Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held on Monday 3 April 2023 at Stocksfield Community Centre


Present:         Mr J Harrison (Chair), Mr T Hills, Mr C Liddle, Mrs K Pollock, Professor P Vickers.

Mr N Spencer (Clerk to the Council).


Apologies:     Miss A Brooks Mrs A Dale, Mr M Parker.

Also present: Ms L Guthrie (guest), Mr D Williams (resident)

The Chair opened the meeting at 7.03pm and welcomed those present, including Lucy Guthrie who has been appointed as the Clerk to the Council with effect from 24 April 2023.

23/4/49 Apologies for absences

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


23/4/50 Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

23/4/51 Public Participation

There were no items of public participation.

23/4/52 County Councillor update

Mrs Dale’s report had been previously circulated. Mr Hills said that hedges remain an issue.


23/4/53 Minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2023

It was AGREED (proposed Mr Hills) to amend the minutes of item 23/3/36 to show (after the first resolution in that item) that Mr Hills voted against the resolution. It was further AGREED (proposed Mr Liddle, seconded Mrs Pollock) that, subject to the aforementioned amendment, the previously circulated minutes of the meeting held on 7 March were a true and accurate record.


23/4/54 Matters Arising

a) Lighting on Stocksfield sports fields outside Broomley First School

Mr Liddle said that he and Mrs Dale had met with parents at the school. A possible location for additional lighting has been identified with a power source from the school. Further enquiries are necessary but the likely solution would incur no cost to the Council. It was AGREED to receive a further update in due course.                  Action: Mr Liddle and Clerk (Bring For’d)

b) Electric vehicle charging points (EVCP)

The Chair referred to the report of the Clerk and the pending assessment of the suitability of the sports fields car park for EVCPs which is to be undertaken by Northumberland County Council’s (NCC) Highways Department. Councillors noted the update


23/4/54 Finance

a) Approval of payments in March 2023

It was AGREED to approve the payments for March 2023, as detailed in the previously circulated schedule.

b) Budget monitoring

Councillors noted the previously circulated budget monitoring report for the year-end.

c) Bank signatories

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

d) Budget 2023/24

The Chair referred to the report of the Clerk relating to committed funds from the 2022/23 financial year which have not yet been incurred. It was AGREED to approve amendments to the Environment, Sports Facilities and Play Facilities budget with the revised budget for 2023/24 as shown below:

  Receipts (£)Payments (£)
Precept 102425  
Employment   22178
Administration    8295
Environment 750 40150
Communications   5680
Sport Facilities 3043 17200
Play Facilities   8690
Community Support   6200
Contingency   2500
Use of reserves 4675  
  110893 110893

23/4/55 Recruitment of Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer

The Chair updated councillors on the recruitment process. The Staffing Committee had used delegated authority to appoint Lucy Guthrie as the Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer. Ms Guthrie will commence duties on 24 April 2023 which will allow a short handover period before the retirement of the current Clerk. Councillors noted the update.

The Clerk declared an interest in connection with his remuneration and it was AGREED to grant a dispensation for the Clerk to remain in the meeting. The Chair referred to previous decisions of the Council in respect of the Clerk’s time-off and it was AGREED to compensate the Clerk by payment for any hours of accrued time-off or annual leave which are outstanding at 31 May 2023. Councillors recognised the challenges faced in preparing the June edition of NE43 News due to the change of Clerk and it was AGREED to delay the next NE43 News for delivery in July 2023.                                                                          Action: Chair and Clerk

Prof Vickers joined the meeting.

23/4/56 Planning Advisory Group

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



44 Cade Hill Rd

TPO relating to reduction of five trees (T1 Oak, T2, Holly, T3 Sycamore, T4 Holly T5 Sycamore)

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


35 Birkdene

TPO relating to overhanging branch of T7 Hazel tree

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


20 Hall Farm Close

Single storey ground floor extension and second storey extension to garage – amended information

No comment

Note use of delegated powers


Land to NE of Merryshields Farm

Conversion and redevelopment of redundant farm buildings to create one dwelling

No comment

Note use of delegated powers

23/4/57 Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group (RoWEAG)

The Chair said that the position of Convener of the RoWEAG remained vacant and asked councillors to consider volunteering for the role. Councillors also received written updates in respect of the work of the Friends of Stocksfield Community Woodland and the working party involved in the Stocksfield habitat survey 2022/23. In respect of the latter, it was AGREED to request information from the Stocksfield Climate Change Group relating to the use of the Council’s award of grant funding of £500, the purpose of which was to undertake the habitat survey.                                                                                                Action: Clerk


23/4/58 Parish Council Representatives

There were no representative meetings. The Clerk reminded councillors that a vacancy remained on the Essity Community Forum. Mrs Pollock AGREED to represent the Council on the Forum although she was unable to attend its next meeting.          Action: Mrs Pollock

23/4/59 Stocksfield sports fields: use of land to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III

The Chair referred to additional information that had been provided by the event organisers. It was AGREED that

  • the Council’s conditions had been satisfied,
  • the Council had no comment to make in relation to the documents submitted, and
  • the Clerk should write to the organisers in the terms outlined within the papers.

                                                                                                Action: Clerk


23/4/60 Stocksfield sports fields: acquisition of land by Stocksfield Cricket Club

The Chair referred to a previously circulated report of the Clerk and, after discussion, it was AGREED to proceed with the professional valuation of the land.  Action: Clerk


23/4/61 Community Preparedness: Stocksfield Community Centre

The Chair referred to the imminent installation of batteries and associated switching that will allow the Community Centre to continue to operate after the loss of mains power. Councillors noted the update and the role of the Centre as an emergency refuge. The Council welcomed the additional security that the installation provided to such an important community facility.                                                                                                    DISCHARGED


23/4/62 Any other urgent business

The Clerk said that the national test of the government’s emergency alert is scheduled for Sunday 23 April 2023 and information would be published online to raise awareness.


23/4/63 Date and time of next meeting

7.00pm on Monday 15 May 2023.

The Chair thanked those present for attending and closed the meeting at 7.54pm.