Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held remotely on Monday 21 September 2020


Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mr T Hills, Mrs J Furniss, Mr C Liddle, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker, Dr P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     None

Also present: Mr T Hills (initially as a resident)

The Chair opened the meeting at 7.33pm and welcomed councillors to the remote meeting which was being ‘live-streamed’ on the Council’s Facebook page. The Chair referred to the recent death of Mr John Davison who had been a forthright member on the Parish Council for over ten years. It was AGREED that the Chair would write to his family to express members’ sympathies.


20/9/77 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

20/9/78 Membership of the Parish Council

a) Resignation of Mrs J Robson and Prof R Thompson

The Chair informed the meeting of the resignations of the above mentioned councillors. Prof Thompson in particular had represented the area for many years, initially as a county councillor. Members noted the vacancies and it was AGREED that the Chair would write to both to express the thanks of members for their contribution.                                Action: Chair

b) Effect of Sec 85 Local Government Act 1972

The Chair reported that, due to a failure to attend a meeting of the Council for a continuous period of six months, Mrs H Rae had ceased to be a member of the Council on 17 September 2020. Members noted the vacancy.

c) Co-option to the Council of Mr T Hills

The Chair referred to the application from the above named for co-option. After discussion it was AGREED to co-opt Mr Hills as a parish councillor and to permit Mr Hills to complete and deliver a declaration of acceptance of office before the date of the next meeting of the Council. The Chair welcomed Mr Hills as a member of the Parish Council. Action: Clerk and Mr Hills


20/9/79 Public Participation

Speeding vehicles on A695

The Clerk referred to previously circulated emails from and to a resident in connection with speeding vehicles on the A695. After discussion it was AGREED that the Council has been and remains sufficiently active in this area and that there is no need to take further action. Mrs Furniss mentioned that the 20mph advisory sign at Birches Nook was obscured by roadside foliage and the Clerk AGREED to contact NCC.                   Action: Clerk


20/9/80 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had provided a written update which included the County Council’s response to Covid-19, 20mph advisory limit on the A695, potholes and gullies, defibrillators, Local Transport Plan, litter, a proposed new seat on New Ridley Road and planning white papers.


20/9/81 Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 July 2020

It was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mrs Furniss) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2020 were a true and accurate record.

20/9/82 Matters Arising

a) Seat at New Ridley

The Chair reminded members that a letter from County Councillor G Sanderson in respect of the seat had been received some months earlier but that the Council deferred consideration of it due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was AGREED to write again to Cllr Sanderson to establish what progress has been made in developing a written procedure to deal with requests for new public seating made to Northumberland County Council (NCC) by members of the public including county councillors.                                                   Action: Chair

b) Stocksfield Play Areas

Members noted the written update from the Clerk, and the Chair praised the work of the Groundsman which had enabled the play areas to be opened so quickly. It is clear that their opening has been well received by residents and it appears that both play areas’ usage has been appropriate in the circumstances. The Clerk reported that the litter problem will continue to be monitored but appears to have been a result of NCC’s failure to resume litter collection.

c) Stocksfield Multi Use Games Area (MUGA)

Members noted the re-opening of the MUGA after appropriate risk assessments had been completed.

d) Stocksfield Sports Fields

Members noted the receipt of two grants totalling £20,000 from Central Government as a consequence of operating leisure facilities and the Covid-19 crisis.

e) Local Government Association Model Code of Conduct

Members noted the submission of the Council’s response to the consultation.


20/9/83 Finance

a) Approval of July and August payments

It was AGREED (proposed Mr Parke, seconded Dr Vickers) that the payments for July and August be approved as detailed in the previously circulated schedule and the summary of receipts and payments for the months was noted.

b) External audit 2019/20

The notice of conclusion of the audit for 2019/20 shows that there are no issues to bring to the attention of the Council. Members AGREED to receive and note the notice and to take no other action.  It was also AGREED to display the required public notice for fourteen days.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/9/84 Planning Advisory Group

a) Planning application 20/02062/FUL Land west of Wheelbirks Lodge

Mr Parker referred to the delegated decision to make no comment in respect of this application, explaining that the building in question appeared to be substantial and had existed for twenty nine years.  The National Planning Policy Framework allows for the change of use of existing buildings within the Green Belt and he considers the application suitable for NCC to determine without comment from the Council. A resident who has objected to the application has asked that the Council reconsiders the decision and relevant correspondence was previously circulated. After discussion it was AGREED to make no amendment to the delegated decision.

b) Planning report

Members noted the planning report and the use of delegated authority as below:


6 Ayton Close

Proposed single storey extension to side

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Land west of Wheelbirks Lodge

Retention of building for storage and installation of pet incinerator

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Snowdrop Cottage, 20 Painshawfield Rd

Minor adaptation of existing two storey rear extension with new roof and windows, small two storey infill and widen pedestrian access

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Land southwest of 40 Meadowfield Rd

Construction of a new dwelling

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Dayspring Cottage

8 Apperley Rd

Single storey rear extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


15 Meadowfield Road

Replacement of laundry store and garage with new extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Land South East of The Quarry, Batt House Road

Erection of dwelling house

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


237 New Ridley Road

Demolition of existing conservatory, proposed two storey rear extension and alterations to front door and interior

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


39 Tynedale Gardens

Single storey rear extension with first floor extension and garage

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


25 Guessburn

Single storey rear extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


3 Baliol Road

Construction of two storey rear and single storey side extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

