Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council held on Tuesday 10 May 2022 at Stocksfield Community Centre


Present:         Ms M Hunt (Chair for item 22/5/61), Mr J Harrison (Chair from item 22/5/62), Mr T Hills, Mr C Liddle, Mr M Parker, Mrs K Pollock, Professor P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).                       

Apologies:     Miss A Brooks, Mrs A Dale, Mrs L Joy, Mr J Lapping.

Also present: Mr D Williams (resident)


Ms Hunt opened the meeting at 7.32pm and welcomed those present to the annual meeting of the Council. She reminded members that this was her last meeting as a councillor and that she resigns from the Council after the election of the Chair.


22/5/61 Election of Chair of the Parish Council

Ms Hunt invited nominations for the Chair. Mr Harrison (proposed by Prof Vickers and seconded by Mr Hills) was elected as the Chair of the Parish Council.

Ms Hunt said that she had prepared her annual report which had been circulated with the meeting papers. She had used it to thank everyone involved with the Council for their hard work during her ten years as Chair and wished everyone well. Prof Vickers then presented Ms Hunt with flowers and a gift voucher in recognition of her years of service and hard work on behalf of the residents of Stocksfield. Ms Hunt thanked those present and left the meeting.

Mr Harrison took the Chair and asked that the Council’s appreciation for the work and commitment of Ms Hunt be recorded in the minutes.


22/5/62 Election of Vice Chair of the Parish Council

Prof Vickers was elected as Vice Chair (proposed Mrs Pollock, seconded Mr Hills).


22/5/63 Apologies for absence

It was AGREED to authorise the absences of Miss Brooks, Mrs Dale, Mrs Joy and Mr Lapping.


22/5/64 Declarations of Interest

Mrs Pollock declared a non-prejudicial interest in planning matters.


22/5/65 Physical meetings: Covid-19 risk assessment

Members AGREED to approve the previously circulated Covid-19 risk assessment and to receive further assessments only when the risk level changes.                   Action: Clerk


22/5/66 Public Participation

There were no items of public participation.


22/5/67 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale had provided a written update which had been circulated. Members identified some issues which it was AGREED will be discussed with Mrs Dale at a future meeting.


22/5/68 Dates of future Council meetings

It was AGREED to adopt the proposed schedule of meetings and to continue to meet in the hall of the Community Centre.                                                                                    Action: Clerk DISCH


22/5/69 Review of arrangements for internal audit

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk which reviewed the arrangements for internal audit and members noted its content.                DISCH


22/5/70 Internal auditor 2022/22

It was AGREED to appoint Mrs Margaret Weatherley as internal auditor for 2022/23. DISCH


22/5/71 Review of Council’s policies

After discussion it was AGREED to make no changes to the Council’s Standing Orders, Members’ Code of Conduct or Financial Regulations.                         Action: Clerk DISCH


22/5/72 Council Committees

After discussion it was AGREED to make no changes to the policies in respect of the Council’s committees and to note the vacancy on the Planning Committee.                  Action: Clerk DISCH


22/5/73 Advisory Groups

Members discussed the terms of reference of the Council’s advisory groups and AGREED to

  • make no changes to the policy,
  • note the vacancy on the General Governance Advisory Group,
  • note that the Climate Change Emergency Advisory Group (CCEAG) had one member, the group’s convenor, Mrs Joy, and
  • review the terms of reference and membership of CCEAG at the next Council meeting at which its convenor is present. Action: Clerk

It was further AGREED that Mr Liddle would join the Sports Fields User Group.


22/5/74 Minutes of the meeting held on 5 April 2022

It was AGREED (proposed Prof Vickers, seconded Mrs Pollock) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 5 April 2022 were a true and accurate record.


22/5/75 Matters Arising

a) Control of Himalayan balsam

The Clerk reported that two landowners have replied in respect of the invasive plant, Himalayan balsam. One stated that measures have been put in place and the other has enlisted the assistance of members of the Council’s Rights of Way and Advisory Group to control the plant. Members AGREED to receive a further update in due course.                  Action Clerk B/F

b) Sports fields – playing and practising of golf

Enquiries with the sports clubs has failed to identify any known individual using the sports fields for golf and a temporary notice has been placed at the overspill car park. The situation will be monitored.

c) Team building event

The Clerk reported that Mrs Joy has contacted all members to identify suitable dates for the event and will make contact in due course.

d) Community Transport Scheme

The Clerk confirmed that £3,000 has been repaid to the Council by the Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm in respect of unused grant funding, previously awarded for the community transport scheme.                                                                       DISCH

e) Land owned by the Council at the sports fields

The Clerk had commenced negotiations with the Cricket Club in respect of the matters discussed at the last meeting and will report further in due course.              Action: Clerk B/F


22/5/76 Finance

a) Approval of April 2022 payments

It was AGREED to approve the payments for April 2022 as detailed in the previously circulated schedule and the summary of receipts and payments for the month was noted.

b) Year-end statement of receipts and payments

Members AGREED to approve the previously circulated statement of receipts and payments for 2021/22.

c) Report of the internal auditor

Members received the report of the internal auditor which was included within page three of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) 2021/22 and, after discussion, it was AGREED that no further action was necessary.

d) Annual governance statement 2021/22

Members examined page four of the AGAR which had been previously circulated. It was AGREED to approve the annual governance statement 2021/22.

e) Accounting statements 2021/22

The Chair drew members’ attention to page five of the AGAR and it was AGREED to approve the accounting statements 2021/22.

