Parish Council Minutes December 2011

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

Broomhaugh and Riding Parish Council

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 12th December 2011 in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall.

Present: Cllrs Mills (in the Chair), Reid, Dunhill, Howe and Eakins. Also present were County Cllr. Dale and 4 members of the public.

1. Apologies: None

2. Cooption of Councillor: Eileen Carew offered herself as a Councillor and this was unanimously agreed. She joined members at the table.

3. Declaration of interests: None

4. Minutes of the previous meeting: Agreed as a true record

5. Handyman Report: This was presented by Mrs Stephenson and is available for viewing. There was discussion about the fence/hedge between the Playpark and VHT garden and the replacement of the fence prior to a new hedge being put in place. This will be considered when the quote is in and when others from the VHT and neighbouring houses have been consulted. It was agreed that the hedge be cut for now on the Play park side.

6. Matters Arising: a) Car Park: This is now complete. Planting will take place in the Spring and a small working group of Cllrs Howe and Reid, Mrs Shepherd, Alan Thomson and Mr or Mrs Steimet from the Police House will decide on trees and shrubs.

b) Weir: This is still deteriorating slowly with the bad weather. The original allocation of £3000 should be kept in the budget for next year.

c) Millfield Road bridge: There was some discussion again on the options and Cllr Reid had reservations about the possibility of a 40 tonne bridge being a viable option unless the road was upgraded and adopted as well. It was agreed that further informed discussions would take place after a meeting which was due to take place with BT Bell.

d) Replacement bench at Bobby’s: Following the generous offers from four families and groups to replace this, it had been decided to accept the offer from the family of Ben Wilson, who died aged 9. The family were in the process of selecting a bench and they had also agreed to retain the plaque from the original bench. The other families and groups had all been personally contacted and thanked for their kind offers.

e) Bus shelter: A site meeting was held with representatives from the County Council, the Clerk and Eileen Carew and Cllr Howe. Because of the location of the footpath, bus stop and the exits from the Slaley Road and the Nick, visibility is poor at the best of times and a stone shelter is out of the question. After measurement, it was agreed that there would be room for a glazed shelter by moving the footpath slightly. The total cost would be in the order of £9/10 thousand pounds. This was felt to be high when considering the strain on next year’s budget. It was agreed in principle and it was noted that as £3500 had already been included in the budget, grants could be sought to make up the difference. MA

As an adjunct, it was noted the footpath at the bus stop was in poor condition and this was referred forward to the Highways authority.

f) Parking at the Millennium Hall: the new double yellow lines process was ongoing albeit slowly

g) The fence at the Playpark: a quote is being sought for this to take to the working group

h) Celebrations: The Olympic Torch, the Jubilee and the Festival of the North east are all taking place in the next 2 years. No volunteers had responded to the plea in the Parish News to help organise events around the Torch in the village. Cllr Mills suggested finding out what the school were doing and Cllr Eakins suggested the Councillors ring a few people who might be willing to help by organising a group. Cllr Eakins would coordinate this. JM/JE/ALL

i) Street lighting at the new Car park: Cllr Dale reported that the County Council was looking at lighting on a health & safety basis. Standard lights were very expensive and the car park had been designed with additional lighting in place. It could be possible to have lower height lighting. The Clerk would make enquiries as to options. MA

j) Cllr Dale raised the issue of a request for a new grit bin near Beauclerc. She had been told this would be the responsibility of the Parish Council now but it was not part of the Charter. The Clerk would follow up on this. MA

7. Speed into village: The flashing road signs were now working but subject to a few teething problems. They were set at 34mph before registering in line with County Council Policy. Cllr Dale would forward the email explaining this. Cllr Dunhill would like to see a ‘gateway’ into the village especially at the eastern end of the village as a further deterrent to speeding motorists. Cllr Dale suggested that Dale Romney be contacted from the County Council to discuss the options and the costs that might go with such options. ADe/MA

8. Blind entrance at Wentworth Grange: Following the recent roadworks, the verge near the south bus stop had been tarmaced over having the effect of completely removing the footpath and letting people park more easily. Visibility is already very difficult at that junction. Cllr Dale was due to meet to discuss this matter and would report back. The Council felt that it should be easy to mark up the footpath properly on the tarmac. Cllr Dunhill suggested looking into the purchase of part of the adjacent field to provide car parking. MA

9. Planning: 

11/02191/LBC Listed Building consent at the Lodge, Shepherd’s Dene; this was granted under delegated powers

11/00903/FUL House at land west of Kingmead, Sandy Bank – still pending according to the Planning website

11/02202/FUL Extension at Lyndene, Millfield Road withdrawn

10. Correspondence: a) the general file contained two large consultations for Councillors to consider.

b) Vodafone Mobile Trial: this related to G3 mobiles and was to make expressions of interest through the local MP. Cllr Dale had forwarded the village as being interested in participating in the trial.

c) The Hexham Courant had asked for a short report to go into next year’s Tynedale Visitor. Cllr Dunhill agreed to do this.

11. Finance: a) The financial statement was accepted – it was in line with the budget and as expected.

b) the following payments were authorised:

Northumberland Rivers Trust (re Weir) – £800.00
MFAnderton/Salary/November/Dec. and expenses November) – £918.68
Homevend (Handyman/16) – £70.00
SLCC annual subs 2012 – £97.00
Marchburn Lane Residents Assn. (ex gratia) – £50.00
RM Cricket Club/grass cutting – £746.00
Sign & Design (keys) – £48.00
Northumbrian Water – £12.04
Debmat (car park) – £16,741.20

c) Budget and Precept: The figures were reviewed again. The footbridge over the Weir and the bus shelter could be considered over two years. Accepting a deficit budget again, the Council agreed that the Precept would be £47,000. Whilst a large increase in percentage terms, it is relatively small at the Band D level

12. Minor matters: Cllr Mills had written a short note for the Parish News referring to the vandalism and to the bench at Bobby’s.

The meeting closed at 9.59pm

Parish Council Minutes November 2011

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

Broomhaugh and Riding Parish Council

Minutes of meeting held on 14th November 2011 at 8.15pm in the Parish Hall Supper Room

Present: Cllrs Mills (Chair), Reid, Dunhill, Eakins and Howe. Cllr Dale was in attendance and 5 members of the public

1. Apologies: None

2. Declarations of interest: None

3. Minutes of the meeting of 26th September: Agreed as a true record.

4. Matters arising:

a) Tennis Club: they will meet to discuss grants on 18th November.

b) Weir: A late email from Professor Newsom indicated that some grants would be available towards the cost of work at the weir. It was suggested that the Parish Council provide some matched funding by paying for the work already done by Professor Kerr.

c) Millfield Road Bridge: During the period to May next year when work can start again, it was agreed to look at the long term implications for the bridge. Details were being sought, both on costs of potential work and for holding a referendum in the village on possible options. Following a suggestion at the last meeting that emergency vehicles could be allowed over the bridge as ‘it was like the bridge at Corbridge’, the main text of a reply from Simon Rudman, Bridges Manager at the County Council was read out by the Chair explaining why the situation at Corbridge is not analogous to that at Riding Mill.

d) It was agreed to arrange a meeting with BTBell to further discuss the longterm options. A short article about the proposals should be included in the Parish News now as leaving it till the New Year would be too late. MA

e) Speed signs: these are in place and working.

f) Parish Hall Car Park: This is now under construction.

