Parish Council Minutes December 2010

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting held in the Parish Hall on 13th December 2010 at 7.45pm

Present: Cllrs Mills (in the Chair), Reid, Dunhill and Eakins. County Councillor Dale was present and 11 members of the public, including Peter Nitsch, Sally Lockey and Magdalena Ietswaart for the Squirrels Club item.

1. Apologies: None.

2. Declaration of Interests: included to act as a reminder for Councillors: None recorded.

3. Minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true record.

4. Matters arising: a) Weir: There have been two offers of interest in preserving the Weir as it is but that is not enough. If the downgrade goes ahead, the Tyne Rivers Trust may contribute some finance. If the village wish to preserve the Weir, the Parish Council must have some positive proposals by the beginning of March.

b) Fly – tipping: This is an ongoing issue.

5. Handyman Report: The bench on Whiteside bank has been done and the rest will be done slowly. The work in the Play park and to the Spinney fence has been done and will be covered financially over the winter period when no work will be done. It was agreed to ask Mr Castelow to put up the new mirror purchased for the bottom of Sandy bank. MA

6. Parking at the Millennium Hall: It appears the parking problems are not just the Pre-school so it was agreed to write to the Village Hall Trust asking that members who use the Millennium Hall be reminded of the parking and safety issues. It was also agreed to ask Cllr Dale to discuss with the Highways Department putting double yellow lines on both sides of Church Lane from the Hall and round the corner of Whiteside Bank. MA/Ade

7. Traffic sub- group: The group had met to discuss a number of issues. They had agreed the provision of pedestrian crossing by the County Council is not realistic. untenable. They looked at other traffic calming measures such as vehicle activated signs to reduce speeds. They have looked at possible locations for the signs – at the bottom of Whiteside Bank for traffic coming from the east and near to Bobby’s shop for traffic coming from the west. Costs etc. will be investigated and a recommendation will be put to the parish council.

8. Squirrels Club: Peter Nitsch summarised the current situation – that there is now a good, interested committee with enough members to share the work load properly. The school now has over 60 pupils and the existence of the Club is a factor with some 10 families coming from out of the village. The school is important to the future life of the village, and the feed in from the Squirrels Club is crucial. On this basis, the committee and the school head, Jen Stephenson, are asking that the Parish Council consider the Club to be as important to the village as the VHT and to award it a regular grant on that basis. 90-95% of the expenses are covered by fees but it would be counterproductive to push the fees too high. A small increase in fees and two new children from January will have a positive impact. Fund raising is more formalised now with the cooperation of the PTA. However, the amounts raised still are small. The biggest expense recently has been the manager’s salary increase considered essential to the success of the Club. The Councillors then discussed the position. Cllr Reid emphasised the importance of the Club to the school and the village’s future. Cllr Eakins wants to see how much fundraising could be done but recognised the need for some interim support. It was noted that SureStart had only helped when the Club was first set up. The Club does not run during the holidays; they have a introduced a system of fines for bookings not taken up. Cllr Eakins proposed a donation of £750 for the current financial year and Cllr Reid proposed a donation of £1000 to be included in the budget for next year to provide some certainty for the club. The payment would be reviewed annually. This was agreed unanimously.

9. Planning:

a) Considered by the Parish Council:

20100932 Retrospective consent for signs at the Wellington Inn no objection
20100940 Retrospective listed consent for signs at the Wellington Inn No objection
20100914 Woodbine House/Cottage, Garage conversion, first floor extension No objection

b) Under consideration by the Parish Council:

20100973 4, Burnside Close extension

c) Considered by County Council;

20100786 Extension at 1 Ford terrace Granted permission under delegated powers

10. Correspondence: General file, including a list of correspondence received in the last month. (List placed on Notice Board with minutes)

11. Finance: 

a) The receipts and financial statement were accepted. The budget was similar to the previous month and is break even. A £50 cheque made under S.137 to Mencap in June has not been paid in. It is presumed lost.

b) The following payments were authorised:

Darren Johnson – handyman – £70.00
Wheelbirks Trees – £787.25
C Fenwick (bus shelter repair) – £11.62
Transfer to Deposit account – £12,000.00
Wardhadaway, release of covenant – £881.25
L Stephenson, materials – £323.25
Marchburn Lane Res. Assn. Ex gratia payment – £30.00
SLCC, annual subs for 2011 – £95.00
MF Anderton, Salary/November – £420.36
MF Anderton, Expenses/November – £71.52
MF Anderton, Salary/December – £420.36
MF Anderton, reimbursement for mirror – £205.86
Northumbrian Water – £16.22
Squirrels Club – £750.00

c) Precept: Cllr Eakins prepared a budget. Currently there is approximately a £3,500 surplus. The budget for next year is negative and shows a figure of £39,500. Cllr Eakins recommended leaving the precept at the same as this year, £28,000 and using the reserves for one-off items of expenditure. Cllr Reid suggested that as well as a specific figure for contingency being included in the budget, the inflation rise should be acknowledged. This would raise the precept to £29,000. It was unanimously agreed to set the Precept at £29,000.

d) Reserve account: Following research it was apparent that other than for personal accounts, there were no reasonable rates of interest better than that currently obtainable, providing the balance is a minimum of £25,000. Some bonds might offer better, but if the money is transferred to one of those and then required before maturity, all interest would be lost. It was agreed to leave the money in the Bank of Ireland for now but review the rates regularly. It was also agreed to merge the Play park account with the Reserve account. MA

12. Minor matters: a) Cllr Reid updated the Council about the Car Park and the turning head following a meeting of the VHT management committee. The suggested revised plan had been accepted by them; the PCC would be formally asked for permission. A new planning application would be made by the PC;

b) Cllr Eakins asked that the Clerk back up the accounts off site at a separate email address;

c) Cllr Eakins also suggested that the Parish Council look at a number of sustainability issues. This would be done through the Environmental Group.

d) The date of the next meeting will be Monday 14th February.

The meeting closed at 9.45pm

Parish Council Minutes November 2010

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting held in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall on 8th November 2010 at 7.45pm

Present: Cllrs Mills (in the Chair), Reid, Dunhill and Eakins. County Councillor Dale was present and 5 members of the public.

During public questions, Cllr Dale declared an interest when a possible planning issue was raised.

1. Apologies: None. It was noted that Cllr Heslop had resigned and the Chairman had written a letter to thank him for his service.

2. Declaration of Interests: included to act as a reminder for Councillors: None recorded.

3. Minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true record.

4. Handyman Report: The mirror at the bottom of Sandy Bank had been cleaned but still needed replacing. The Clerk would arrange the purchase of a mirror similar to that recently sited at Hollin Hill Terrace.

The seat at the bottom of Whiteside Bank had also been properly stripped and treated. This had taken longer than the agreed hours and the cost was a concern as there are 14 seats and benches in the village. Following discussion, it was noted that although the initial treatments would be difficult, once done it would be much easier to clean and retreat in the future.

Mrs Stephenson had done research on suitable materials to repair the small slide in the Play Park. The costs were over the budget agreed by the Council but it was agreed to allow her to go ahead and order materials the same as those already in use on the play equipment. She would let the Clerk know in writing the costs. LS/MA

5. Matters arising: a) Northumbrian Water: The Clerk had talked with the Engineer on the repair of the pipeline and he had explained there would be no loss of pressure or water supply to homes and the Parish hall. The two ends of the old pipe would become fire hydrants so there will be two extras hydrants for the emergency services to use, if needed, one on either side of the bridge. The repairs were in process of being undertaken, consent having been given verbally to the engineers.

b) Fly tipping: Cllr Dale had written to Allendale Estates about flytipping up the old A68 and it seems they had not looked in the correct place. She would follow this up again and confer with the County Council about a gate across the road to prevent vehicles going far enough up the Bank to tip goods. ADe

c) Cleaning the gullies in Sandy Bank had been ineffective so the County will reconsider the problem. They will also look for other blockages. There are problems on the Slaley Road near Beauclerc and the A695 floods frequently.

