Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held remotely on Monday 4 January 2021
Present: Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mrs J Furniss, Mr T Hills, Mr C Liddle, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker, Dr P Vickers.
Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).
Apologies: Mrs L Joy, Mrs K Pollock.
The Chair opened the meeting at 7.32pm and welcomed councillors to the remote meeting which was being ‘live-streamed’ on the Council’s Facebook page.
21/1/1 Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
21/1/2 Public Participation
Bus service from Stocksfield to Tyne View Retail Park, Prudhoe
A resident had written to the Council and Mr Guy Opperman MP expressing concern that there is no direct bus service to Tyne View Retail Park at Low Prudhoe from Stocksfield. It was noted that Mr Opperman had subsequently written to Go North East about the matter. After discussion it was AGREED to consider the issue further once Go North East has replied to Mr Opperman. Action: Clerk B/F
A resident had submitted the following question for consideration by the Council:
With reference to the document ‘Shaping the Future of Stocksfield’ (issued Jan 2019) in which residents considered that measures to reduce traffic volume (particularly HGVs) and to also reduce speeding should be implemented, do the majority of Parish Councillors consider that the ‘strategic route’ designation of the A695 to be inappropriate?
Members AGREED that until such time as there is an alternative route, for example a new river crossing that would bypass Stocksfield, it is natural that the A695 remains a strategic route.
The Clerk was asked to respond to the resident accordingly. Action: Clerk DISCHARGED
Request for additional grit bins at Birkdene
The Chair referred to a separate email from Mrs Dale detailing a request to her from residents. It was AGREED to ask that the residents contact the Council directly in order that the request can be assessed objectively. Action: Clerk
21/1/3 County Councillor update
Mrs Dale had provided a written update which had been previously circulated to members. The seat at New Ridley was listed separately for discussion on the agenda. There were no questions raised by members and the update was noted.
21/1/4 Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 December 2020
It was AGREED (proposed Mrs Furniss, seconded Mr Parke) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 7 December 2020 were a true and accurate record.
21/1/5 Matters Arising
a) Control of Himalayan balsam
Letters were sent to three landowners in October 2020 concerning infestations of Himalayan balsam on their respective land. Two landowners have responded positively but a landowner at Ridley Mill has not replied. It was AGREED that a further letter will be sent to ask for a reply. Action: Clerk
b) NE43 News
The Chair reminded members that the most recent delivery of NE43 News had been undertaken by a local distributor who had revised their fees for future deliveries to £165. After discussion members felt that the delivery was a success and it was AGREED to employ the distributor for future editions. It was also AGREED to retain the list of current volunteers, with their permission to comply with data protection, for use in unforeseen circumstances. Action: Clerk DISCHARGED
c) Defibrillator project
Replacement defibrillator cabinets have been fitted at the sports fields and golf club. The location for the Broomley defibrillator has been agreed at the site of the old telephone kiosk. Members AGREED to indemnify NCC against all claims arising from the defibrillator cabinet being on NCC’s land and to resolve any disputes should they arise with objectors. Northern Powergrid and NCC are to install the remaining six cabinets although final timescales are to be notified. Members noted the update.
d) Covid-19 grant funding
The Clerk reported that the funding opportunity had been posted on notice boards, the website and on Facebook but there have been no applications to date.
a) Approval of December payments
It was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mr Parke) that the payments for December 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 31/12/20
Members noted the budget monitoring report.
c) Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)
It was AGREED to renew the Council’s membership of CPRE at a cost of £36. Action: Clerk
21/1/7 Planning Advisory Group
a) 20/03901/FUL Amberley House: Proposed internal and external alterations to building; change of use from A1 Shop to mixed used including A1 Shop, A3 Café and C1 Hotel
After discussion it was AGREED to comment about the availability of parking and the comments at section 6.10 in the Design and Access Statement. The land on which the railway car park is situated is the responsibility of and operated by Northern Rail. Around 2008 the car park was extended by a joint enterprise involving the Parish Council and Northumberland County Council. Funding was provided by both councils with a significant sum from a Department for Transport grant. The purpose of the extension was to provide additional capacity for rail users and specifically not for local residents or users of other local facilities (such as the Community Centre). Northern Rail has previously considered imposing car parking fees. Prior to the national restriction being imposed in March 2020, the car park was often full throughout the day. Irrespective of whether the use of the car park returns to pre-Covid levels, the Council disagrees with the Design and Access Statement in that the railway station car park is not ‘a public car park suitable for use by visitors to the proposal’.
Additionally the Council noted reference to cycle storage. It is unclear whether this storage would be only for the use of occupiers of the proposed accommodation. The Council wishes to ensure the provision of outside cycle rack facilities for customers. Action: Clerk
b) Planning report
Members noted the planning report and the use of delegated powers as set out below.
Skirbeck, 38 Painshawfield Rd
Erection of single storey garage/garden room.