5. Vandalism/Thefts: There has been significant damage to the Play Park and to a seat at the Weir (recently repaired). Quotes were in hand to forward to the Insurers. Cllr Dunhill reported that a bicycle and a car had also been recently stolen and it was agreed to place a brief warning into the Parish News asking people to be vigilant. MA

6. Handyman Report: Mrs Stephenson provided the regular report on the work being carried out by the Handyman. Undergrowth near the Tennis courts was encroaching on Millfeld Road and Cllr Howe agreed to look into the problem. The Clerk would check that the area was on the grass cutting list for next year. PH/MA

7. Replacement Bench: There had been a gratifying response to the invitation in the Parish News for a replacement bench outside Bobby’s shop. Four families or groups had volunteered. A suggestion of putting two benches together had been raised but the preparation work for a second bench would be expensive and it was agreed to keep to the one bench. Cllr Mills would talk to those who had offered to donate. JM

8. Bus shelter at West end of village: The Parish Council agreed in principle to placing a shelter at the west end (south side) of the A695. However, Cllr Dale suggested there might be problems with the line of sight and the adjoining roads from Slaley and the Nick. The Clerk would ask for a site visit from County Hall to evaluate the situation. MA

9. Parking at the Millennium Hall: Cllr Dunhill reported more instances of bad parking at the Hall. Nothing has been heard from County Hall about the double yellow lines since a site visit in August. Cllr Dale agreed to chase this up. ADe

10. Planning: a) Granted consent by Northumberland County Council under delegated powers:

11/01951/FUL Extension at Hazel Rigg, Millfield Road 11/01722/CCD Solar Panels at Broomhaugh First School 11/01612/FUL Extension at Jacaranda, Long Rigg. b) For consideration by NCC Development Committee: 11/00903/FUL House at land west of Kingmead, Sandybank – Decision pending c) Appeal to the Planning inspectorate: House at Grovefield – Appeal allowed d) Considered by the Parish Council: 11/02220/FUL Extension at LynDene, Millfield Road – no objections 11/02191/LBC The Lodge, Shepherd’s Dene, Listed Consent – no objections

11. Correspondence:

a) Fence round Playpark: A request had been received from the VHT that the fence round the Play Park be completed by the Parish Council for Health and Safety reasons before the VHT plant a new hedge after tidying up the ivy. It was agreed that Councillors would look at the site and the fencer would be asked for a quote before replying to the VHT. MA/Councillors

b) Network Rail: Clarification had been received from Network Rail that they were liaising with the Planning Department of County Hall to ensure the correct materials would be used when the station bridge is repaired next year.

12. Finances: a. The October statement was accepted. It was noted that there was a 10p discrepancy.

The following payments were authorised:

Darren Johnson (invoice 13) – £70.00

Northumbria Water – £15.29

Ruth Hadden – ecology survey – £200.00

Aon Insurance (additional premium for speed signs) – £59.71

Darren Johnson (invoices 14/15) – £140.00

MFAnderton (Salary/expenses/October) – £476.96

SB Tree Services ( tree at double tennis court) – £120.00

Royal British legion (S.137) Poppy wreath – £50.00

Transfer from reserves to cover Car Park payment – £7,500.00

b. Budget: A draft budget for next year’s precept was presented to councillors. There was discussion about what could be saved and what was necessary. Figures for the Weir were required; the new footbridge might have to be deferred. Councillors were asked to submit items that may have been forgotten and further thoughts in time for the next meeting when the precept would be finalised. At present, there is an increase of a third in the budget from last year which will mean a doubling of the precept. Councillors to JE/MA

13. Minor Matters:

a) Olympic torch – details as to when it will come through the village are not yet known. Cllr Reid suggested a request be placed in the Parish News inviting interest from anyone wishing to be involved with celebrations. MR

b) Mobile Library: changes are being proposed to the mobile library service. Users have been consulted separately. Points to note include a consistent venue and length of stay for visits. The council agreed that a date for the van’s visit fixed by reference to a particular day in a numbered week on the month was preferable to a date at three week intervals. There was criticism of the short time scale for consultation and the waste of postage. The Clerk would reply MA

c) The Charter between the Councils and NCC was being circulated for consultation. The Clerk would make any comments. MA

d) Notification of a meeting with NCC about Broadband issues/funding had been received.

e) The spinney – Colin Dickinson had offered probation helpers to clear the Spinney. Cllr Reid would invite him to join the Spinney Group.

f) Charles Heslop would be thanked for laying the wreath on Remembrance Sunday on behalf of the Parish Council.

The meeting closed at 10.15pm

Parish Council Minutes September 2011

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the above Parish Council meeting, held in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall on 26th September 2011 at 7.45pm

Present: Cllrs Mills, Reid, Howe, Dunhill and Eakins; County Councillor Dale; 8 members of the public and one member of the press.

1. Apologies: None.

2. Declarations of interest: None

3. Minutes of the previous meeting: Agreed

4. Tennis Club: Steve Plaskitt, the Treasurer of the Tennis Club spoke to the letter that had been sent by the Tennis club to the Council. The Club is in a healthy position financially, however the courts are in a bad state of repair and new surfaces, new fencing etc are needed to enable the club to compete with neighbouring villages’ courts. The Tennis Club is asking for support in applying for grants that would support the proposed programme of work and for suggestions for other uses for surplus grant money to enhance the facilities for the village. Turning the single court into an all purpose facility is one option. If the Club’s sinking fund is utilised, no reserve will be left for maintenance or emergencies . To do the work by the end of next year, application must be made by the end of February. The Council agreed to support the plans in principle and would like to see more research in a draft bid. Cllr Dale suggested the Club  discuss their plans with the school and the village youth community.

5. Handyman and other maintenance works in the village:Mrs Stephenson had prepared a report of the Handyman’s activities and a list of possible new work to go through the next few months, including  quotes for tree work outside his remit. The lesser of 2 quotes, for £120 was accepted – to remove an overhanging tree at the double tennis courts. It was agreed to extend the Handyman’s contract for another 12 months. MAQuotes had also been obtained for replacement cradle seats for the Junior swing in the Play Park. Cllr Dunhill would check this. The problem of saplings between the tennis court and the Play Park was to be addressed by removing the lower part of the netting from the play park fence. The return of Japanese knotweed near the footbridge to the double tennis courts was reported; Cllr Howe had discussed  this with Tyne Rivers Trust who had agreed to come next May to treat it. The Clerk would ask the Housing agency if they wished to replace the old bench at Dene Terrace. If not, it could be used to repair the others in the village. The bench below Bobby’s, which is the most used in the village, needs replacing and it was agreed that a request be placed in the Parish News inviting payment for a replacement. MA

6. Speed Signs: The proposed siting of the sign at the east of the village had created problems and a new location outside the Old Orchard had been suggested to the County Council.  A letter to nearby residents would be delivered, offering a short period of consultation. The Clerk would check with the manufacturers whether the speed settings could be altered  in winter. MA

7. Weir: This had collapsed further whilst information about grants was awaited; work must now be postponed until  next May under Environment Agency regulations. The costs of removing the Weir will be affected by the grants available but should be known before the Council’s budget is set.

