Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on Tuesday 6 September 2022 at Stocksfield Community Centre


Present:         Mr J Harrison (Chair), Miss A Brooks, Mr T Hills, Mrs L Joy, Mr M Parker, Professor P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


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

The Chair opened the meeting at 7.30pm and welcomed those present.


22/9/117 Apologies for absence

It was AGREED to authorise the absences of Mrs Dale, Mr Liddle and Mrs Pollock.


22/9/118 Declarations of Interest



22/9/119 Public Participation



22/9/120 County Councillor update

Members noted the County Councillor’s report which had been circulated prior to the meeting and included the rollout of fibre broadband by FACTCO, overgrown hedges, the Local Transport Programme (LTP) Plan 2023/24 and highways maintenance. Mr Hills referred specifically to the apparent conflict between the update, recent public statements from FACTCO and events within the village. The Chair AGREED to discuss the matter further with the County Councillor.      Action: Chair


22/9/121 Minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2022

It was AGREED (proposed Mr Hills, seconded Mr Parker) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2022 were a true and accurate record.


22/9/122 Matters Arising

a) Hedges and pavement obstruction

The Clerk referred to a previously circulated email from the County Councillor which responded to the issues raised at the last meeting. Mr Hills questioned whether there was any specific action being taken to address the issues, one of which had potential to cause harm to pedestrians. It was AGREED that the overgrown hedges on the west of New Ridley Road will be reported direct to Northumberland County Council.                           Action: Clerk

b) Local Transport Programme Plan 2023/24

The Clerk said that following the request at the last meeting, he had been supplied with details of three recent traffic surveys, two on New Ridley Road and one on Apperley Road. It was AGREED to discuss the surveys in more detail at a future meeting of the General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG).               Action: Chair, Clerk


22/9/123 Finance

a) Approval of payments in July and August 2022

It was AGREED (proposed Prof Vickers, seconded Mr Parker) to approve the payments for July and August 2022 as detailed in the previously circulated schedule.

b) Budget monitoring

Councillors noted the previously circulated budget monitoring report.


22/9/124 General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

a) Notes of the GGAG meeting held on 16/08/22

Councillors received the notes of the GGAG.

b) Grant Award Policy

After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Ms Brooks, seconded Mr Parker) to approve the Grant Award Policy without amendment and to undertake a further review in September 2024. Action: Clerk

c) Annual inspection of play areas

The Chair referred to the previously circulated reports of the inspections of both play areas by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the summary report of the Clerk. After discussion it was AGREED to note the Clerk’s report and the actions (both planned and undertaken) listed therein.           Action: Clerk


22/9/124 Planning Advisory Group

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


The Rowans, 21 Painshawfield Rd

Variation of condition 2 on approved application 19/01679/FUL for changes to rear and west elevation window and door

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


4 Baliol Road

Proposed two storey side extension, single storey rear extension, pitch roof over porch and driveway widening

No comment

Note use of delegated powers



Single storey rear extension with roof terrace over new dormer and velux windows to side elevation. New roof canopy over garage door and new front door

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


22/9/125 Parish Council Representatives

The Chair had attended a meeting of the East Tynedale Town and Parish Council’s Forum on 26 July 2022 which he said was poorly attended by constituent councils. Philip Hunter, the Interim Senior Service Director from NCC was present and the group’s members discussed the missed communications opportunities with town and parish councils. Mr Hunter has undertaken to feedback to the group. The draft minutes of the meeting had been circulated.


22/9/126 Conclusion of the external audit 2021/22

The Chair referred to the previously circulated report of the external auditor which brought no matters to the attention of the Council. After discussion it was AGREED to receive the report, to take no further action based upon it and to display the statutory public notices relating to the conclusion of the audit for fourteen days.                                   Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


22/9/127 Insurance renewal

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk with accompanying documents from three prospective insurers. After discussion, it was AGREED (proposed Prof Vickers, seconded Ms Brooks) to proceed with the quote from Zurich Municipal and it was further AGREED (proposed Prof Vickers, seconded Mr Parker) to enter into a three-year long-term agreement.                                                                               Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


22/9/128 Remembrance Service

Councillors discussed the arrangements for the Remembrance Service on Sunday 13 November 2022 and it was AGREED (proposed Ms Brooks, seconded Mr Hills) to purchase remote microphones and a stand to use with the existing amplifier. It was further AGREED (proposed Prof Vickers, seconded Mrs Joy) to apply for a full road close for the duration of the Service.                 Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


22/9/129 Microsoft 365 Business Standard

The Clerk referred to a previously circulated report and explained the failure of the application to purchase Microsoft 365 at a reduced annual fee. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mr Parker, seconded Mr Hills) to purchase Microsoft 365 Business Standard at the standard annual fee.                     Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


22/9/130 Defibrillators; The Circuit

The Clerk referred to previous discussions concerning difficulty receiving notifications from ‘The Circuit’ - a system that manages defibrillator deployment across the country. No other guardian has been affected in the same way so that the resource commitment to identify the fault would be out of proportion to the benefit. Alternative processes have been introduced locally which have resolved the problem although the situation will continue to be monitored closely. Councillors noted the update.                          DISCHARGED


22/9/131 Financial Accounting System

The Clerk reported that following a successful trial of the ‘Easy PC accounting system’, delegated powers have been used in consultation with the Chair to adopt the system for the immediate future. The system will continue to be monitored. Councillors noted the update.                                       DISCHARGED


22/9/132 Any other urgent business

Stocksfield Sports Fields – tree roots

The Clerk said that reports have been received from members of the sports clubs that tree roots were growing into the playing surface of two football pitches. Actions had been undertaken using delegated powers to address the immediate safety issues and a longer-term solution will be presented to the Council at a future meeting, following advice from the Council’s arborist. Councillors noted the update and AGREED to receive a further report in due course.  Action: Clerk


22/9/133 Date of next meeting

Tuesday 4 October 2022

The Chair thanked members for attending and closed the meeting at 9.00pm.