Minutes of TCM 13 December 2017

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

 

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 13 DECEMBER 2017  

 

Present:  Councillor A Varley (in the Chair)

 

Councillors S Ahmed, Mrs C Caisley, R Dodd, Mrs C Greenwell, A Hall, Mrs S Johnson, Mrs K Overbury, A Shanley and Mrs K Woodrow.

 

PRESENTATION BY REPRESENTATIVES FROM NCC YOUTH SERVICE

Chris Anthony and Ian Aspinall, senior youth workers from NCC were in attendance to discuss the findings of some engagement work carried out in Ponteland in November.

They reported that they had had three teams out on three consecutive Friday evenings in November in an attempt to engage with young people who were hanging around in various parts of Ponteland.  They wanted to find out whether there was some activity they would be prepared to participate in that would stop them being outside in large numbers on weekend evenings.  They also wanted to see whether there was an issue with youth disorder.

They stressed that they could only report on what they had witnessed but they had seen no evidence of anti-social behaviour on the three evenings.  Some of the young people came from outside of the area and travelled into Ponteland and they had only seen one person under the influence of alcohol.  The young people they had engaged with had been respectful and polite.  They seemed to spend a lot of time at the shops and they integrated with the public without hostility.

They referred to a recent Community Safety meeting held in Ponteland which involved representatives from the High School, Police and NCC.  The Police had reported that the number of disorder issues had reduced with very few 101 calls being received.

Residents should be encouraged to call or email the Police if they had issues to report.

Mr Aspinall stated that the young people had a clear route they followed several times per night from Merton Way through the Park and into the Skate Park on Callerton Lane.  They wanted to be in groups so that they could spend time with their friends in an unstructured way.  The young people had expressed concerne that the Police were issuing dispersal orders and they said that their parents would be upset if they received a letter about their behaviour.

The Council stated that incidents of anti-social behaviour were still happening and listed various recent incidents of graffiti, damage to two bus shelters, damage to both public and private property and arson damage to play area equipment.

These incidents were reported to the Police on each occasion.  Whilst residents may not be contacting the Police there were regular reports submitted to PTC.

Recent experience when setting up the Christmas market also showed that young people under the legal drinking age were obtaining and consuming alcohol.

A query was raised about the youth centre on Callerton Lane and who maintained it.  An offer had been made by the Council to provide paint and possibly a grant to tidy the building up.  The toilets in particular were in a poor state.

The youth service representatives stated that they were responsible for maintenance and some improvement works had recently been carried out.  One of the youth workers attended a youth club there each Monday evening.

 

It had been suggested that the Youth centre could be opened on a Friday evening but the young people did not seem interested in the proposal.  It could also lead to more problems if too many turned up to use it.

In relation to the report there was some concern expressed that there were no recommendations for a way forward.

Mr Anthony stated that the Council could dictate how they wished their funds to be spent and perhaps detached youth work would be the way forward.

It was suggested that other neighbouring areas were experiencing similar problems and it may be worthwhile setting up a meeting with them to see what they are doing and also involving the Police in such a meeting.  The Youth Service also offered to have a further meeting with the Town Council to discuss this in more detail.

 

The Clerk was asked to report future incidents of anti-social behaviour to the Youth Service and to Community Safety at NCC so that they were aware of the full extent of the issues being experienced in Ponteland.

 

The representatives were thanked for their attendance and left the meeting.

 

  1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors L Darwin and T Edwards-Clay.

 

  1. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 8 NOVEMBER 2017

 

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 8 November 2017 were confirmed

and signed by the Mayor.

RESOLVED – The minutes be approved

 

  1. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

 

Councillor Mrs Overbury declared an interest in Minute 127 and took no part in the discussion or voting.

  1. MATTERS ARISING

 

(i)        Letter of thanks were received from Community Action Northumberland and the Great North Air Ambulance in respect of Grant awarded at the last meeting.

(ii)        Skate Park/Play Area – It was reported that the suggestion of a temporary play area near to the Leisure Centre had been made to NCC.  Unfortunately, the land did not belong to them and the Clerk was in the process of carrying out a land search to determine ownership.  She would be attending a meeting at County Hall on this subject on 9th January and would report back to the next meeting.