8. Millfield Road Bridge: The contractors had prepared tender documents for the work to the bridge.

However, work near the Burn has had to be postponed until next May so the tenders will be timed so that remedial work can begin in May. Members of the public again raised their concern with the bollards on the bridge in case of another bad winter. A suggestion was made from the floor that since the central four beams of the bridge were capable of carrying a weight of 7.5 tons, the bollards should be moved to widen the carriageway so that emergency vehicles could use it.  Cllr Dale agreed to contact the County Highways Dept to see whether this would be allowed. She would look at the possibility of grants for small bridges as well. ADe

Cllr Eakins proposed that, during the inevitable delay in starting work, the Parish Council should bring forward its plans to consult the village on the long term options for the bridge. If these could be researched and costed before next spring, it would be possible to consult the whole village before starting any work. This was agreed. Cllr Reid pointed out that the bridge on Marchburn Lane is of similar construction although, being a cul-de-sac, it does not carry as much traffic. Cllr Dale suggested asking the County Council’s legal department to assist with the wording of the final consultation document. ALL

9. Parish Hall Car Park: Approval has been granted for the car park and a formal submission for discharge of conditions has been lodged and is awaiting approval from the Development committee. Following this approval, the Clerk would notify the contractors accordingly. MA

10. Double yellow lines: At a meeting between Cllr Dale, Cllr Dunhill, a school governor, the school head and Mr McKenna from the County Council, lines outside the school were discussed. The County agreed to monitor the situation outside the school and the school agreed to work with the parents. The results of  this monitoring exercise are awaited.  A map of the proposed changes has been prepared for broader consultation in the village.

Cllr Mills raised a concern about the lack of signage on the A695 where traffic to Wentworth Grange sees the 2 ton weight limit sign on the railway bridge only after turning off the main road. There is then nowhere for vehicles to back or turn safely. Cllr Dale agreed to look and take the matter to the County Council. ADe

11. Local Transport Plan for 12/13: Three safety matters were raised to add to the LTP for the coming year. For children from Sandy Bank crossing the A695 the egress is blind, the pavement on the south side of the road is extremely narrow and walking safely to another crossing point is difficult.

Secondly on the A68 at the cross roads for Broomley Village and Healey, the road markings are not clear for  Northbound vehicles to turn into Broomley or for Southbound vehicles to turn into Healey. There have been two bad accidents recently.

Thirdly the possibility of installing “gateways “ to the village was raised, but it was decided to discuss this first with the County Council MA

12. Bus Shelter: The County Council have received a request from a resident for a bus shelter at the stop at the West of the village at Slaley Road end. The height of the bus stop could be a problem. It was agreed to canvass residents’ views in the Parish News. MR

13. Planning: Considered by Northumberland County Council:

(a) the following were granted consent under delegated powers:

11/01347/FUL Hazel Rigg, Millfield Road, extension/conversion

11/00717/LBC Retreat House, Shepherd’s Dene – replacement roof

11/01722/CCD Solar panels at Broomhaugh First School

11/01612/FUL Extension at Jacaranda, Long Rigg

(b)11/00903/FUL House at land west of Kingmead, Sandy Bank. Referred to the Development committee

14. Correspondence: Confirmation had been received from Network rail that restorative work on the listed bridge at the station would take place in 2012. Network Rail had said they were in close contact with the local authority. This would be clarified. MA

15. Finance: a) the financial statement was noted and accepted. A budgetary heading for items of capital expenditure could usefully be added. At the moment, items such as the road signs have been coded as “maintenance”, which is not really appropriate. JE

b) The following payments were authorised:

MF Anderton – Salary July – £433.64
MF Anderton – Salary August – £433.64
MF Anderton – Expenses July – £51.14
Age UK Northumberland (s.137 donation) – £50.00
Homevend (Handyman)/12 £70.00
Buckley & Jones (new keys and repair to noticeboard) – £77.00
Alan Thompson (Petrol for grass cutting) – £6.90
L Stephenson (materials for handyman – July) – £123.10
BTBell – fee re tendering – £2,400.00
BDO – Audit fee – £510.00
VHT – rents – £60.00
MF Anderton – Salary September – £433.64
MF Anderton – Expenses Aug/September – £126.84
Viking (paper/toners) £154.31
Peter Howe – County Council fee re planning – £85.00
L Stephenson (re materials for Handyman – August) – £43.63

c) Annual Audit: the Clerk reported the completion of the Annual Audit for 2010/11 by BDO. The comments raised were noted; it was agreed to raise the Fiduciary Insurance for the following year.

16. Minor matters: It was agreed to ask Mr Heslop if he would lay the wreath at the War Memorial for Remembrance Day. MA

The Confidential item on the Agenda was not taken. The meeting closed at 10.15pm

Parish Council Minutes July 2011

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting, held on 11th July 2011 at 7.45 in the Parish Hall, Millfield Road.

Present: Cllrs Reid (Chairman), Dunhill and Eakins. Cllr Dale was present with 4 members of the public.

1. Apologies: Cllr Mills

2. Co-option of Councillor: Mr Peter Howe was unanimously co-opted onto the Council.

3. Declarations of interests: None

4. Minutes of the last meeting: all agreed as a true record.

5. Matters arising: a) Weir fence: The safety fence had been erected. Cllr Dales’ initial enquiries had suggested that Planning permission is needed for the work on the weir. The fee will be at a reduced rate of £85 as the Council is a public body. It was agreed to go ahead with this; MR

Following discussions with the Environment Agency, the specifications for the tenders have been revised to take account of a further small notch in the middle of the reduced Weir which would angle down towards the water. This will allow all sizes of fish to pass over the weir. It was suggested the tenders be split with a separate price for the small notch and a separate price for an eel run.  Cllr Reid will arrange separate site visits for three tenderers. Cllr Eakins requested that work should  not go ahead before grants are confirmed.  A possibility of the Tyne Rivers Trust doing the work with a team of specialised volunteers may be a way forward as well.

b) Road signs: The extra cost imposed by the County Council is a new charge and the company doing the work, Dambach,  had been informed the Parish Council would cover the cost. Cllr Dale offered to see if she could find the extra £300 from her allowance. The main net cost has been paid from her allowance already.

c): Double yellow lines: this has gone back to square one and a new meeting will be held with Paul McKenna from the County Council; Cllr Dunhill will lead on this as liaison. AyD

d); Car Park status: Andy Pryor has applied for additional grants for this work. Debmat, the company doing the work have been told of the delay. It was agreed however, that if nothing had been heard by the next parish council meeting, the work should go ahead; the Clerk will let Debmat know. Cllr Howe will lead on this as liaison. MA/PH

e): Cllr Dale reported that blocked drains should have been cleared now;

f): The loose utility hole/cover on the A695 near the Wentworth Grange turn has been reported. It belongs to Northumbrian Water. Cllr Dale agreed to chase this up. ADe

g) Millfield Road Bridge: tenders are being drawn up for the bridge repairs. Cllr Dunhill agreed to lead on this.

6. Handyman report: The trees overhanging the March Burn have been trimmed and the ‘Footpath’ sign atthe entrance to the Parish Hall has been relocated. The bench below Bobby’s shop has been cleaned etc. and some small jobs in the Play Park have been done. The bench may need to be replaced in the future. The Clerk will enquire of the donor what their wishes may be. MA

7. Play Park: The annual inspection has been done indicating a number of small faults, most of which Councillors were aware of. Cllr Dunhill will review it in detail.

8. Planning: Considered by Northumberland County Council: Under delegated powers, the following was refused:

11/0076 Dwelling at Grovefield

The following were granted permission:

11/0128 Certificate of lawfulness, 2 The Bungalow, Broomhaugh

11/00471/VARYCO Staward, Long Rigg

11/00695/FUL Double garage at Beauclerc Coach House

The following were considered by the Parish Council with no objections:

11/0071/LBC Listed consent to roof at Shepherd’s Dene

11/00903/FUL House on land west of Kingmead, Sandy Bank

9. Correspondence: Nothing outstanding

10. Finance:

a) The financial statement for June was accepted. Two cheques for a total of £75 had not yet been presented for clearance.

b) The following payments were authorised:

Repayment of transfer from Reserve to C/A – £5,000.00
Darren Johnson (Inv.11) – £70.00
Royal Mail, post redirect – £81.72
MF Anderton, Salary & Expenses(3.50) – £433.39
Wendy Robe (plants for planters) – £36.99
T Smith, repairs to tennis court bridge – £264.00
T Smith, safety fence at weir – £440.52
Playsafety, annual inspection – £82.80

c) S.137 donations: It was agreed to make donations of £50 to each of the following: Community Action Northumberland, Tynedale Hospice, Great North Air Ambulance. Following clarification to be sought, it was agreed in principle to donate £50 to Age UK Northumberland at the next council meeting. MA

11. Minor Matters:

a) Cllr Dunhill suggested putting one of the benches from the play park into the spinney. This was agreed in principle;

b) It was agreed to put the financial statements, including those for the last financial year, onto the web site. Cllr Eakins agreed to do this initially;

c) Cllr Reid reported that he had attended a NCC scrutiny meeting at which windfarms had been discussed and also a Planning Training meeting. The paperwork from the latter was placed in the correspondence file.

