’s building control officers. Although the hut will not be complete at that stage, the scouts will be able to use the building to meet. Members discussed the almost immediate added benefit that will be provided by the provision of the grant, the options in the event that the grant is not awarded and the level of funding for the project that has already been provided by the Council. In view of the specific circumstances, it was AGREED to

  • suspend the section 3 of the Grants Award Policy relating to timescales for the consideration of grants in excess of £500 for this application,
  • award a grant of £5,000 to the 1st Stocksfield Scouts for the completion of the scout hut for building control purposes and
  • vire £2,500 to the Community Support budget (£1,483 from Contingency and £1,017 from Play Facilities)                         Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


19/12/164 Any other business

Painshawfield Estate Committee

Mrs Rae updated members about developments with regard to the Painshawfield Estate Committee.

Letters of thanks

The Clerk reported that letters/emails of thanks for previous grants and donations have been received from the Great North Air Ambulance, Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm (SCATA) and Community Action Northumberland.


19/12/165 Date of next meeting

Monday 7 January 2020.

Members RESOLVED under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960 to exclude the press and members of the public to consider the remaining item.


19/12/166 New seat at New Ridley

The Chair reminded members of the discussion at the previous meeting and updated members on the responses to the emails sent to County Councillors Jackson and Dale. After discussion it was AGREED to write further and consider the matter again at the next meeting.

                                                                                                Action: Chair and Clerk

The Chair thanked those in attendance and closed the meeting at 9.30pm.