  1. PLANNING

 (i) Planning Committee 

Minutes of meetings held on 31 October and 14 November 2017 were circulated for information.

 

  1. PLANNING (Continued)

 A comment was made that it did not seem to be possible to submit additional comments on the planning portal when amendments to applications had been made and it was agreed that this would be raised with NCC.

(ii) Report on recent planning decisions

There was nothing to report

 

  1. GRANT APPLICATIONS

(i)         Dalton Village Hall

A grant application had been received from Dalton Village Hall for a grant towards refurbishing their kitchen facilities

A grant of £1500 had been awarded to this organisation in 2016-17 and the same amount was available in the budget for the current year.

RESOLVED – A grant of £1500 be approved.

(ii)        Ponteland Beer Festival

  A grant application had been received from Ponteland Beer Festival for a grant towards the running costs of the 2018 event.

The Clerk reported that a grant of £250 had been given to this organisation last year and there were sufficient funds remaining in the small grants budget.

RESOLVED – A grant of £250 be approved.

(iii)       The Diamond Inn

  A grant application had been received from The Diamond Inn for a grant towards the New Year’s Eve Firework Display.

The Clerk reported that a grant of £250 had been given to this organisation last year. The applicant had asked if the Council would consider an increased grant of £450 to cover the enormous cost of providing this event

RESOLVED – A grant of £450 be approved.

(iv)      Sport Tynedale

  A grant application had been received from Sport Tynedale for a grant towards their running costs.

RESOLVED – A grant of £250 be approved.

 

  1. PROJECTS REPORT

 The projects report had been circulated for the information of Councillors.

Councillors were informed that some progress had been made with the land survey and also that the new Christmas lights had been well received by residents.

 

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

 

 

  1. NOTIFICATION OF EXTERNAL AUDITOR APPOINTMENTS FOR THE 2017-18 FINANCIAL YEAR

The report of the Clerk to the Council in relation to the above had been circulated for information.

Members were reminded that the Smaller Audit Appointments Ltd (SAAA) had been appointed by the Government to appoint local auditors.

Information had been received from the SAAA stating that the new external auditors for Northumberland were PKF Littlejohn LLP who were based in Canary Wharf, London.  They would carry out the external audit for the next five years for all eligible local councils in the Northumberland.

 

RESOLVED – The information be noted.

 

  1. CONSULTATION BY PONTELAND COMMUNITY MIDDLE SCHOOL ON PROPOSALS TO CHANGE AGE RANGE AND THE RELATED ADMISSION ARRANGEMENTS

 Members were reminded that information had been received from Ponteland Community Middle School relating to their consultation on proposals to change the age range and the related admission arrangements.

Councillors noted the information and stated that they had no comments to make other than to wish the school well with their endeavours.  The Clerk was asked to submit the response by the deadline date.

RESOLVED – The response as set out above be submitted to the Middle school by the deadline date of 8 January 2018.

 

  1. RISK MANAGEMENT/INTERNAL CONTROLS REPORT

The Clerk reported that in accordance with the Accounts and Audit Regulations the following reports had to be considered by all parish and town councils on an annual basis.

  • Risk Management Report

The report relating to risk management procedures had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

  • Review of Internal Audit Report

A report which reviewed the work of the internal auditor was submitted for the consideration of the Council.  This was to be considered in conjunction with the following report on review of internal controls.

The Clerk reported that the interim audit had just been completed for this financial year and the Council’s internal auditor had no issues to raise with the Town Council.

RESOLVED –

(i)         The report and checklist be approved.

(ii)        The Council approve the re-appointment of Mr Peter Basnett as their internal auditor for 2018-19.

 Review of Internal Controls Report

Regulation 4 of the Accounts and Audit (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2011 required the Council to carry out a review of their internal controls annually before the end of the financial year.

A report had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The report be approved.

 

  1. PONTELAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

A report relating to the termination of the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (PNPSG) had been circulated.

