Annual Parish Meeting 2008 Minutes

You can download a copy of these minutes here (PDF file).

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on Thursday 15th May 2008 at 7.30 in the Parish hall.

Present: Councillors Tulip and Reid, District Councillor Latham, County Councillor Anne Dale (except for item1), 10 members of the public and in attendance, Nick Petty and Brian Atkinson from CE-Electric, and PC Iain Robertson.

1. Apologies were received from Cllrs Heslop, Mills, Williams, Nitsch and Dunhill and Jen Stephenson from Broomhaugh & Riding C of E First School. The new Chairman, Cllr Tulip welcomed all to the meeting.

2. CE-Electric: In response to a number of recent interruptions to the power supply in the village, Brian Atkinson, NEDL’s restoration Manager, gave a very detailed presentation of the changes already made to improve the situation, why it was still happening, and the proposed solutions. Although the main power line from Wylam to Hexham has been rebuilt, the supply in Riding Mill is from one source only so that if a fault occurs, everything goes off. A new cable from Beauclerc at the western end of the village gives greater flexibility and there is new switch gear at Station Close. This does not improve the reliability of the system but the off times are shorter and fewer. The transformer which failed in Broomhaugh is to be rebuilt and the overhead lines are being refurbished, with a new larger conductor – some £300,000 worth of work. To date, £1.3 million pounds has been spent in recent improvements. All home owners will be notified when the new work begins in the summer. A number of questions from the floor were answered in more detail. In response to a query about the low voltages experienced by some residents, it was suggested that when this occurs again, NEDL be informed and if necessary they will monitor the situation for a period of time to see if the there is a fault or if it is high usage as often occurs in the winter. Nick Petty from Customer Services explained that the recent spate of problems and complaints had raised Riding Mill to ‘hot spot’ status which means a high level of monitoring and awareness. Even with the improvements made, the area would still be monitored and he requested that any person who might be at risk during an interruption should be notified to them to go on a special register.

PC Robertson introduced himself to the meeting as the new neighbourhood beat manager. He reiterated what had been said by the speakers from CE-Electric about the theft of cable. He would be holding occasional surgeries in the village in the future and the Community Police van would also call. He has written a short piece to go in the Parish news with his contact details.

3. Minutes of the 2007 APM were agreed as a true record and there were no matters arising. It was noted that a member of the public had objected to them.

4. Chairman’s report: The Chairman acknowledged the work of councillors who have resigned during the part of the year in which he had been involved – Alison Howey and Bob Horton. Both gave considerable time and energy to their duties as councillors. At the Parish Council meeting two days earlier, Cllr Tulip found himself voted in as Chairman. He then went on to note that for last year, there is now an even better web site, the village walks are included. Having gone through the last year’s minutes, he decided not to list the dozens of small yet important items which have been raised and in the main resolved. He did however wish to update the public on the two major issues which have involved so much time and energy – Millfield Road and the Tennis Courts.

On the question of Millfield Road the two polls which were undertaken clearly showed that the village did not support the proposal to cover the cost of the adoption by borrowing money from Tynedale and repaying this via the local rates. All action in this regard ceased. A proposal document seeking a grant from Tynedale was formulated, largely by Ray Tully and Brian Young who are thanked for their efforts. This was submitted a few weeks ago by a small delegation, including Councillors, at a meeting with the Finance Director of the authority. Their response is awaited.

The Tennis Club have informed the Parish Council that it is their wish to relocate to the Sports field at Broomhaugh sharing facilities with the Cricket Club. Plans have been drawn up. And they are actively seeking funding but confirm their proposals are in no way dependant upon financial support from the Parish Council. It is clear that such a scheme will take a considerable time to come to fruition. Until that time the tennis courts remain and no further action is required.

Finally the Council would like to congratulate all who have worked so hard to create the Mill Race Garden, an asset for us all.

The Chairman stated that he and his fellow councillors will endeavour in the coming year to serve the community to the best of their ability.

5. Financial Statement: this was prepared and handed out for members of the public to be aware of the movement of funds over the last 12 months. The Clerk drew the attention of members of the public to the fact that the previous year’s accounts had not yet been signed off by the auditors, owing to a formal complaint by a member of the public. It was noted the cost to the Parish Council of the complaint was likely to be around £3000 which would have to be paid out of the precept. In answer to a question, the matter had not affected the payment of the current year’s precept.

