Town Council meeting July 10th 2013 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 10 JULY 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 Punton, R G Ramsay and A Shanley

Public Questions

Mrs Sobo put the following question:

‘Why is the Town Council not reflecting the concerns of its people and objecting to the development of a hotel at Street Houses because of its intrusion into the protected Green Belt?’

The Mayor replied that it was worth noting that Ponteland Town Council was only a consultee on any local planning application and had absolutely no powers to stop, enforce or make amendments to any plans.  All decisions are made by the County Council’s Planning Committee.

The planning application for 42 bedrooms was discussed as normal at the Town Council’s fortnightly Planning Committee.  Looking at the plans, the view by all present was that the hotel would be good for local businesses and good for employment in Ponteland.  However, it was felt that the spaces for car parking could cause a problem for the area round and about the hotel.  Very briefly the plans were to demolish two properties and build a hotel with car parking.

It was after the meeting that it was noticed that part of the planning application was on the Green Belt.  However, it is not normal practice to alter decisions after meetings.  Councillors rely on residents input.  It was also later commented to us that NCC Highways were reviewing the application and the Council was informed an objection was being lodged.

The planning application will be going to the West Area Planning Committee and Highways would be getting involved.

43.        APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for Absence were received from Councillor C Rawlings and Mrs E Thompson.

44.       DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Councillor Dodd stated that he would not take part in any issues relating to Planning due to his membership of the West Area Planning Committee.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

45.       MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 12 JUNE 2013

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 12 June 2013 were confirmed

and signed by the Mayor.

46.       MATTERS ARISING

(i)         Minute 27(i) Holy Saviour Church, Milbourne – Grant application

It was reported that a letter of thanks had been received from the above applicant.

(ii)        Minute 33 Community Newsletters

It was reported that the letters in relation to the above had been sent out and a letter of acknowledgement had been received from the Prime Minister.

It was noted that Guy Opperman MP had a 20 minute appointment with a Government Minister to discuss the situation in relation to PNV and the possible effects of this legislation.

47.       PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee

Minutes of meetings held on 4 and 18 June 2013 were circulated for information.

(ii) Report on recent planning decisions

There was nothing to report.

48. GRANT APPLICATIONS

(i)         Ponteland United Reformed Church, Broadway, Darras Hall

An application had been received from the Ponteland United Reformed Church requesting a grant towards the erection of 2 seat benches on the grassed area in front of the church to enhance the appearance of the area and for the use of the community.

RESOLVED – A grant of £200 be approved.

49. PROJECTS REPORT

West   Road easy access entrance

It was reported that negotiations were continuing with the County Council’s Highways Department in an attempt to find an acceptable solution to their concerns.

River Bank Repairs

This work would be carried out in July.

Street Information Signs

Work was continuing on the paper maps and businesses were showing an interest in advertising on the back of the maps.

Repairs to Second Timber Footbridge

The order for this work had been placed and the work would be carried out between July and beginning of September

Skate Park

The noise survey had been carried out and submitted to the County Council for consideration.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

50.       TREE WORKS IN THE PARK

A report in relation to the above had been circulated.

Councillors were informed that a survey of trees in the Park had been commissioned in 2012 and the Environment Working Party had considered the recommendations of that report at their meeting in February 2013 and this report was subsequently approved by Council in March 2013.

The Environment Working Party had also recommended that quotes be sought for the next stage of the Tree Management work in the park covering the next three years from 2013-2015.  This work had also been approved by Council.

Requests for quotes for both contracts had been sent out to four local companies however, only one quotation was received for both contracts.

RESOLVED –

(i)         That the quote in respect of the survey of trees in the Park in the sum of £6550 from Marshalls Tree Surgeons be accepted and that this sum be funded from contingencies.

(ii)        That the quote in respect of the Tree Management report for work covering 2013-15 from Marshalls Tree Surgeons be accepted as follows:

Year one        –           £1375

Year two        –           £2250

Year three     –           £  800

51.       TOILETS – THORNHILL ROAD

A report was considered in relation to various problems being experienced at the public toilets on Thornhill Road which were owned and managed by the Town Council.

Some painting works had already been carried out in view of the amount of obscene graffiti in the men’s section of the toilets.

Various repairs were necessary to the facilities details of which were set out within the report.  It was anticipated this would cost in the region of £2000 in total.

It was also pointed out that the Police did have the premises under surveillance in an attempt to deal with the anti social behaviour taking place at the facility.

RESOLVED – Agree that the urgent remedial works be carried out and the Clerk be authorised to proceed on the basis of one or two quotes as was judged to be appropriate and if necessary, Standing Orders be waived with regard to obtaining three quotes.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

52.       MEMORIAL HALL PROJECT

It was reported that a request for a meeting with the Memorial Hall Trustees would be arranged in order to allow Councillors the opportunity to raise questions and seek clarity to various issues.

53.       WEBSITE

Councillors had submitted ideas for improvement of the website.

A brief was to be prepared and prices sought from several companies following which a further report would be submitted to Council.

RESOLVED – The information be received.

54.       MEMBERSHIP OF COMMITTEES/WORKING PARTIES

The Clerk raised the issue of the membership of the Council’s Committees and Working Parties and mentioned that it had proved difficult to achieve a quorum on occasions.  She also reminded Councillors to submit their apologies if they could not attend a meeting.

It was suggested that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor would be appointed as ex officio members of each Committee and Working Party with full voting rights and that they could then be called upon to attend if there was a problem with numbers.

Councillor Mrs C Greenwell also agreed to become a member of the Council’s Cemetery Committee

RESOLVED –

(i)         The Mayor and Deputy Mayor be appointed as ex officio members of

all the Council’s Committees and Working Parties.

(ii)        The appointment of Councillor Mrs C Greenwell to the Cemetery Committee

be confirmed.

55.  BUDGET WISH LIST 2014/15

Councillors were asked to give some thought to projects they would wish to see included in the budget for 2014-15 or for subsequent years.

These suggestions would be considered as part of the budget exercise later in the year.

56.  HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 26 June 2013 had been circulated.

The following recommendation was made:

“‘Give the Councils support for the installation of a disabled bay outside Taylors Pharmacy to the Northumberland County Council Highways.’

RESOLVED – The recommendation be agreed.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

57. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 10 June 2013 had been circulated.

The following recommendations were approved:

5.1 Park

(iii) Courteous notices be erected asking dog owners to put their dogs on a leash in the picnic area up to bridge number 1 from April to September’

5.3 Picnic Table

(i) That a decision relating to the location of a standard picnic bench at the top of the Wild Meadow adjacent to the steps down to the River be deferred pending further discussions with Friends of Ponteland Park.

(ii) That a picnic bench suitable for disabled users be placed in the position of the recently damaged bench in the picnic area.

5.14 Green Flag status

Endorse progress of the proposal to apply for Green Flag status for PontelandPark and seek volunteers to assist in the preparation of a comprehensive management plan.  Councillors Mrs S Johnson and A Shanley agreed to help out with this project.

8.4 Work on river bank at the Diamond

Prices be obtained to curb weed growth north of PontelandBridge and agree that details of the costs for this work be reported back to Council for approval.

8.6 Daffodil planting in September

A planting scheme of up to 2000 daffodils at the following areas; Dunsgreen opposite the schools on Callerton Lane, the roundabout at the end of Rotary Way on its junction with Callerton Lane, Callerton Lane and the Pele Tower be agreed and that Councillor Mrs Butcher prepare a planting scheme for the Rotary Way roundabout.

58. CEMETERY COMMITEE

Minutes of a meeting of the above Committee held on 1 July 2013 were submitted for information.

The Committee had agreed to various maintenance and improvement works

being carried out such as transferring the rubbish bins to the back of the shelter, improvement to the shelter, floral displays etc.

They also discussed the situation regarding memorial trees and seats which

required further talks with the County Council.

RESOLVED – The minutes be received.

59. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd reported that the sum of £100,000 allocated to each Area Committee had been put on hold until further notice as it was felt the level of funding to the West was unfair compared to the South East of the County.

He also referred to the Local Development Framework and the current discussions relating to the green belt around Morpeth which was going out for consultation and referred to the possible implications for Ponteland.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

60.       MAYOR’S REPORT

(i)         Proposed Exhibition of wartime memorabilia in 2014

The Mayor reported on the idea of a proposed exhibition of war time memorabilia to be held in November 2014.  An article would be placed in Pont News and Views to gauge interest.  A provisional booking had been made at the Memorial Hall for the week prior to Remembrance Sunday in 2014.

(ii)       Music in the Park

A report was presented in relation to the Music in the Park event held on Sunday 30 June.  Thanks were given to Andy Anderson, Stewart Blair, Jim Robertson and Richard Walker for their help in organising this event which was much appreciated.  Thanks were also expressed to the Clerk to the Council.

Councillors were asked to note the last Sunday in June for this event for future years.

(iii)      Litterpick

It was reported that a litter pick would be held on Saturday 13 July from 10.00 a.m. to 12 noon.  This was prior to the Northumbria in Bloom summer judging scheduled to be held on 18 July from 10.00 a.m.

Councillors were urged to participate if possible by attending on the day or by selecting an area to pick litter before the judging.

(iv)      Ponteland URC Church – 40th Anniversary-20-21 July

The Mayor referred to the invitation extended to all Councillors to the 40th Anniversary of the Ponteland United Reformed Church on 20 and 21 July.

61. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i)         Neighbourhood Plan Group

Minutes of a meeting of the above held on 2 July had been circulated.

(ii)        Ponteland Community Partnership Minutes

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the PCP held on 19 June 2013 had been circulated.

(iii)       Ponteland Business Network

The Mayor had attended a meeting of the above held on 4 July 2013 and presented a written report of proceedings.  This related to discussions with NCC about the formation of a Community Trust and a Working Party was to be set up by the Business Network to begin discussions on this subject.

62. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET REPORT

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £32,292.05 and the transfer of this sum from the Councils Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for June 2013 was also approved.  A monthly income and expenditure review report showing amounts received and expended against each main budget heading was accepted.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

62. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET REPORT(contd)

The quarterly Budget revision report from July 2013 was also circulated and approved.

RESOLVED – The reports be accepted.

63. LETTER FROM NCC RE PARKING

A letter had been received from the County Council in relation to a process being followed regarding their commitment to work with parish and town councils in offering communities the opportunity to enjoy free parking.

A list of lead parish and town Councils (to be known as PCs) had been formulated and these related to areas where parking was currently charged for.

The Town Council was asked to submit any comments they may have on free parking to one of the lead PCs.

The Lead PCs would be responsible for preparing community based parking plans that considered alternatives to charging where traffic management problems existed.

RESOLVED – This matter be referred to the Highways Working Party for consideration.

64. ACTION FOR MARKET TOWNS (AMT) BENCHMARKING

The Town Council had been informed by the County Council that they had been awarded a grant of £2500 to have an Action for Market Towns Benchmarking activity carried out.

The grant had to be only for this purpose and had to be carried out by an organisation called AMT-i.

If subsequent annual updating was required, the Town Council would be responsible for the annual licence fee of around £300.

RESOLVED – The Council agree to accept the grant on the proviso that they were not obliged to carry out the annual updating in the second year.

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CHAIRMAN

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DATE

DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 14 AUGUST 2013 AT 6.45 P.M. AT TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES