Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held remotely on Monday 12 April 2021
Present: Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mrs J Furniss, Mr T Hills, Mr C Liddle, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker, Mrs K Pollock, Dr P Vickers.
Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).
Apologies: Mrs L Joy.
The Chair opened the meeting at 7.30pm and welcomed councillors to the remote meeting which was being ‘live-streamed’ on the Council’s Facebook page.
Members joined in expressing their sincere condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and to the Royal Family after the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Members observed a minute’s silence.
21/4/50 Declarations of Interest
Mr Liddle declared an interest in matters connected to the Tyne Rivers Trust.
21/4/51 Public Participation
The Chair said that an email had been received asking when the swings at the play areas will be returned to full capacity. A risk assessment undertaken in 2020 resulted in the adaption of swings to maintain social distancing. The Clerk said that the risk assessments were continually monitored but that Government advice relating to social distancing outside had not changed. It was AGREED that the matter would be reviewed again after the next stage of the lifting of restrictions, currently scheduled for 17 May 2021. Action: Clerk
21/4/52 County Councillor update
Mrs Dale had provided a written update which had been circulated previously to members. There were no questions and members noted the report.
21/4/53 Minutes of the Meeting held on 1 March 2021
It was AGREED (proposed Mrs Pollock, seconded Mr Parker) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 1 March 2021 were a true and accurate record.
21/4/54 Matters Arising
The final defibrillator at Broomley is not yet installed. Northern Powergrid is to return to locate the terminated power cables having failed to trace them on previous visits.
b) Financial regulations
The Chair referred to a recommendation from the General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG) to the last meeting of the Council. After discussion it was AGREED to reapprove the Financial Regulations and to review them again in April 2022. Action: Clerk DISCHARGED
c) Town and Parish Councils’ Charter
The Chair had written to the Northumberland Association of Local Councils in connection with the above matter as agreed at the previous meeting and has since been contacted by the Leader of Northumberland County Council (NCC). The Charter is subject to automatic review following each election. The next review will be soon after the elections in May 2021 and the adoption by NCC of a written procedure for the installation of seating in the highway which properly reflects the statements within the Charter is to be considered. The proposal is that NCC remains the decision making body for land within public parks which it manages and acts on all other occasions only to authorise an application for seating from parish and town councils insofar as public safety is concerned.
a) Approval of March payments
It was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mr Parke) that the payments for March be approved as detailed in the previously circulated schedule and the summary of receipts and payments for the month was noted.
b) Budget monitoring to 31/03/21
Members noted the budget monitoring report.
c) Budget 2021/22
In light of previous decisions of the Council, it was AGREED to amend three budget headings to read as follows:
Communications: Website maintenance £375
Newsletter delivery £330
Contingency: £3331 Action: Clerk
d) Bank signatories – review
It was AGREED that the bank signatories should be as follows:
Chair, Dr Vickers, Mr Parker and Clerk. Action: Clerk
Mrs Pollock declared an interest in items connected to Stocksfield Cricket Club.
21/4/56 General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)
a) Notes of the meeting held on 16/03/21
Members noted the previously circulated notes.
b) Future meetings of the Council
The Chair said that this matter had been discussed to enable the Council to consider its duty of care to its employee in relation to a return to physical meetings and, subsequent to the GGAG meeting, the Chair and Dr Vickers had met with the Clerk. The legal position in respect of remote meetings has become less clear and a declaratory judgement of the High Court that may pave the way for remote meetings to continue is expected in April. Dr Vickers added that it may be necessary to revisit the previous decision of the Council. The Chair said that the matter is to be discussed further at the next GGAG and members noted the update.