The meeting closed at 8.55pm

Date of next meeting 26th September with no meeting in October to allow for holiday commitments.

Parish Council Minutes June 2011

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting, held on 13th June 2011 at 7.45 in the Parish Hall, Millfield Road.

Present: Cllrs Mills (Chairman), Reid and Eakins. Cllr Dale was present with 7 members of the public.

1. Apologies: Cllr Dunhill

2. Declarations of interests: None

3. Minutes of the last meeting: all agreed as a true record.

4. Matters arising: a) Trees: The County Council will evaluate the state of trees on the Main Road and the horse chestnuts and will report back.b) Double yellow lines: Cllrs Mills and Dale had met with Mr McKenna from the County Council about siting the double yellow lines previously discussed. The County Council are reluctant to paint more than are necessary. None of the changes will be done without Cllr Dale offering to pay for the work. The consultation would be referred in draft form to Cllr Dale and the Parish Council to check for detail. NCC

5. Handyman report: The footpath sign has been moved and the bench at Broomhaugh has been restored. Mrs Stephenson asked the Council to consider a programme of tasks which could be considered on a regular yearly, quarterly basis for example. It could be done within the 4 hours per month agreed with the Handyman. Cllr Eakins suggested that a list be made and thanked Mrs Stephenson for her continuing work on this matter.

6. Speed Signs: The order had been placed for these and they would be ready for installation in 2-3 weeks. Cllr Dale has authorised the net cost of these to be paid out of her allowance.

7. Weir: A report had been commissioned from Peter Kerr for £800 (which the Tyne Rivers Trust may pay for). It was agreed to place it, as a draft, onto the website. It recommended a stepped notch of width 4m and depth 30 cm and a further drop of width of 3m and depth of 30 cm below that, which would have minimal silt implications. Removing the whole weir was a possibility but would be much more expensive and would cause considerable silt movement. The weir itself is safe but the walls are poor and a safety fence should be placed on the opposite side of the weir to the existing one in the interests of Health & Safety as a matter of urgency. Cllr Eakins felt that before any decision was made the relative costs of the two options need to be known and confirmation sought that gravel and silt would not be a long term problem. The report concluded that removal of the notch or whole weir would not affect any risk of downstream flooding. It was agreed the fence would be ordered and Cllr Reid would ask for specifications of the work needed so that the possibility of grants towards the main work could be explored. It was noted that the Tyne Rivers Trust could contribute financially and that the Environment Agency also have some grants. MA/MR

8. Car Park: an amended cost of just under £13,000 had been received and the variation in the Planning permission had been approved. Cllr Reid proposed and Cllr Eakins seconded the motion that the work should go ahead. This was agreed. Funding would be discussed after the next item. MA

9. Millfield Road Bridge:A quote had been received from BT Bell to draw up a specification for repairs and to supervise the tendering process and oversee the project. Following discussion the option of using a preferred contractor was not agreed to. The Council has a duty of care regarding the bridge and it was agreed to have the short term repairs done which would allow for a 5 year span in which to decide on the long term solutions. The fees for the work specification and supervision were agreed.Discussion then followed on using a loan facility from the County Council to pay for the bridge work and/or the car park. It was decided not to use this for the time being but to use reserves instead. However, it was also agreed that the Village Hall Trust would try and apply for grants from the Community Chest etc. to help with the costs of the car park. Applying for grants for the weir repairs may mean that the repairs for that cannot be completed in the window for this year. MA/MRAny long term repairs to the bridge would have to be considered by the village with three probable options of upgrading at high cost, reducing to 3 metres width or limiting to pedestrians.

10. Squirrels Club: It was noted that fund raising was being pursued successfully and that the Club was considering changes to meet parents’ requirements.

11. Tyne Valley Rail Users Group: The Parish Council agreed to become members of this organisation. MA

12. Freedom of Information Act: Cllr Eakins had collated a procedure for responding to FOIA requests. This was unanimously approved. It would be put up on the website.

13. Network Rail would be queried about the repairs on the rail bridges in the village. MA

14. Planning: Considered by Northumberland County Council: The following was permitted:

11/00456/VARYCO Changes at Riding Mill PH Car Park

The following were considered by the Parish Council with no objections:

11/00471/VARYCO Staward, Long Rigg

11/00695/FUL Beauclerc – Double garage

15. Correspondence: Previously circulated emails are to be listed only and any date – sensitive material will be highlighted.

16. Finance: a) The financial statement for May was accepted. There were no variations in the budget at this early stage of the financial year although it was agreed to write off an unpresented cheque made out to Mencap from the previous financial year.

b) The following payments were authorised:

Squirrels Club, S.137 grant – £1,000.00
Wardhadaway, annual fees 10/11 – £1,470.60
Sandy Bank RA, insurance contribution – £226.00
NALC Annual subs. – £161.82
Darren Johnson (Inv.10) – £70.00
M F Anderton, Salary/May – £433.64
M F Anderton, expense/May – £196.38
Northumbrian Water – £13.94
Dambach/speed signs – £6,639.02
Transfer from Reserve account to C/A – £5,000.00
Tyne Valley rail Users group, membership – £5.00
Linden Stephenson, materials – £12.99

c) Annual return and assets: There has been a problem with the statement of assets to the auditors, requiring a restatement based on last year’s figures. The basis of calculation for assets, taken from insurance valuations as advised by the Clerks Society, is not preferred by the auditors. A letter querying this has been sent to the Auditors and to the SLCC for them to raise with the Audit Panel.

17. Minor Matters: a) Peter Howe has volunteered to be co-opted as a councillor. He would be formally co-opted at the next meeting after reading relevant paperwork;

b) Cllr Mills suggested replacing horse chestnuts along the A695 in the gaps to celebrate the Queen’s diamond Jubilee;

c) The possibility of a lay – by at Bobby’s was suggested. This has been looked at before and the Clerk would find what paperwork was available; MA

d) Cllr Dale had noted a number of blocked drains in the village to report to the County Council;

e) The safety mirror and light at Sandy Bank have been replaced.

The meeting closed at 9.30pm

Parish Council Minutes May 2011

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council meeting and AGM, held on 9th May 2011 at 7.45 in the Parish Hall, Millfield Road.

Present: Cllrs Mills (Chairman), Reid, Eakins and Dunhill. Cllr Dale was present with 11 members of the public.

1. Apologies: None

2. Adoption of Standing Orders: The Long form and Short form of standing orders were adopted. The following addition to both forms was agreed to be included:“Draft minutes of confidential meetings will be circulated to those who attended the meeting. The draft, with any amendments, should be formally approved (without the contents being publicly revealed) at the next Council meeting”. Cllr Reid proposed the motion and Cllr Eakins seconded it. It was agreed.

