Town Council Meeting 11 January 2017 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 11 JANUARY 2017

Present: Councillor C Rawlings (in the Chair)

Councillors Mrs J Butcher, C Caisley, R Dodd, Mrs C Greenwell, Mrs S Johnson, Mrs L Noble, R G Ramsay, A Shanley, Mrs E Thompson and A Varley.

162. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

An apology for absence was received from Councillor P Cowey.

163. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Councillor Ramsay declared an interest in item 169 (i).

164. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 14 DECEMBER 2016

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 14 December 2016 were confirmed
and signed by the Mayor.

165. MATTERS ARISING

(i) Letter of thanks from Ponteland Rotary Club
A letter of thanks had been received from the Rotary Club in respect of the grant awarded to help stage a Christmas Market Event agreed in November.

(ii) Letter of thanks from the Great North Air Ambulance.
A letter of thanks had been received from the GNAA in respect of the grant agreed last month.

(iii) Letter of thanks from Dalton Village Hall.
A letter of thanks had been received from Dalton Village Hall in respect of a
grant award to help with the annual running costs of the hall; agreed at the December meeting.

166. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 29 November and 13 December 2016 were circulated for information.

(ii) Report on recent planning decisions
There was nothing additional to report.

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167. DATES FOR RESPONSES TO CONSULTATION DEADLINES

A report had been circulated that showed the response times to the various applications and consultations the Council had to respond to.
The report had been subsequently amended to show the amended deadline dates for the various planning applications relating to Ponteland that had been taken from the NCC website. This also included the response date for the former Ponteland library site as these plans had now been received.
Members were informed that the website was being checked regularly to see if there were any additional changes to response times.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

168. DRAFT RESPONSE TO PLANNING APPLICATION 16/04408/OUT-

A draft response to the above application had been circulated for comments and a copy was made available for Councillors at the meeting.

It was suggested that in addition to the response being sent to NCC, a letter should be sent to every member of the Strategic Planning Committee setting out the essence of the Town Council’s objection to the application.

RESOLVED –
(i) The objection document be sent to NCC.
(ii) A letter be sent to members of the NCC Strategic Planning Committee
as suggested above.

169. GRANTS

(i) Ponteland Community Partnership

A grant request had been received from the Ponteland Community Partnership to assist them to improve and augment their website and attract new members and ideas. Councillors were advised of the role that the Partnership played in the Community in securing funding for various Community Projects.

RESOLVED – A grant of £543 be approved.

170. PROJECTS REPORT

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

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

171. PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL RESERVES

Councillors were reminded that it was necessary to hold an annual review of Town Council reserves during the budget and precept process rather than at year-end.

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171. PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL RESERVES (Continued)

A report was circulated which set out the current level of reserves held by the Town Council for general purposes, and those set aside for asset replacement, Cemetery reserves and tree replacement.

Councillors were further reminded that they had agreed in May 2015 to work towards having a minimum of 6 months operating expenses in their general reserves (calculated at £151,000). The Council was still short of that target by just under £23,466.

At the end of this financial year, a report would be presented to the Council listing any necessary transfers and unexpended amounts and it would be recommended that any available funds that weren’t already earmarked for other purposes should be transferred to the General Reserves in order to attain the 6 months operating figure.

RESOLVED –
(i) It was agreed that there were no surplus funds available from within reserves that could offset the precept figure for 2017-18.
(ii) It was agreed to examine the situation at the end of the financial year when there may be non-earmarked funds that could be transferred to the general reserve.
(iii) It was agreed to transfer appropriate funds to the Cemetery and tree reserve fund in April 2017.

172. BUDGET AND PRECEPT 2017-18

A report relating to the Budget and Precept for 2017-18 had been circulated.
The proposed budget for 2017-18 was submitted and required formal approval. It was pointed out that the amount of the precept required had to be submitted to NCC by 27 January 2017.

It was proposed to increase the allotment rents by £1 a year across the three tiers of fees.

The Cemetery Committee had not yet decided on a level of increase and a meeting would be held in the next few weeks to determine the percentage increase.

RESOLVED –
(i) The Council approve the budget for 2017-18 as circulated and formally agree to levy a precept request of £394,517 on the County Council.

(ii) Approve an increase of £1 on all allotment fees, which would mean rentals would be £35, £40 and £45 for 2017-18.

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172. BUDGET AND PRECEPT 2017-18 (Continued)

(iii) Await the recommendations of the Cemetery Committee in relation
to any increase in fees for 2017-18.

173. PONTELAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN – CONSULTATION

It was reported that there had been 123 responses to the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan during the consultation period that ended on 16 December 2016. The responses were currently being analysed by the Planning Consultant and she had made an excellent job of this task.

The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group had met on 5 January and had examined the suggested amendments in detail.

It was reported that a ‘health check’ of the plan had been carried out by a planning consultant as this service was available free of charge and it would help to further refine the document.

It was hoped to include the final document on the February Town Council agenda following which, it would be sent on to NCC for final approval.

RESOLVED – The information be accepted.

174. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd reported on a meeting he had had with the Chief Executive of
the County Council regarding anti social behaviour. It appeared that recent
actions by the Police and other agencies had had a positive impact on the
problems being experienced.

He reported that the NCC budget would be discussed in the next week.

He also stated that he now had the funding for the improvements to the car
park at the back of Merton Way although he hoped that the Town Council
could allocate some funds towards landscaping.

He had circulated the various plans to Councillors for comment and
consultation would be required before the work could start.

Councillor Mrs Veronica Jones thanked the Town Council for the decision to
continue the subsidised 74 bus service. This would be much appreciated by
users of the service.

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175. MAYOR’S REPORT

(i) Mayor’s Diary

The Mayor submitted details of his diary engagements for November/December 2016 and some forthcoming events in January 2017.

(ii) Ponteland Town Council Christmas Event

The Mayor thanked those who had attended the event at the Golf Club on 19 December. This had provided an opportunity to thank volunteers who worked hard throughout the year in Ponteland and it was felt that this had been a success and was well received.

(iii) Wheelbarrow Race
The Mayor had attended the above event on Sunday 1 January 2017.

176. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group –
There had been no meeting therefore there were no Minutes available.

(ii) Newcastle International Airport Consultative Committee 5.12.16 report from Councillor Mrs J Butcher
A copy of the above report had been circulated to Councillors.

177. ACCOUNTS/BANK RECONCILIATION/BUDGET REPORT

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £39,944.21 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for December 2016 was also approved. A monthly income and expenditure report and a quarterly budget revisions report had also been circulated for information.

RESOLVED – The reports be approved.

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CHAIRMAN

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DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 8TH FEBRUARY 2017 AT 6.45 P.M. AT THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES