Parish Council Minutes May 2009

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

Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council and Annual General Meeting held on 11th May 2009 in the Supper Room of the Parish Hall at 7.45pm

Present: Councillors Tulip, Williams, Mills, Reid, Dunhill, Heslop, Eakins and Stephenson. Also present were Cllr Anne Dale, and 13 members of the public and one member of the Press. Cllrs Dale and Heslop arrived part way through the meeting.

Cllr Tulip explained that following the discussion by Councillors on the Auditor’s recommendations, he would allow, in this instance, members of the public to make short representations if they felt there was additional information it would be useful for the solicitors to have sight of. He asked that all questions be supplied in writing within 7/10 days of this meeting.

1. Apologies: None.
( Cllr Tulip asked the Clerk to note that Mr Young said the Council ‘were guilty of extortion.’ ).

2. Approval of Standing Orders, including amendment: ‘That the County Councillor may participate fully in the regular business of the parish council.’ This was carried unanimously.

3. Elections: Chair: Cllr Tulip was proposed by Cllr Eakins and seconded by Cllr Mills. Agreed by all.
Vice-chair: It was proposed that Cllr Reid continue in this role. Agreed by all.
Planning: Cllr Tulip came off this committee. It was agreed that Cllrs Mills and Dunhill would continue in the role. Contentious applications would be referred to a full Council.
Cllr Dunhill agreed to continue monitoring the Playpark.
VHT: Cllr Williams agreed to continue as a representative. Cllr Heslop’s willingness to continue would be clarified at the next meeting.

4. Motion to accept or reject the district auditor’s recommendations: relating to the Parish’s Policy on Covenants as follows: ‘to commission and consider expert legal advice on the Public Law aspects of the enforceability of the covenants generally and in the northern area particularly where there is some doubt in the current advice on their enforceability: frame its revised policy with regard to this advice and deal explicitly with the issue of enforceability; and devise and implement a reporting system which demonstrates how the policy is being applied.’
Councillor Tulip proposed that the council accept the above recommendations. This was unanimously agreed.
It is hoped that the matter can be settled once and for all. In accordance with his preliminary remarks, Cllr Tulip asked members of the public to suggest questions, or additional information, which they would be prepared to put in writing to add to the evidence. Some members of the public made statements rather than supply questions, suggesting the Council did not have all the relevant information; a meeting was suggested – the Councillors would consider the offer. Another two members of the public raised questions on enforceability matters . Another member of the public commented on the continual muttering by those behind her such that she could not hear what was being said.

5. Minutes of last meeting: Agreed as a true record.

6. Matters arising: None

7. Education: Cllr Reid raised the matter of the consultation document from Northumberland County Council as a follow up from the ‘Putting the Learner first’ from 2/3 years ago. This related to changing from a three tier system of schools to a two tier system. He was particularly concerned that the statistics developed by the County appeared to be erroneous and would skew any outcomes. He had written directly to the County Council, raising those points. He was asking that the Parish Council support him in this action. There was some discussion on the matter in that several councillors felt this was a matter for the individual rather than the group. It was also felt the current system worked well in a rural area. The question of leadership and management was considered to be far more important to the children overall. It was agreed that as Cllr Reid had not had any response from County Hall, the Clerk would write on behalf of the Parish Council, requesting a response, copying in Cllr Dale so she could follow the matter up directly at County Hall.

8. Planning:
20090127 Freshfield, Sandy Bank Garage rebuild Refused
20090196 Brockencote, Slaley Rd. Extension Certificate of lawfulness granted

9. Correspondence:
a) General; the two files were split
b) Area Committees: The County Council have sent round a notice of the Area Committee meetings and a list of all the dates of meetings. Cllr Dale recommended that Councillors attend the AC meetings where possible to maintain a link in what is happening. There is the opportunity to ask questions as well. It was noted there was no Agenda and the Clerk would email Cllr Dale asking her to find out why not. The Clerk would also copy the dates of meetings to Councillors for future note.
c) Probation Service: It was drawn to the Council’s attention that should any suitable project need undertaking in the future, there is a supervised workforce available. Contact details are available. The Council noted the matter.
d) Garden waste charge: A copy of the notification going to all home owners re future charging for the collection of Garden waste had been received. It was felt this could be the thin end of the wedge as far as the County was concerned and their green credentials were seriously suspect. The Council considered that charging for anything should be uniform across the County and it was known that at present this does not apply. It was agreed the Clerk should write commenting on this aspect.

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

Hexham Courant/APM Ad. – £22.60
Hexham Courant/Audit Ad. – £135.59
NALC/annual subs – £146.98
VHT rent – £77.00
M F Anderton/(back pay 08/09) – £133.12
M F Anderton/Salary/Apr – £403.90
M F Anderton/Expenses/March – £96.70
M F Anderton/Expenses/Apr. – £24.04
Clerks Direct/subs – £10.00
Viking/Printer/paper – £250.04
BDO/Audit, including standard fee plus cost of work on complaint
(06/07 accnts.) – £3225.75
BDO/audit 07/08 – £327.75
Hexham Courant/Audit Ad/post vote – £135.58
SLCC/reg.conf – £56.35

Cllr Tulip then pointed out that because of the public complaint about the Audit in 06/07 and the costs associated with this that the Council has to pay, it will be necessary to transfer – £5000 from reserves to the current account to help pay expenses until the Autumn when the next tranche of precept is paid. Councillors approved this transfer.
c) The audited accounts for 2006/2007 had been received, signed off. Council were asked to accept those and the comments made on them. The main comment referred to the outcome of the public complaint which is dealt with elsewhere in the Agenda. The only other comment related to improvements in the asset register. This has already been undertaken. The Audited Accounts were accepted by the Council
d) The audited accounts for 2007/2008 were also returned signed off and needing approval. There were no extra measures. The Council accepted the Audited accounts.

11. Minor matters

Cllr Dale updated the Council on the light on the Broomhaugh footpath which was being assessed for ease of connection.
Cllr Mills noted that she had asked Mr Castelow to help with fixing the mirror at Hollin Hill. It was considered that a requested additional mirror facing westwards could lead to confusion.
Cllr Dunhill noted the recent meeting with the East Tynedale forum, the notes had been circulated.
Cllr Dale also noted the forthcoming consultation by the Boundary Commission.

The meeting closed at 9.20.