6. Vexatious Communications Policy: The draft had been displayed and subject to small amendments, Cllr Dunhill proposed a resolution to adopt the policy and Cllr Reid seconded the proposal. All agreed. The approved Policy will be placed on the website.

7. Complaints Procedure: The draft had been displayed on the Council notice board. Cllr Mills proposed and Cllr Eakins seconded acceptance of the Procedure. All agreed. The approved policy will be placed on the website.

8. Parking at the Millenium Hall: Cllr Dunhill raised the issue of users of the hall parking on the pavement and sometimes half on the pavement and half on the road thus partially blocking it. This is the narrowest part of Church Lane. Ways of limiting such parking were discussed and in the short term it was agreed to write to the Pre School expressing concerns and review the matter in a few months. MA

9. Recycling: Cllr Eakins had talked with Paul Jones at the County Council about a long list of possible materials that could be recycled. Many could not be considered in the village but clothing and textiles were recyclable in a Charity skip in the Wellington car park; there is however no market for Tetrapak cartons. It was suggested that Mr Jones be invited to talk at next year’s Annual Parish meeting. Cllr Dunhill also suggested that recycling be put on the Agenda for the East Tynedale Forum meeting. MA

10. Planning:

a) Considered by the Parish Council:

20100703 New property at Grovefield, Sandy Bank: Objection
20100786 Extension at 1 Ford Terrace: No objections

b) Under consideration by the Parish Council:

20100932 Retrospective planning permission for signs at Wellington Hotel
20100940 Retrospective listed consent re signs at the Wellington
20100914 Woodbine House/Cottage Garage conversion and first floor rear extension

11. Correspondence: General file, including a list of correspondence received in the last month. (List placed on Notice Board with minutes)

12. Finance: 

a) The receipts and financial statement were accepted. The budget was similar to the previous month.

b) The following payments were authorised:

Dr D Laffey To reimburse costs of mirror at Hollin Hill – £277.61
L Stephenson Items for handyman – £23.69
Tom Smith Weir Footbridge repairs – £1,153.85
M F Anderton –  Salary/Expenses October – £448.96
SLCC Books – £113.75
RM Cricket Club Grass cutting – £840.00
Darren Johnson Handyman fees – £70.00
Doody & Co. White lining on Millfield Road bridge – £235.00
Royal British legion Donation and wreath – £40.00

It was agreed to discuss next month moving the reserve accounts to higher interest offering banks.

Cllr Eakins and the Clerk would meet to discuss the budget and a draft would be circulated to councillors before the next meeting when the precept has to be agreed. Any large items of expenditure should be notified to Cllr Eakins or the Clerk.

13. Minor matters: a) Cllr Eakins name was put forward to replace Cllr Heslop as the Parish Council representative to the VHT and this was agreed;

b) A Personnel sub-committee would be set up of Cllrs Mills, Reid and Eakins. A minimum of two would sit when required;

c) BT is conducting a review of Broadband in the country. By signing up on line, it might be possible to influence them to increase speeds. The closing date is 31st December and notices will be put up in the village to encourage as many people as possible to take part;

d) Cllr Reid suggested asking the Parish News if they would include contact details of the Chair and Clerk on their lists; MR

e) Cllr Dunhill reported a damaged panel on the bus shelter on the south side of the main road opposite the Wellington. The Clerk would investigate repairs; MA

f) A complaint had been received about the A-board on the pavement outside the Wellington. The Clerk would write asking that it be removed; MA

g) The Clerk would follow up the tree cutting done on the far side of the Weir where 3 large tree parts are stuck and may cause a problem if the Burn overflows.

The meeting closed at 9.35pm

Parish Council Minutes October 2010

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 11th October 2010 in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall at 7.45pm

Present: Councillors Mills (in the chair), Reid, Dunhill, and Heslop. Also present were County Cllr Anne Dale, 4 members of the public and a member of the Press.

1. Apologies: Cllr Eakins.

2. Minutes of last meeting: Cllr Heslop asked that item 10(c) be deleted from the minutes but Cllr Mills refused his request. When he continued to argue with Cllr Mills, she told him that if he could not behave appropriately he should leave the meeting. He then left. The minutes were then agreed as a true record.

3. Matters arising: a) Northumbrian water: Northumbrian Water had given 6 weeks notice of intent to modify the pipeline currently under the Millfield Road bridge. It was decided to postpone giving permission pending consultation with the immediate residents. In the meantime, the Clerk would query the supply to the Parish Hall and nearby properties and whether there would be a loss of water during execution of the proposed works. Some indication of the frequency of washout procedures was required. MA

b) Handy-man: It was agreed that Mrs Stephenson would continue to supervise the Handy – man. She was authorised to spend up to a limit of £50 for materials. For larger sums however, authorisation from the Clerk and/or a Councillor would be needed. So far, jobs done include: re-siting the dog waste bin and post; branch trimming around the Millfield Road bridge; cleaning the footbridge to the Tennis Courts to prevent the boards from rotting. Authorisation was given for marine plywood and Sadolin.

c) Spinney: Work is continuing. The temporary acknowledgement of the original gift will be replaced with a permanent plaque. MA

d) Traffic Safety Mirrors: The replacement mirror at Hollin Hill Terrace would be added to the Parish Council’s insurance policy, when the cost had been reimbursed. The Council feel that all mirrors should be their responsibility. It was agreed to purchase a new mirror for the foot of Sandy Bank. Cllr Dale explained that the County Council would not accept liability for people misreading mirrors and therefore would not supply them. MA

4. Policy on Vexatious Communications: Cllr Mills explained the main points of the new policy naming 5 criteria. If the Council decides any of the criteria has been met, the vexatious communicator will be notified accordingly. It was suggested that the draft be publicised on the web site and on the Council notice board for a two week period to enable constructive comments to be made.

5. Complaints Procedure: The procedure by which the Council deals with complaints from members of the public, based on NALC guidance, was proposed by Cllr Mills and seconded by Cllr Reid but no vote was taken as it was deferred to the next meeting. Cllr Dale agreed to establish whether parish councils can have access to the County’s Ombudsman. It was agreed to put this procedure on the website and Council notice board for a limited public consultation and to ask Mr Henry, solicitor at County Hall to check the legal content. JM/MA/ADe

6. Planning:

(a) Considered by the Parish Council:

20100509 Rebuild at Saward, Long Rigg: No objections
20100652 Barn off A68 south of Broomhaugh: Objected
20100695 Extension at Riding Hills Farm: No objection
20100722 Extension at Old Tavern House: No objection

(b) Under consideration by the Parish Council:

20100703 New property at Grovefield, Sandy Bank
20100786 Extension at 1 Ford Terrace

(c) County Council determinations:

20100617 Listed consent for replacement windows at Broomhaugh Farmhouse Refused consent
20100490 Extension at West Cottage, Shepherd’s Dene Conditional permission under delegated powers.