Note use of delegated powers
1 The Oaks, Main Road
Extension to rear, internal reconfiguration to ground and first floor and loft conversion
Note use of delegated powers
Broomley House, Main Road
Note use of delegated powers
21/1/8 Provision of litter bins
a) Stocksfield sports fields and railway station car parks
NCC has agreed to install and empty a wheeled bin at the recycling centre at the sports fields car park and Northern Rail is willing to approve a Council-funded bin at the railway station car park. It was AGREED to monitor both locations over the coming months.
b)Painshawfield Road to A695
The Chair referred to a report from the Clerk concerning the ownership of land over which the right of way passes and, after discussion, it was AGREED to site a litter bin near the junction with Baliol Road and Painshawfield Road and to source suitable signs indicating that the bin should be used for wrapped dog waste. Action: Clerk
21/1/9 Parish Council Representative
There were no representative meetings.
21/1/10 Website maintenance
The Clerk referred to a previously circulated report which updated members on developments on the website concerned mainly with accessibility, including the need for additional software to produce accessible grant application forms. Increased security demands combine so that the annual fees no longer reflect the work undertaken by the webmaster. After discussion, it was AGREED to approve
- payment for appropriate software to enable customised forms to be produced
- additional work by the webmaster to produce accessible forms
- revised annual charges rising to £350 in 2022/23.
21/1/11 Miners Lamp Community Café and Hub
The Chair reminded members of previously circulated emails in December which showed the support provided to some residents of Stocksfield by the Miners Lamp Community Café and Hub, which is operated by the charity ‘Friends of Eastwood Park’. It was AGREED to donate £200 towards the work under Section 137 Local Government Act 1972. Action: Clerk
21/1/12 Annual Parish Meetings (APM)
The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk and outlined the history of APMs in Stocksfield. Since the APM was changed so it was held on the same day and immediately preceding the annual meeting of the Council, no residents have attended. Whilst there are conflicting views amongst clerks, the legislation does not compel a parish council to convene the APM and it is clear that no councillor or clerk is required by law to attend the APM if so convened. After discussion, and recognising that any six electors can convene the APM, it was AGREED that the APM will not be convened by the Council in 2021 or in future years unless a specific need arises. It was also AGREED that the relevant section of the job description of the Clerk should be amended to read:
To issue notices and prepare agendas for a parish meeting that may be convened in accordance with Section 15(1) Local Government Act 1972 and to attend and prepare minutes for such annual parish meetings as may be convened by the Chair of the Parish Council.
21/1/13 Seat at New Ridley
The Chair reminded members that the seat at New Ridley had been removed and repositioned following a decision of the Council in Dec 2017, predominantly on safety grounds. Mrs Dale then replaced the seat in October 2019 using private funds but has made it clear that she was acting in her capacity as a county councillor. NCC has confirmed that the responsibility for public seating rests with town and parish councils. In December 2020 a vehicle left the road and destroyed one of the gateways and the speed limit sign at New Ridley before hitting the new seat, although damage to it was minimal. Mrs Dale is organising a further road safety audit in relation to the seat. The Chair has discussed the matter with the Leader of NCC and NCC’s officer responsible for highways in Tynedale. She said that the Council’s safety concerns would appear to have been validated and invited members to consider any appropriate further action. After discussion Mr Hills proposed (seconded Mr Liddle) that no further action is taken and the motion was defeated. The Chair said that there is no clear agreement on further action but the Council still awaits further contact from both the Leader and the officer referred to previously, as well as the outcome of the road safety audit referred to by Mrs Dale. Action: Clerk Bring F’d
21/1/14 Sports fields development
The Chair reminded members that work is underway to make significant improvements to the sports fields although it has been delayed this year due to Covid-19. Although the fees for pre-application planning advice from NCC had not been clarified, it was AGREED to progress pre-application advice up to a cost of £350. Action: Clerk
21/1/15 Any other urgent business
National Leisure Recovery Fund
The Clerk said that this fund had featured in a recent Enews of the Northumberland Association of Local Councils (NorthALC). The fund is available to local councils where additional expenses have been incurred and the provision of sports facilities is outsourced. The Fund would appear not to be applicable to the Council and members noted the update.
Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum
The Clerk said that information in relation to this grant opportunity had been received after publication of the agenda for this meeting. It catered for businesses that were required to close between 5 November and 2 December 2020 as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. Amongst other things, businesses had to have been open as usual on 4 November and provide services in person to customers from the premises. The Council could be eligible to apply for a grant in respect of the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) as business rates are paid in respect of the premises. After discussion members were of the view that appropriate enquires should be undertaken by the Clerk to secure any funding that may be available.
Letters of thanks
The Clerk said that letters of thanks for donations or payments had been received from Stocksfield Community Association, Tynedale Hospice, Age UK Northumberland, Great North Air Ambulance, Hindley St Margaret Burial Board, Sport Tynedale and 1st Stocksfield Guides.
21/1/16 Date of next meeting
Monday 1 February 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.
21/1/17 Defibrillator equipment
Members considered a previously circulated report of the Clerk and it was AGREED to seek the advice of NorthALC. Action: Clerk
The Chair thanked councillors for their attendance and closed the meeting at 9.32pm.