Town Council meeting November 13 2013 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

 

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 13 NOVEMBER 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.

 

126. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

There were no apologies for absence.

 

127. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

 

Councillor Mrs Greenwell declared an interest in items 147 and 148 and left the room prior to the discussion

 

128. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 10 OCTOBER 2013

 

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 10 October 2013 were confirmed and signed by the Mayor.

 

129. MATTERS ARISING

 

(i)         Minute 109 (i) Meeting with West Northumberland CAB

The Clerk reported on a meeting held with West Northumberland CAB which had been held on 22 October.

Since that meeting it appeared that the Morpeth CAB would no longer be able to provide the service at Merton Hall on a Tuesday morning.  The West Northumberland CAB could provide the service but at a cost.

A letter outlining the level of grant required was expected but had not yet been received.

(ii)        Minute 111 (i) – Ponteland Community Middle School – Request for grant towards cost of Multi Use Games Area (MUGA).

The Council had resolved to approve a grant of £10,000 subject to budget considerations and a letter of intent had been sent to Dr Caroline Pryer.

The logo had not as yet been forwarded to the school and the Clerk was asked to ensure this information was passed on.

 

130.PLANNING

 

(i) Planning Committee 

Minutes of meetings held on 8 and 22 October 2013 were circulated for information.

 

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

 

 

 

 

130.PLANNING (Continued)

 

(ii) Report on recent planning decisions

There was nothing to report however the Chairman of the Planning Committee thanked her fellow Committee members for their assistance in relation to the recent Birney Hill planning application submission.

 

Note – Councillor R Dodd took no part in any discussion or voting in respect of Minute 130 above.

 

131. GRANT APPLICATION

 

(i) Ponteland Memorial Hall

An application had been received from Ponteland Memorial Hall for a grant of £6200 towards their running costs.

 

RESOLVED – A grant of £6200 be approved.

 

(ii) North East War Memorial Project (NEWMP) 

An application had been received from the above organisation for a grant towards the costs of setting up their website.

 

Councillors were informed of the number of memorials in the Ponteland area which were listed on the website.

 

RESOLVED – A grant of £100 be approved.

 

132. PROJECTS REPORT

A report updating Councillors on the progress made in relation to the various ongoing projects was submitted.

 

Skate Park

Supplementary information was provided in respect of the skate park which was currently being installed.

It was reported that the 2 metre safety zone could be surfaced with various materials which were set out in the relevant British Standard document.

After discussions with a contractor with experience of this type of installation elsewhere it was suggested that tarmac with a modified binder should be used.

Three quotes were sought, one company declined to submit a price and details of the other two quotes were reported.

War Memorial

A report relating to the War Memorial refurbishment was presented.

The report outlined a description of the works and also gave details of the three quotes received in respect of the works.

 

 

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

 

 

 

132. PROJECTS REPORT(Continued)

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         The projects report be accepted.

(ii)        The Council agree to accept the quote from RHD Construction and

Environmental Contractors Ltd in the sum of £4330.78 for surfacing to

the safety zone for the car park.

(iii)       The contract for the War Memorial refurbishment be awarded to

the lowest tenderer, Falcon Contracts in the sum of £2,474.00

 

133. RISK MANAGEMENT REPORT

 

A Risk Management report for 2013/14 was circulated for the consideration of the Council.

In accordance with the Account and Audit Regulations 2011, the Council must review their risk management on an annual basis.

A table setting out the various financial risks involved in the financial management side of the Council was also attached for comment and approval.

 

It was felt that potential risks to the Council including its financial management were well covered by the various processes and procedures already in place.

 

The Clerk reported that a potential area of weakness related to the Pont News and Views and the fact that the funds were held by the Ponteland Community Partnership (PCP).  The Town Council would be liable if any issues arose and it was suggested that discussions be held with the PCP to take steps to minimise the risk to the Council.  It was stressed that there was no sleight intended on the PCP.

 

RESOLVED – The report be accepted and discussions take place with the PCP in relation to the issue relating to the Pont News and Views funds.

 

134. INTERNAL CONTROLS REPORT

 

A report on the internal controls of the Council was submitted for consideration and approval.