7. Council’s treatment of Correspondence: The Parish Council has a problem with the amount of correspondence which it receives, including letters, emails, short and long consultation documents. It was agreed that the Clerk would summarise these in the correspondence file for Councillors. Comments were made about the length of some consultation documents, the amount of paper needed to print them off, the reluctance of the higher authorities to consider this and of their timing of many consultations; eg. over the holiday periods. It was agreed to write to the Chief Executive of the County about this. MA

8. Correspondence: a) General

9. Finance:

a) Budgetary review: The financial statement and receipts were accepted. There was no change in the budgetary information from the previous month.

b) The following payments were authorised:

M F Anderton – Salary/Sep – £420.36
M F Anderton –  Expenses/Sep – £47.76
Darren Johnson (handy man) – £70.00
Velocity UK ( Millfield Road bridge resurfacing) – £581.63
SLCC ( Conference fee) – £41.12
Linden Stephenson (reimbursements of materials for handyman) – £24.04
Andy Dunhill (reimbursement of leaflet printing costs) – £43.27

20. Minor matters:

Cllr Mills will attend the joint meeting of the NCC and parish and town councils on 12th October;

a) It was reported that the Council had delivered a statement on Millfield Road and Bridge to all residents;

b) Cllr Dale had received a request for repair of pavements in Church Close. This would be added to the Local Transport Plan; MA

c) Cllr Dale had also dealt with a gully issue in Sandy Bank;

d) A holly bush on the corner of Sandy Bank would be removed by the County Council;

e) Fly tipping – Whiteside Bank is still a problem. Cllr Dunhill agreed to monitor it and Cllr Dale would investigate a gate across the road: AD/ADe

f) Flashing road traffic signs – Cllr Dunhill will look at details of costs and siting with Cllr Eakins; AD/JE

g) Cllr Heslop had already offered to tidy the War Memorial and to lay the wreath:

h) The Clerk agreed to have spare keys cut for the notice boards for Councillors.

The meeting closed at 9.05pm

Parish Council Minutes September 2010

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council held on 13th September 2010 in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall at 7.45pm

Present: Councillors Reid, Dunhill, Eakins and Heslop. Also present were Cllr Anne Dale and 3 members of the public.

1. Apologies: Cllr Mills. The resignation of Mrs Stephenson over a point of principle was reported.

2. Minutes of last meeting: These were agreed as a true record.

3. Matters arising: a) Northumbrian water: Cllr Dale had had a meeting with representatives of Northumbria Water and had raised the matter of the water main under the bridge. They have agreed to bring the matter forward as soon as they can and will look at a long term alternative solution that is safe.

b) VHT committee: Cllr Heslop reported on the recent meeting. One of the main items for discussion was the proposed turning head and car park for the Hall. The VHT appreciate the use of the green area for events and have voted in favour of the turning head, but not the car park. In response to Cllr Reid’s query, Cllr Heslop agreed he had put his own views forward on the matter and not those of the Parish Council whose views he was elected to represent.

c) Handy- man: It was noted the seats need doing as soon as possible. The Clerk would continue to chase him up and if he was not going to do the work, would look for an alternative. (He has since communicated and will commence work in 10 days time). Mrs Stephenson had agreed to continue liaising with Mr Johnson as originally agreed.

d) Weir: Cllrs Reid and Heslop met with Gary Cutter, an engineer from the Environment Agency. The Agency’s view is that it would be very costly to repair and it would be a continuing cost over the years. The better option would be to reduce the water levels gradually and let it run at natural depths. This would be better for the fish as well. As nothing can be started until next Spring at the earliest it was suggested by Cllr Reid that the options be put to the village for consideration eg. through the Parish News. If the village wishes to fully retain and repair the Weir, some sort of Friends Group would need to be formed to raise funds to maintain it as continuing to do so would be contrary to professional advice. The costs of the necessary work should be researched. MR

e) Spinney: The footpath has been scythed and chippings have been laid over the black support base.

f) TPOs: Cllr Dale has continued to chase these up. It turned out that the applications recently seen in the press should not have been there in the first place.

g) Cllr Dale has also met with the Sandy Bank Residents Association about improving access at the bottom of the Nick. The issue is ongoing.

4. Local Transport Plan: Matters for inclusion on the LTP were discussed. Already on the list are the 20mph limit past the School and the pedestrian crossing. Cllr Dale reported that she and Cllr Mills had had a meeting at County Hall about the crossing. They were informed that even if the Parish offered to pay for a crossing, the County Council would refuse permission as the potential amount of use fell far below that required by the County Council for them to support one. It was noted that the County was trialling 20mph limits past schools in five areas. If that experiment is successful, it may be further trialled in Church Lane. It was agreed to add to the list: refurbishment of Slaley Road and the surface of Church Lane where it passes St James’s Close.

Cllr Dunhill commented that the County had apparently ignored the detailed report he and several other councillors had prepared on the state of roads in the Parish – at the request of the Highways Department. It was agreed that the costs of flashing warning signs could be looked at again and Cllr Dale offered to assist with the costs out of her fund. Additional white lines of Church Lane at the narrow part were considered an unnecessary expense.

5. Hexham Magistrates Court: Cllr Dunhill stated the reasons for not closing the Court, essentially relating to the rural nature and size of the region; the lack of good public transport, the potential increased costs for people attending courts in Newcastle and the consequent likelihood of those same people not bothering to attend because of these problems, thereby making court procedures difficult. A petition on the subject which was well supported has already been forwarded. It was agreed to send a letter based on Cllr Dunhill’s draft with a copy to the local MP, Guy Opperman.

6. Mirror: The safety mirror opposite Hollin Hill Terrace had been stolen, in broad daylight. An insurance claim would be impractical as the value of the item is £2 less than the Council’s excess. The residents have replaced the mirror and the Council have agreed to pay for the cost of this.

7. Recycling: Cllr Eakins expressed concern that recycling facilities for less common items such as waxed paper drinks cartons and batteries were offered only at larger tips such as the one in Hexham, and hence not readily accessible to people who do not drive. Cllr Reid suggested that he and Cllr Eakins form a working party to look into recycling from a wider perspective. This was agreed. JE/MR

8. NALC County Committee: The Clerk raised the matter of re-election to the County Committee. The benefits of being on that committee were briefly summarised by the Clerk for the Council members, including the usefulness of direct contact between the Council and the County Council. Anything decided is always reported back to the Parish Council and to the East Tynedale Forum. It was noted that there were few representatives from the west Tynedale area despite efforts to recruit more. The work load is not onerous and the costs are low, being mileage only. It was agreed the Clerk be nominated again. MA

9. Planning:

20100381 Conservatory, The Granary, Riding Grange Conditional permission
20100386 Listed, satellite dish at Shepherd’s Dene Consent given
20100399 Replacement building at Freshfield, Sandy Bank Conditional permission
20100537 Extension, Denton House Conditional permission

10. Correspondence:

a) General – including correspondence about the Street Traders licensing consultation which has provoked much discussion amongst Parish and Town Councils.

b) Response from Standards Board: Following a complaint made about Cllr Reid and the result of the investigation, he made the following statement, which he was also submitting to the Hexham Courant:

“On 30th October 2009 Mr Brian Young made a formal written complaint to the Standards Board that at the Parish Council (PC) meeting of 12th October Councillor Malcolm Reid had failed to treat him with respect and had conducted himself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his Office or Authority into disrepute.

After a 10 month investigation in which the County Investigating Officer interviewed and took statements from 12 people present and produced a 176 page report including appendices, the Standards Sub-committee concluded that there was no evidence that the officer, Cllr Malcolm Reid, had been guilty of the conduct complained of, and that there was no failure to comply with the Code by the Member. This is published on page 35 of this week’s Courant.( 10th September)

The PC has sought the cost of this inquiry through a Freedom of Information request but I understand that the costs cannot be separated out. The public has to draw its own conclusions.

