Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on Tuesday 5 April 2022 at Stocksfield Community Centre


Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair), Miss A Brooks, Mr T Hills, Mrs L Joy, Mr M Parker, Mrs K Pollock, Professor P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Mrs A Dale, Mr J Harrison, Mr J Lapping, Mr C Liddle.


The Chair opened the meeting at 7.31pm and welcomed those present. It was AGREED to authorise the absences of Mr Harrison, Mr Lapping and Mr Liddle.


22/4/38 Declarations of Interest

The Clerk declared an interest in the item relating to the appointment of the Clerk.


22/4/39 Physical meetings: Covid-19 risk assessment

Members AGREED the previously circulated Covid-19 risk assessment.


22/4/40 Public Participation

There were no items of public participation.


22/4/41 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had provided a written update which had been circulated previously. Some members noted the increased prevalence of rats in Stocksfield from their own experience.


22/4/42 Minutes of the meeting held on 1 March 2022

It was AGREED (proposed Prof Vickers, seconded Mr Parker) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 1 March 2022 were a true and accurate record.


22/4/43 Matters Arising

a) Fallen tree adjacent Stocksfield Burn

Members noted that the tree had been removed.                              DISCHARGED

b) Planning issues in respect of Burnside Yard

The Chair reported that no reply had been received from the Director of Planning. In view of the extant application, it was AGREED to pursue the matter once the planning application had been determined.                                          Action: Clerk

c) Notes of the Climate Change Emergency Advisory Group (CCEAG) meeting held on 12/01/22

The Clerk reminded members that an action from the Council meeting on 1 February relating to the above remained outstanding. It was AGREED to defer the matter to the listed CCEAG agenda item.                                               DISCHARGED

d) Control of Himalayan balsam

The Clerk reported having received replies from two landowners and AGREED to report further in due course.           Action: Clerk


22/4/44 Finance

a) Approval of March 2022 payments

It was AGREED (proposed Miss Brooks, seconded Mrs Pollock) to approve the payments for March 2022 as detailed in the previously circulated schedule and the summary of receipts and payments for the month was noted.

b) Budget monitoring to 31/03/22

The budget monitoring report was noted.


22/4/45 General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

a) Notes of the GGAG meeting held on 14/03/22

Members received the notes of the GGAG.

b) Sports Field User Group (SFUG)

The Chair summarised the notes of the SFUG and after discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mrs Pollock, seconded Prof Vickers) to prohibit the playing or practising of golf within the sports fields on grounds of safety to other users and seek to identify and contact the person who has been seen regularly doing so. It was also AGREED to approve the request from Stocksfield Cricket Club to hold a beer festival on the fields on 2 September 2022.  Action; Clerk

c) Potential creation of additional advisory groups

The Chair summarised the discussion at the GGAG and after discussion it was AGREED not to amend the number or structure of the advisory groups.


22/4/46 Planning Advisory Group

a) Planning Report

There were no new planning applications and members noted the current position of the previously considered applications.

b) Northumberland County Council Local Plan

Mr Parker reported that the Local Plan had been adopted by Northumberland County Council (NCC).


22/4/47 Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group (RoWEAG)

Members received the notes of the meeting of the RoWEAG held on 14/03/22 and Prof Vickers highlighted the work of NCC in clearance of a byway, the newly formed Friends of Stocksfield Community Woodland and potential improvements at Stocksfield Station. The Chair raised the issue of lawful discharge of sewage into watercourses in a recent report and Prof Vickers offered to look at the document.


22/4/48 Climate Change Emergency Advisory Group (CCEAG)

Mrs Joy updated members about the formation of the new Stocksfield Climate Change Group (SCCG) which held its inaugural meeting in March 2022, although she had not attended. SCCG is to be separate from but complementary to the Council and intends to implement much of the action plan presented to the Council by the CCEAG. Following the resignation from the Council of Mr Chance, Mrs Joy was appointed as the Convenor of the CCEAG and members were encouraged to consider joining the group. Mrs Joy outlined the continuing valuable role of the CCEAG but recognised that the group’s remit is likely to be reduced. It was AGREED to

  • write to all councillors inviting them to join the CCEAG,
  • write to all previous non-councillor members of the CCEAG to explain the current position, restate the Council’s support for the climate change initiative and the availability of funding, invite those persons to remain as members of the group and thank them for their interest thus far, and
  • review the terms of reference of the CCEAG at a future meeting of the group.                                                 Action: Mrs Joy, Clerk


22/4/49 Parish Council Representatives

There were no representative meetings but the Chair is to attend the next East Tynedale Town and Parish Council Forum on 26 April 2022. It will be the last time the Chair will attend the Forum and she invited any interested councillor to attend also.