3. Elections: Cllr Eakins proposed Cllr Mills as Chair and Cllr Reid seconded the motion. All agreed; Cllr Dunhill proposed Cllr Reid as Vice- Chair and Cllr Mills seconded the motion. All agreed;Cllr Eakins agreed to continue to represent the Council on the VHT management committee – proposed by Cllr Mills and seconded by Cllr Reid – all agreed;It was agreed that the Planning sub-group should continue to be Cllrs Mills and Dunhill (proposed by Cllr Reid and seconded by Cllr Eakins). All agreed.

4. Declarations of interests: None

5. Minutes of the last meeting: All agreed as a true record.

6. Matters arising: a) Trees: The big stump on the amenity land had been successfully moved. It was recognised it would be important to keep the Burn clear, especially if the work on the Weir goes ahead and Councillors agreed to keep an eye on the situation.

b) Road matters: Cllr Dale said that small potholes would be filled in as the machines became available.

c) Double yellow lines: Cllr Dale queried how far the proposed lines in Church Lane should go. Cllr Dale would ask an officer to come out from County Hall and discuss with councillors before the matter is put to consultation.

d) Sandy Bank trees: Overhanging trees were a problem raised at the recent Sandy Bank Residents Association meeting. The Clerk would ask Mr Daffern (Chair of the SBRA) for the names of the homeowners so the parish council could write to them asking for the trees to cut back. Cllr Dale would also ask the County to cut back trees on the Main Road near the Old Tavern and Dere Hollow.

7. Handyman report: substantial tree clearing and tidying up had been carried out on the amenity land and in the play park. In the play park – strips had been affixed to the small apparatus to prevent rotting and some saplings and tree stumps were removed. Detailed reports are available from the Clerk.

8. Speed Signs: Having had three quotes and consulted with other parishes who have similar signs, it was agreed to take the lowest quote from Dambach. The Clerk would order the signs, ensuring that Cllr Dale is kept informed and liaise with Highways at County Hall. Cllr Dale had kindly found £4,500 towards the cost of these from her capital fund. The public near the proposed sites for the signs had been consulted and the two comments that were critical had been replied to explaining in more detail the reasons for the recommended positions for siting the signs. Clerk

9. Weir: A meeting had been held attended by Councillors, 14 members of the public, Professor Newson of the Tyne Rivers Trust and Gareth Pedley from the Environment Agency. There is considerable wear at the bottom of the Weir’s side walls in particular. One option is to repair the weir but that is expensive and there was little interest when this was proposed to members of the public earlier in the year and a fish pass would need to be included which can cost up to £200,000. It could be left alone but the consequences are unknown, Prof. Newson’s survey suggested two options: to remove the Weir in one go which could send a lot of sediment downstream or to remove a course of stonework either 16cm or 30cm from the top. Whatever happens, the flood risk cannot be increased and must be manageable and acceptable to the Environment Agency and the Tyne Rivers Trust. Cllr Eakins felt it was too expensive to upgrade but the side walls need repair. He supported the staged removal. Clarification from Prof. Newson as to the shape of the slabs in the Weir is needed. Work can only be done between the end of May and the end of September. Permission from the Environment Agency would also be needed for improvement works but not for a down grade although it would be desirable to liaise with them in all actions undertaken. Cllr Eakins suggested that they be asked to do a hydrological model of the effects of releasing water downstream of removing the Weir in one or two stages and the possible impact of flooding downstream. It was noted the banks at the Weir may need shoring once the work was completed. Costs of such a survey, if any, would be sought by Cllr Reid with the possibility of sharing them with Tyne Rivers Trust. MR

Tree management, which has been mentioned earlier in the council meeting should be monitored. Cllr Dunhill favoured the staged approach. Cllr Reid pointed out that as making good a satisfactory sill may be a significant part of the cost, removal of a single 30cm stage would be desirable. Cllr Reid proposed authorisation to look at the  removal of a 30cm stage in more detail; and commission the hydrological survey on the impact of removing the 30 cm. level. This was agreed.

10. Planning:  Considered by Northumberland County Council: The following was granted consent under delegated powers:

20110059 Minor changes at Beauclerc

The following was refused consent under delegated powers:

20110123 Extension at Hopton House, Riding Hills

Considered by the Parish council, with no objections:

11/0128 Certificate of lawfulness at 2 The Bungalow

11/00459/FUL New junction entrance at Shepherd’s Dene from the Slaley Road

11/00456/VARYCO: BRPC Parish Hall Car Park

11. Correspondence: File circulated – no consultations.

12. Finance:

a) Financial statements for March and April were accepted. There were no variations in the budget at this early stage of the financial year.

b) The following payments were authorised:

Stuart Burns (trees) – £200.00
Darren Johnson, Handyman – £70.00
MF Anderton/March/Salaryand expenses – £514.54
VHT – rent – £24.00
MF Anderton/Salary- April – £433.64
Wardhadaway (FOIA advice) – £342.00
Darren Johnson, Handyman – £70.00
L Stephenson, expenses re H’man – £11.63
AON, annual insurance premium – £2,581.48
BT Bell, bridge survey – £1,188.00
VHT – annual grant – £2,000.00
J Mills, expenses(key) – £4.95
SLCC/branch conference – £48.00
P.Basnett- internal auditor – £182.40

c) Fixed Asset list –Noted by Councillors

d) The Annual Audit Governance Statement was agreed by Councillors.

e) 2010/2011 Annual accounts: A £50 cheque issued to Mencap in June 2010 had not been cleared. It was agreed to write it off the new year’s accounts. (Proposed by Cllr Reid and seconded by Cllr Dunhill). The Accounts were approved.

13. Minor Matters:

a) Cllr Dunhill asked that the bin in the Play park be referred to the County council as it had not been emptied for several weeks;

b) Some older teenagers had been playing football in the Old Playground, which is not very safe. They indicated they had been told not to use the grass next to the Tennis Courts though there was no reason the Council could see for such a refusal. It was also agreed to ask the cricket club if they can use the top area of the cricket field which used to be the football pitch. Clerk

The meeting closed at 9.15pm

Confidential matters: Pursuant to section 1(2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) act 1960, it was 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: To discuss various quotes relating to the car park and the Weir.

Annual Parish Meeting 2011 Minutes

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting, held on 12th May 2011 at 7.30pm in the Parish Hall, Millfield Road

Present: Cllrs Mills (in the Chair), Reid and Eakins. County Councillor Anne Dale was present with 11 members of the public including Mrs Linda Shepherd for the VHT and Ms Jen Stephenson for the First School. One member of the public made a brief appearance towards the end of the meeting.

1. Welcome and Apologies: Cllr Mills welcomed all present and reported that Cllr Dunhill had offered his apologies.

2. Cllr Reid gave a demonstration of the use of electricity monitors. It is hoped that members of the public will avail themselves of these monitors which can be borrowed, with a surety of £5, so that energy expenditure levels can be checked in homes and offices to help identify potential economies.

3. The minutes of the APM of 2010 were approved.

4. Chairman’s Report: She commented on the busy year – due partly to the low number of Councillors – and thanked the Councillors for their work and also other members of the village for the help given to the Council. She referred to the Millfield Road bridge and the decision of the County Council (now made permanent) to impose a weight limit of 3 1/2 tonnes. She reported that the Parish Council  had obtained and was publishing a survey of work to be carried out on the bridge both immediately and also in the long term.

The Council was considering alternatives in respect of the Marchburn weir. These included no action, expensive restoration of the weir and reduction of the weir in either one or two stages. The Council had been advised by the director of the Tyne Rivers Trust and a member of the Environmental Agency at a meeting attended by some of the riparian owners and would give further consideration to the implications as to cost and liability of reducing the weir by 30 cm.