This is the tip of the iceberg in the cost of complaints made by 3 individuals in this Parish working together. The PC has no redress. The inquiry is not empowered to report on Mr Young’s conduct. Anyone wishing to pursue legal redress against defamation has to be prepared to put up around £50,000 for this. The only other avenue we have is to inform the public as to what is going on, and what the public is paying for. The complainers are well aware of their cost to council tax payers.

The PC needs new members but people have been discouraged from standing when they know that we have serial complainers. I call on the complainers to restrict themselves to constructive criticism, which is welcomed, and hope that we are about to enter a new era of more constructive engagement and that parishioners will come forward to serve on the Parish Council.”

Cllr Dale explained that the costs were inevitably high because of the solicitor’s time involved but the nature of the investigation is such that the costs of the individual complaint cannot be isolated easily.

11. Finance:

a) Budgetary review: The financial statement and receipts were accepted. All categories were currently within budget.

b) The following payments were authorised:

M F Anderton – Salary/Aug – £420.36
M F Anderton – Expenses/June, July and August – £246.98
ROSPA – playpark inspection – £81.08
Viking (Stationery) – £139.11
VHT – rent – £33.00
Northumbrian Water – £24.23
BDO Audit fee, 09/10 Accounts – £334.88
Ward Hadaway, deed of covenant release – £881.25
Ward Hadaway, fees for last 18 months, general – £3,475.75

c) The Council agreed to accept the Audited Annual return. There were no significant comments

d) Release of Covenant: The recent release of a Covenant was under the old Covenants Policy because the original application had been made when the old policy was still in force. The decision was made after legal advice had been taken. Mrs Stephenson disagreed with the Council’s decision on this point and subsequently resigned. Having obtained permission from the homeowner, the Council has permission to state that the release refers to Grovefield.

e): Reserve accounts: Because of the very low rate of interest, it was agreed to look at alternatives for the savings account that might offer a better return. As the Clerk would be attending the SLCC National Conference in October where a number of banks would be exhibiting, it was also agreed to leave the matter until then although any suitable suggestions from other Clerks would be considered as well.. It was also noted that the Bank of Ireland is in the process of setting up its’ UK accounts as Bank of Ireland (UK) Ltd so that the security of funds is guaranteed under UK law.

12. Minor matters:

A representative to attend the joint meeting of the NCC and parish and town councils on 12th October is needed;

There is a problem with trees overhanging the main road near the railway bridge. Cllr Reid has not yet been able to see the householder. He will try again. They have also deposited rubbish in public view but on private land; MR

The future of the East Tynedale Forum was briefly mentioned. It seems likely the funding will not continue;

The Chairman had authorised (under the Council’s financial regulations) the resurfacing and line painting on the bridge in Millfield Road as no-one was around for consultation during the holidays; the Council accepted that a survey of the bridge should be carried out; JM

Councillors are preparing a statement on Millfield Road to go to the public as there are a number of misconceptions in circulation which need correcting;

Letters of thanks would be sent to Mrs Stephenson and of good wishes to the Vicar, who is moving;

Cllr Dale had been in touch with the Fire Brigade who were concerned about the letter that had appeared in the Hexham Courant after the bridge width was reduced. They confirmed that the NRFS appliance mentioned in that letter as responding to a non-emergency incident was, in fact, undertaking an on-scene assessment in response to look at alternative routes, note the addresses of properties affected, offering Home Risk assessment to those properties affected.

The meeting closed at 9.15pm.

Parish Council Minutes June 2010

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council held on 21st June 2010 in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall at 7.45pm

Present: Councillors Reid, Dunhill, Eakins, Heslop and Stephenson. Also present were Cllr Anne Dale, 3 members of the public and one member of the press.

1. Apologies: Cllr Mills

2. Minutes of last meeting: These were agreed as a true record.

3. Matters arising: a) Clean Up day: 10 people took part with some others cleaning up their own frontages. Cllr Stephenson was thanked for her work in organising.

b) Spinney: A circular path has been mown and Cllr Reid has arranged for wood chippings to go on the path. There was discussion about putting a layer of specialised pervious material under the chips at a small cost and it was agreed to do this. MR It was suggested that a small plaque be placed on the gate of the Spinney, noting the original donors and that it is open for members of the public to walk through. The costs of such a plaque would be brought to a future meeting. Clerk

c) TPOs: Cllr Dale had raised the matter again at the Development committee meeting and the response indicated that Parish and Town Councils should be consulted on all TPOs. It is not expected to read about the matter in the Hexham Courant. Cllr Dale would check on the matter again. ADe

d) Potholes: further potholes in Sandy Bank, and on the pavement there, have been repaired.

e) Flashing road sign: Cllr Dale had followed up on this with Stefan Bell from Highways and he had given his opinion that such a sign would not be of any significant value. It might be that the best way forward is to ask the homeowners on either side of the Nick to consider changing the access to the Nick by adjusting the edges of their land. This should be done in consultation with the Highways department and Cllr Dale agreed to continue liaising with the Residents Association on this matter. ADe

f) Northumbrian water: Northumbrian Water had both telephoned and written that in their view the water pipe under the bridge in Millfield Road was a low risk and would not be repaired soon. It was agreed to write again to tell them of imminent work on the bridge which might affect the risk and ask them to reconsider the matter. Clerk

g) VHT committee: Cllr Heslop agreed to continue to represent the Council on the VHT Management committee and noted that he had attended the recent meeting.

g) Millrace Gardens: Cllr Reid had received a request from the Gardeners to restore a downcomer from the Parish Hall to feed the water butt in the Millrace Gardens. Cllr Dale offered some funding but the request would have to go through the Village Hall trust. Mrs Shepherd agreed.

h) Himalayan Balsam: There was discussion on the effect of clearing the Balsam after the talk on bees at the APM. Cllr Heslop said the matter had already been agreed. Cllr Eakins suggested that although clearing the Balsam might be detrimental to the Bee population, the effect would be minimal. Cllr Reid would put up new notices to deal with the Balsam on 25th June.

i) Handyman: Cllr Stephenson had drawn up a list of potential jobs. Cllr Heslop pointed out that some of the suggested tree and fencing work was not the Parish council’s responsibility. Care would be needed that each job was checked in this respect. Cllr Dale said that if overhanging trees were dangerous the County Council had power to remove them. The total cost of £850 plus expenses was not budgeted but could readily be met from expected surpluses under other headings. It was agreed to try the scheme for a year. A simple contract would be drawn up and the insurance documents supplied by the handyman would be checked. Cllr Stephenson agreed to supervise the work and check that the jobs done are the necessary ones. Clerk/LS

j) Weir: Cllr Reid had contacted the Environment Agency engineer for advice on the best of three options: to leave the weir alone; to improve it spending what could be a lot of money; or to reduce the height of the weir with the subsequent consequences for the river downstream. No work can be carried out until May – September next year, but the decision to proceed must be made this year. It was agreed to ask that the Parish news include an item on the weir so that members of the public could express their views on it.

A quote for major repairs to the Weir bridge would be sought. Clerk/MR

k) Dog waste: The County Council has now put out a discussion document which seeks to introduce a number of standard bye-laws on dog waste.

4. Covenant Policy: The two final parts of the Policy which had needed reviewing were ready to be ratified: change of use and Valuations. Cllr Reid proposed the changes; Cllr Eakins seconded them. Cllr Stephenson declared an interest. There were three in favour and one abstention. Subject to a two word change in one sentence the new Policy would be included on the website.

5. Correspondence:

a) General

b) Letter from First School: This concerned a 20mph speed limit past the school being put in place to improve safety.

Cllr Stephenson queried the time it took for some correspondence to circulate all Councillors. Some suggestions were to list all items of correspondence either on the Agenda, inside the circulation file or for the Chair/ Vice-Chair to highlight any matters. To be considered.

