Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on Tuesday 7 February 2023 at Stocksfield Community Centre


Present:         Mr J Harrison (Chair), Mrs A Dale, Mr T Hills, Mr M Parker, Mrs K Pollock.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Miss A Brooks, Mr C Liddle, Professor P Vickers.


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


23/2/15 Apologies for absence

It was AGREED to authorise the absences of Mr Liddle and Prof Vickers.


23/2/16 Declarations of Interest



23/2/17 Public Participation

There were no items for discussion.


23/2/18 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale referred to her previously circulated email. The Chair sought to clarify the position of the number 10 bus. Mrs Dale said there may be some future changes but there are some current problems and the service is suffering from a driver shortage. Mr Hills asked about the delays to the installation of fibre broadband by Factco, with an apparent new target for connections in summer 2023. Mrs Dale said that BT fibres have broken down and are being replaced. She accepted and shared the frustrations of residents but the rollout is progressing in phases.

Mrs Pollock joined the meeting.

Mr Hills referred to the request from a resident to plant wild flower seeds at locations on Council land. Councillors supported the principle but Mrs Dale was asked to inform the resident to contact the Clerk to ensure that any planting is in appropriate places unaffected by grass cutting contracts.                                                                                                     Action: Mrs Dale


23/2/19 Minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2023

It was AGREED (proposed Mr Hills, seconded Mr Parker) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 10 January 2023 were a true and accurate record.


23/2/20 Matters Arising

a) Hedgerows and pavement obstruction

Mrs Dale reported that she continued to liaise with residents and landowners to address identified problems. Mr Hills raised concern about hedges that continue to cause constructions across roads. Mrs Dale asked that specific instances be referred to her by email so that she can deal with the issues raised.

b) Defibrillators: update and power supply issues

The Clerk reported that the lowest tariff for the supply of electricity to the three affected cabinets had been secured with British Gas Lite using delegated authority. He said that enquiries were continuing with interested parties to strengthen the Council’s case for unmetered connections, although the current arrangements committed the Council for a period of twelve months. Councillors noted the update and the use of delegated authority.

c) Stocksfield sports field – acquisition of land by Stocksfield Cricket Club

The Clerk referred to a letter from Stocksfield Cricket Club (SCC) that had been received earlier in the day. In the letter, SCC referred to the Council’s recent application to register the western field at the Land Registry (pursuant to a decision of the Council in March 2022) and asked the Council to confirm whether it will be informing the Land Registry of the correspondence with SCC confirming the Council’s intention to transfer a parcel of land to SCC. Although there is evidence of a decision in principle taken by the Council in 2004, there is a need to complete a thorough search of the Council’s records from the date before the matter can be determined.                                                                                                                 Action: Clerk


23/2/21 Finance

a) Approval of payments in January 2023

It was AGREED (proposed Mr Hills, seconded Mr Parker) to approve the payments for January 2023, as detailed in the previously circulated schedule.

b) Budget monitoring

Councillors noted the previously circulated budget monitoring report.


23/2/22 General Governance Advisory Group

a) Notes of the meeting held on 23/01/23

Councillors received the notes of the meeting

b) Civility and Respect

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk that outlined the work of the Civility and Respect Project of the National Association of Local Councils, in particular the opportunity to adopt the ‘Civility and Respect Pledge’ which covers areas from training, Councillors’ Code of Conduct, governance arrangements, challenging of bullying and harassing behaviour, to the support for changes in legislation, including the introduction of sanctions for elected members where appropriate. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mr Hills, seconded Mr Parker) to

  • sign the ‘Civility and Respect Pledge’ and
  • remind councillors to
    • comply with the Code of Conduct and
    • amend their Declarations of Interest as they change over time.

