Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council

held remotely on Thursday 16 July 2020


Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mrs J Furniss, Mr D Parke, Dr P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Mr C Liddle, Mr M Parker, Mrs H Rae, Mrs J Robson, Professor R Thompson.

The Chair opened the meeting at 7.34pm and welcomed councillors to the remote meeting which was being ‘live-streamed’ on the Council’s Facebook page.


20/7/61 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

20/7/62 Public Participation

Parking outside Boots Chemist

Dr Vickers had been contacted about vehicles parking on the restricted area of the A695 and had referred the matter to the County Councillor.

Station car park

Dr Vickers reported that discarded nitrous oxide canisters, often dangerously used by some to experience a temporary ‘high’ had been found at the station car park. The Clerk had reported the matter to the police.


Dr Vickers had been contacted about seating that had become inaccessible due to undergrowth and both seats concerned had been cleared.

20/7/63 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had provided a written update which included the Community’s response to Covid-19, funding from Northumberland County Council (NCC), the proposed 20mph scheme at Broomley School, other highways issues and the Northumberland Local Plan.


20/7/64 Minutes of the Meeting held on 1 June 2020

It was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mrs Furniss) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 1 June 2020 were a true and accurate record.

20/7/65 Matters Arising

a) Local Electricity Bill

The Chair reminded members that, following a letter to him from the Council, Mr Opperman MP had indicated his support for the aims of the above Bill. She referred to correspondence from the Power for People Campaign and it was AGREED to respond with an explanation of Mr Opperman’s expressed view.                                                                                Action: Clerk

b) Additional funding for local councils

Members noted the letter from Mr S Clarke MP, Minister for Growth and Local Development which had been forwarded by Mr Opperman MP relating to additional funding for local councils. The letter has been copied to the Northumberland Association of Local Councils.


20/7/66 Finance

a) Approval of June payments

It was AGREED (proposed Mrs Furniss, seconded Mr Parke) that the payments for June be approved as detailed in the previously circulated schedule and the summary of receipts and payments for the month was noted.

b) Financial Regulations

The Chair reminded members of the decision to amend Financial Regulations at the last meeting. After discussion, and in order to give full effect to that decision, it was AGREED to amend paragraph 6.5(c) to read:

‘c) An item of expenditure approved under 4.1, 4.2, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7 or 4.8; or’ Action: Clerk

20/7/67 Stocksfield play areas

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report that outlined the issues affecting the potential reopening of the play areas. Members recognised the benefits to families and children in accessing play equipment but also the Council’s responsibility to assess the safety factors in the light of Covid-19. Dr Vickers said that whilst the Council always ensures that equipment is intrinsically safe, in an unsupervised setting it needs to rely upon users in normal circumstances to take personal responsibility for their own safety. It is reasonable that this responsibility extends towards Covid-19 related matters. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mr Parke) to

  • complete individual assessments of all equipment, including seating and tables, to determine which control measures for each item are available
  • delegate authority to the Clerk in consultation with the Chair to identify which control measures are suitable in accordance with the report of the Clerk and implement those measures accordingly and
  • open the play areas as soon as the arrangements are in place.

                                                                                                            Action: Clerk

20/7/68 Stocksfield sports fields

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report that explained the expected income and expenditure in respect of the sports field for 2020/21. NCC has now reimbursed the Council for business rates in respect of the fields for this year. In view of the additional costs incurred by local clubs to accommodate Covid-19 related matters and to encourage the availability of sport within Stocksfield, it was AGREED to waive the fees for use of the sports fields by all existing users for the year 2020/21. Action: Clerk


20/7/69 Stocksfield Multi Use Games Area (MUGA)

The MUGA has been closed since 20 March due to Covid-19. It was AGREED that members of the MUGA Committee should undertake appropriate risk assessments and determine whether and under what conditions the MUGA can reopen, after liaison with the Clerk. Action: Clerk


20/7/70 Community support and the impact of Covid-19

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk that updated on the actions taken to publicise available funding since the last meeting of the Council. Members noted the update. The Chair said that the West Northumberland Food Bank (WNFB) provides assistance to those in need across the local area including Stocksfield and, after discussion, it was AGREED (proposed Chair, seconded Dr Vickers) to make a donation of £200 to the WNFB under Sec 137 Local Government Act 1972.                                                                                 Action: Clerk


20/7/71 Parish Council Representatives

There were no representative meetings.


20/7/72 Planning Advisory Group (PAG)

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


Land West Of Calderstones 6 Apperley Road

Proposed erection of two storey residential dwelling.

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Land south of West Farm, Broomley

Erection of 8no. wooden fence posts (each 7.5cm x 7.5cm x 180cm) to be used solely for the purpose of supporting climbing plants. (retrospective)

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Scargill, 44 Cade Hill Rd

Proposal to install deck on west elevation of house

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Old Ridley Hall

Erection of detached garage/garden store

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

20/7/73 Proposed 20mph advisory speed limit and other works on the A695

Members discussed the previously circulated proposal of NCC and, having expressed views on two previous occasions, AGREED to make no further comment. Action: Clerk


20/7/74 Local Government Association Model Code of Conduct

Members discussed the proposed revised Model Code of Conduct and questioned the definition of harassment used. It was AGREED that the Chair and Clerk would respond on behalf of the Council.                                                                                        Action: Chair and Clerk

20/7/75 Christmas trees

It was AGREED to purchase two Christmas trees for Broomley School and the Dr Syntax.

                                                                                                            Action: Clerk


20/7/76 Any other urgent business

Northumberland Local Plan

The Chair referred to a new consultation from NCC regarding additional evidence requested by the Inspector. After discussion it was AGREED to make no further comment.

Provision of additional defibrillators

The Clerk referred to correspondence from the County Councillor requesting clarification about the funding of defibrillators. The Council has given outline approval for eight new defibrillators but the Covid-19 restrictions have prevented NCC from undertaking new work. The quotes from Northern Powergrid have now expired and further work is therefore needed before the Council can give final approval. After discussion it was AGREED to ask the Clerk to write to the County Councillor to request that she earmarks appropriate funds from the Members Local Improvement Scheme, pending a future decision of the Council.   Action: Clerk


The Chair thanked those who had joined the meeting remotely and closed the meeting at 8.59pm.