6. Report of the Village Hall Trust: The function of the Management Committee of Riding Mill Village Hall is to manage and maintain the two village halls so that activities can take place which will improve the quality of life for residents of Riding Mill and Broomhaugh. Consequently we try to offer the halls at reduced rates for affiliated societies and in the current year, the rates have been maintained despite rising costs. Improvements in the year include more comfortable chairs due largely to the Pritchard family, a commercial dishwasher thanks to the generosity of Liz Patterson, and a more welcoming fire in the Supper Room. Taking the welfare of staff to heart, a heat detector in the kitchen linked to an alarm in the caretaker’s flat above has been installed. During the year to November 2007, a surplus of £1327 was made which added to the retained surplus gave a sound financial start to the year of £10190.

The organisations using the halls provide opportunities for education ( Pre-School, Sunday School and Cubs) ; for improving health and fitness through exercise and sport ( Badminton, Bowls, Table-tennis and Exercise Classes) ; for culture ( Art and Drama) and for socialising. That there have been even more social events of a varied nature is largely due to the hard work of the committee for the Development of the Parish Hall, who have been working assiduously to raise money towards the improvement of the Parish Hall (a craft fair, a Burns Night Ceilidh, a bridge evening, an evening of Northumberland song and music and the Flower Festival). Under the leadership of Dr David Harle, the group comprising Andy Pryor, David Kilner, Myra Dixon, Fred Tulip, Janet Proud, Eric Roseby, Linda Shepherd, Val Thompson, Bob Tully and Bobby Turner, has raised a total, after deducting professional fees, £59, 641 and have obtained pledges, including from the Parish Council of £3200 and from Northumberland County Council of £9000, amounting to £23700. In two and a half years, approximately £83000 has been raised, a remarkable achievement. The refusal of the National Lottery and the unlikelihood of funding from Northern Rock are setbacks but the committee persevered. Some pledges are dependent on gaining planning permission or starting work. The planning permission is in the pipeline and the result should be heard soon. The Chairman wholeheartedly thanks the Development Committee for their commitment to the Community.

This has not been the only project undertaken in the year. The restoration of the Mill Race Gardens has been undertaken to create a wildlife area which could be used as an outdoor classroom and a pleasant area for the community to enjoy. The driving force behind the project is Elaine Raeburn. Both she and her husband Martin have given much of their time and effort. Through Councillor Thompson a grant of £1600 was given to the project from Northumberland County Council. Many others have volunteered their labour, clearing undergrowth, spreading chippings and the compost donated by Tynedale Council, planting etc. Special mention should go to Norman Heron, Derek Blair and David Niven who have tackled particular jobs – building walls and steps and seat and of Linda Shepherd who handled sponsorship of the plants. The Children donated bird boxes and feeders and all those who sponsored plants are thanked. The gardens will need to be maintained and the community are asked to support this.

The Chairman asked that everyone continue to support the Management Committee and in turn they will maintain and manage the halls to the best of their ability.

7. Report from Broomhaugh & Riding C of E First School: Head teacher, Jen Stephenson sent the following report which was read by the Chairman: Huge apologies to you all as I am not able to attend this meeting in person due to a Governors meeting in School. I hope this report gives you an idea of school life at the moment. Our numbers remain stable at 62. Although we do not have a full quota of children coming into Reception Class (mainly due to a couple of years of very low birth rates) our numbers will remain at 62 as some children are joining other year groups in September. We always try to make school an interesting learning environment and this year we have invested a great deal of money in improving school furnishings and the look of the school. Some of you may have noticed building work going on last summer as we changed the inside of the reception area. The Children have also been excited about our Wild Garden being turfed and tidied.

Some new introductions to our curriculum include Ukelele lessons for all of our Years 3 and 4, and a new Government initiative Let’s get Cooking. We continue to strive to make the ‘bread and butter’ curriculum as interesting as possible for the children through the use of Drama, Artwork and Music in our Literacy and Numeracy lessons. We had an exciting week of Outdoor Maths where all year groups held their Maths lessons outside for an entire week. This proved to be very popular with both teachers and pupils, although the mathematical treasure hunt at the end of the week proved a challenge for some parents! The Children have greatly enjoyed being involved with different activities in the village, for instance reading in Church at Christmas Eve Service and contributing to the Mill Race Garden. They are also looking forward to creating our Scarecrow for the Scarecrow Festival this year, so we are grateful to the village people for asking us to join in with anything that will help develop our links with the community. You may well have seen our ‘Walking Bus’ on Friday morning – as a school we are very concerned at how difficult it is for children (and grown-ups) to cross the busy main road here. One task that I have is to construct a school Travel Plan for the LEA so this may lead to the school helping the village to gain some kind of safe crossing if the Parish Council and village people felt this would be beneficial.

