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


Present:         Mr J Harrison (Chair), Mrs A Dale, 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.


Also present: Mr C Catnach, Mr F Balloch and Mr D Williams (residents)


The Chair opened the meeting at 7.33pm and welcomed those present.


23/3/32 Declarations of Interest

Mrs Pollock declared in interest in items connected with Stocksfield Cricket Club (SCC).


23/3/33 Public Participation

Lighting on sports fields outside Broomley First School

Mr Liddle had been approached by parents of Broomley First School who questioned whether additional lighting can be provided at the pedestrian entrance to Broomley First School. The entrance across the sports fields is now the designated pick-up point for parents and there is insufficient lighting during dark winter evenings. Mr Liddle and Mrs Dale AGREED to meet with parents to look at options.                                                        Action: Mrs Dale, Mr Liddle


23/3/34 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale’s report had been previously circulated.


23/3/35 Minutes of the meeting held on 7 February 2023

Mrs Dale proposed that the minutes of item 23/2/20(c) should be amended but the motion failed. It was AGREED (proposed Mr Parker, seconded Mrs Pollock) that the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 7 February 2023 (amended to show the correct date) were a true and accurate record.


23/3/36 Stocksfield sports fields: acquisition of land by Stocksfield Cricket Club (SCC)

Mr Catnach, speaking as Chair of SCC, outlined to councillors the history of his discussions with the Council and the club’s position in respect of the planned clubhouse development. He invited councillors to reconsider its earlier resolutions and to approve the club’s request to purchase the land needed for the development.

The Clerk referred to a previously circulated report which described the resolutions of the Council since 2004, including two ‘in principle’ decisions to transfer ownership of land to SCC (in December 2004 and in February 2022) and the decision in April 2022 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. The report also outlined the interactions between the Council and SCC in respect of land during that time and recommended that councillors review the resolution from February 2022 referred to above.

Councillors discussed the increased risk to the Council of a freehold transfer compared to the creation of a lease and compared that to the existing risk associated with any development on the land already owned by SCC. After discussion it was AGREED:

  • (proposed Chair) to rescind the resolution of the Council in item 22/4/60 of the April 2022 minutes relating to the security of facilities in the event of the dissolution of SCC (Mr Hills voted against the resolution),
  • (proposed Mr Liddle, seconded Mrs Pollock) ‘in principle’ to transfer the freehold interest in the land referred to by SCC in its letter to the Council dated 18 January 2022 for a nominal fee, and
  • (proposed Prof Vickers, seconded Mr Parker) that a condition of any transfer of land will be that SCC pays the Council’s legal fees.

Action: Clerk


23/3/37 Matters Arising

a) Electric vehicle charging points

Recent correspondence from Char.gy Ltd revealed that the company is now unable to progress off-street installations for a further six months. Mrs Dale had provided additional information to councillors before the meeting and it was AGREED to register an application for electric vehicle charging points through Northumberland County Council (NCC).                   Action: Clerk

b) Bicycle Mayor

Additional information had been provided by Cllr John Ord of Hexham Town Council. Mr Liddle was appointed as the Council’s representative for this initiative.                   Action: Mr Liddle


23/3/38 Finance

a) Approval of payments in February 2023

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

b) Budget monitoring

Councillors noted the previously circulated budget monitoring report.


23/3/39 General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

a) Notes of the meeting held on 20/02/23

Councillors received the notes of the meeting

b) Tree inspection reports 2022/23

The Chair referred to previously circulated reports of the Clerk and Tyne Valley Woodlands Consultancy (TVWC). After discussion, it was AGREED:

  • to note the planned reinspection in June/July
  • to the proposed works by TVWC as detailed within the report of the Clerk, as an extension to the existing contract to undertake inspections and minor works
  • to a subsequent annual inspection by TVWC in November/December 2023 and
  • to other work being undertaken by the grounds services contractor as part of routine maintenance using delegated powers in the first instance.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

c) Zoom contract renewal

The Zoom contract expires in May 2023 and it was AGREED that the contract should not be renewed.                                                                           Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

d) Application for grant: Stocksfield Festival Committee

The Stocksfield Festival Committee had provided additional information since the meeting of the GGAG which was considered by councillors. After discussion it was AGREED to:

  • waive the requirement for the advance application for grants in excess of £500 due to the specific circumstances,
  • award a grant of up to £1,000 to the Festival Committee for the 2023 Festival and
  • delegate authority to the Clerk to purchase equipment or services up to the value (excluding VAT) by arrangement with the Festival Committee and donate the purchase to the Committee.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED

e) Complaints procedure review

It was AGREED to republish the Complaints Procedure unamended and to review it further in April 2023.                                                                                   Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


23/3/40 Planning Advisory Group

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




1 Well Road

Renovation, alteration and ground and first floor extension

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Ridley Mill House

Ridley Mill

Variation of condition on approved application to remove timber projecting frame to large window in dining room.

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


East Ridley Stables

249 New Ridley Rd

Proposed garden room

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


23/3/41 Parish Council Representatives

There were no representative meetings.


23/3/42 East Tynedale Town and Parish Councils’ Forum

It was AGREED to renew the Council’s subscription to the above forum at a cost of £80.                                                                                                  Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


23/3/43 Stocksfield sports fields: requests for permission to use land

a) Events to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III

Mrs Dale left the meeting and councillors discussed the request to stage various events over the Coronation weekend on the sports fields. Mrs Dale rejoined the meeting to answer questions. After discussion it was AGREED to permit the use of the eastern sports fields for the purposes outlined conditional upon the submission of a suitable event management plan, risk assessment and emergency procedures, together with public liability insurance of £5M.                                                                                                       Action: Clerk

b) Stocksfield Beer Festival

Councillors discussed the request by SCC to use the eastern sports fields to stage the annual Beer Festival in conjunction with the Stocksfield Festival. After discussion it was AGREED to permit the use of the eastern field for the purposes outlined conditional upon the submission of a suitable event management plan, risk assessment and emergency procedures, together with public liability insurance of £5M.                                       Action: Clerk


23/3/44 Future meetings of the Parish Council

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk and, after discussion, it was AGREED (proposed Prof Vickers, seconded Mr Hills) to

  • dispense with the need for a public meeting risk assessment,
  • revert to monthly meetings being held at 7pm on the first Monday of each month (except bank holidays) and
  • delegate authority to the Clerk in conjunction with the Chair to amend the date and venue within the Community Centre in the event that there is a realistic expectation of the attendance of more residents than can be accommodated within the Richardson Room.

Action: Clerk DISCHARGED


23/3/45 Northumberland County Council’s Town, Parish and Community Councils Charter

Councillors noted the revised document.                               DISCHARGED

It was AGREED (proposed Prof Vickers) to exclude the press and members of the public from the meeting under the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act (1960) due to the confidential nature of the business to be discussed in the next item.


23/3/46 Recruitment of Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer

The Chair said that there had been a minor delay to the recruitment process but that it was progressing.


23/3/47 Any other urgent business

There was no other urgent business.


23/3/48 Date and time of next meeting

7.00pm on Monday 3 April 2023.

The Chair thanked those present for attending and closed the meeting at 9.23pm.