Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held remotely on Monday 1 February 2021

Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), Mr T Hills, Mrs L Joy, Mr C Liddle, Mr D Parke, Mr M Parker, Mrs K Pollock, Dr P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Mrs J Furniss.

The Chair opened the meeting at 7.31pm and welcomed councillors to the remote meeting which was being ‘live-streamed’ on the Council’s Facebook page. She announced the sad death of Graham Ross, former member and Chair of what was then Stocksfield Parish Council, and invited councillors to join her in sending their condolences to Mr Ross’s family.


21/2/18 Declarations of Interest

Declarations of interest were made by Mrs Pollock, as a member of Stocksfield Cricket Club, and the Clerk in relation to matters concerning his hours of work.

21/2/19 Public Participation

A695 at Burnside Yard

Mr Hills had been contacted by residents with reference to new lines at the edge of the A695 at the above location which narrow the carriageway and are partly painted across the pavement. He said it appears unusual and potentially dangerous. Mr Parker said that a planning condition attached to a number of permissions at Burnside Yard requires the junction to be brought up to a particular standard. The Clerk provided further information and had already asked Northumberland County Council (NCC) as both highway and planning authorities for an update. It was AGREED to reconsider the matter once additional information is provided.          Action: Clerk


21/2/20 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had provided a written update which had been previously circulated to members. Dr Vickers provided clarification relating to Factco (a broadband provider) and Mr Parke noted that the Council’s priority for a new footpath at New Ridley has again been rejected. There were no questions or other comments.


21/2/21 Minutes of the Meeting held on 4 January 2021

It was AGREED (proposed Mr Parke, seconded Mr Parker) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 4 January 2021 were a true and accurate record.


21/2/22 Matters Arising

a) Bus service to Tyne View Retail Park, Low Prudhoe

Members noted the email from Mr Opperman MP to a resident and the reply sent to him. Members appreciated the concerns of residents, particularly for those without transport, the ageing nature of the population and the environmental benefits of public transport but the level of demand was questioned. After discussion it was AGREED to write to Go North East and ask if they could explore the provision of a weekly service from Stocksfield to Low Prudhoe.

Action: Clerk

b) Control of Himalayan balsam

The Clerk reported that the landowner at Ridley Mill has confirmed that Himalayan balsam on his land adjacent to Stocksfield Burn will be controlled and members AGREED to monitor the situation.

c) Defibrillator project

Feeder pillars have been fitted at all six new locations by NCC and connections will be made over the coming weeks. The final cabinet is expected to be connected during the first week of March. Defibrillators will be installed as the cabinets are connected to electricity supplies. Mr Parke’s application to Essity on behalf of the Council has secured a donation of £200 to the project. Members noted the update and AGREED to write to Essity with thanks for the donation.

                                                                                                            Action: Clerk21/2/23 Finance

a) Approval of January payments

It was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mr Parke) that the payments for January 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 31/01/21

Members noted the budget monitoring report and the supplementary report provided by the Clerk.

c) Interim internal audit 2020/21

The interim internal audit for 2020/21 had been completed up to 31/12/20 and there are no matters to report. Members noted the update.


21/2/24 General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

a) Notes of the meeting held on 18/01/21

Members noted the previously circulated notes.

b) Bank reconciliation to 31/12/20

The reconciliation has been checked by Mr Parke and, due to Covid-19, instead of signing each page, his email confirmation has been filed with the bank reconciliation. Members noted the update.

c) Coronavirus Community Fund

Members considered the recommendations of GGAG and the further information provided by applicants where requested. After discussion it was AGREED to award grants from the Coronavirus Community Fund as follows:

(i) Stocksfield Cricket Club - £2,000 towards construction of an extension to the ground equipment store on condition that the reapplication for planning permission is successful.

(ii) Stocksfield Festival Committee - £2,000 towards the cost of marquee hire on condition that the festival is held.

(iii) Stocksfield Golf Club - £2,000 towards the cost of purchase of a marquee.

(iv) Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm - £2,000 towards the pilot of a community transport scheme and a further £500 from the annual community support grant budget for the same purpose, both using powers within Sec 137 Local Government Act 1972.

d) Play area annual inspections

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk which summarised the annual inspections of the play areas and the action taken. Members noted the update.

e) Covid-19 Local Restrictions Support (Closed) Addendum Grant

The application in respect of the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) for the above mentioned grant for businesses which were required to close between 04/11/20 and 02/12/20 has been successful and it was AGREED to pay £1,334 to the MUGA Committee.

Members discussed three further potential grant funding opportunities in respect of businesses required to close: the first in respect of the period from 31/12/20 to 04/01/21; the second from 05/01/21 to 15/02/21; and finally a ‘Closed Business Lockdown Payment’. The MUGA appeared to be eligible and had suffered significant loss of income since March 2020. After discussion it was AGREED to make applications for all three grants.

f) Grit bins

Mr Hills had undertaken an audit of grit bins and the matter is to be discussed further at the next GGAG.