Action: All councillors, Clerk

c) Community Preparedness

The Chair reminded councillors of previous discussions relating to preparations for civil emergencies. The questions posed by Northumberland County Council’s (NCC) Volunteer Network Co-ordinator had been examined by the GGAG. After discussion it was AGREED (proposed Mrs Dale, seconded Mr Hills) that the plans put in place by NCC and Stocksfield Community Association are adequate and no further action is necessary. DISCHARGED

d) Ad hoc use of sports pitches

It was AGREED (proposed Mr Parker, seconded Mrs Pollock) that no amendment should be made and the policy should be reviewed in February 2026.                         Action: Clerk

e) Grounds Services Contract 2023/24

The Chair referred to a report of the Clerk and draft amendments to the grounds services contract for 2023/23, including revised costs. It was AGREED (proposed Mr Hills, seconded Mrs Dale) to approve the amended contract and costs.                                         Action: Clerk


23/2/23 Planning Advisory Group

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


20 Hall Farm Close

Singly storey ground floor extension to rear and second storey extension to existing garage

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


St Marys 21 Cade Hill Rd

Extension to existing house (retrospective)

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

Solbakken 289 New Ridley Road

Erection of front porch and two dormer windows to front elevation. Change of windows and new flue

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


23/2/24 Staffing Committee

a) Minutes of the meeting of the Staffing Committee held on 25/01/23

The Chair summarised the resolutions of the Staffing Committee including the timetable for the recruitment of a Clerk (applications close on 22/02/23), the arrangements for advertising the vacancy, the approved job description, the revised person specification and the salary range on appointment (dependent on experience and qualifications). Councillors received the minutes of the meeting and noted the use of delegated authorities.

b) Resignation of the Clerk

The Chair informed councillors that the Clerk had formally tendered his resignation with effect from midnight on 31 May 2023 and that, with leave and time-off, his last working week was likely to be the first week of May. Councillors noted the update.


23/2/25 Parish Council Representatives

a) NCC’s Town, Parish and Community Council Conference – 24/01/23

The Chair summarised his attendance at the above event which had been beneficial in providing networking opportunities.

b) East Tynedale Town and Parish Councils’ Forum – 31/01/23

The Chair had attended this event and he said that the Forum currently is looking for a permanent representative on the County Committee of the Northumberland Association of Local Councils.

c) Essity Community Consultation Forum

The next meeting of this Forum is on 12/05/23 and there is currently no representative from this Council. Members were invited to consider volunteering.

23/2/26 Electric vehicle charging points (EVCP)

The Clerk referred to a previously circulated report outlining the opportunities for the provision of EVCPs in Stocksfield. The Council is able to apply for one of the 75 EVCPs to be installed by NCC this year but they must be located adjacent to dwellings without off-street parking (which precludes installation at the Council’s sports fields car park). The Council had also been approached by Char.gy Ltd, a private company which has Government grant funding to provide EVCPs in Northumberland (and other counties). The scheme through Char.gy provides a return to the Council of 10% of the revenue generated, whilst all the revenue from NCC’s installations would be retained by NCC. After discussion it was AGREED to proceed without commitment with the application process outlined by Char.gy which included the completion and submission of the draft ‘heads of terms’ document.                                                        Action: Clerk

It was further AGREED that Mrs Dale would examine the potential for other on-street locations that may be suitable for EVCPs under the NCC scheme.                         Action: Mrs Dale


23/2/27 Bicycle Mayor

The Chair referred to correspondence from the Chair of the Planning and Infrastructure Committee at Hexham Town Council which invited the Council to consider supporting the appointment of a ‘Bicycle Mayor’ within the Tyne valley. Bicycle Mayors are independent, unpaid, skilled enthusiasts who can work with politicians, council officers, the media and the local population. to make cycling more accessible and inclusive as well as to champion active travel more generally. After discussion it was AGREED to support the initiative and to consider appointing a councillor to lead on behalf of the Council.                               Action: Chair, Clerk


23/2/28 Stocksfield Festival 2023

The Clerk referred to a request from the Stocksfield Festival Committee for permission to use the sports fields on 26/08/23 for the biennial festival. After discussion it was AGREED to grant permission for the use conditional upon the Festival Committee:

  • providing its own public liability insurance,
  • supplying to the Council a suitable event management plan, risk assessment and emergency procedure in advance of the event and
  • liaising with Northumberland County Council’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG).

Action: Clerk


23/2/29 Northumberland County Council’s Town, Parish and Community Charter

The Chair referred to the publication of the above-mentioned document and asked that the matter be considered at the next meeting of the Council.                             Action: Clerk


23/2/30 Any other urgent business

The Clerk reported having received an email of thanks from the Friends of Stocksfield Community Woodland for a previous grant award by the Council.


23/2/31 Date and time of next meeting

7.30pm on Tuesday 7 March 2023.

The Chair thanked those present for attending and closed the meeting at 9.28pm.