Town Council meeting December 11 2013 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 11 DECEMBER 2013

Present: Councillor P Cowey (in the Chair)

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

Presentation by Mr Ashley Brown from the Youth Service re the potential grant from the Town Council in 2014-15
Ashley Brown was in attendance to give a brief presentation on the work being carried out by the Youth Service in Ponteland. He provided additional information which showed the types of activities that had been held over the last few months.
He hoped to improve the promotional work and make use of PNV to gain more interest in the work being carried out.
He also reported that he would like to set up a Young Persons Working Group in Ponteland on a bi-monthly basis.
In relation to the grant for the coming year he hoped that the Town Council would provide the same amount of funding and he would provide various options and the Council could decide the type of projects they would like the money to be spent on.
Mr Brown was thanked for his presentation.

Question submitted by Mr A Varley
“NCC at their consultation meeting last week produced a Core Strategy Preferred Housing Scenario at S 7.14 indicating that the Service Centre known as Ponteland and Stamfordham will have to increase its population by 1871 (a staggering 14.7%) by 2031. Further inspection of NCC’s proposals indicates that the proposed 850 further households would produce 1955 extra persons (850 x 2.3 per household) increasing the present population from 12678 to an even more staggering 14633. This would appear to contradict Section 5.11 which suggests that a Service Centre should increase its population by between 4 and 8%. This would reduce the required increase in population to between 510 (at the lowest 4%) and 1020 (at the highest 8%). This may suggest that the number of new dwellings needed is not 850, as envisaged by the NCC Housing Scenario Tables, but a more modest 220 – 440 which could be achieved by the development of the present Northumbria Police HQ site and other sites which have been granted planning permission but where development has not yet commenced.

I was heartened by the overwhelming wishes of the residents whom you represent, to resist NCC’s opportunistic attempt to increase hugely the number of residents but I need to be assured by Councillors, both collectively and individually as we were after the previous consultation events, that PTC will faithfully represent the wishes of the local residents in response to NCCs draft plan, I would, therefore ask each individual Councillor to confirm their opposition to NCC’s housing proposals.”

In response the Mayor stated “Thank you for your question it is always good to know that it isn’t just the Town Councillors that take an interest in the community.

At this moment in time, the Neighbourhood Planning Group (made up of residents as well as Councillors of Ponteland) is looking at the Core Strategy and will shortly raise a Group response.

The PTC will have a meeting on a date decided later on tonight’s agenda. So if you can stay until the item occurs on our Agenda you will hear the date being set. At this meeting the public will be welcome to attend to hear the views of the Councillors as we listen to each others points and then decide on a PTC response. So until that time occurs it would be premature to answer your question tonight.
One should remember that the Core Strategy is for consultation and not written in stone.”

Mr Varley asked if each individual Councillor would respond to his question.
In response the Mayor stated that he had answered the question and it was premature to reply when the Council had not considered its response.

149. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

There were no apologies for absence.

150. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Councillor Mrs C Greenwell declared an interest in Minute 166 and left the meeting.

151. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 13 NOVEMBER 2013

The minutes of the Council Meeting held on 13 November 2013 were confirmed and signed by the Mayor.

152. MATTERS ARISING

(i) Minute 138 – Report re localisation of Council Tax Benefit –
Reply from Mr G Opperman MP
A copy of a letter received from Mr Opperman had been circulated. This outlined the actions he had taken to date in order to persuade DCLG to act in respect of non payment of grant to parish and town councils.

(ii) Minute 139 – Core Strategy
Councillors were reminded that comments were required and that a meeting would be arranged for the following week to formulate the Council’s response to the Core Strategy.

153. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 5 and 19 November were circulated for information.

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

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CHAIRMAN DATE

153. PLANNING (Continued)

Note – Councillor R Dodd took no part in any discussion or voting in respect of Minute 153 above.

154. GRANT APPLICATION

(i) Dalton Village Hall
A request for a grant had been received from Dalton Village Hall. The purpose of the grant was to assist towards annual running costs.

RESOLVED – A grant of £1000 be approved.

155. PROJECTS REPORT

(i) Skate Park
The skate park installation was complete other than the painting of the ramps which would be carried out in the Spring. The path and fencing works would soon be completed and it was hoped to have an official opening of the facility on Wednesday 18 December subject to a ROSPA safety inspection being carried out.

(ii) Website
The new website was finished and would be going live the following day.
Councillors had been given the opportunity to look at the website and submit comments which had been favourable.
Changes could be made at any time if necessary.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

156. BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN

Councillor Mrs Johnson had submitted a report relating to the above topic.

RESOLVED – That consideration of this report be deferred to the next meeting.

157. CIVIC SERVICE

Councillors were reminded that as part of the ongoing budget deliberations the Clerk had been asked to produce a report for this meeting and add the event to the wish list for 2014-15.

A report had been circulated setting out the expenditure incurred in respect of the event in the previous year.

Four options were included within the report.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

157. CIVIC SERVICE (Continued)

It was suggested that the focus of this event should be community based with representatives of the various organisations within Ponteland being invited to a Church service followed by refreshments.