The Council had submitted a revised planning application for a smaller car park at the village hall, reducing the loss of amenity grass area beside the hall, which was used for village activities and weddings etc

The Spinney, ie the little wood opposite the Church, which belongs to the Council, had been opened up by cutting back weeds, and tree stumps. A path had been covered in wood chippings to suppress weeds. The suggestion that a path through the Spinney be used to enable schoolchildren to walk to school from the Old Playground had been dropped.

The Council had been concerned that some of the traffic passing through the village appeared to exceed the speed limit, endangering people crossing the main road near the corner of the Wellington. The Council therefore decided to install two interactive solar powered speed warning signs as a reminder when a vehicle exceeded the speed limit one at the foot of Whiteside for West bound traffic) C. Cllr Anne Dale kindly offered to provide much of the funding from her County Council allowance.

The Council had asked the County Council to re-site the existing sign at the main road entrance to Millfield Road and to provide a second sign to improve visibility to a driver turning into the road. It wished the double yellow lines at the east end of Church Lane . and at the main road end of Millfield Road to be extended. The Council had asked the County Council to install a new street light at the west end of Millfield Road bridge.

The newly installed mirror at the exit to Hollin Hill Terrace that had been stolen and the mirror at the foot of Sandy Bank had both been replaced.

The playpark was monitored on a weekly basis; bushes between the single tennis court wire netting and the playpark had been severely cut back. Although the damage from moles continued throughout 2010, the position in 2011 had been better.

The planning group of the Council had considered 22 planning applications during the year and its recommendations had been reported in the minutes of the Council meetings

The following policies had been introduced and approved during the year, (a) a Covenants policy (b) a formal complaints policy for any member of the village not satisfied with the way the PC had handled a particular matter and (c) a vexatious correspondence policy to enable the PC to attend to its work without entering into repetitious correspondence.

The Chairman concluded with the comment that the Councillors had given a considerable amount of time and thought to the work of the Council, but were aware that some of the decisions reached may not have pleased all members of the Parish. She reminded the village that If they were not happy with the work, they should apply to join the PC and contribute to the decision making.

There was some discussion from the floor on the Chair’s report, much of which had already taken place at the recent Council meeting concerning the survey on the bridge, the problem of emergency vehicles having access to Marchburn Lane and the priority of bridge repairs versus Weir repairs. One member of the public agreed however that the Council should be looking after the interests of the whole village and not those of a few residents.

5. Cllr Dale’s report:She reminded people that she was responsible for Mickley, Stocksfield and Riding Mill. The cuts of £45 million to the revenue budget were causing great problems to service deliveries. She mentioned concerns about grit bins in the snow, flooding on the Corbridge road and potholes being slowly repaired. She was concerned about speeding and would contribute £4, 500 towards flashing speed signs. She was working with the Sandy Bank residents to improve access/egress at the Nick. She is contactable by email and phone but has to fit responses into County policies. Locally, major concerns are school buildings and hospitals.Cllr Dale was thanked for always attending meetings and helping whenever she could.

6. The Financial report was circulated for information. There were no questions.

7. Broomhaugh C of E First School Report: There are 65 in the school at present with a full quota coming into reception this Autumn. Improvements to and maintenance of the buildings were a high priority with funding affected by the cuts. The school was only closed 2 days during the snow. The PTA remains very active, helping with school trips and buying books in particular. The Squirrels Club is essential but again, funding remains tight. Support teams for special needs children have been severely affected but there is a low impact in Riding Mill. 41% of the children are from inside the village. The Church school admissions policy prioritises siblings, then Church and then the catchment area. Of the 65 children, only 16 bring packed lunches. The furthest child comes from Prudhoe and others are from Healey, Whittonstall Corbridge and Stocksfield. At the moment there is also one bilingual Flemish speaker and a bilingual Norwegian child starts in the Autumn.

8. Report from the Village Hall Trust: The Village Hall Trust and in particular The Parish Hall, is very busy.  To the usual societies and groups using the Hall, have been added The Bridge Club, The Photographic Society and The Yoga Group, with many additional casual bookings.  Monday and Friday mornings are very popular in The Foyer Cafe and huge and sincere thanks must to go Val Thompson, Elaine Raeburn and their willing helpers for ensuring its success.

The Parish Hall Flat continues to be rented out.  We have had the entrance to the new foyer block paved, a patio built and the drive tarmacadamed.  We intend to purchase a TV licence which will offer another dimension for those who want to watch events on a big screen (we are not providing the equipment).  The Royal Wedding was the first event to be televised and, with the Cafe facilities running alongside, was a wonderful, sociable occasion.

Fund-raising was active in 2010 and we received large donations from The Bridge Club, The Photographic Society, the proceeds from Judith Anderson’s musical weekend, the James Knott Foundation and the Parish Council.  As we expect the roof to need replacing within ten years, we are always grateful for and actively looking for funds from other sources.

Fund-raising in 2011 has not been so concentrated, simply because we worked so hard last year.  Having said that, we will be holding the Village Show in September, a jumble sale in October and the Craft Fair in November.  Throughout the year, we have had several catering assignments, the Vicar’s installation buffet, a Christening, meals for groups of hall users and a wedding at the end of this month.  All of this requires energy and enthusiasm but especially lots of help – we are always looking for volunteers.

We have donated a day’s money from the Cafe to Red Nose Day, hosted a Macmillan coffee morning and are about to have a coffee morning in aid of Multiple Sclerosis.  Whilst it is commendable to support and give our facilities for these charities, I do think we have to be careful not to lose sight of our true purpose.

On Village Show Day, to obtain £750 matched funding from Barclays Bank, Pam Pryor is proposing to run a giant tombola (it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell lots of raffle tickets) so we are asking all hall users to donate something for the stall.

Lastly, may I say a huge thank you to everyone who supports us, offers help in any way, or is their organisation’s representative on the Trust.  Also, my thanks go to Rosie Cummings, Treasurer to the Trust, Val Thompson and her husband, Alan, who both do lots of extra work on top of Val’s contracted hours, and to Pam Pryor, the Secretary of the Trust, who works hard trying to juggle bookings, working with the Charity Commission on our behalf and who gives me 100% support. Thank you all.

Mr Gibson congratulated Mrs Shepherd on the Parish Hall and the Trust. Cllr Eakins confirmed that the VHT would like a Car Park and Mrs Shepherd agreed as parking is an increasing problem.

9. Minor Matters: None


Parish Council Minutes March 2011

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 14th March 2011 at 7.45pm

Present: Cllrs Reid (in the chair), Dunhill and Eakins. County Councillor Dale was present and 6 members of the public.

1. Apologies: Cllr Mills

2. Declaration of Interests: None recorded.

3. Minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true record subject to the following changes: to note that Cllr Dale left the meeting with the public before confidential matters and that an average of 21 letters per year had been received between 2003 and 2010 in item 10.