6. Finance:

a) Budgetary review: The financial statement and receipts were accepted. All categories were within budget except for the insurance which would go only a few pounds more over the limit. It was agreed that including last year’s year-to-date expenditure on each current month’s spreadsheet would be useful. Cllr Eakins would look into this. JE

b) The following payments were authorised:

M F Anderton – Salary/May – £420.36
M F Anderton – Expenses/May – £104.67
NALC Annual subs. – £162.51
VOA/valuation – £399.50
P Basnett/internal audit – £93.20
Northumbrian Water – £17.73
Wendy robe/planters – £38.00
VOA/valuation – £352.50
M F Anderton – Salary/June – £420.36
M F Anderton – Salary/July – £420.36
RM Methodist Church – £100.00

c) Donations: Cllr Eakins reviewed the list of requests and it was agreed after some discussion to give £50 each to the following organisations: Tynedale Hospice at Home, West Northumberland CAB, Community Action Northumberland, GNAir Ambulance, Mencap, Victim Support, Age Concern Northumberland, Core Music, Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Northumberland Theatre Company. It was also agreed to sponsor a beehive for the First School.

7. Minor matters:

Bank of Ireland: concerns were expressed about the security of the funds in the Bank of Ireland accounts. These had been guaranteed through Bank of England warranties and the accounts were set up through NALC. The Clerk would check the ratings however and also query the poor rate of interest;

A request had been made to move the dog-waste bin from its’ place at the entrance to the Parish Hall to the junction of Millfield Road and the A695. This would be looked at;

Complaints had been received of rubbish left by smokers from Wentworth Grange. A letter of concern would be sent to the owners of the Grange;

Cllr Heslop suggested moving the Council meetings to the Millenium Hall because of poor bookings there. It was noted that Mondays there are busy and any other day of the week the Council would not have the advice available from Cllr Dale;

Cllr Heslop also asked if the Council would contribute to the Village Day on the 4th September. It was felt that individuals should contribute if they wished.;

Cllr Dunhill suggested that two more traffic counts should be held and he would liaise with other councillors on the matter;

The date of the next meeting will be September 13th.

Confidential matters: Pursuant to section 1(2) of the public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 it is resolved that, because of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, the public and press leave the meeting during consideration of these items.

Meeting closed at 9.40pm

Annual Parish Meeting 2010 Minutes

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Annual parish meeting, held at 7.30pm in the Millennium Hall, Church Lane on 20th May 2010.

Present: Cllrs Mill, Reid, Eakins, Heslop, Dunhill and Stephenson. County Councillor Anne Dale was in attendance with 14 members of the public and a member of the Press. Also in attendance for part of the meeting was Mrs Jen Stephenson, Head Teacher and Mr Colin Weightman MBE and Mr David Pearce of the Hexham Beekeeper’s Society who gave the first presentation.

1. Mr Pearce gave a detailed presentation on the life cycle of the Bee, assisted by Cllr Stephenson on the computer. He gave an overview of the life cycle, the long history from prehistoric times, the many uses of beeswax in healing and he explained how the bees and the hives work. He also explained the problems recently suffered by Bee colonies, particularly relating to the Varoa mite which is wiping out whole colonies of bees throughout the country, having started in the south of England. It was introduced in 1992 and reached Northumberland in 1997. He gave details of bee friendly plants which are essential to the pollination cycle and the future of the food chain. Some of the species mentioned are being looked at for inclusion in the Spinney. One of the plants gives cause for the Parish Council to reconsider matters as Himalayan Balsam is recommended as being very beneficial to Bees, bearing in mind the vast numbers wiped out in the last three years in particular. Cllr Mills thanked the speakers for their attendance and interesting presentation.

2. The minutes of the 2009 APM were agreed as a true record.

3. Broomhaugh & Riding First School Report: There are 61 children on the roll at present with 17 coming in the summer with only 13 being lost to the Middle School. Staff illness has given problems at the beginning of last year with frequent supply teachers. This is now over and the school is running well. The school cook also retired after 30 years and although there were problems finding a suitable replacement, a good cook is now in post. There is more equipment in the school grounds and more teaching is done outside when practicable. The curriculum is undergoing changes, which are temporarily halted owing to the change of Government, which is working to encourage them to think for themselves. There are still many after school activities including football sponsored by Newcastle United FC Community football. The Squirrels Club is still going from strength to strength with many volunteers helping keep it open from 8.00 in the morning to 5.45 in the afternoon. Just under 50% of the children are from the village which does cause traffic problems at the beginning and end of the school day. The school is trying to encourage car sharing and for people resident in the village to walk to school. Many of those from out of the village participate in school activities and the school remains grateful to parents and to the parish council for their continuing support.

4. Chairman’s report: The Chairman, Cllr Mills, began by thanking Fred Tulip for his hard work in the previous two years, following his retirement from the Council for personal reasons. The Covenants Policy, redeveloped following advice from the District Auditors and begun under Cllr Tulip’s chairmanship, was now in the public domain. It is not yet quite complete as points still arise which need to be include in the final version. The subject of the Weir has come up recently as the sides are being undermined. There are a number of choices to make and a lot of money has already been spent on it in the past. The options will be investigated further. Allied to this, fallen trees are causing a problem: not when they fall on the amenity land but when they fall in the Burn, disrupting the flow of water. Himalayan Balsam is deemed to be a problem in the village and a removal party is being organised by Cllr Reid to take it on. It may be that this might need to be reconsidered following the earlier talk on Bees. Japanese Knotweed continues to grow and is still a problem. It has been found on land over 100 yards away from where it was being treated near the tennis courts which demonstrates how easy it can be to spread it. The council will continue to monitor the situation. There had been a request from a member of the public for a road sign to indicate Broomhaugh at the east end of the village. Unfortunately, as this would entail changing signage to quite a long way out of the village at the Council’s expense, this was deemed too expensive to follow through.

A number of recurring issues with roads have been looked at: there are now new safety mirrors opposite Wentworth Grange at Broomhaugh and at Hollin Hill. Pot holes have been repaired – to some extent. The more serious ones have had more major surgery. Solutions to slowing down the traffic coming to the A695 from the Slaley road, where it intersects with the Nick, are being looked at. The Council is considering one option of placing interactive solar powered speed warning signs. The details are being evaluated. A pedestrian crossing is still thought necessary and the Council has recently undertaken its own traffic survey to provide figures to the County Council. The Chairman also mentioned the recent attempts to have Millfield Road adopted, following significant input over some years by both the Parish Council and the County Council. The final solution was rejected by the frontagers and the matter will not be revisited by the County Council in the near future. The Play park continues to be monitored and a mole infestation was partially removed at some expense. The Spinney committee have met and put forward proposal to open up a walking footpath , in a circular route through the Spinney. The Council are also trying to ensure that weedkillers are not used in grass cutting by the County Council where it can cause damage to further growth. It is acceptable only against concrete or brick for example. Allied to this there will be a Clean Up day on the 19th June. Cllr Stephenson is helping organise this.

Finally, the perennial subject of dog mess came up at the recent Council meeting and has coincided with a consultation from the County Council about making 4 byelaws against the matter uniform across the County.

5. County Cllr Dale’s report: Cllr Dale reported that the first full year of the new authority had seen many changes. A senior management review had seen 6 senior directors put in place and the Parish and Town Councils being asked to take over many of the services that the District Councils used to perform. It has been difficult getting things done as people change from one day to the next when ringing about a problem. Some of the matters she has dealt with in the last year include: gritting of roads, salt bins, potholes, dropped kerbs, sewage problems, speeding on the A695 after the speed camera by calling out the police with a radar gun, fly tipping, litter, gully maintenance, planning and dog fouling. At the County Council, Cllr Dale is Chair of Audit so has oversight of all aspects of matters at County Hall. Much is related to performance management which is not high enough at present. She can provide some money towards capital projects although the future of that sum is not guaranteed with the current economic climate.