We are continually grateful to the support and interest that the parents of our children, governors and villagers pay in the school and are always willing to listen to new suggestions.

8. Minor Matters: A member of the public raised the issue of digital television reception in the village being very poor currently with the change due in 2012. It was also agreed to circulate parts of the minutes for information to members of the public. PC Robertson agreed to write a brief article for the Parish News giving his contact details.

The meeting closed at 9.00pm

Parish Council Minutes May 2008

You can download a copy of these minutes here (PDF file).

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 12th May 2008 in the Supper room of the Parish Hall at 7.45pm

Present: Councillors Mills, Tulip, Dunhill and Reid. Also present were District Councillor Latham, 5 members of the public and one member of the Press.

1. Apologies were received from Cllrs Nitsch, Williams and Heslop.

2. Resignation & Standing Orders: It was noted that Cllr Horton had resigned owing to the pressure of work. Councillors readopted Standing Orders for the coming year.

3. Elections: Chairman: it was proposed and agreed by all that Cllr Tulip be elected Chair.
Vice-Chair: this was deferred until more Councillors were present.
Planning sub-committee: It was agreed that Cllrs Dunhill, Tulip and Mills would form the sub committee.
Play Park: Cllr Dunhill agreed to continue the inspections for the time being.
VHT: Cllrs Williams and Heslop would remain as representatives to the Management Board.
Correspondence Officer: Cllr Tulip agreed to continue in this role. (It was noted that the correspondence file had gone missing; the Clerk would check on its location).
Local elections: It was agreed to formally write and thank Prof. Ray Thompson as outgoing County Councillor for his hard work. It was noted that the District councillors would continue in their role until April 2009.

4. Minutes: The minutes were agreed as a true record with the amendment of Resolution 2 being written in full. The following brief points were noted as Matters arising: There was nothing to report on Millfield Road but it would be kept on future Agendas; Nothing had been heard about the pedestrian crossing but Cllr Reid agreed to chase that up; the letter to the PCC had been sent re the Pack Horse Bridge but a reply had not yet been received; the current Covenants Policy which is due to be rewritten will be circulated, for information, to the new Councillors; Councillors agreed to look at the trees along the station approach as there was some confusion as to whether the Wellington had had them cut back.

5. Planning
2008/0152 Hill House Conditional permission granted
2008/008 Wentworth Grange Conditional permission granted
2008/0143 Woodside, Sandy Bank Conditional permission granted

There was a brief discussion about the new Planning application for the Post Office. Cllr Latham declared an interest at this point and left the meeting. Councillors had been briefed on the previous application and the outcomes. It was noted they could only comment on planning points specifically but if Tynedale granted approval then the issue of the covenant would have to be considered as the deeds of the property were very specific relating to only retail use of the premises. It was agreed that the Planning subcommittee would look at the application and the outcome from Tynedale would be awaited before any decisions were made.

6. Correspondence:
a) General – for circulation.
b) Stocksfield Post offices: All the neighbouring Parishes had received a letter from Stocksfield PC concerning their two Post Offices, either of which might be up for closure. The PC was trying to estimate usage of either of them by non-residents of Stocksfield. It was agreed that the Clerk would put a note into the Parish News and also a tick questionnaire into Bobby’s for a short time.
c) PlayPark: A letter had been received from Mr Young concerning some shards of glass he’d found when playing there with his grandson. This was drawn to the Parish Council’s attention and he had asked to view the inspection sheets for the last year which Cllr Dunhill brought for him to look at. It was noted that inspecting Councillors kept an eye out for such hazards but it was difficult to spot glass in a molehill. Cllr Tulip thanked Mr Young for his letter.
d) Tynedale Council: Telephone Boxes: Tynedale are coordinating responses to BT about a number of public phone boxes they intend to close. The one outside the Post Office and the one up at Broomley were in our Parish. From a safety point of view it was felt they should stay for break downs, emergencies which might occur after the shops and the pub are closed for instance. It is known there is not a good mobile signal from some networks either in Riding Mill or in Broomley. The Clerk would also attempt to find out the numbers of times the phones have been used in the last 12 months.
e) Tynedale Planning Forum: no Councillor was available to attend and apologies would be sent.

