Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council

held on Monday 2 March 2020

at Stocksfield Community Centre

Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mrs J Furniss, Mr C Liddle, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker,

Professor R Thompson, Dr P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Mrs H Rae, Mrs J Robson.

The Chair opened the meeting at 7.30pm and welcomed those present.


20/3/30 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

20/3/31 Public Participation

There were no items of public participation.


20/3/32 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had given her apologies and the Chair referred to her written update which related to the proposed 20mph speed limit on the A695, pot holes and gullies, defibrillators, village planting, the Local Transport Plan Programme (2020/21), a request for a new litter bin and the Public Space Protection Order in Stocksfield.


20/3/33 Voting in Council meetings

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report that drew attention to the voting arrangements and the mechanism for councillors to record the way that votes have been cast in respect of any particular resolution. Members noted the information.


20/3/34 Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 February 2020

It was AGREED (proposed Mrs Furniss, seconded Dr Vickers) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 2 February 2020 were a true and accurate record.

20/3/35 Matters Arising

Parish Plan Group

It was AGREED to hold a meeting of the Parish Plan Group on Monday 23 March 2020 to which all councillors are encouraged to attend.                         Action: Clerk


20/3/36 Finance

a) Approval of February payments

It was AGREED (proposed Mr Parke, seconded Dr Vickers) that the payments for February 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 29 February 2020

Members noted the previously circulated report.


20/3/37 Parish Council Representatives

Meeting of Northumberland County Council (NCC) 19 February 2020

Prof Thompson updated members following his attendance at the above meeting in relation to NCC’s budget for 2020/21 and its medium term financial plan 2020/22. The Chair added that she is looking closely at issues in respect of the increase in precept for social care.


20/3/38 Advisory Groups

a) General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

i) Notes of the GGAG

Members noted the notes of the meeting held on 17/02/20.

ii) Review of Financial Regulations

GGAG members had looked in detail at issues connected with delegated powers and budgetary control and, after discussion, it was AGREED to make no amendment to the regulations.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

iii) Public Space Protection Order (PSPO): alcohol consumption in Stocksfield

Dr Vickers declared a personal interest as a close neighbour to a play area. After discussion it was AGREED that there is no continued requirement for the PSPO.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

b) Planning Advisory Group (PAG)

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



26 Cade Hill Road

Proposed single storey rear kitchen extension with flat roof and new patio

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

20/3/39 Stocksfield tree inspections

Dr Vickers declared a personal interest in respect of Branch End Play Area (BEPA) and declined to vote in matters affecting BEPA. The Clerk referred to a previously circulated report which summarised the inspections of all trees on land owned or maintained by the Council. Trees at the Sports Fields, BEPA and Kate’s Plain Play Area have been categorised depending upon their individual need for attention and the urgency of the work. Members were keen to ensure that the minimum work should be carried out but recognised that safety of residents and users was of paramount importance. After discussion it was AGREED to

  • undertake heavy reduction of the significant oak tree adjacent to the A695 and the removal of dead limbs on three other oak trees similarly located at the western sports field
  • undertake various coppicing, pollarding and removal of eight trees along the eastern boundary of the eastern sports field (subject to the permission of Allendale Estates)
  • undertake various works on nineteen trees at Branch End Play Area
  • instruct Tyne Valley Woodland Consultancy to undertake the above work based on its previously circulated quotes
  • waive paragraph 11.7 of Financial Regulations in view of the urgency of some of the work and the existing work already undertaken by the contractor
  • ask the contractor to confirm its estimation for the annual re-inspection of trees which will next occur in January 2021
  • consider separately any further arrangements for works on other trees after the work above has been completed, including negotiations with the Council’s groundsman.

                                                                                    Action: Clerk


20/3/40 Stocksfield Sports Field: Overspill car park

The Clerk reported that the new birdsmouth fencing at the car park had been completed but the aeration of the surface was taking longer than expected. Members AGREED that the aeration should be completed at an additional cost up to £480.   Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/3/41 A695 Broomley First School 20mph limit.

The Chair reported that the consultation in respect of the above had been delayed so that amendments extending the affected stretch of road could be made. NCC expects to provide information to the Council before its next meeting. Members noted the update.


20/3/42 Anti-social behaviour and petty crime survey

Members considered the previously circulated survey and AGREED to respond to the survey to show that its perception is there has been little change in anti-social behaviour and crime in 2019 compared with previous years. Additionally the three most common issues are fly tipping, aggressive doorstep sales and scam telephone, internet or text messages.                                                                                                                        Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/3/43 Footbridge over Stocksfield Burn: inspection report

The Clerk referred to a previously circulated report which summarised the inspection of the footbridge undertaken by NCC engineers. The bridge is in a sound condition although areas of scour have been identified to the downstream river wall and upstream behind the west revetment wall. It was AGREED to delegate authority to the Clerk to authorise remedial work by NCC up to £1,000.                                                             Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/3/44 New Ridley Road: verge adjacent pumping station

The Chair said that a resident has complained about the untidy verges either side of the pumping station. Whilst the area had been planted by Northumbrian Water (NWL), there is no requirement for its maintenance by NWL but, because the land is part of the highway, the Council does have power to maintain it. After discussion it was AGREED to authorise work on the verge by the Groundsman and to seek to incorporate its ongoing maintenance within the Groundsman’s contract.                                                         Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/3/45 Public Footpath no. 12 Temporary Diversion Order 2020

The Chair referred to a previously circulated Diversion Order affecting land on Merryshield Farm which will enable the extraction of minerals. It was AGREED that there are no objections to the Order but to delay notification to NCC until after the Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group meeting on 3 March 2020.                                            Action: Dr Vickers, Clerk


20/3/46 Any other urgent business

The Chair announced that, having joined the Council in July 2010 and served as Chair since September 2011, it was her intention to stand down from the Council at the commencement of the annual meeting of the Council in May 2020.


20/3/47 Date of the next meeting

Monday 6 April 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.


20/3/48 New seat at New Ridley

The Chair updated members on the letters sent in relation to the above and it was AGREED to consider the matter further in due course.

The Chair thanked those in attendance and closed the meeting at 9.17pm.