The Neighbourhood Plan process for Ponteland was now completed following confirmation from NCC on 23 November that the Plan was now ‘made’ and had been brought into legal force.  The Plan now formed part of the statutory Development Plan for the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Area which comprised of the whole of the civil parish area.  Decisions on planning applications must now be made in accordance with the policies in the Plan unless material considerations indicated otherwise.

In accordance with the Terms of Reference of the PNPSG, a letter had been sent to the Ponteland Community Partnership and the PNPSG advising them of this report and the termination of the Steering Group.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted and the Council agree to the termination of the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.  It was also agreed to formally thank the Members of the Steering Group for their work in relation to this task.

 

  1. OFFICE CLOSURE – CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR

 Councillors noted that the office would be closed from 12.30 p.m. on Friday 22nd December and would re-open on Tuesday 2 January 2018 at 9.30 a.m.  Notices would be on the door and on the website and an appropriate answer machine message would be recorded.

 

  1. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the Highways Working Party held on 10 November 2017 had been circulated.

There were no recommendations however the Chair of the Working Party gave a brief resume of discussions relating to the proposed real-time bus information boards that would be erected as part of the Section 106 monies in respect of the Bellway development at the former Police HQ.

It may also be possible to fund a bus shelter at Broadway.

 

 

  1. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

 

Minutes of a meeting of the Environment Working Party held on 13 November 2017 had been circulated.

There were no recommendations however the Chair reminded members of the meeting on the 18th December which would be preceded by a meeting with Friends of the Park commencing at 9.30 a.m.  She also asked Members of the Working Party to visit the sensory garden before the meeting.

RESOLVED – The minutes be accepted.

 

  1. CEMETERY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting of the Cemetery Committee held on 5 December had been circulated.

In relation to Minute 4(ii) the Clerk reported that some information had been found regarding the memorial kerbstones and this would be circulated to Councillors in advance of the next meeting.

RESOLVED – The minutes be accepted.

 

  1. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

 

Councillor Richard Dodd reported that additional resources were being provided to speed up the Core Strategy process.

In relation to schools, the plans for the proposed new school and leisure complex had been out for consultation and work had started on the new Darras Hall Primary school.

A review of schools in the west of the county was taking place as there was some concern about the number of empty school places in certain areas.

 

  1. MAYOR’S REPORT

 (i)         Mayor’s Diary

The Mayor submitted details of his diary engagements for November and December 2017.

The Mayor reminded Councillors of the annual drinks event to be held at the Golf Club on Thursday 21st December which was an opportunity to thank those who had worked hard for Ponteland over the last year.

 

  1. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i)         Ponteland Community Partnership meeting

Minutes of a meeting of the Ponteland Community Partnership held on 18th October 2017 had been circulated.

  (ii)       Coates Educational Foundation minutes

Minutes of a meeting of the above Foundation held on 2 November 2017 had been circulated for information.

Councillor Mrs Greenwell, the Town Council’s representative on the Foundation asked if Councillor Dodd could consider why a parent drop off was not being created at the new school when there was one proposed for the new Darras Hall Primary school.

RESOLVED – The information be noted.

 

  • Newcastle International Airport Consultative Committee

Councillor Mrs Caisley had attended the above Committee on 5 December 2017 and a copy of the Committee report had been circulated.

Councillor Mrs Caisley reported that the Airport Masterplan had been delayed and would now be presented to the Board in February.

The Airport website was to be updated to include areas of interest such as the Lake District.

RESOLVED – The information be noted.

 

(iv)      Notes of Footpath Users Group

 

Notes of a meeting of the Footpath Users Group held on 15 November 2017 had been circulated for information.

There were currently seven members on the User Group and a request for additional support was to be included in a future edition of PNV.

Equipment was provided to members who could then carry out some cutting back and lopping works when they were out in their area.

Councillor Ahmed agreed to assist.

RESOLVED – The information be noted.

 

  1. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET UPDATE

             

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £30,775.85.  A copy of the monthly budget report was also circulated as well as the Bank reconciliation for November 2017.

 

RESOLVED – The reports be approved.

 

 

……….…………………………………………

CHAIRMAN

 

………………………….

DATE

 

DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 10 JANUARY 2018 AT 6.45 P.M. AT THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES

 

 
 

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