RESOLVED – The Council agreed to hold a community based event with a Church service followed by refreshments subject to the confirmation of costs.

158. VOLUNTEERING

The Deputy Mayor had produced a report to gauge the views of Councillors about the Town Council promoting the need for volunteers to join some of the voluntary organisations within Ponteland.
In order to promote this search it was suggested that articles could be placed in PNV and also make use of the Council’s new website.
Councillors were in favour of the suggestion and it was agreed that the Deputy Mayor draft an appropriate article for PNV and a budget of £450 to meet the costs of advertising was approved.
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RESOLVED – The suggestion be approved and the Deputy Mayor be asked to draft an appropriate article for PNV and the budget of £450 to meet the advertising costs be agreed.

159. DATES OF MEETINGS

It was reported that various meetings had to be held before Christmas and several dates were suggested. It was also suggested that the date for the January Council Meeting be moved to allow time to prepare and circulate the agenda.
RESOLVED –

(i) The informal budget meeting be held on Wednesday 18 December at 6.00 p.m.
(ii) A special Council Meeting to approve the Council’s response to the Core
Strategy be held on Wednesday 18 December at 7.00 p.m.
(iii) The January Council meeting be held on Monday 13 January commencing
at 6.45 pm. for public questions.

160. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting held on 20 November 2013 had been circulated.
The Council noted that there had been an unfavourable response from some residents in relation the installation of a Zebra crossing at North Road. The Working Party had expressed their disappointment but agreed to wait until the NCC decision report was received before passing comment.
RESOLVED –
(i) Composite signage at Thornhill Road
It was agreed to purchase the composite signage for Thornhill Road at a cost of £750 if necessary.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

160. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY (Continued)

(ii) Thornhill Road Repeater Signs
It was also agreed to request repeater signs along Thornhill Road at least at the start and finish of the school zone and also request that the 20mph signs located at each end of Thornhill Road need the ‘school zone’ illustration at the bottom of each sign in order to make it more obvious and readable.

161. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 25 November had been circulated.
RESOLVED – The following recommendations be approved:
(i) Installation of a waste bin at Mayfair Gardens
It was agreed to install a waste bin at Mayfair Gardens which NCC had agreed to empty.
(ii) Callerton Lane Play Area
It was agreed to replace the existing bench seat with a recycled plastic picnic bench at a total cost of £550 (including installation) and replace the seat with a recycled plastic model and move it further up towards the swings at a total cost of approximately £400.
(iii) Tubs at entrances to Ponteland
It was agreed to:
(a) Agree a policy to use recycled plastic tubs/planters wherever possible
(b) Submit a report to the January EWP meeting regarding the costs for
replacement of the 44 tubs with the recycled plastic and whether
to continue with this type of design and permutation.

162. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd reported on the discussions at the Leisure Centre Users Group that had just been held.
A residents survey on parking was currently being examined as this was a major issue for people in Ponteland. Issues such as parking for Merton Hall users would be examined as part of the survey.
He reported that he had pledged some of his small grants funding towards the removal of yellow lines at the Merton Way shopping area.
Councillor Dodd also referred to the number of skips on highways which was becoming unfair to motorists which required examination.
It was stated that the Town Council had produced a voluntary code for builders etc to sign up to a number of years ago and it was agreed that this would be looked at again.

Councillor Dodd also referred to the grant received by NCC from the Government not being passed onto parish and town councils.

163. MAYOR’S REPORT

.(i) Mayor’s Christmas event – 19 December 2013
Councillors were invited to attend the above event to be held on Thursday 19 December commencing at 11.30 a.m. at the Town Council Offices.
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CHAIRMAN DATE
163. MAYOR’S REPORT (Continued)

(ii) Community Trust
The Mayor reported on a talk he had given to Rotary re the above on 3 December.
He informed Councillors of the establishment of the Trust and his and Councillor Ramsay’s membership of the body. He apologised for not obtaining approval for these appointments.
Councillors expressed concern that this body had been set up and Council membership acted upon without Council approval.

The Clerk suggested that she prepare a report on the sequence of events leading up to this situation for the January meeting.
RESOVLED – A report be submitted to the January meeting.

164. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Minutes of meetings held on 24 September and 8 and 22 October had been circulated for information.

(ii) Airport Consultative Committee
Councillor Mrs Butcher submitted a report on her recent attendance at the above Committee.

165. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET REPORT

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £44665.57 and the transfer of this sum from the Councils Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for November 2013 was also approved. A monthly income and expenditure review report showing amounts received and expended against each main budget heading was accepted.

RESOLVED – The reports as presented be accepted.

IT WAS RESOLVED THAT UNDER THE PUBLIC BODIES (ADMISSION TO MEETINGS) ACT 1960 THAT THE PRESS AND PUBLIC BE EXCLUDED FOR THE FOLLOWING ITEM ON THE GROUNDS OF THE CONFIDENTIAL NATURE OF THE BUSINESS TO BE TRANSACTED.
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CHAIRMAN

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DATE OF NEXT MEETING – MONDAY 13 JANUARY 2014 AT 6.45 P.M. AT TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES – PLEASE NOTE THE REVISED DATE.