Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held remotely on Monday 7 December 2020
Present: Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mrs J Furniss, Mr T Hills, Mrs L Joy, Mr C Liddle, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker, Mrs K Pollock, Dr P Vickers.
Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).
Also present: Mrs K Pollock (initially as a resident)
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.
20/12/120 Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
20/12/121 Co-option to the Council of Mrs K Pollock
The Chair referred to the application from the above named for co-option. After discussion it was AGREED to co-opt Mrs Pollock as a parish councillor and to permit Mrs Pollock to complete and deliver a declaration of acceptance of office before the date of the next meeting of the Council. The Chair welcomed Mrs Pollock as a member of the Parish Council, referring to her previous service as a parish councillor. Action: Clerk and Mrs Pollock
20/12/122 Public Participation
A resident had submitted two questions for consideration by the Council:
(i) Did the PC receive the traffic report from Northumberland County Council (NCC) which was due for issue about two years ago and is that report available to the public?
It was previously the Council’s belief that NCC was undertaking a safety assessment of the A695 from Branch End to the railway station and this was based on comments of the County Councillor at previous meetings. The only report that has been received from NCC relates to the proposed advisory speed limit at Broomley School and, to the knowledge of the Council, no further report is being undertaken by NCC.
(ii) Bearing in mind the new traffic calming measures on New Ridley Road and in the Park Estate do Northumbria Police/NCC have a strategy for traffic calming on the main road (A695) through Stocksfield?
The responsibility for traffic issues rests with NCC as the Highways Authority not the Parish Council.
The Clerk was asked to respond to the resident accordingly. Action: Clerk
The Chair reported having received a copy of The Watchtower, a publication of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has been sent to councillors across the country.
20/12/123 County Councillor update
Mrs Dale had provided a written update which had been previously circulated to members. A number of items were listed for discussion on the agenda. The Chair referred to the County Councillor’s Local Transport Plan priorities for 2021/22 and, after discussion, it was clear that the Council’s own priority relating to a new footpath at New Ridley had been included by the County Councillor. There were no questions raised by members.
20/12/124 Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 November 2020
It was AGREED (proposed Mrs Furniss, seconded Mr Parke) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 2 November 2020 were a true and accurate record.
20/12/125 Matters Arising
a) County Councillor’s Local Transport Plan Priorities
This was previously dealt with at item 20/12/123.
b) NE43 News
The Chair said that the delivery of NE43 News had been undertaken by a local distributor on this occasion and that the effectiveness of the delivery was being assessed. The Council has received a number of favourable comments about the issue. It was AGREED to consider the delivery of future editions at the next meeting. Action: Clerk Bring Forwd
c) Remembrance Service
The Chair reminded members that a pre-recorded video of the Remembrance Service had been streamed on the Council’s Facebook on Remembrance Sunday due to Covid-19 restrictions. Members agreed that the video was excellent and they recognised the work of Rev Pat Moran and her husband in producing the video. Members AGREED to write to Rev Moran to thank her for the additional work this year and recognised the contribution of the Clerk. Action: Clerk
d) Defibrillator project
The Clerk reported that two additional defibrillators are now fitted and operational with the North East Ambulance Service – at the Community Centre and St John’s Church. NCC will commence installation of further defibrillators in January 2021. The location of the defibrillator at Broomley is to be finalised upon receipt of further information from Northern Powergrid. After discussion it was AGREED to
- replace the old defibrillator cabinets at the sports field and golf club with the new style cabinets which provide improved access and maintenance as well as reduced power consumption
- use £550 from allocated funds in the Reserve Account and the balance from existing budgets and
- delegate authority to the Clerk to employ an electrician if necessary.
a) Approval of November payments
It was AGREED (proposed Mr Parke, seconded Mr Parker) that the payments for November 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 30/11/20
Members noted the budget monitoring report and AGREED that any payments in excess of £5,000 from the ‘defibrillator’ sub-heading should be disregarded when calculating the remaining funds in the Environment budget heading until 31 March 2021.
c) Society of Local Council Clerks
It was AGREED to renew the Clerk’s membership at a cost of £185. Action: Clerk
d) Richardson Room: hire
Members AGREED to pay the room hire fees to the Community Association in spite of the absence of physical meetings due to the exceptional circumstances surrounding Covid-19.
20/12/127 Donation requests
a) Age UK Northumberland
It was AGREED to make a donation of £100 to Age UK Northumberland under Sec 137 Local Government Act 1972. Action: Clerk
b) Tynedale Hospice at Home
It was AGREED to make a donation of £200 to Tynedale Hospice under Sec 137 Local Government Act 1972. Action: Clerk
20/12/128 Review of Council Policies
a) Grievance Procedure
It was AGREED to make no changes to the procedure and to review it in one year. Action: Clerk
b) Disciplinary Policy
It was AGREED to make no changes to the policy and to review it in one year. Action: Clerk
20/12/129 Planning Advisory Group
Mrs Pollock declared a personal interest in application reference 20/02872/FUL as a nearby resident. Members noted the planning report and the use of delegated authority as below:
Land at Cockshot Hill
Change of use from agricultural to enclosed dog park business
The Council is concerned that the entrance to the site is from a sharp bend on a narrow road where visibility is restricted. Sufficient off-road parking needs to be available to prevent parking on the verges of the public road. The Council is also concerned to ensure that no new buildings are constructed within the boundary of the site. Note use of delegated powers.
