Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council

held on Monday 6 January 2020

at Stocksfield Community Centre

Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mrs J Furniss, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker, Mrs H Rae, Professor R Thompson, Dr P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Mr C Liddle, Mrs J Robson.

Also present: Mr D Williams (Resident).


The Chair opened the meeting at 7.30pm, welcomed those present and wished all a Happy New Year.

20/1/1 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

20/1/2 Public Participation

Public footpaths within Painshawfield Estate

Mr Williams said that the two footpaths between Apperley and Meadowfield Roads are covered in mud and difficult to pass. He anticipated that the other footpaths would be similarly affected. The Clerk said that whilst general maintenance of the paths is undertaken by the Parish Council, Northumberland County Council (NCC) has ultimate responsibility for the paths. The nature of the paths was such that suitable footwear is required to walk the paths, particularly in the winter months and a degree of surface detritus is to be expected. He AGREED to contact the Footpaths Officer and notify Mr Williams accordingly.                      Action: Clerk


20/1/3 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had given her apologies and the Chair referred to her written update which related to proposed 20mph speed limit on A695 and other unspecific matters.

20/1/4 Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 December 2019

The Chair referred to an email from Mrs Dale and tabled a revision to the draft minutes at item 19/12/151. It was AGREED (proposed Mr Parke, seconded Mrs Rae) that the amended minutes of the meeting held on 2 December 2019 were a true and accurate record.

20/1/5 Matters Arising

Climate Change Meeting

The Chair referred to the notes provided by Mr Hooks which had been separately circulated and highlighted the potential shortfall in funding considering the large area that is covered.                                                                                                        DISCHARGED


20/1/6 Finance

a) Approval of December payments

It was AGREED (proposed Prof Thompson, seconded Dr Vickers) 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 December 2019

Members noted the previously circulated report.

c) Internal auditor

The Chair referred to the previously circulated report of the Clerk about the retirement of the Council’s current auditor. After discussion it was AGREED to appoint Margaret Weatherley as internal auditor for the financial year 2020/21.                    Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

20/1/7 Parish Council Representatives

Christmas Carol Service, St Peter’s Church

Dr Vickers had attended the Christmas Carol Service on behalf of the Council.


20/1/8 Advisory Groups

a) General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

i) Notes of the GGAG

Members noted the notes of the meeting held on 16/12/19.

ii) Review of Disciplinary Policy

The Chair referred to a previously circulated draft policy which incorporates the recently updated template from the National Association of Local Councils (NatALC). After discussion it was AGREED to adopt the revised policy and to review it in January 2021.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

iii) Review of Grievance Policy

The Chair referred to a previously circulated draft policy which incorporates the recently updated template from NatALC and the High Court case involving Ledbury Town Council. After discussion it was AGREED to adopt the revised policy and to review it in January 2021.                                                                                                        Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

iv) Parish Council Advisory Groups – terms of reference

The Chair said that the newly approved Disciplinary and Grievance Policies require the formation of staffing committees and appeal panels as necessary. The proposed revisions and additions to the terms of reference cater for that eventuality. It was AGREED to approve the amendments as previously circulated.                             Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

v) Grant application

Members considered an application for funding from Hindley Burial Board to purchase and install a litter bin at the cemetery. It was AGREED to purchase a bin and pay for its installation up to a value of £500.                                                      Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

vi) Donation requests

It was AGREED to make a donation of £200 to Broomley First School Parent Teacher Association which sponsors a laptop, to donate £200 to Tynedale Hospice (under Sec 137 Local Govt Act 1972) and to vire £171 from the Play Area budget.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

vii) Internet security

Members discussed issues relating to internet security and the use of personal computers to conduct Council business. It was AGREED to arrange for an information session to be provided by an expert for a maximum cost of £50.                          Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

b) Planning Advisory Group (PAG)

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


6 Birkdene

Proposed two storey extension to side and single storey extension to rear

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

20/1/9 A695 Broomley First School 20mph speed limit

The Chair referred to the earlier consultation from NCC in respect of the above and the response provided by the Council in July 2019. The proposals were likely to have an impact on the Council’s assets and there has been no further comment from NCC to date. Members AGREED to make a formal request to NCC as the Highway Authority for an update in relation to the proposals.                                                                   Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/1/10 Northumberland County Council Library Consultation

The Chair referred to previously circulated documents from NCC and, after discussion, it was AGREED to encourage local completion of the surveys but to make no comment as a council.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

20/1/11 Notice board on Guessburn

The Chair referred to a report from the Clerk relating to the proposal by Karbon Homes to remove the notice board on Guessburn. It was AGREED to offer no objection to the proposal.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/1/12 Any other urgent business

Letters/Emails of thanks

The Clerk reported having received thanks from Stocksfield Cricket Club for the inclusion of their centenary celebrations in NE43 News and from 1st Stocksfield Scouts for the grant towards the scout hut.

Sports Fields overspill car park

The Clerk said that the surface of the overspill car park had again become covered in a thick layer of mud. The car park has been temporarily closed and the surface mud removed manually. The Clerk will attempt to identify a permanent remedy.


20/1/13 Date of the next meeting

Monday 3 February 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.


20/1/14 New seat at New Ridley

Correspondence had been received by the Council concerning the above matter and, after discussion, it was AGREED to seek relevant advice and to reconsider the matter at the next meeting.


The Chair thanked those in attendance and closed the meeting at 9.20pm.