Broomhaugh & Riding Parish Council
Minutes of the Council meeting held on Monday 11th November 2013 in the Parish Hall.
Cllr. Malcolm Reid (Chairman) Cllr. Andy Dunhill
Cllr. Jill Mills Cllr. Brian Singer
Cllr. Eileen Carew
Co-opted at meeting: Mr Bill Cairns
Cllr. Anne Dale – Northumberland County Council
Mrs Catherine Harrison – Parish Clerk
Public (10): Rob Archer, S Newman, A Newman, Barbara Purvis, Jean Rowntree, Linda Shepherd, Sue Soulsby, Linden Stephenson, Richard Walker and Brian Young
Cllr. Reid as Chairman opened the meeting at 7.47pm and welcomed Mrs Catherine Harrison, the new Parish Clerk.
2. Declaration of Interests
No disclosures of personal and prejudicial interests from Councillors on matters to be considered at the meeting were given.
3. Co-option of Councillor
Cllr. Reid proposed and Cllr. Mills seconded that Mr Bill Cairns be co-opted as a Councillor. This was unanimously agreed by the councillors. Cllr. Cairns then signed the requisite form and was welcomed to the Council.
4. Approval of the minutes of the meeting of 9th September 2013
It was agreed that the minutes of the Council meeting held on 9th September 2013 were a true record and duly signed off by Cllr. Reid.
5. Matters arising from the September meeting other than those listed on the agenda
(i) Minute 6c – Grass cutting
It was noted that the grass had been cut eight times and other designated areas strimmed only three times – the contract had allowed for sixteen cuts and areas to be strimmed six times. It was agreed that the Clerk would contact NCC and ask for a rebate on the contract and that Cllr. Dunhill would contact the Cricket Club for recommendations as to a possible alternative contractor;
(ii) Minute 10 – Speed activation signs
Cllr. Reid reported that he had not yet contacted the installers but would do so shortly. Concerns were expressed that the signs seemed to be triggered randomly or continued to flash once traffic had passed. Members of the public were asked to report all such examples to the Clerk who would keep a record to send to the installers along with a request for a correct trigger speed and the relocation of the eastern sign;
(iii) Minute 13 – Long Rigg
Cllr. Mills reported that she had been in touch with the valuers but before proceeding she and Cllr. Reid would like to meet with the Long Rigg Residents’ Association representatives to discuss various ideas. It was agreed to arrange a meeting and report back to the December PC meeting;
(iv) Minute 17 – Dene Close Wall
Cllr. Mills reported that the letter referred to in the previous Minutes from 1999, lodged with the then PC’s solicitor, had not been found (the requirement to retain this type of document was only six years). From all discussions it would appear that the ownership of the wall was never properly recorded on residents’ deeds. Cllr. Reid suggested coming to a common sense agreement with the current residents. His suggestion would be that the PC withdrew any claim to the wall and the properties would assume ownership. This would entail responsibilities for the residents but would also allow them freedom to make an opening in the wall should they so wish. Cllr. Reid agreed to write to all residents to outline his proposals;
(v) Minute 18 – Remembrance Day
Cllr. Mills had attended the Remembrance Day Service. It was noted that next year the Clerk should inform Alison White as to who would be attending the service and laying the wreath;
(vi) Minute 22 – Format of Agendas
It was noted that the format of the Agenda had now been changed to include a summary of correspondence received from residents and also any consultation documents on which the PC had been asked to comment. The consultation documents would also be displayed on the ridingmill.org website whenever possible;
(vii) Minute 22 – Railway Footbridge
Cllr. Dunhill reported that Network Rail engineers had been to look at the footbridge but were still deciding on how to solve the drainage problem. One suggestion had been to drill a drainage hole in the bridge but Cllr. Dunhill reported he was not in support of this solution.
6. West End Bus Shelter
Cllr. Carew reported that the site for the bus shelter was complicated – a number of roads met and, with the hillside behind, there were drainage issues. There had been some discussion about installing a bus shelter without a base but NCC insisted on a base construction. The quote from NCC for installing the bus shelter base works including all drainage was £4750 excluding VAT. The cost of the shelter from their preferred supplier, Clear Channel, was £4000 excluding VAT.