20/02656/FUL and


Ridley Mill House

Ridley Mill

Demolition of existing extension to rear and erection of proposed new extension to rear

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


20/9/85 Rights of Way and Environmental Advisory Group

a) Notes of the meeting held on 14 September 2020

Members noted the notes of the meeting.

b) Control of Himalayan balsam

Dr Vickers referred to the report of the River Watch Group which highlights four areas where Himalayan balsam is growing in locations beside watercourses that enable it to spread widely. The River Watch Group have been successful in almost eliminating balsam from the lower reaches of Stocksfield Burn but the uncontrolled growth of balsam on land above Ridley Mill appears to be contributing to the annual growth downstream. The Clerk updated members on the legal position and the possible remedies available should a landowner fail to deal with balsam growing adjacent to a watercourse with particular reference to Sec 14(2) Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. After discussion it was AGREED to write to the landowners concerned and request that they take appropriate measures to deal with the invasive species.

Action: Clerk


20/9/86 Groundsman contract 2021/24

The Chair said that the Groundsman’s contract expires on 31 March 2021 and a revised contract had been circulated with amendment highlighted. After discussion it was AGREED to approve

  • the revised contract
  • an invitation to tender to be advertised by 25 September 2020 with a closing date of 9am on 12 October 2020, and
  • that any communication received in connection with any tender process in a period in which the Council is meeting remotely can be opened by the Clerk during a remote meeting with the Chair.

Action: Clerk


20/9/87 Donation request – Sport Tynedale

It was AGREED to donate £100 to Sport Tynedale under Sec 137 Local Government Act 1972.                                                                                      Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/9/88 Grant application – 1st Stocksfield Guides

Members considered the application for a grant by the above named and it was AGREED to make an award of £155 to 1st Stocksfield Guides.                        Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/9/89 Membership renewal – Northumberland and Newcastle Society

It was AGREED to renew membership of the above society at a cost of £35.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

20/9/90 Annual risk assessment

Members considered the previously circulated assessment as amended in 2019. It was AGREED to approve the risk assessment.                            Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/9/91 Annual insurance renewal

Members considered the previously circulated renewal documentation and noted that this is the second of a three year deal with Came and Co. It was AGREED to renew the insurance at an annual premium of £1720.06.                                                      Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/9/92 Defibrillator project

The Clerk reported on the delays in finalising costs for eight new defibrillators due to Covid-19 related restrictions on NCC’s capacity. After discussion it was AGREED to install two defibrillators at Stocksfield Community Centre and St John’s Church at an estimated total cost of £3,246 and to delegate authority to the Clerk to incur any further necessary costs during installation. The defibrillator at St John’s Church will have been funded entirely by the donations raised by Dr Lucy Booth with a balance to contribute towards further defibrillators in the near future.                                                                                                Action: Clerk


20/9/93 Parish Council Representatives

There were no representative meetings.


20/9/94 Grant Award Policy

It was AGREED to make no amendments to the current policy and to review it next in September 2022.                                                             Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/9/95 NE43 News

There has been no issue of NE43 News in 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19 and members discussed various options for the future. It was AGREED to publish the December edition but to keep the matter under review pending developments and sufficiency of content.                                                                                                                 Action: Chair

20/9/96 Parish Council Plan

The Chair reminded members that there has been no progress since initial preparation of a draft plan. It was AGREED that the Chair will review the draft and prepare a revised version that focuses on action points.                                                     Action: Chair


20/9/97 Pavement Licensing Scheme

Members noted NCC’s previously circulated pavement licensing scheme that enables businesses to make more use of outdoor public space.  DISCHARGED


20/9/98 Local Transport Plan (LTP) Programme 2021/22

The Council has been asked to nominate its three priorities to be considered for inclusion in the LTP Programme 2021/22. After discussion it was AGREED to nominate the extension of the existing footpath north of New Ridley Road to Lead Road as its priority.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/9/99 Remembrance Service 2020

Members discussed the options for the annual Remembrance Service which is scheduled for Sunday 8 November 2020. Due to the restrictions as a result of Covid-19 and the difficulty in ensuring a Covid secure service in a public place, it was AGREED that it was not practical to hold the service in the normal way at the war memorial. After further discussion it was AGREED

  • that the Council’s preference is
    • to hold this year’s Remembrance Service at St John’s Church
    • for attendance to be restricted to single representatives of the community, veterans, army and other local organisations
    • that there should be an informal laying of wreaths at the war memorial afterwards
  • to delegate authority to the Clerk in liaison with the Chair and/or Vice Chair to determine the final arrangements after consultation with Rev P Moran and to ensure the service is Covid secure.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

20/9/100 New seat New Ridley Road/Ladywell

The Clerk referred to a request from a resident for the installation of a new seat on the verge of New Ridley Road adjacent to Ladywell. Due to the slope of the verge, the installation would include the construction of a small retaining wall with an approximate total cost for the work of £1385. It was AGREED to purchase and install a new seat at that location.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


20/9/101 Clerk’s Performance and Development Review (PDR)

The Chair reported that the Clerk’s PDR had been completed by her in conjunction with the Vice Chair. Members noted the update.                              DISCHARGED.


20/9/102 Any other urgent business

There was no other business

The Chair thanked those who had joined the meeting remotely and closed the meeting at 9.27pm.