21/2/25 Planning Advisory Group

a) 21/00050/FUL Walnut Cottage

See next item.

b) Planning report

Members noted the planning report and the use of delegated powers as set out below.


187 New Ridley Road

Loft conversion and rear dormer windows

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Borrowdale, 33 Apperley Road

Single storey side extension and two storey rear extension with juliet balcony

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Kipperlynn Farm

First floor bedroom, en-suite and dressing room extension. Ground floor plant room extension on south elevation

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


106 New Ridley Road

Two storey extension and single storey extension. Carport to front, patio to rear.

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Old Ridley Hall

Redesign for approved detached garage/garden store

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Walnut Cottage,

New Ridley

Single storey infill

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

c) Painshawfield Estate Committee

Mr Parker referred to previously circulated correspondence from a member of the Painshawfield Estate Committee relating to two premises together with his response. The first related to an existing permission on Cade Hill Road and the second to a new application on Apperley Road for which delegated authority had been used to make no comment. He reminded members that, like NCC, the impact of any covenants that may or may not exist are not relevant to the Council’s deliberations and the Council bases its assessment of applications on current planning legislation and policy. Members noted the update.

d) Castles and Coasts Housing Association

The Chair referred to an email from the above association which sought the Council’s view on the viability of delivering an affordable housing scheme within the Stocksfield area. Mr Parker suggested providing a copy of the Housing Needs Survey (HNS). The Chair reminded members that the main findings of the HNS were that the community wanted to:

  • protect the Green Belt and the field opposite Broomley School
  • ensure the character and appearance of new housing is in harmony with the rest of the village
  • support only new developments which are on previously developed land
  • ensure new homes are aimed at first time buyers and older residents and
  • ensure new affordable housing meets the criteria and is available for people with a local connection.

The Council supports the provision of new affordable housing within the above constraints. It was AGREED to respond to Castles and Coasts Housing Association accordingly and provide a copy of the HNS, inviting them to provide further information.                 Action: Clerk


21/2/26 Stocksfield gateway planters

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk which outlined the need to replace the three existing gateway planters. After discussion it was AGREED to replace the planters with an almost identical design at a cost of £230 each.                                                                       Action: Clerk


21/2/27Parish Council Representative

There were no representative meetings.

21/2/28 Stocksfield sports fields car park

The Chair referred to a report of Clerk that identified the need to replace the surface at the entrance to the sports fields car park where it is badly damaged. A number of potholes in other areas of the car park are in need of patching. Members considered two quotes. It was AGREED that the work will be undertaken by Jem Road Construction and the cost of the work will be disregarded when calculating the available balance in the Sports Facilities budget for the purposes of delegated authorities.                                                      Action: Clerk


21/2/29 Stocksfield sports field: advertising banner

This item was withdrawn.


21/2/30 Private Sector Housing Strategy 2021/23

The Chair referred to the above draft strategy which had been circulated for comment by NCC. In relation to the specific questions asked, it was agreed that the priorities appear appropriate, there are no obvious additional client groups to identify and no further areas of work that are apparent. However the strategy talks mainly about rented homes whereas some of the content applies to support which is available for owner occupiers. This information is not immediately discernible despite reference to it in the purpose and content relevant to owner occupied housing is difficult to locate. It was AGREED to comment in those terms.                     Action: Clerk


21/2/31 Clerk to the Parish Council

The Chair said that members may have questions for the Clerk during this item but that he would, in normal circumstances, be required to withdraw from the meeting. As the issue related to the current working arrangements of the Clerk, it was AGREED to grant a dispensation to the Clerk to remain in the meeting for its consideration and to answer questions. The Chair referred to a report concerning the matter and in particular to the hours of time off which have accrued over a relatively short period of time. There are multiple causes and little sign that the increased workload will diminish before April. It is premature to re-evaluate the Clerk’s contracted hours at this stage. After discussion it was AGREED to make payment for 90 hours of additional work and to review the situation in the next financial year.                        Action: Chair


21/2/32 Any other urgent business

Letter of thanks

The Clerk said that a letter of thanks for a donation had been received from Friends of Eastwood Park (Miners’ Lamp Café).

21/2/33 Date of next meeting

Monday 1 March 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.

21/2/34 Defibrillator equipment

The Clerk updated members on developments since the last meeting. After discussion, it was AGREED to write to the North East Ambulance Service expressing concerns of the Council and, dependent upon the response, to take appropriate action through the Northumberland Association of Local Councils.                                                       Action: Clerk


The Chair thanked councillors for their attendance and closed the meeting at 9.28pm.