Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on Wednesday 14 July 2021


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

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Mr C Chance.

The Chair opened the meeting at 7.46pm, welcomed councillors to the meeting of the Council and reminded members of the Covid restrictions in force.


21/7/88 Declarations of Interest

Mrs Dale declared an interest in all planning matters.


21/7/89 Physical meetings: Covid-19 risk assessment

Members APPROVED the previously circulated risk assessment.


21/7/90 Public Participation

New Ridley Road: Speed of traffic

Young horse riders based at the stables at East Ridley have complained about the speed of traffic and the proximity of cars when passing horses on the road between the Hedley road and the sharp bend on New Ridley Road. They asked whether suitable signs can be provided to warn drivers. Mrs Dale AGREED to contact Northumberland County Council (NCC) to ask if they can be installed.                                                                                     Action: Mrs Dale

Council’s use of native plants

A resident has asked if the Council can commit to using native British plants and perennials in the displays and flower beds to benefit the climate. The Council currently uses perennials and plants native wild flowers although the source of the bedding plants is not known. Members were not opposed to the principle but further work is needed which could be undertaken by the Climate Change Advisory Group (should it be formed).                          Action: Clerk

Accessibility issues on New Ridley Road

Mr Liddle had been contacted by some residents who are having difficulty on New Ridley Road due to the absence of dropped kerbs and parked cars. The Chair reminded members that the installation of dropped kerbs was a priority of the Council in its submission to NCC for the Local Transport Plan Programme 2021. The Clerk AGREED to make further enquiries.                                                                                                                                             Action: Clerk


21/7/91 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had provided a written update which had been previously circulated to members. In particular she referred to parking issues, Covid-19, FACTCO and speeding.


21/7/92 Minutes of the Annual Meeting held on 19 May 2021

It was AGREED (proposed Mrs Joy, seconded Mrs Pollock) that the previously circulated minutes of the annual meeting held on 19 May 2021 were a true and accurate record.


21/7/93 Matters Arising

a) Seat at Ladywell

The Chair referred to a previous decision of the Council not to install a seat on New Ridley Road at Ladywell and that there is no suitable alternative location. The decision had been based on the likely costs using an accredited contractor. The Council has received an email from a resident who states that all twenty-three residents of Ladywell support the request and the resident has been asked to suggest an alternative site. After discussion about the site at Ladywell and the difficulties caused by the need for accreditation, Mrs Dale, in her role as County Councillor, AGREED to liaise with NCC and explore further the possibility of any installation being undertaken by their staff. She added that she is happy to provide additional funds from the Local Improvement Scheme.                                       Action: Mrs Dale

b) Play areas: Covid risk assessment

The Chair referred to the proposed removal of restrictions likely to occur on 19 July and the assessment relating to the replacement of equipment that had been removed to ensure social distancing. After discussion it was AGREED, subject to the removal of Covid restrictions, to reinstall all items of equipment as soon as is practicable on or after 19 July 2021 and to rely on previous delegated authorities for the replacement of signage, in accordance with a revised risk assessment.                                                                                                         Action: Clerk


21/7/94 Finance

a) Approval of May and June payments

It was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mrs Pollock) to approve the payments for May and June as detailed in the previously circulated schedule and the summary of receipts and payments for the month was noted.

b) Asset register 2021/22

The Chair referred to the previously circulated fixed asset register 2021/22. The Clerk spoke about the need to examine the register in light of the risk assessment and management review to be discussed later. Members noted the register.


21/7/95 Chair’s Annual Report 2020/21

The Chair said that the Annual Report would normally be considered at the annual meeting but it was not considered in order to keep the meeting short. Although the report has been circulated to residents through NE43 News, the Chair wanted to note and celebrate the work of the Council in the previous year in spite of the pandemic and the many challenges facing us all. The Council was forced to adapt to new methods of working and, as an example, managed to complete the second phase of the defibrillator project. This has put Stocksfield ahead of the game in respect of the provision of life saving equipment. The Chair thanked all councillors for their work during 2020/21 in difficult circumstances and praised the resilience of the Clerk and Martin Stewart, the Grounds Services Contractor.