f) Explanation of significant variances 2021/22

It was AGREED to approve the explanation of significant variances 2021/22.

g) Recurring payments 2022/23

Members AGREED to approve the previously circulated schedule of recurring payments for 2022/23.

h) Annual subscriptions 2022/23

Prof Vickers declared a non-prejudicial interest as a member of Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership and abstained from both discussion and voting. Members AGREED to approve the annual subscriptions for 2022/23 as set out below

Organisation Month payable Fee 2022/23
(£) (if known)
Northumberland Association of Local Councils May 598.35
Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership May 10.00
Northumberland and Newcastle Society May 35.00
Communicorp July 12.00
Society of Local Council Clerks January  
Campaign to Protect Rural England February 36.00

i) Authorised bank signatories

It was AGREED that the authorised bank signatories will be Mr Harrison, Mr Parker, Prof Vickers and the Clerk.                                                                                                Action Clerk


22/5/77 General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

a) Notes of the GGAG meeting held on 25/04/22

Members received the notes of the GGAG.

b) Budget allocation 2022/23

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk which proposed budget amendments as a result of payments not invoiced in 2021/22 and changes to other predicted payments in 2022/23. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mrs Pollock, seconded Prof Vickers) to

  • amend the budget to include the use of £7,209 from the Council’s reserves as outlined with the following effect:
  Receipts (£) Payments (£)
Precept 99006  
Employment   20120
Administration   8925
Environment 680 40980
Communications   4880
Sport Facilities 2600 15622
Play Facilities   7495
Community Support   6410
Contingency   5063
  102286 109495


  • amend the Council’s reserves by increasing its uncommitted reserves by £5,000 and reducing its committed reserves (relating to previously approved grant funding) by notionally transferring £5,000 to the General Fund to enable its subsequent payment with no net change in the sums held in accounts. Action: Clerk

c) St Margaret’s Hindley Burial Board

The Chair referred to an application from the Burial Board in respect of its operation of the cemetery at St Margaret’s Hindley. After discussion it was AGREED to make a grant award of £1,700.                                                                                                          Action: Clerk

d) Accounting software

The Chair said that the Council’s accounting software was no longer compatible with the current Windows operating system and the Clerk had been exploring options, of which there are four. Three involve a one-off initial payment with ongoing annual fees whilst a fourth has only annual costs. Members discussed the needs of the Council and it was AGREED to

  • approve expenditure up to £1,000 in 2022/23 to acquire accounting software and
  • delegate the decision to select the software to the Clerk in consultation with the Chair.                                                             Action: Clerk

e) Accessibility during Council meetings

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk that outlined a potential solution to audio issues within the hall during Council meetings. Members commented on the significant cost and AGREED to note the report but take no further action.                     DISCH


22/5/78 Planning Advisory Group

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



7 Hall Farm Close

Partial demolition of existing conservatory to rear and construction of single storey rear extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


10 Tynedale Gardens

Proposed demolition of existing garage and construction of detached garage

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


1 Ridley Mill Cottages

Bay window with porch to East elevation and Juliet balcony to North elevation

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Newham Villa, 36 Painshawfield Rd

Removal of condition 2 on approved application 21/02389/FUL to omit loft addition element.

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


22/5/79 Annual report of the Chair 2021/22

The Chair referred to the annual report for the last year that had been prepared by the previous Chair. Members received the report which will be incorporated into the next edition of NE43 news and thanked Ms Hunt for her efforts.                                       Action: Clerk


22/5/80 Parish Council Representatives

East Tynedale Town and Parish Council Forum 26/04/22

The Chair had attended the above meeting with Ms Hunt where Mr S Rickitt of the Northumberland Association of Local Councils had spoken about the review of Northumberland County Council’s Town and Parish Council Charter. The Chair updated members on the main issues discussed.


22/5/81 Defibrillators

The Clerk said that he had met remotely with staff from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) who are responsible for the implementation and operation of The Circuit, which manages defibrillators across the country. Email notifications are being sent automatically by The Circuit but many are not arriving successfully at their intended destination and are being returned undelivered. Although not widespread, this Council is not the only affected ‘guardian’ of defibrillators. The BHF is to arrange a meeting of technical staff, including the Council’s webmaster and the Clerk, to attempt to identify the cause. The Clerk AGREED to report to a subsequent meeting of the Council.                                                 Action: Clerk


22/5/82 Equipment at Branch End play Area: Playdale multiplay

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk relating to essential maintenance needed to the above-mentioned equipment. Although the equipment is currently safe, the report highlighted wear that had been subject to increased monitoring during weekly inspections for the last year and which had caused the fitting on the end of one of the many ropes on the rope bridge to fail. Every piece of the multiplay can be replaced. After discussion it was AGREED to replace the rope bridge, the scramble net (using a new design which meets the new safety standards) and the single climbing rope.                                                             Action: Clerk


22/5/83 Asset transfer at Branch End Play Area and Toilets

The Chair said that the solicitors acting for the Council in respect of the asset transfer to the Council of the land at Branch End Play Area and the toilets at New Ridley Road some years ago had retained £871.84 for anticipated additional costs. The sum has now been repaid to the Council’s account and members noted the update.                                    DISCH


22/5/84 Any other business

There were no items of other business.


22/5/85 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 7 June 2022


The Chair thanked members for attending and closed the meeting at 9.21pm.