Moresby, Main Road
Retrospective application for detached granny annex
Note use of delegated powers
Woodburn, 3 Batt House Rd
Demolition of rear/side single storey extension and construction of flat roof single storey extension and glass balustrade to rear
Note use of delegated powers
Ashleigh, 26 Cade Hill Rd
Variation of condition 2 of 20/00297/FUL to allow new wall to be moved closer to boundary wall to underpin and give support. Replacement of windows either side of French doors.
Note use of delegated powers
20/12/130 Parish Council Representative
Essity Community Consultation Forum
Mr Parke had circulated a newsletter of the above forum which had not met recently due to Covid-19.
Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership
A planning event is to be held on 11 January 2021 and Dr Vickers has applied to attend.
20/12/131 Stocksfield sports fields: commercial use by fitness instructor
A resident of Stocksfield had applied for permission to use a small area of the sports fields to provide one-to-one fitness sessions, having been prevented from using their own garden due to Covid-19 restrictions. After discussion it was AGREED to authorise this use on the Council’s standard terms for a cost of £2.50 per session, a cost which the Council will waive until 31 March 2021 in line with other users.
Members considered the need to remain flexible during the current and any future periods of restrictions due to Covid-19. It was AGREED to delegate authority to the Clerk, in liaison with the Chair, to authorise similar requests where appropriate on a temporary basis, including the ability to set a fee. Any temporary permission and fee would be subject to approval, refusal or variation by a future meeting of the Council. Action: Clerk
20/12/132 Covid-19 grant funding
Mrs Joy updated members and presented a previously circulated document outlining proposals for the purpose, eligibility, process and allocation of grant funding resulting from funds made available by Central Government. After discussion it was AGREED to
- invite applications for grants up to £2,000 in line with the document (as amended) with a closing date of Friday 15 January 2021
- consider applications at the next meeting of the General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG) on Monday 18 January 2021 and
- consider the recommendations of the GGAG at the Council meeting on 1 February 2021.
20/12/133 Provision of litter bins
a) Stocksfield sports field and railway station car parks
Members discussed the potential need for additional litter bins at the above locations. Further information was needed from Northern Rail and NCC and it was AGREED to reconsider the matter at the next meeting. Action: Clerk
b) Painshawfield Road to A695 track
Mr Liddle declared a personal interest as a nearby resident. The Chair referred to an email from the County Councillor reflecting concerns of residents about dog faeces being left at the above location, a view shared by members. It was AGREED to purchase and install a standard litter bin and to delegate authority to the Clerk to agree a suitable location with NCC. Action: Clerk
20/12/134 North East Transport Plan: consultation
The Chair referred to the previously circulated document which is a product of the two combined authorities covering Northumberland, Durham and Tyne and Wear. The Chair summarised her views that the Plan:
- is ambitious – possibly overly so
- relies upon a huge capital investment which is not guaranteed, particularly given the funding available to the combined authorities
- would be beneficial in that it covers the seven local authority areas
- has a vision and objectives which are generally fine but perhaps optimistic
- contains very little about rural issues – how the Plan will support people in rural areas who are isolated and thereby enable them to access facilities, and
- will mainly benefit urban areas.
It was AGREED to comment as outlined above. Action: Clerk
20/12/135 Stocksfield sports fields: use by Broomley First School
The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk which outlined the potential ways that Broomley First School and its pupils could increase their use of the sports fields. After discussion it was AGREED to:
- allow the school to use an area of land adjacent to the overspill car park to establish a wild meadow but that the school was responsible for formal risk assessments and should comply with the conditions attached to its existing use of the fields
- permit the school to plant hedging at the north east corner of the sports field and
- explore further the potential for the school to utilise the land in the north east corner for consideration at a future meeting. Action: Clerk
20/12/136 Any other urgent business
There was no other business.
20/12/137 Date of next meeting
Monday 4 January 2021
The Chair thanked all councillors for their work throughout a difficult year which has enabled the Council to continue to function. She also offered her thanks to the Clerk for his additional work since March which has facilitated the continuity of business during unusual and uncertain circumstances. Finally the Chair thanked the Council’s grounds services contractor, Martin Stewart, for his work and, in particular, the wonderfully decorated Christmas tree at the school.
The Chair wished everyone a Happy Christmas and closed the meeting at 9.21pm.