21/7/96 General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

a) Notes of the meeting held on 21/06/21

Members noted the previously circulated notes.

b) Responding to Climate Change

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of Mr Chance and, after discussion, it was AGREED

  • to declare a Climate Change Emergency (CCE) in line with NCC
  • to appoint a CCE Councillor
  • to form a Climate Change Emergency Advisory Group (CCEAG) and its terms of reference as circulated
  • to appoint Mr Chance as the CCE Councillor and as convener of the CCEAG
  • to appoint Mrs Dale and Mr Hill as members of the CCEAG
  • that climate change considerations should be central to the decision making of the Council and to its policies
  • to ask the Clerk to create a budget head for this area of work

Action: Clerk

c) Parish Council office

The Chair said that no recommendation had been made by the GGAG as the existing tenancy agreement for the office had not been available. The agreement has now been circulated. There were no comments from members about the agreement. The Chair said that there is no suitable alternative office accommodation within Stocksfield and it is very appropriate that the Council’s office should be located within an existing community building. Additionally, the Clerk is not prepared to work from home permanently. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mr Parker, seconded Mrs Dale) to renew the tenancy agreement for five years at an annual cost of £1,800 as proposed by Stocksfield Community Association.   Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

d) Kate’s Plain play area: damage to play equipment

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk which outlined damage to an item of equipment at the play area and the costs for repair. It was AGREED to purchase replacement panels and effect the repair of the equipment.                                                            Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

e) Annual risk assessment and management review

The Chair referred to the previously circulated draft risk assessment and said that it had not been considered at the GGAG as some members had questioned the Clerk’s qualifications in respect of risk assessment. The Clerk said he had received no specific risk assessment training in his role as Clerk but had been trained in his former occupation and has undertaken risk assessments regularly. He added that there is no requirement for a person to be qualified in order to undertake risk assessments and it is not a condition of the insurer. The assessment is timed specifically to coincide with the Council’s insurance renewal (annually on 1 October) and there have been changes to the Council’s duties to the insurer to declare all known risks. As a consequence, the risk assessment, once agreed, will be forwarded to the insurer with the revised asset register and the Council’s insurance renewal will be considered at the next meeting in September. Mrs Dale raised the issue of business continuity.

After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Dr Vickers, seconded Mrs Pollock) to approve the risk assessment and management review for 2021.                       Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

f) Freedom of Information Act 2000 publication scheme

Members AGREED to approve the existing publication scheme and to review it in July 2024.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

g) Clerks and Councils Direct

It was AGREED to renew subscription to the above at an annual cost of £12.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

h) Covid-19 Restart Grant

The Chair reminded members that the Council had applied for the above funds in respect of the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) and it was AGREED to pay £8,000 to the MUGA Committee.                                                                                          Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

i) Christmas trees

It was AGREED to order two Christmas trees for Broomley First School and the Dr Syntax. It was also AGREED that Mr Hills would liaise with business at Branch End to explore the potential interest in Christmas themed decorations at that location, with no commitment from the Council at this stage.                                                                Action: Clerk, Mr Hills

j) Grant Applications

Broomley Parent Teacher Association – Rainbow Orchard

The grant application was to enable the development of an orchard on land adjacent to the sports field overspill car park. It was AGREED to award £1,000 to the project and on this occasion to suspend the requirement for advance notice of grants for more than £500.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

Broomley Parent Teacher Association – Dukeshouse Wood visit

The grant application was to enable pupils to attend Dukeshouse Wood as day visitors in place of the usual residential experience. It was AGREED to award £500 for this purpose.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


21/7/97 Planning Advisory Group (PAG)

Planning report

Members noted the planning report and the delegated decisions made as outlined below:


Apperley View

26 Painshawfield Rd

Construction of first floor extension above garage and pitched roof to porch

No comment

Note use of delegated powers



26 Cade Hill Road

Appeal against refusal of variation of condition 2 of approved planning permission.

For information only



New Ridley

Proposal to raise the roof level slightly to provide a bedroom with ensuite and dormers

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Spaderake 35 Meadowfield Rd

TPO application to reduce overhang from road: remove 2 x Willow and 1 Lime to replace with Oak or Beech

No comment

Note use of delegated powers



5 Crabtree Rd

Conversion of existing three bedroom, two bathroom bungalow to create three bedroom, two bathroom dormer bungalow with rear extension to create kitchen-dining. Roof and joist replacement with ridge height increase by 800mm.

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Dale Head

24 Cade Hill Road

Erection of single-storey and partial two-storey extension with associated terrace following demolition of existing lean-to, including alterations to existing elevations

No comment

Note use of delegated powers



55 Meadowfield Rd

Proposed 2-storey rear extension to provide reconfigured ground and first floor rooms

No comment

Note use of delegated powers



5 Batt House Road

Demolition of existing garage linked to property. Construction of new garage in rear garden, new rear single storey extension and canopy to side entrance.