7. Finance:
a) The financial statement and receipts were accepted by all Councillors.
b) The following payments were authorised by all councillors:-

M F Anderton/Salaryl/Apr – £382.13
M F Anderton/Expenses/Apr – £40.40
Radiopages – £224.00
NALC/Ann.subs – £139.50
Allianz Insurance prem. – £1,883.56
APM/notice – £342.59
Playpark reserves – £500.00
VHT – annual grant – £2,000.00
VHT – rent – £22.00
Ward Hadaway – £470.00
Sandy Bank RA/Ins. – £210.00
Mills Glass – repair – £100.00

c) It was agreed that Cllr Dunhill and Cllr Tulip be the additional signatories, with the Clerk on the bank accounts and the mandates would be changed accordingly.

8. Minor matters: It was agreed the Clerk would look at the costs of a tape recorder with a view to purchase in accordance with the decision of an earlier meeting.
Cllr Reid raised the matter that Network Rail was suggesting downgrading the road/bridge over the railway next to Wentworth Grange. This is the safest route from there at present. The footpath is frequently used by residents from Broomhaugh. It was agreed the Clerk would write to Northern Rail objecting on safety grounds and she would also check if there was a PROW on the road. It was agreed to copy the letter to the County Council as it was believed the road was put in in the 1860s as a condition of receiving permission to run the railway on that route.
The Clerk would also write to the County about the possibility of placing a mirror opposite the other exit from Wentworth Grange and look into the costs; and ask that they look at keeping the footpath clear in some manner to improve the line of sight at the exit from Wentworth Grange opposite Broomhaugh.

The meeting closed at 8.50

Parish Council Minutes April 2008

You can download a copy of these minutes here (PDF file).

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 14th April 2008 in the Supper room of the Parish Hall at 7.45pm

Present: Councillors Horton, Heslop, Mills, Tulip and Reid. Also present were County Councillor Thompson, 8 members of the public and one member of the Press.

1. Apologies were received from Cllrs Nitsch, Dunhill, Williams and Cllr Latham.

2. It was noted that Cllr Howey had tendered her resignation owing to a change of location. Cllr Horton formally noted her hard work on behalf of the Parish Council. There were two members of the public interested in taking the one place and the Clerk would check the best procedure with Tynedale election office.

3. (Item 8b):NCC: Closure of Dipton Foot Bridge road from Slaley to Riding Mill: Cllr Thompson asked that this item be taken early. It was noted that the County propose to shut the above road for some 10 weeks to upgrade the bridge to 40 tonnes. They were asking for any specific points that should be noted which Cllr Thompson would respond to County Hall. The Clerk had also received a copy of the letter and would respond similarly. The usage of the road during the County Show season was highlighted, in particular, the Slaley Show in August. It was also suggested that the main homeowners and farms along the route be informed individually of the proposal.

4. Minutes: The minutes were agreed as a true record.

5. Matters arising
a) Millfield Road update: Cllr Tulip reported on the meeting held with Tynedale Council ( Mr Larry Dawson) with the document recommending the conversion of the loan to a grant. Not much encouragement was given at the time but Cllr Tulip raised the possibility of handing over an addendum which the delegation believed was important. Since he had missed much of the preparation time this was agreed. The Addendum concerned the 1981 Meadow Park application which resulted in Church Lane being connected to Millfield Road and whether, prior to the application, approval was sought and obtained from the frontagers of Millfield Road given they were responsible for the road surface maintenance at that time. This had a huge bearing in the traffic on the road then and even more so now. Since the addendum was sent in we are led to believe that Tynedale Council are seeking a legal opinion on the matter. Cllr Reid reported a conversation with Dick Fraser concerning the siting of turning circles if the lesser option is undertaken. The specifications about the size of the circles are being sent by Dick Fraser to Cllr Reid. In principle, the County would be happy with such an action but this option was put into abeyance until a response from Tynedale Council had been received.
b) Pedestrian Crossing: It was unclear whether the traffic census had been carried out yet. Cllr Thompson agreed to chase this up.
c) Trees at the Wellington: According to Cllr Nitsch these have now been cut back.
d) Tree at Pack Horse Bridge: although action had been taken by the PCC regarding some of the trees, the one that was leaning over the bridge is still of concern and a couple of informal assessments by tree surgeons have suggested the tree is dead. If it falls, it could damage the bridge seriously. The Clerk would write to ask the PCC to review their policy on this matter and to check on their liability insurance.
e) VHT Development fund: The Parish Council concerns had been noted to the Village Hall Trust, They have been taken on board and will be pursued by the Trust with the Diocese once the current Planning Application for the first stage of work has been approved. Thanks were particularly noted to Cllr Thompson at this point as it was made known that he had been able to find – £9000 towards the costs of the disabled toilets and access.
f) Belonging Communities: the Clerk, as well as Cllr Dunhill, had been at one of the meetings organised by Tynedale Council which were being held to debate the structure of the forum which would be the link between the Belonging Community and the Area Committees. Discussion was somewhat nebulous as no one could answer specific questions about who would be responsible for what. The findings were to be summarised and act as the basis of further consultations after the County elections.
g) Annual Parish Meeting: This had been agreed to be held on the 22nd May in the Parish Hall. As some of the Councillors could not make this date, it was agreed to see if the CE-Electric representatives could make the 15th May instead as it was known the hall was available then.