Quotes from other suppliers had been obtained but could not really be compared as they couldn’t offer the complete package. It was also felt that if NCC completed the base any later drainage problems could be easily rectified.
Normally Standing Orders required three quotes for expenditure of this level, however, Cllr. Reid proposed to suspend Standing Orders for this one item on safety grounds and to accept only one quote. This was seconded by Cllr. Singer and unanimously agreed by the councillors. It was agreed to appoint NCC to undertake the base work and Clear Channel to supply the shelter.
Cllr. Dale offered a grant of £1000 towards the cost of this work.
7. Local Transport Plan
It was reported that the following three priorities had been submitted:
(i) Pedestrian and cyclist road safety improvements between Stocksfield and A68/A695 roundabout at Riding Mill;
(ii) Pedestrian safety – widening of pavement outside St James Terrace;
(iii) Highways safety – realignment of A68 signage at Broomley/Healey junction.
8. Arrangement for deposit account and signatories for current account
Before a further bank account could be opened for half the PC’s reserves as previously agreed, Standing Orders required signatories to be agreed by resolution of the PC. Cllr. Reid proposed that the following five councillors should become bank signatories:
Cllr. Reid, Cllr. Mills, Cllr, Dunhill, Cllr. Carew, Cllr. Singer.
Cllr. Mills seconded this and it was agreed unanimously by the councillors.
9. Tennis Club Management Plan
(i) Rob Archer reported that as the residents had only responded to the Tennis Club Management Plan on 8th November he felt unable to comment as he needed to meet with other members of the Tennis Club first. He agreed to report back to the December PC meeting.
Cllr. Mills requested to see a copy of the initial grant offer from Sports England to check what was stipulated as regards offering multiuse facilities.
Cllr. Mills also raised discussions she had had with the solicitors re the lease. The PC had to ensure it was not giving away an asset worth over £2million i.e. the land could not be put over for housing and raise such sums. As this was clearly not the case Cllr. Mills proposed that no formal valuation was required because the land was worth manifestly below the sum of £2million. This was seconded by Cllr. Singer and unanimously agreed by the councillors.
(ii) Cllr. Reid reported that he felt it fair that the PC offered some support to local residents because of the changes and had offered that the PC meet half the cost of any plant screening chosen by Mrs Soulsby and Mr & Mrs Davison, the two closest residents, between the properties and the path.
Mrs Soulsby reported that whilst appreciative of the offer she felt that she should not be asked to pay and that it should be the responsibility of the Tennis Club. She also requested that hedging be planted on the opposite side of the path closer to the courts, however, this was land currently used by the Pre-School for a garden. It was noted that a laurel hedge would cost approximately £160.
Cllr. Reid reiterated that the offer only applied to her side of the path. The PC might consider making a greater contribution but it would be a one-off offer and the PC would take on no obligation for trimming. Mrs Soulsby agreed to consult her neighbours.
10. Standing Orders
It was unanimously agreed to adopt the Model Standing Orders for Smaller Parish Councils compiled by the Northumberland Association of Local Councils. Cllr. Reid duly signed a copy of the Standing Orders.
Cllr. Reid reported that the budget for next year would be set at the December meeting but asked all councillors to put forward any suggestions for large expense items in advance of this meeting.
Cllr. Mills raised the suggestion of repositioning the bus stop on the westbound side of the A695 opposite The Wellington as she felt currently the pavement was too narrow to accommodate the bus stop safely. Cllr. Dale suggested that she spoke to Margaret Field at NCC to see if she could suggest alternative sites for the bus stop.
It was agreed to hold a meeting in advance of the December PC meeting with the Clerk to review current and forecast spending.
12. Joint Area Committee and Parish Town Council Meeting
Cllr. Reid reported that he had found this meeting useful. Among items discussed were improvements to highway safety for pedestrians and the proposed re-opening of Gilsland Station.