22/4/50 Complaints against the Parish Council: Policy and procedure

The Clerk outlined the content of the previously circulated draft policy and after discussion it was AGREED (proposed Miss Brooks, seconded Mr Hills) to adopt the revised policy as amended.                                                                           Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


22/4/51 Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

After discussion it was AGREED to invite the community through the next edition of NE43 News to suggest suitable ways in which the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee can be commemorated by the Council.                                                                   Action: Clerk


22/4/52 Civil Emergencies Contingency Planning

The Clerk updated members following a meeting of a group of councillors and the Clerk which had discussed contingency planning by the Parish Council. The role of NCC had been circulated prior to the meeting and Stocksfield Community Association is to look at the resilience of its power supplies in the event that the Community Centre is used as a refuge during a civil emergency.                         DISCHARGED


22/4/53 Motions on notice

After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mrs Joy, seconded Prof Vickers) to hold a team building event for councillors and the Clerk on an evening in June (to be agreed depending on availability), facilitated by Cllr Joy, and to authorise expenditure of up to £110 for the hire of facilities and the provision of materials and refreshments.      

Action: Mrs Joy, Miss Brooks, Clerk


22/4/54 Stocksfield sports fields recycling facilities

The Clerk referred to a request from the Dragonfly Cancer Trust to place a clothing recycling container at the sports fields. The current recycling facilities were discussed and it was AGREED to liaise with NCC to examine opportunities to rationalise recycling provision and to reconsider the matter at a later date.                                              Action: Clerk


22/4/55 Public access defibrillators; The Circuit

The Clerk said that no update had been provided by the British Heart Foundation since the last meeting and a further defibrillator had been deployed by North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) without proper notification to the Council from The Circuit. It was AGREED to write to Prof M Norton of NEAS to seek an urgent discussion,                     Action: Clerk


22/4/56 Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans

It was AGREED to make no comment due to the nature of the survey but that members should be encouraged to respond as individual residents.                      DISCHARGED


22/4/57 Any other business

Community Transport Scheme

The Board of Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm (SCATA) has decided to abandon the proposed Community Transport Scheme. SCATA is therefore making arrangements for the repayment to the Council of the £3,000 grant which was made for that purpose.

Letters of thanks

The Council had received letters of thanks from Northumberland Age UK and Citizens Advice Northumberland for donations made.


22/4/58 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 10 May 2022 (annual meeting).

It was AGREED to exclude the press and public under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960 to consider the remaining items due to the confidential nature of the business.


22/4/59 Appointment of Clerk to the Parish Council

The Clerk withdrew from the meeting. The Chair referred to the notes of the Staffing Committee which were received by members. A previous statement of the Clerk was considered and, after discussion, it was AGREED (proposed Mrs Pollock, seconded Mr Parker) to accept the Clerk’s offer to withdraw his resignation from the position of Clerk and that the Chair should write to any applicants to explain the situation and thank them for their interest in the role. Action: Chair

The Clerk rejoined the meeting.


22/4/60 Land owned by the Council at the Sports Fields

Mrs Pollock declared a non-prejudicial interest in the matter. Members considered a report of the Clerk and, after discussion, it was AGREED (proposed Chair) to explore additional options with the Council’s solicitor and Stocksfield Cricket Club that would secure the facilities of the clubhouse for sporting purposes of the residents of Stocksfield in the unlikely event of the dissolution of Stocksfield Cricket Club.                                                Action: Clerk

The Chair then thanked councillors for their attendance and closed the meeting at 9.29pm.