Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on Tuesday 5 October 2021 at Stocksfield Community Centre


Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), Miss A Brooks, Mrs A Dale, Mr J Harrison, Mr T Hills, Mr J Lapping, Mr M Parker, Professor P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Also present: One resident.

Apologies:     Mr C Chance, Mrs L Joy, Mr C Liddle, Mrs K Pollock.

The Chair opened the meeting at 7.30pm and welcomed those present to the meeting of the Council. It was AGREED to authorise the absences of Mrs Joy, Mrs Pollock and Mr Liddle.


21/10/128 Declarations of Interest

Mrs Dale declared an interest in all planning matters and the Clerk in the item relating to the salary review.


21/10/129 Physical meetings: Covid-19 risk assessment

Members AGREED the previously circulated risk assessment.

Mr Hills joined the meeting.

21/10/130 Public Participation

Rights of Way over Land west of Guessburn

Mr Parker had noticed that the footpath west of Guessburn has become overgrown. As a result, the Clerk and, separately, a local resident had contacted Allendale Estates and a site meeting is to be arranged in the near future. A further resident has since contacted the Clerk in relation to the maintenance of footpaths on land west of the B6309, also owned by Allendale Estates. It was AGREED to report further to the Council in due course.  Action: Mr Parker, Clerk


21/10/131 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had provided a written update. In particular she referred to FACTCO, resurfacing of New Ridley Road, her priorities for Northumberland Council Council’s (NCC) Local Transport Plan, the Tour of Britain, Covid-19 and tree planting.


21/10/132 Minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2021

It was AGREED (proposed Miss Brooks, seconded Prof Vickers) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2021 were a true and accurate record.


21/10/133 Matters Arising

a) Remembrance Service

The Chair said that arrangements are in hand for the Service and that Stocksfield Guides will invite residents to the Community Centre for socially distanced refreshments after the Service. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Miss Brooks, seconded Mr Hills) to donate £200 to the Royal British Legion under Sec 137 Local Government Act 1972.                              Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

b) Planning processes in respect of Burnside Yard

The Clerk said that further information had been received from the Planning Authority which clarified some of the procedural issues but the Chair said that she would press for an opportunity to meet the Director of Planning, as agreed at the last meeting. Action: Chair


21/10/134 Finance

a) Approval of September payments

It was AGREED (proposed Mr Harrison, seconded Mr Parker) to approve the payments for September as detailed in the previously circulated schedule and the summary of receipts and payments for the month was noted.

b) Budget monitoring to 30/09/21

The budget monitoring report was noted. After discussion it was AGREED to authorise the Clerk, in consultation with the Chair, to vire funds between the Environment, Sports Facilities and Play Facilities budget heads where necessary in order to ensure a timely response to other delegated matters. All such virements will be reported to the next Council meeting.

Action: Clerk

21/10/135 General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

a) Notes of the meeting held on 20/09/21

Members noted the content of the notes.

b) Climate Change Emergency (CCE) consultation: specific costings

The Chair reported on the specific costings requested by the Climate Change Emergency Advisory Group and on the discussion at the GGAG. Members questioned the timing of the proposed special edition of NE43 News; the need for a separate flyer within the December edition; the way that the consultation findings should inform the action plan; whether physical consultative meetings are the most effective in terms of engagement, output and cost; how the Council’s CCE draft action plan should link with that of NCC; and the opportunities available for some relatively quick wins. After discussion it was AGREED to note the budget request and to delay further consideration until after NCC has produced and circulated its action plan and toolkit.

c) Local Transport Plan (LTP) Programme 2022/23

After discussion it was AGREED that the Council’s priorities for the above plan are as follows:

  • Provision of a new pedestrian crossing at Birches Nook
  • Extension of the current footpath on the north of New Ridley Road from the western end to the junction with Lead Road
  • Creation of a continuous cycleway and walkway on the A695 between Stocksfield and Riding Mill

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

d) Christmas decorations 2022

The Chair referred to previous discussions of the Council about an additional Christmas tree at Branch End and the Clerk provided further information relating to costs. It was AGREED to include provision in the budget for 2022/23 for an additional tree and to enquire about a contribution from a local business towards the cost of new lights.            Action: Mr Hills, Clerk

e) Membership of GGAG

It was AGREED that Mr Harrison would join the membership of the GGAG.