Cllr. Reid proposed that the PC support the opening of the station. Only verbal support was required at this time. The councillors unanimously agreed to give their support to the campaign. ACTION: MR
It was reported:
(i) that the following planning applications were under consideration by NCC:
13/03059/OUT New dwelling, Highfield, Sandy Bank (PC – no objections)
13/03390/FUL New dwelling, Land south of 1 & 2 the Bungalow, Broomhaugh
13/03263/FUL Extension, Long Rigg, Long Rigg
13/03370/FELTPO Tree work, St James Church
(ii) that the following planning applications had been considered by NCC and granted permission:
13/02169/FELTPO Tree work at woodland east of Hollin Hill Terrace, Riding Mill
13/02166/FUL Construction of single storey side extension, Parish Hall, Riding Mill
13/02865/VARYCO Land west of Kingmead, Sandy Bank
13/02861/CLPROP Change of use of garage, Rowan Tree, Long Rigg
Reports were received. Work had been undertaken in the Spinney to cut back vegetation, paths had been edged adjacent to the single tennis court and grass cut and other works completed in the play park.
The Clerk requested that the handyman look at the notice board as it was currently very difficult to open and close and needed to be sanded and resealed.
The following payments were authorised:
C Harrison – September salary and home allowance payment £172.91
Matthew Charlton – materials £72.00
Tyne Rivers Trust – contribution to plaque installation event £53.60
RM Cricket Club – contribution to grass cutting £560
RM Allotments’ Association – contribution to insurance £73.90
Ward Hadaway – invoice in respect of Tennis Club Lease £327.60
C Harrison – October salary and home allowance payment £345.82
C Harrison – expenses
(funeral wreath, stationary, postage, travel, additional hours) £242.55
Homevend – September £75
Homevend – October £75
It was reported that the Clerk had worked 13 extra hours which had been anticipated when she commenced this role and it was agreed to pay her at the pro-rata hourly rate.
Cllr. Reid reported that a number of residents of Millfield Road had written to the PC to report damage to the verges due to electricity cables being laid and to large lorries parking on the road whilst delivering tarmac to a resident’s house in Marchburn Lane.
It was agreed to write to NEDF to request that they re-turf the verges now rather than reseed them in the spring. It was also agreed to write to Mr Turner to ask him to contact Debmat and request that the damage to the pavement be repaired.
17. Vexatious Communications
Cllr. Reid reported that he considered Mr B Young’s letters regarding covenants and complaints to be obsessive and as harassing to the Council and as such proposed that the Council’s policy on vexatious communications be implemented meaning that only the first fresh item in the first letter, email or other form of correspondence, sent to the Clerk, the Chairman or any Councillor, would be dealt with by the Parish Council between successive meetings for the following year. Cllr. Mills seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously by the councillors.
18. Minor Matters
(i) Request for Funding from Citizens Advice Bureau
A request for funding to support the work of CAB was received. It was noted that it was usual to consider other applications for funding at this time of year. The Clerk should compile a list for consideration at the December PC meeting;
(ii) Request for waste bin in Mill Race Garden
It was agreed to ask that the Dog fouling bin be removed and replaced with a large multipurpose bin instead;
(iii) NDL Sports Survey
It was noted that Rob Archer had already completed this survey and it was not necessary for the PC to respond;
(iv) Core Strategy
It was reported that the Core Strategy sub-group would meet on 13th November to formulate a response. This would be circulated prior to the December PC meeting so that it could be considered at the meeting. Cllr. Dunhill noted that there were no specific green belt land proposals that affected Riding Mill;
(v) Tennis courts
Rob Archer reported that all three courts were now operational and since the re-opening 500 people had used them and both adult and junior coaching sessions had been offered. The final interim payment from Sports England had been received and would now be used to upgrade the walkway to the double tennis courts and the club house;
(vi) Stabilisation of the river bank by the tennis courts
Linden Stephenson suggested that trees be planted to stabilise the river bank where it had been disturbed following work on the tennis courts. She had contacted Tyne Rivers Trust and they had suggested planting alder trees. She suggested planting 12 alder trees at a cost of £0.90 each plus £0.99 each for a rabbit guard. It was agreed to authorise this expense;
(vii) Frank Turner’s retirement
It was reported that Frank would be retiring on 29th November 2013. The PC wished to record their thanks to Frank for his huge service to the village and would write to him accordingly;
It was also discussed whether there should be a memorial to Bobby. A number of different groups were considering ideas. It was suggested that a joint proposal should be put to Frank outlining some suggestions and asking for his views.
19. Date of the next meeting
It was agreed to hold the next meeting on Monday 9th December 2013.
With no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.38pm