4. Matters arising: a) Road matters: Cllr Dale updated members and the public that work is now ongoing on repairs to potholes on the A695 and that there is to be a major exercise to look at the water problem on the same road. All strategic roads are being done first, followed by the minor roads. Some concern was expressed that deep but narrow potholes were not being dealt with at the same time as neighbouring wide ones.

b) Trees: Mrs Stephenson had obtained a quote to remove the tree stumps in the Burn which was fixed at a maximum of £300. It was agreed she would contact the woodman. The tree in the garden had now been removed. The tree in the stepping stones will probably be set free at the next high flood after some trimming by Cllr Reid. Cllr Dunhill also drew members’ attention to two large trees on the amenity land behind Long Rigg properties which had been cut and left.

c) Parish Hall Car Park: Cllr Reid updated members on several points: that the work might be more expensive than expected; that the VAT could only be reclaimed if the Parish Council awarded the contract and that two further quotes were to be obtained so that a decision could be made. Fred Tulip had agreed to provide the specifications for the work. It was noted that a public consultation might be necessary. MA/MR

5. Handyman Report: Mrs Stephenson raised several issues for future work and asked the Council for their priorities. It was agreed that the Handyman would 1) clear growth between the fencings of the single tennis court and the play park; 2) inspect part of the big slide in the Play Park to look at possible repairs; and 3) continue with cleaning benches. In the meantime, the Clerk would write to the Allotment association asking their view about the ivy being cut from the wall between the allotments and the station footpath. Cllr Eakins declared an interest as a member of the Association.

6. Speed Signs: Four quotes had been obtained. Cllr Dunhill wishes to talk with the County Council about the best options before recommending one to Councillors. AD

7. Weir: Cllrs Reid and Eakins had had meetings about the options for the Weir with Rory Hunter, an engineer from the Environment Agency, and with Malcolm Newson, Director of Tyne Rivers Trust. The options are: to do nothing, to reinstate the weir putting in a fish pass (which is very expensive), or to take it down in stages. It was arranged that Malcolm Newson would conduct a study before Easter of the particulates in the sediment upstream of the weir so that he could make projections about their movement should the weir be downgraded or washed out, and that the PC would call a meeting of residents of all properties along the burn which may be affected by any changes for Tuesday 3rd May, when Prof. Newson would report his findings and the PC would invite the views of residents. A decision would then be taken at the PC meeting on 9th May. (The window for doing work on the Burn is 1st June to 1st September). This programme was agreed. MR

8. Electricity Monitors: A number of these have become available for members of the public to borrow so they can check their household appliances with a view to reducing energy consumption. They can be borrowed for a 3 week fixed period and a deposit of £5 is required which is refunded on return. Some sort of booking system is needed with them being checked before handing over. Although the Parish Hall was suggested as a suitable storage place and distribution point, it was felt a specific person needs to be designated to the task. It was agreed to check the details and defer the arrangement for a few weeks, possibly asking for a volunteer through the Parish news.

9. Door to Door salespeople: Cllr Dale pointed out that they were not necessarily young offenders involved with the Probation Service but were in reintegration programmes which were run by many services. It was important for members of the public to be vigilant and to find out which service is responsible for the people if they are thought to be a nuisance. The police have advised that this is the best way forward. If the organisation responsible is known, the Parish Council can write asking them not to visit a village with many empty houses and a high proportion of elderly residents. It was agreed to put a brief article into the Parish news about the matter. AD/MA

10. Planning: Considered by Northumberland County Council: the following were granted consent under delegated powers:

20100932 Retrospective Advert consent for The Wellington

20100940 Retrospective listed consent for The Wellington

20100703 Detached dwelling at Grovefield  – Withdrawn

Planning Appeal at Broomhaugh Farm. Re windows: dismissed

Considered by the Parish council:

20110059 Minor changes at Beauclerc – No objections

20110076 Bungalow at Grovefield – objected

11. Correspondence: General file, including a list of correspondence received in the last month.

12. Finance: a) The receipts and financial statement were accepted. The budget was similar to the previous month and is break even. It was noted there were several uncleared cheques. The Playpark account had been closed and transferred to the reserve account.

b) The following payments were authorised:

Radiopages (website maintainance) – £234.00
Darren Johnson(handyman/March ) – £70.00
MF Anderton/Salary/February – £420.36
MF Anderton/Expenses/February – £90.00
Northumbria Water – £8.21
Communicorp/annual subscription – £1.00
Dennis Castelow/mirror replacement – £75.00
Reauthorisation of Insurance contribution to Sandy Bank residents Ass, from June 2009 to note in the minutes. – £220.00

c) Risk Assessment: The Annual Risk Assessment was approved subject to two small amendments. It was also decided to add the weir to the Insurance Policy. Cllr Eakins had  produced draft accounts to be looked at by members for any changes that might be necessary prior to the Accounts being finalised in April/May.

13. Minor matters: 

a) PAYE – new rules for Councils registering Clerks as employees will come in from  6th April. There is no clear ruling yet as to registration and clarification is still being sought from NALC and the SLCC.

b) Tyne Valley Rail Community Rail partnership – no one is available to attend the next meeting. It is hoped that Mr Chainey will note anything of concern.

c) Date of the next meeting: Monday 9th May.

The meeting closed at 9.00pm. The public and the County Councillor left the meeting.

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 the press leave the meeting during consideration of these items: 1. Quotes for the proposed parish hall car park, and 2) quotes for Millfield Road Bridge inspection.

Parish Council Minutes February 2011

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 14th February  2011 at 7.45pm

Present: Cllrs Mills (in the Chair), Reid, Dunhill and Eakins. County Councillor Dale was present and 3 members of the public.

1. Apologies: None.

2. Declaration of Interests: None recorded.

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

4. Matters arising: a) Road matters: Cllr Dale updated members on the requests she had made regarding necessary road repairs following the bad weather. She had had a meeting with Cllr Mills and a representative from the County Council in December. Currently there is no Inspector for the County so that repairs cannot be assessed. The portfolio holder from County Hall, responsible for Highways etc. who was taken round the area by Cllr Dale, insisted the roads were not strategic. However, Cllr Dale pointed out that cleaning the gullies and ditches would save significant funds in the future. She will follow up on the matter with the Director, Andy Rutherford at the next Area Committee meeting.

b) Cllr Dale suggested waiting for a County report to be completed before asking for double yellow lines in Church Lane, leaving scope to extend the lines further along the road.

c) Weir: The deadline for members of the public to return with proposals if they wished to look after the weir was next month’s Parish Council meeting. Cllr Reid agreed to put a reminder on the Parish Hall notice board and onto the website. Cllr Eakins suggested asking someone from the Environment Agency to come and explain the options for the weir to Councillors, at the next meeting if possible. Alternatively Cllr Reid had suggested a meeting with councillors at the weir during the day. MR

d) Trees: the tree over the Weir was still there. The Clerk had requested the members of the village whose land it was to remove it, offering our Handyman’s help if necessary. There had been no reply and she would follow up the request. Cllr Reid agreed to try to remove the tree stuck in the Stepping Stones before asking Styford Estates to deal with it.

5. Handyman Report: The Handyman had already worked the hours for the winter months and there was nothing further to report.

6. Opencast Mining Application at Whittonstall: Tuesday after the Parish Council meeting was the closing date for responses to the above mining application and the East Tynedale Forum had requested that Council consider the matter. So far 9 Parish Councils had replied, 8 of which were against the proposal. Cllr Reid summarised a number of points that were of concern such as the environmental impact, the length of working hours, the proximity to housing and the school (Cllr Dale declared an interest as Chair of the Governing Body of the school). Cllr Reid also felt that with security of fuel being a long term issue, easily accessible supplies from open casting should be held in reserve for a future time. Only proper planning objections could be raised and this excluded increased traffic on the A68/A69 being public highways. However, it could be requested   heavy traffic should be restricted through the local villages such Riding Mill and Stocksfield. It was agreed that Cllr Reid would draft the response to the County Council planners and to the Chair of the East Tynedale Forum. MR

7. Financing of the Parish Hall Car park and Turning head: Before discussing the costings, new plans, which had kindly been drawn up by Fred Tulip were given to Councillors to consider prior to a new, or amended planning application for 6 parking bays including one disabled parking bay which would allow enough space for vehicles to turn. A low retaining wall and flower beds would act as a barrier between the ca park and the Parish hall lawn. A retaining wall was needed because of the requirement for drainage on the site. Liability for a Turning Head would be avoided providing an area for occasional turning without specifying the purpose. Mrs Shepherd was asked her view. Copies of the plans would be given to the VHT to consider in the near future.