21/10/136 Planning Advisory Group

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



33 Cade Hill Road

Double storey side and rear extension, upgrade to existing building fabric including re-cladded dormers, re-rendering and new windows

No comment.

Note use of delegated authority.


4 Birkdene

Demolish existing dormer and construct an extension to first floor to enlarge existing bedroom

No comment.

Note use of delegated authority


21/10/137 Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group (RoWEAG)

a) Notes of the meeting of RoWEAG held on 27/09/21

Members noted the content of the notes and Prof Vickers updated that the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership is aiming to produce a report for its Annual General Meeting relating to its recent consultation and the potential accessible route between the platforms at Stocksfield station.

b) Invasive plants

Prof Vickers reminded members that the Council had written to three landowners in October 2020 asking for them to deal with Himalayan balsam on their land. Balsam remains at all three locations. The RoWEAG volunteers have removed much higher quantities of balsam from Stocksfield Burn this year and the failure to deal with balsam elsewhere appears to be having an adverse effect. After discussion it was AGREED to reconsider the matter at the meeting of the Council in March 2022.                                                          Action: Clerk Bring Forward


21/10/138 Climate Change Emergency Advisory Group (CCEAG)

a) Notes of the meeting of CCEAG held on 28/09/21

Members noted the content of the notes.

b) Proposed response to NCC regarding CCE declarations

It was AGREED to respond to NCC as proposed within the papers with a minor amendment.

                                                                                                            Action: Clerk

21/10/139 Branch End Play Area: supply of parts

The Clerk referred to a previously circulated report relating to the withdrawal of credit facilities by Kompan Ltd, the manufacturer and supplier of all of the play equipment in the lower area at Branch End Play Area. Members noted the requirement to pay in advance for parts. After further discussion it was AGREED to amend paragraphs 4.5 and 4.6 of Standing Orders to include the phrase ‘including safety related matters connected to the Council’s assets’.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


21/10/140 Review of Clerk’s salary

The Clerk withdrew from the meeting. The Chair introduced a previously circulated report describing the review of the spinal column point of the Clerk’s salary which had been undertaken by her and Prof Vickers. The report highlighted additional delegated authority of the Clerk. After discussion it was AGREED

  • to amend the Clerk’s salary to spinal column point 30,
  • to backdate the amendment to 1 April 2021 and
  • to authorise NCC’s payroll team to make the necessary arrangements to implement this decision.                         Action: Chair


It was AGREED (proposed Prof Vickers, seconded Mr Parker) to suspend paragraph 2.18 of Standing Orders relating to the length of meetings.


21/10/141 Seat at Ladywell

The Chair reminded members of a previous decision of the Council to install a seat at the verge at Ladywell on New Ridley Road. The degree of the slope on the verge required groundworks that had to be undertaken by an accredited contractor and the original decision was reversed once the likely installation costs became clear. NCC has been asked by Mrs Dale as County Councillor to provide a quote for the installation. Mrs Dale has now asked the Council to pay for the purchase of a new seat (at a cost of £650) and, depending on the quote from NCC, Mrs Dale will find the funds to pay for its installation. The Chair added that the precise details of the intended installation are not yet known and that maintenance of public seating is the responsibility of parish councils. It was AGREED (proposed Mr Hills, seconded Mr Lapping) to pay for the purchase of a new seat at Ladywell on condition that any proposed installation by NCC satisfies the requirements of all interested parties.                   Action: Clerk, Mrs Dale


21/10/142 Parish Council Representatives

There were no representative meetings.


21/10/143 Any other urgent business

There was no other business.


21/10/144 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 2 November 2021. The Chair drew members’ attention to the dates of the next meetings, including the GGAG to which all members are invited to attend even if they are not a formal member of the group.

The Chair then thanked councillors for their attendance and closed the meeting at 9.44pm.