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Cranford Lodge,

25 Batt House Rd

First floor side and rear extension, pitched roof over existing flat roof to front bay window and rear music room, demolition of garage and reconstruction to side.

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Land NE of

277 New Ridley Road

Outline planning permission for a new dwelling (all matters reserved).

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Newham Villa, 36 Painshawfield Rd

Proposed rear part single storey part two storey extension, re-rendering to side and rear elevation and new raised roof with front dormers.

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

21/7/98 Stocksfield sports fields: private use

The Chair referred to a request from a group representing parents of Year 11 pupils from Prudhoe Community High School to use the eastern sports fields as a location for the school’s prom. The proposal involved the installation of a marquee and the use of the cricket club’s toilet facilities. The group had provided an event management plan and risk assessment. After discussion it was AGREED to permit the use subject to the following conditions:

  • Covid restrictions are lifted by the government so that the event can occur lawfully without the requirement for social distancing
  • The organisers provide public liability cover of £5M and evidence of it given to the Council prior to the event
  • Compliance with any conditions or endorsements imposed by the insurer
  • Compliance with any conditions imposed by NCC
  • The area is left clean and in its original condition

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


21/7/99 Co-option Policy

The Chair reminded members of the reasons why this matter is listed for discussion. This had been made possible because there had been a delay in notifying the date and procedure to the applicants for co-option. A number of members had also expressed reservations about the policy during the GGAG. The Chair said that there are currently six applicants for the three vacant seats and Mr Liddle clarified that the earliest applications had been received around 11 May 2021. The Chair explained the suggested amendments to the Co-option Policy which clarified the procedure where there are more applicants than vacant seats.

Mrs Joy raised concerns about the accessibility of information about co-option, how much residents know about the role of the Council, the targeting of information to specific skill sets or any particular demographic that the Council is missing in terms of diversity. Members discussed the broader aspects of co-option and recognised that the demographic profile of elected councillors across the country raised issues about representation. Mrs Joy suggested that a clear strategy is needed to ensure that minority groups are aware of the opportunities of joining the Council, although this would not involve positive discrimination. Mr Liddle suggested that looking at this aspect was perhaps something that can be done separately by the Communications Advisory Group and this was supported by Mr Hills and Mrs Dale. Mr Liddle said that there is a need to progress the existing six applications and turnover of councillors is likely to produce further vacancies. Dr Vickers said that the revised policy would address some of the concerns expressed as each applicant would require a proposer and seconder before moving to a vote.

Members AGREED to suspend paragraph 2.18 of Standing Orders relating to the length of the meeting.

After further discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mr Liddle, seconded Dr Vickers) to amend the Co-option Policy as previously circulated including those parts in parenthesis and to progress consideration of co-options at the next meeting. It was further AGREED that Mr Hills, Mrs Joy and Mrs Pollock would meet to prepare questions and that all members can contribute. The proposed questions will be circulated to all members.         

Action: Clerk, Mr Hills, Mrs Joy, Mrs Pollock DISCHARGED


21/7/100 Defibrillator project

This item was deferred due to the length of the meeting.


21/7/101Replacement of litter bin New Ridley Road

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk which identified damage to the old bin at the above location. It was AGREED to replace the bin with the Council’s standard ‘Futuro’ litter bin.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

Mrs Dale left the meeting.


21/7/102Parish Council Representatives

There were no representative meetings.


21/7/103 Future meetings of the Council

The Chair said that it remains difficult to predict the point at which normal meetings can resume and it was AGREED to schedule future meetings for the first Tuesday of each month for the remainder of 2021.                                                                          Action: Clerk


21/7/104 Any other urgent business

Letters of thanks

The Council has received letters/emails of thanks for grants from Stocksfield Tennis Club, Singing Mamas CIC and St Margaret’s Hindley Burial Board.


21/7/105 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 7 September 2021


21/7/106 Defibrillator equipment

The Chair said that a remote meeting has been arranged with Professor Michael Norton, Deputy Medical Director of the North East Ambulance Service, on Friday 6 August 2021 to discuss the issues previously raised and she hopes to be able to report further at the next meeting.


The Chair thanked councillors for their attendance and closed the meeting at 10.06pm.