6. Resolutions: The following three resolutions were presented against the Clerk’s advice.

Res.1: That no member of the Parish Council (PC) shall do or say anything on behalf of the PC without the prior agreement of the PC duly minuted. Proposed by Cllr Reid and seconded by Cllr Mills. Cllr Horton felt this was largely unworkable as there were often times when the Chairman or the Clerk had to make responses to outside bodies, such as the Press. This is a procedural matter covered by most practical advice to Councils as was the Code of Conduct to Councillors but Cllr Reid felt it was important to show public solidarity. Cllr Tulip suggested the other Councillors wait until they have had their training sessions which would explain procedures better. However, it was felt that there was no harm in the motion and it was carried by 3 votes.

Res.2: It shall be a condition of any application for financial or other support from the PC that the body making the application provide information on its aims, membership, Parish membership, constitution, approved accounts, arrangements for maintenance of its facilities and such matters as he PC shall consider to be relevant.full. The PC may waive these requirements for what it deems minor matters. Proposed by Cllr Reid and seconded by Cllr Mills. It was pointed out that these requirements already exist within the financial requirements and the resolution was carried.

Res. 3: The PC shall inform the Parish on the Parish notice boards and in the Paris news of the principles it has adopted in relation to the benefits of the covenants accruing from the land held by the PC. Proposed by Cllr Mills and seconded by Cllr Reid. The Policy had been distributed two years ago to covenant holders only and was available on request to anyone else. It was currently undergoing review pending the outcome of an Audit commission enquiry. Cllr Tulip suggested awaiting that outcome before deciding on detailed actions. This was agreed

7. Tennis Club: Clls Reid and Tulip and the Clerk attended a meeting arranged by the Tennis Club to discuss the detail of their proposals. Representatives were there from the Tennis Club, the Cricket Club, Tynedale Leisure, the Engineering Business and the Architects. Mr. Morill rehearsed the reasons for requesting the move of the Tennis Club. The architects went through the detailed plans they had drawn up pointing out in particular, possible access points on the site and possible layouts of the tennis courts, the 5-a –side courts and a new joint clubhouse and parking. Total costs were estimated at about – £750,000 which could be obtained from the main Sports Funding bodies, even allowing for match funding (which would be acceptable as coming from other funding sources). Mr Morill stated that the proposal did not require any funding from the Parish Council. In principle the organisations at the meeting approved the outlines presented. The Tennis Club would organise a public meeting to discuss the issues and they would start talking to the funding bodies with Tynedale’s help. Cllr Heslop expressed some concerns related to him by some of the people in the village. It was also noted that the Tennis Club would talk to the Dickinson family about the proposals.

8. Bus Shelter: A quote had been received for a stone bus shelter to be built by the Northumberland Training Agency. The figure of – £3365 plus VAT was only a little higher than for the last shelter. Councillors agreed to accept the quote. It was noted that siting of the shelter would require a little thought. The shelter could be paid for out of the deposit account and repaid from the current account over a number of years. The details of the repayment can be considered at the next budget meeting.

9. Correspondence:
a) General – for circulation. Cllr Reid asked that some method be sorted out to select items which might need special attention. Cllr Tulip volunteered to go through the general correspondence file to do this.
b) See above
c) Permission
was requested by the VHT to place some stalls on the Play Park area for the Village day in June. This was agreed.
d) Sandy Bank: Mr Daffern briefly asked for the Parish Council’s support in objecting to a possible decision by the County Council to turn the Nick into a BOAT. This was agreed.

10. Finance:
a) The financial statement and receipts were accepted by all Councillors for February and for March. b) The following payments were authorised by all councillors:- For February:

M F Anderton/Salary/Feb 370.69
M F Anderton/Expenses/Feb – £112.83
Northumbria water – £20.01

For March:

M F Anderton/Salary/Mar – £370.69
M F Anderton/Expenses/Mar – £63.94
J Harding/trees – £94.00
Carter Bus. Systems – £17.80
Viking – £107.07

11. Minor matters: Cllr Reid asked that the Estate Agents be informed their board at the end of Broomhaugh was on public land and should not be there.

The meeting closed at 9.30