6. Mrs Linda Shepherd, Chair of the Village Hall Trust, gave the following report:

The past year has been momentous for the Trust. In June 2009, we closed the Parish Hall for work to begin on our new extension. We were given back the Hall on January 11th and held a Coffee Morning to mark the occasion on January 12th. In the meantime, demand for the Millennium Hall was huge and some organisations went outside the Village to keep up their activities.

Thanks must go to everyone for their patience – the job over-ran by a good six weeks but I hope you agree that it has been worth it! Eric Rosby and his men deserve a thank you too – the job was done at cost.

As well as now having a Hall which is accessible to disabled people and therefore fulfilling legal requirements, we have a super foyer which is being used as a Café three times each week which is generating income for the Halls. The Supper Room, Kitchen and Main Hall have been refurbished and look lovely.

The Millennium Hall is being used primarily by Pre School – seven sessions each week – and also by three other groups which do not meet every week.

The Parish Hall is used much more, demand is huge and the Bookings Secretary has a task trying to accommodate everyone. We have three weddings this summer – one of which is being catered for by the Dotty Cooks. There is a new Photographic Society, the Community Education Group based at the High School in Hexham are using the Hall for Pilates and the Bridge Club is hoping to use the Hall on Friday afternoons. We still have a few daytime sessions free and weekends are often available for bookings.

The flat has a tenant and the rent pays for our Caretaker who I wish to thank for her dedication. Val works hard and is a leading light in the success of the Coffee Shop and, Alan, her husband, is doing a lot in the garden and regularly picks up the paintbrush. In four months, the Coffee Shop has made almost £1,000 for the Trust and if you have popped in, I am sure you will agree that it gives much more than money to the Village.

Renting out the flat saves the Village Hall Trust money – we no longer pay electricity, gas, water, telephone and Community charge bills thanks to Pam Pryor for managing the tenancy.

We used the Probation Service who supply workers on Community Service to decorate the flat prior to its occupation and they are returning soon to paint the exterior of both Halls.

From April last year, the Dotty Cooks have raised £1,870 for the funds – this does not include catering for events like the Craft Fair which raised over £3,000.

We have had donations from several Hall users (but not all). Tiny clubs like Badminton and The Get Dancing Group have held events which raised in excess of £200 each. The Bridge Club, who do not even use the Hall, have given us almost £700 and Judith Anderson’s wonderful ‘Riding Mill’s Got Talent’ concerts raised over £800.

The Trust is extremely grateful to Councillor Anne Dale who has procured funds for us and the Parish Council for your generosity and support which we hope is ongoing!

All I can say, as Chairman of the Village Hall Trust, is a huge thank you to all who have helped us over the last, sometimes difficult, year. I hope that our Halls continue to fulfil the needs of the community.

7. The financial statement was presented for information.

8. Millfield Road: As the result of a letter being put through letterboxes across the village concerning Millfield Road, the Chairman allowed further discussion on the matter. The letter writers felt the majority of the village were unaware of the problems associated with Millfield Road. It was pointed out that the whole village had had matters explained when a previous attempt, five years ago, to get the road adopted, had been made. There was quite a lot of discussion on the matter which essentially covered points raised at many meetings already in the past. The Chairman allowed the matter to run for awhile before drawing it to a close.

With no further business under AOB, the meeting closed at 9.45pm after the Chairman thanked everyone for attending.

Parish Council Minutes May 2010

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council and AGM held on 10th May 2010 in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall at 7.45pm

Present: Councillors Mills, Reid, Dunhill, Eakins and Stephenson. Also present were Cllr Anne Dale, 8 members of the public and one member of the press.

1. Apologies: Cllr Heslop

2. Approval of Standing Orders: Agreed

3. Election of Officers: Chair: Cllr Mills was proposed by Cllr Reid and seconded by Cllr Dunhill. Approved

Vice Chair: Cllr Reid was proposed and agreed by all
Planning subcommittee: Agreed to continue as Cllrs Dunhill and Mills.
VHT: this was deferred until a later date when Cllr Heslop would be asked if he will continue in this role.

4. Minutes of last meeting: These were agreed as a true record.

5. Matters arising: a) Grass cutting: Although grass cutting in the village had been approved for this year, East Tynedale Forum were considering plans for next year. Cllr Dunhill agreed to ask about this. Cllr Reid asked about the use of weedkiller near living plants as apparently the previous request was being ignored.

b) TPOs: Cllr Dale had asked three months ago but applications were still not being forwarded for consultation. She would ask again. ADe

c) Potholes: A number of potholes have been filled but not very well. A letter from the Sandy Bank Residents Association had been sent to David Laux of County Council Highways regarding the junction of the Slaley Road and the A695.

d) Himalayan Balsam: This is growing slowly. Cllr Reid will put up repeat notices for volunteers to help in destroying it when it grows higher. MR

e) Clean Up Day: The 19th June was fixed for the village clean up day – a week before the Village day. People would be asked to clean their own frontages. Cllr Stephenson agreed to lead the clean up. LS

f) Website: Cllr Eakins explained that Blogs and forums were undesirable as they could not be sufficiently monitored. Dave Porter is considering migrating our website to a content management system in the future – this would make it easier to update. Updating of information is difficult as village societies do not keep contact details up to date.

g) Moles: At least one mole is still active. The state of the Playpark will continue to be monitored.

h) Spinney: Cllr Reid reported as follows: Following the clearing of the spinney on 26th September 2009, parishioners were invited to put their names forward for planning the Spinney. Alma Bundick, Kevin Charman, Ros Charman and Malcolm Reid volunteered. They have met on three occasions – for initial ideas, for a site visit and to put suggestions to those whose properties overlook the Spinney. There was broad agreement as follows: the character would be between managed and wild; it would provide a linkage to surrounding woodland for wildlife; it would be a place of tranquillity with a circular woodland walk which would involve moving a very small number of trees. The Spinney would be allowed to develop naturally; there would be no change to access for the time being, but consideration of alternative access and /or disabled access may arise in the future. Cllr Reid will approach NEDL for used wood chips to lay to mark out the path. MR

i) Church Lane sign: Cllr Dale had asked for a replacement. A ‘Broomhaugh & Riding’ sign to replace the existing Riding Mill sign had also been requested by a parishioner, but the cost of this, which would fall on the Parish, would be prohibitive as all road signs in the near area would need to be changed. Cllr Stephenson agreed to explain this to the parishioner who had made the request. LS

6. Traffic matters raised by Sandy Bank RA: this links into the item on the Parish Plan. The main problem is where the Nick joins the road from Slaley and the A695. There have been near misses and there consultation with Alan Bawn from the NCC established that re-alignment of the junction could cost in excess of £50,000. Another option is to put a flashing radar-controlled warning sign in the area. Cllr Stephenson has talked with Mr Stefan Bell from the Highways department about this. A sign would have to be erected within the 30mph zone; the cost could be as low as £3200 and the manufacturer could erect the sign, subject to conforming to the requirements of the County Council. It was agreed this was a good idea in principle but the details should be checked out. The possibility of putting a similar sign at the other end of the village should also be considered. The other matter raised was increased dog fouling. It was suggested that reminders about dog owners duties could go in the Parish News and on the website. (Since the meeting, the County Council have advised that a consultation on the issue is to take place which will tighten local laws).