c) Coronavirus community fund applications
(i) Dr Syntax Leek Club. This application was for funding to purchase ‘social huts’ that would enable members of the community to meet outside whilst maintaining social distance. The huts would be hosted by the Dr Syntax pub but would be accessible to all and not restricted to patrons of the pub. After discussion it was AGREED to award a grant of £2,000 on condition that notices are placed on the huts making it clear that their use is not restricted to patrons of the Dr Syntax and an additional litter bin is placed at the location of the huts. Action: Clerk
(ii) The Tanga Club. This application related to the provision of a sensory library that will assist children to improve their visual, auditory and tactile processing as well as fine and gross motor skills. The Tanga Club is a charity which enables children with severe and profound learning needs to take part in suitable, accessible and inclusive activities. Although it is based in Hexham, the charity currently provides services to a number of residents of Stocksfield. After discussion it was AGREED to award a grant of £2,000 under Sec 137(1) Local Government Act 1972. Action: Clerk
d) Covid-19 Business Support Package
After discussion it was AGREED to apply for the above support package in respect of the operation of the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) and, if successful, to pay the sum to the Stocksfield MUGA Committee Action: Clerk
e) Bus service to Tyne View Retail Park
The Chair updated members on discussions at the GGAG in connection with public transport to Tyne View Retail Park but no recommendation had been made. It was suggested that the cost of a pilot service was prohibitive for a parish council and after discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mr Liddle, seconded Mr Hills) to take no further action. DISCHARGED
f) Grit bins
The Clerk said that he had been promised information by the Tynedale Area Manager and members noted the update.
21/4/57 Planning Advisory Group (PAG)
Members noted the planning report and the delegated decisions made as outlined below:
21 New Ridley Road
Two storey flat roofed rear extension to bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.
Note use of delegated powers
17/01494/FUL and 17/01495/LBC
South Cottage, Broomley
Retrospective application for refurbishment of the west outhouse, external and internal works and amendment of glazed link corridor (together with listed building consent)
Note use of delegated powers
Burndene, 5 Crabtree Road
Variation of condition 2 to amend driveway
The proposal satisfies the previous concerns relating to visibility sightlines.
Change of use (part) of agricultural storage building and installation of pet incinerator
Note use of delegated powers
The Ridings, Broomley
Proposed stone wall between an existing garage block and existing garden wall.
Note use of delegated powers
21/4/58 Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group 15 March 2021
Dr Vickers updated members on the most recent meeting of the Group and the River Watch Report. Members noted the update.
21/4/59 Coronavirus Community Fund Applications
The following applications were received after the meeting of GGAG held on 16 March 2021.
(i) Stocksfield Cricket Club (SCC). The Council had previously awarded £2,000 to Stocksfield Festival for marquee hire in 2021, conditional upon the Festival taking place. The Festival will now not be held but SCC has proposed to hold a family based ‘music and food’ festival as an alternative. If approved, the funds previously earmarked for the Stocksfield Festival would be used for marquee hire and to offset initial costs in 2021. The event would not be raising funds for the club but would hopefully provide the basis for future events in following years. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mr Liddle, seconded Mr Hills) to award a grant of £2,000 to SCC for the purpose outlined. Action: Clerk
(ii) Tyne Rivers Trust (TRT). This application related to a proposal to engage young children, primarily but not exclusively from Broomley First School, in a range of activities based around the watercourses within Stocksfield with the intention of building a shared commitment to protecting local burns. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mr Hills) to award a grant of £2,000 for the purpose outlined. Action: Clerk
(iii) Hindley St Margaret’s Burial Board. The Burial Board application related to the replacement and refurbishment of the internal footpaths within the cemetery which are in need of repair. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mrs Pollock) to award a grant of £2,000 for the purpose outlined. Action: Clerk
21/4/60 Members’ Code of Conduct
The Chair referred to the above document which had been previously circulated in draft format. The draft Code had been adapted from the Model Code of Conduct which had been produced by the Local Government Association. After discussion it was AGREED to adopt the Code as presented, including the Council’s Email and Internet Policy which is listed as Annex C to the Code and which the Council regarded as being within the provisions of the Code. Action: Clerk
21/4/61 Any other urgent business
Letters of thanks
The Clerk said that letters of thanks for donations and grants had been received from Citizens Advice Northumberland and St John’s PCC.
21/4/62 Date of next meeting
Tuesday 4 May 2021
It was resolved under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960 to exclude the press and members of the public to consider the following item.
21/4/63 Defibrillator equipment
The Clerk updated members on developments since the last meeting and correspondence received from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS). After discussion it was AGREED to write again to the chief executive of NEAS.
The Chair thanked councillors for their attendance and closed the meeting at 8.48pm.