Cllr Reid suggested using some of the reserves the Council currently hold but Cllr Eakins pointed out that a deficit budget had been agreed which would deplete the reserves by some £10,000 in the next financial year. As a Charity, the VHT could apply for funds to Cllr Dale, the Community Chest or the Lottery and the Council could contribute as well. The improved Disabled access might well attract funding. It was agreed that the VHT‘s approval would be sought for the changes; the planning application would then be made; the costs of doing the work would be revisited, including as a Health & Safety measure another street light.

8. Traffic Matters: a) Flashing safety signs: Cllrs Mills, Reid and Dunhill had met with Stefan Bell from the County Council about the sighting of such safety signs. The preferred sites for the signs, which would flash with 30mph and Slow signs would be near Bobby’s shop for traffic  going East and at the bottom of Whiteside Bank for traffic going west on the A695. Two quotes have been received and a third is being produced. Cllr Dale noted that she had offered to contribute £4000 towards the costs.

b) Road signage at Millfield Road: changes were requested to the siting and number of signs warning of the bridge restriction so that drivers can see the warnings before they have turned into the road. The proposals are with the County Council for consideration.

c) An extra light on the Millfield Road bridge would make the restriction safer. Cllr Dale will check on who would be liable for the costs. If it comes up in the TRO (Temporary Restriction Order) consultation by the County Council on the changes, they may consider paying for it.

9. Standards Committee dismissal of complaint by Mr B Young and Mr R Tully against former Councillor Mrs Linden Stephenson: Cllr Mills readout the formal notice concerning Mrs Stephenson:

‘On Thursday 16th December, the Standards sub-committee of Northumberland County Council met to consider an investigation report arising from complaints received from Mr R Tully and Mr B Young of Riding mill concerning allegations that former Councillor Linden Stephenson of Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council had failed to comply with certain provisions of the Parish Councillors Code of Conduct namely (i) that she used or attempted to use her position as a member to confer an advantage or disadavantage for herself or other persons and (ii) she had sought improperly to influence a decision in business of her authority where she had a prejudicial interest.’

The sub-committee, having fully considered the investigation report, concluded there was no evidence that the member had been guilty of the conduct complained of and, as a consequence, they made a finding of acceptance, thereby accepting the Monitoring Officer’s finding of no failure to comply with the Code by the Member. Dated 7th January 2011.

10. Implementation of Vexatious correspondence Policy in a particular case. Cllr Mills read out a draft letter to Mr Brian Young from the Parish Council declaring that correspondence from him was vexatious and the reasons why, in accordance with the Council’s Vexatious correspondence Policy. Cllr Reid pointed out that between 2003 and 2010, an average of 21 letters a year from him had been received by the Council. In response therefore to a letter received on the 13th December last, it was proposed that the Policy be implemented and that the following letter be sent to Mr Young. Cllr Mills declared an interest in respect of one aspect of the letter referring back to 1972/3 when her husband, G.G.Mills had been the Councillor whose firm had acted for the Council; Cllr Dale pointed out that there were no regulations applying to Councillors in those days.

‘Dear Mr Young

The Parish Council has voted to declare that your correspondence with it, or any member of it or the Clerk, is vexatious.

This is as a result of your letter to the Chairman dated 13th December 2010, which deals with four matters, all of which you have raised in the past and to three of which you have received replies.

They are:

  1. Your claim that the Riding Mill Estate Company made a “gift” to the Parish Council of roads in the village including Millfield Road. You raised this in your letter of 2nd October 2010 to which the Chairman replied on 10th October 2010. You wrote again on 28th October and the Chairman replied on 23rd November 2010.
  2. Your complaint against the Parish Clerk, first raised on 26th April 2010 to which the Chairman replied on 1st June 2010. You wrote again on 5th June, and the Chairman replied on 9th June. You wrote again on the 24th June and 31st July 2010, to which the Chairman replied in a letter also dated 31st July 2010. You wrote again on the 15th August 2010 and the Chairman replied on 17th August. You wrote again on 25th August.
  3. Your suggestion in your letter of 28th October that a former Councillor in 1972/3 may not have declared an interest in work for the Parish Council, (for which he charged only his firm’s expenses), although you have no evidence of this negative. The Chairman in her letter of 23rd November dismissed your suggestion.
  4. Your demand in your letter of 3rd November 2010 that the Chairman should give you assurances about the confidentiality of letters you had sent to the Parish Council. The Chairman is not in a position to give any such assurance, in view of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

The grounds on which the Parish Council has resolved that correspondence with you is vexatious are that (a) the requests for information and action you have requested can fairly be seen as obsessive

(b) the requests are harassing the Council

(c) the requests are designed to cause disruption or annoyance and

(d) the requests lack serious purpose or value.

In accordance with the Parish Council’s policy as to vexatious correspondence, it has been resolved that during  the period of 6 months from today,  between Parish Council Meetings it will deal with only the first fresh item in the first letter, email or other form of correspondence from you to the Clerk, the Chairman or any Councillor.’

Cllr Mills proposed that the Council’s policy be implemented in respect of correspondence received from Mr Young. Cllr Reid seconded the motion and it was passed by the councillors, with one abstention. It was agreed that the letter  be sent. MA

11. Planning: Considered by Northumberland County Council: the following were granted consent under delegated powers:

20100503 Certificate of lawfulness; 1 The Bungalow, Broomhaugh

20100695 Extension at Riding Hills Farm, Main Road

20100722 changes to Old Tavern House

20100914 Conversion at Woodbine House/Cottage

20100509 demolition and rebuild at Staward, Long Rigg

20100973 Extension at 4 Burnside, Mill Close

20101030 Loft conversion at Summerhill, Long Rigg

Granted conditional permission by the Development Control Committee;

20100652 Agricultural storage unit off the A68

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

13. 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. There was also an uncleared payment of £140 to Darren Johnson.

b) The following payments were authorised:

VHT, Rent – £48.00
Darren Johnson (2 months – Nov/Dec) – £140.00
NCC ( Dog waste bin) £324.22
RM Allotment Ass. Insurance – £75.25
T Smith, fence on station footpath – £250.00
NALC, training – £10.00
Darren Johnson (Jan) – £70.00
M Reid, reimbursed expense for Spinney – £37.50
NCC, grass cutting – £1,332.00
MF Anderton (Salary, expenses plus Extra time) – £501.96
Viking/paper/printer cartridges – £140.03

14. Minor matters:
a) The Annual Parish meeting will be held on 12th May in the Parish Hall;

b)  Concern was expressed about door to door salesmen thought to be young offenders being bussed in and possibly causing malicious damage in the village. Some older villagers had felt this intimidating.  Cllr Dale said she would check the position with the Police;

c) The new Cricket Club lease has finally been signed and agreed;

d) The Council have have replied to a consultation on the Fire Service Draft Implementation and Protection Strategy;

e) Cllrs Eakins and Reid reported that they had attended the Big Society Day in Hexham. This was well organised and covered a lot of issues. However, it was not clear what, if anything, the Government’s current initiative would actually achieve. Voluntary and community working is already well established in West Tynedale without central government help;

f) Requests about recycling bins in parts of Broomhaugh are still being followed up by Cllr Dale.

The meeting closed at 9.40pm. The public and the County Councillor left the meeting.

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 the press leave the meeting during consideration of these items. (To consider legal matters).