7. Parish Plan: The two Working parties are looking at several other issues. The 20mph speed limit on side roads is a non-starter as most of the roads are cul-de-sacs. The only place likely to be considered is outside the school and the Parish was advised to add the matter to the next Annual Local Transport plan to place the costs with the County. Cllr Eakins also mentioned give way lines at the junction at the top of Millfield Road, Church Lane and Meadow Park. A traffic census is to be carried out by the Parish Council in the next few days to collect evidence of the need for a pedestrian crossing.

8. Trees, Weir and Odd Job Man: It was agreed to proceed with removing fallen trees from the Marchburn. Cllr Eakins wanted to know which trees were actually included in the quote. It would be sensible to remove any which were likely to be carried downstream in future flood. It was agreed to go ahead and Cllr Stephenson would contact the tree surgeons.

The necessity of repairing the weir was discussed as a large sum of money has already been spent on it. It was agreed to investigate this more thoroughly and Cllr Reid would talk to the Tyne Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency to investigate the long term implications especially if it is decided to do no further work.

With respect to an odd- job man, Cllr Stephenson suggested a year’s contract for 4 hours per month at £70 per month. Points discussed included the type of work proposed, the number of jobs throughout a year and if the potential contractor had insurance. Time sheets and an audit trail would be necessary. It was agreed to try the arrangement for a year following further investigation. Councillors to email LS with suggestions for jobs he could do. ALL

9. Planning:

20091040 Extension, Briarlea, Marchburn Lane. Conditional permission
20091053 Pitched roof, Ash Lee, Church Lane. Conditional permission

10. Correspondence: a) general

11. Finance:

a) The financial statement and receipts were accepted.

b) The following payments were authorised:

M F Anderton Salary/Mar – £407.74
MF Anderton Expenses/Mar – £80.70
ATAC (moles) – £110.00
Clerks Direct/subs – £11.00
MF Anderton Salary/Apr – £420.36
MF Anderton Expenses/Apr – £55.71
Richardsons/trees – £47.00
Insurance premium – £2,320.42
VHT/rent – £22.00
Hexham Courant APM ad. (to MFA) – £38.48
VHT – Annual Grant/S.137 – £2,000.00

c) The above grant to the VHT was approved.

d) The 2009/2010 Annual accounts were approved

e) The annual governance statement, as appended to the minutes in full detail, was approved.

f) The Chairman was approved as a new signatory to the bank accounts, following the resignation of Fred Tulip. Cllr Dunhill and the Clerk continue as signatories.

g) It was agreed that the Clerk would present the accounts as approved by council at the Annual Parish meeting. A more detailed analysis of annual income and expenditure based on the monthly spreadsheets would be available for use next year.

12. Minor matters:

It was agreed to have the talk on Bees at the beginning of the APM meeting;

Some Japanese Knotweed had been found near the Tennis Club;

A Broadband report has been forwarded to BT and the County Council for consideration;

Northumbrian Water will repair the pipe under the bridge in Millfield Road between April 2011 and April 2012.It was agreed the Clerk would write to Northumbrian Water expressing disappointment at the delay as the first complaint was made in November 2008.

It was agreed to invite Mr Downs and Mr Gibson, who had raised points about the width of the narrowed Millfield Road bridge.

it was agreed to change the date of the next Parish Council meeting to the 21st June and to cancel the July meeting.

13. Confidential matters: Pursuant to section 1(2) of the public Bodies ( Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 it is resolved that, because of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, the public and press leave the meeting during consideration of these items.

Meeting closed at 9.35pm

Parish Council Minutes March 2010

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council held on 8th March 2010 in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall at 7.45pm

Present: Councillors Tulip, Mills, Reid, Dunhill, Eakins, Heslop and Stephenson.

Also present were Cllr Anne Dale, 10 members of the public (most who left after the item on Millfield Road). PC Sharon Lowden was in attendance for most of the meeting. She gave a brief presentation about the changes in local coverage and said that she would be willing to hold surgeries in the Parish Hall. This kind offer was accepted.

1. Apologies: None

2. Minutes of last meeting: These were agreed as a true record.

3. Matters arising: a) Grass cutting at Broomhaugh: Mr Alan Thompson had agreed to continue doing the grass cutting round the planters at the Broomhaugh end of the village. He was thanked for his efforts.

b) Annual Parish Meeting: this was confirmed as 20th May in the Millennium Hall at 7.30pm. Speakers from the Hexham Beekeepers Association will give a talk.

c) TPOs: Cllr Dale had talked to the Planning department and they promised that TPOs would be forwarded to Councillors for consideration in future.

d) Potholes: some of the repairs had been done, but rather poorly and the Highways Authority are way behind. The ones just before Farnley Gate have been done, as a result of submissions to

e) Cllr Stephenson raised the matter of a letter from a member of the public in which she felt the first paragraph specifically was an attack on her integrity on this matter; to quote: “I note your comments concerning the participation of a parish councillor who is a resident and property owner in this road. Whereas this councillor has, on some occasions, declared a personal interest in this matter and has then withdrawn from discussion of it, I feel it appropriate to record that her personal discretion has not extended beyond the confines of council meetings. Over the past few months, when discussions of this matter have been an ongoing topic on the parish council agenda, this councillor has seen fit to approach a number of the road’s residents and made strenuous efforts to coerce them into accepting the parish council’s financial terms for securing the road’s adoption. Her reported comments to these residents seem to reveal that, in this matter, she has acted with the full knowledge and perhaps the support of, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman. I would be interested to have your views on the propriety of this conduct”. Cllr Stephenson went on to say that since receiving this letter she had visited 20 of the 22 houseowners in Millfield Road. She did not visit the writer of the letter and one other resident. Of the 20 houseowners she had visited, not one had thought that Cllr Stephenson had attempted to coerce them in any way whatsoever. She asked that the matter be referred to our solicitors, with a request that the writer of the letter be asked to substantiate these allegations. However, in conjunction with the comments also made by Cllr Reid: “This PC has a history of councillors only serving for short periods. Now that I have been on the council for 2 years and acting Chair for a short period, it is quite apparent to me why this has been happening. Defamatory and demonstrably untrue statements are regularly made about councillors to third parties by a very small number of parishioners with apparent impunity. Normal standards of courtesy are not observed. We have a responsibility to bring the Council to full strength so that it can fulfil its functions well by creating a climate in which parishioners wish to serve, so we need to address this vexatious behaviour. We need to establish that high standards of conduct are expected of all members of the community – not just councillors. I request agreement of the Council for legal advice to be sought about some recent examples. I suggest that the cost of seeking legal advice will be money well spent.” After some discussion, it was agreed by the Council to forward the letters to Wardhadaway solicitors asking for advice from their litigation department.

4. Millfield Road: the request forms had been returned to the Legal Services department at County Hall and Mr Rickitt sent the following letter: “ My analysis is : Option 1 ( £2000 contribution) – six; Option 2 – other contribution ( less than £2000) – two; Option 3 – No contribution – Ten.”

(There were three non-returns and the Parish Council and VHT are to be added to the first option. One further late addition to Option 1 was received in the post and forwarded). “Please let me know whether the Parish Council intend to proceed with the works in the light of this outcome.

I have spoken to my colleagues in the Highways & Transport Service and, if you decide not to proceed with the works, then we will withdraw the estimated figures. In addition I must make it clear that is highly unlikely that the County Council will devote resources in the future towards issues concerning the adoption of Millfield Road or its state of repair unless there are pressing safety reasons for us to do so.”

Having received what is essentially a no vote, the Parish Council reiterated its earlier resolutions: that the parish council will implement the installation of the turning head beside the Parish Hall, bridge works to reduce to 3 tonnes; and the Parish Hall car park. The Parish Council also re-iterated that the upkeep of Millfield Road remains with the frontagers. The Parish Council formally rescinded the resolution of December 2004 and relinquished their temporary adoption of insurance liability for Millfield Road with immediate effect.

Cllr Dale pointed out that the County had put a lot of time and effort over the last 5 years on this matter. Cllr Tulip noted that he hoped that in the future, the residents of Millfield Road would come forward to address the issues.

5. Parish Plan: Cllrs Eakins and Reid had been through the existing Parish Plan to identify the outstanding issues which should be looked at further. Of the three noted, a pedestrian crossing, a 20mph speed limit on side roads in the village and more parking outside the village shop, the first two were suggested for ongoing work. It was suggested that a working group for each issue be set up with at least one Councillor on each. A village wide perspective would be taken and each issue would be tackled by looking at the current relevance of the issues; an in-depth look at any work that has been done on the matters to date would be reviewed; and possible solutions with or without sources of funding would be looked at. Volunteers were asked for and Cllr Dale suggested that Alan Bawn of the County Council be involved in both issues. Cllr Tulip already holds a lot of paperwork which can be forwarded to the working groups. Cllr Dunhill agreed to lead on the crossing working group with Cllr Reid also expressing interest. Cllrs Stephenson and Heslop indicated they would work on the speed limit one. Cllr Eakins would coordinate the work of the groups.

6. Himalayan Balsam: Cllr Reid suggested the Parish Council need a group of volunteers to work on this. Although the Parish Council could endorse the treatment of the Himalayan Balsam, it was agreed that village volunteers should do the work. Permission of the landowners (Styford Estates) would be needed (MA) and the correct timing of the methodology would be chased up with the Tyne Rivers Trust who were advising on the issue. A call for volunteers could go into the Parish news and also be asked for at the meeting with Tyne Rivers Trust to be held later in the week in the Parish Hall.

7. April meeting: because of the timing of Easter, it was agreed to cancel the April meeting. Cllr Tulip has suggested a change to Parish Council meetings, for fewer in total. It was agreed to consider this issue at a later date.

8. Correspondence: a) general

9. Finance:

a) Approvals: subject to a number of minor amendments the financial Regulations, the asset List and the Risk Assesment were approved for the year 2009/2010.

b) The audited accounts for 2008/2009 had been received from BDO and were accepted by the Parish Council. The comments made in the report re timing of approvals and S.137 donations were also accepted. With respect to the comments on accurate budgeting, the Council felt that the comments were unjustified in view of the nature of complaints that had been made to the Auditors. The Clerk would write to them, enclosing the type of budgeting that now occurs.

c) The financial statement and receipts were accepted.

d) The following payments were authorised:

M F Anderton Salary/Feb – £407.74
M F Anderton Expenses/Feb – £36.06
BDO Audit – £614.53
RM Allot. Assn./Insurance – £57.75
T Smith/fence at weir – £360.73
NCC/grass cutting – £1,286.47
Northumbria Water – £8.65
Radio Pages/website – £284.08

e) Grass cutting quote: the quote received from the County Council was for only £13 more than this year and it was agreed to accept this. Included in the letter would be the request by the Parish Council to use weedkillers in as few areas in the village as possible.

f) The S.137 donations were again deferred owing to the tightness of funding until the precept was credited to the account.

10. Minor matters:

Cllr Dunhill suggested a clean- up day. The state of the village was not too bad but a clean up would be desirable. Cllr Stephenson expressed reservations concerning the health & safety aspects. It was agreed to select a date at the May meeting for early in June.

Cllr Dale reiterated there was funding available for the School safety route plan as part of the possible speed limit restriction. Cllr Stephenson suggested talking with the Chair of school Governors.

Some more dropped kerbs would appear in the village .

The school warning sign was often hidden by vehicles and it was agreed to put up notices to try and prevent this.

The Church Lane road sign needed replacing and Cllr Dale agreed to follow up on that.

It was noted the bill for the upkeep of the website did not include all the work for the church at this time. A new management system for the site was being considered which would be easier.

Moles were a problem again in the Play Park. It was agreed to look into this ( this has subsequently been dealt with).

Cllr Tulip announced he would be resigning from the Council, for personal reasons, with immediate effect. On behalf of all Councillors, Cllr Eakins thanked him saying that he had been an excellent Chairman. As the vice- Chair will be busy for a few weeks, Cllr Mills agreed to act as Chair in the meantime.

Meeting closed at 9.10pm

Parish Council Minutes February 2010

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council held on 8th February 2010 in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall at 7.45pm

Present: Councillors Tulip, Mills, Reid, Dunhill, and Stephenson. Also present were Cllr Anne Dale, 4 members of the public and one member of the Press.
1. Apologies: Cllrs Eakins and Heslop
2. Minutes of last meeting: These were agreed as a true record, subject to one small deletion noted on the master copy.
3. Matters arising: a) Millfield Road: letters have gone out to the residents as agreed at the last meeting, drafted by Mr Stephen Rickitt from the County Council. The return date for the forms has been set as 19th February.

b) Weir: Having received a reasonable quote for the work to put a safety fence, this work is due to be undertaken as soon as the weather is suitable.

4. Planning:

20090294 Car Park/Access to Parish Hall, Millfield Road Conditional permission
20090988 Extension of planning permission for extension at Tarset House, Millfield Road Conditional permission

5. Correspondence:

a) General.

6. Finance:

The financial statement and receipts were accepted by all Councillors.

The following payments were authorised by all councillors:-

M F Anderton Salary/January – £407.74
M F Anderton Exp/December – £81.06
M F Anderton Exp/January – £15.48
NCC/Dog Bin – £314.18
VHT – rent – £33.00
Viking – £90.38

It was agreed to defer S.137 donations until the March meeting.

7. Minor matters: a) Cricket Club lease; this was being chased up in an effort to resolve matters before the start of the cricket season.

b) Broadband: rural isolation is being studied and a survey is being undertaken on behalf of the County by the East Tynedale CF. A quick response time is needed. Anecdotally there is a definite drop off in speeds on a regular basis. It was agreed to put a small request into the forthcoming Parish News to try and get some response. MFA

c) The bench at the bottom of Whiteside Bank was damaged by the County Council during the bad weather. They have agreed to replace it if necessary but are looking at a repair, at their expense, as this may suffice.

d) Potholes: Cllrs Dunhill, Stephenson and Mills mapped these and reported them to the County Council. Cllr Dale also suggested putting them into the on-line system as well which should speed up the response time.

e) Light on Broomhaugh footpath: The Clerk had met with the County representative on site. The main problem is the cost of the cabling. Other options aren’t allowable on Health & Safety grounds. It was suggested mentioning that the lights on the roundabout are linked by overhead cabling as are lights in Church Lane.

f) TPOs: Cllr Dale agreed to chase up.

g) A request for a volunteer to cut the grass round the planter at the East end of the village was also put into the Parish News; MFA

h) Annual Parish Meeting: suggested dates need to be circulated to Councillors. It was agreed to ask someone to come and talk about bees;

i) Spinney report: Cllr Reid had had several meetings with interested parties on the way to develop the spinney. Any ideas would be brought to the Council in due course.

j) The Covenants Policy is being finalised gradually.

8. Confidential Matters: Pursuant to section 1(2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, it is resolved that, because of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, the public and press leave the meeting during consideration of these items.

Cllr Stephenson asked if the session was necessary to protect the privacy of individual or situation and was assured by the Chairman that this was so.

It was so resolved and the formal part of meeting finished at 8.15pm