 

RESOLVED – The report be approved.

 

135. REVIEW OF INTERNAL AUDIT

 

A report relating to the review of internal audit for 2013/14 was submitted for consideration and approval.

 

The report set out the draft audit programme for approval and this formed the basis of the work carried out by the Council’s internal auditor during the year.

An Internal Audit review checklist was also submitted as part of the report. The Council was also asked if they wished to confirm the appointment of Mr P Basnett as Internal Auditor

 

RESOLVED – The report and audit programme as submitted be approved and the re-appointment of Mr Basnett be confirmed.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

136. REVIEW OF STANDING ORDERS/FINANCIAL REGULATIONS

 

Councillors were reminded that an annual review of Standing Orders and Financial Regulations was required.

It was proposed that a  small sub group consisting of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillor Ramsay be set up to review the documents and a report would be submitted at a future meeting within this financial year in order to comply with the relevant regulations.

 

RESOLVED –  A Working Group comprising of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillor Ramsay be established to review Standing Orders and Financial Regulations and a report be submitted to a future meeting before the end of the financial year.  Councillors were asked to submit any comments or suggested amendments to the Group or the Clerk as soon as possible.

 

137. BUDGET 2014/15    

 

It was suggested that an informal meeting be held to discuss the draft budget for 2014-15 and that this be held on Monday 25 November at 6.30 p.m.

 

RESOLVED – The meeting date be agreed.

 

138. REPORT RE LOCALISATION OF COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT

 

A report in relation to the above issue was submitted.

The new arrangements which came into being on 1 April 2013 meant that households received housing benefit were excluded from the council tax base however the Government were giving a grant to principal authorities which was meant to compensate for the shortfall including local councils.  NCC had passed this grant on in 2013.

Councillors were reminded that the Parish Liaison Committee had been informed that the grant would not be passed onto parish and town councils for 2014-15.  This had been confirmed by a letter received from NCC on 8 November.

 

The effect on Ponteland was relatively minor as the current grant only amounted to about 1.3% of the precept however it would have a far greater effect on some other local councils in the county.

 

Both the National and Northumberland Association of Local Councils (NALC) had continued to lobby both NCC and the Government.  The Society of Local Councils (SLCC) had also been involved.

 

RESOLVED – The Council record their strong disapproval of the County Council not to transport the amount received from Government to compensate for a reduction in the base values to compensate for the reduction in different arrangements in paying housing benefits.

The Council also agreed to lobby the local County Councillors and MP to seek their support for this protest and also support would be sought from other adjacent local authorities such as Morpeth, Hexham and Prudhoe.

 

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

139. NCC CORE STRATEGY

 

Councillors were reminded that the Core Strategy relating to Housing, Employment and Green Belt was currently out for consultation and comments were required by 2 January 2014.

Six copies of the documentation were available for Councillors and It was proposed that each Councillor respond to each of the 47 questions and supply a copy of their responses to the Clerk by 13 December.  A meeting would be required to determine the PTC response to be submitted to NCC.

 

RESOLVED – The proposal set out above be agreed.

 

140. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

 

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 14 October 2013 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The following recommendations be approved:-

(i)         Contract for Path in the Park

The Council approve the works and accept the lowest quote of £3910 from Northumbrian Turf & Landscaping.

(ii)        Clean of timber edging to paths

The background to this issue was reported. It had not been possible to utilise the contractor’s hours to complete these works. The Council approve the works and accept the lowest quote of £2210.

 

141. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 16 October 2013 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The following recommendations be approved:-

(i)         2.80 Proposal to InstallArtificial Lawn on a grass verge

Install a trial section of artificial grass subject to the following conditions 1) The contractor must have a street works card to work within the Highways, 2) PTC will be held solely responsible for its upkeep and maintenance once installed and 3) In the event that the surfacing fails PTC must reinstate the verge to its original state at their own expense.

The location for the trial is from the barrier outside the Callerton play area, to the entrance to the car park on Callerton Lane.Quotes to be sought from local suppliers.

(ii)        2.83 Refurbishment of 2nd Historic Mileage Sign

Removal of the milepost located on the A696 close to the Waggon Inn; to carry out a full restoration and re-install at a cost of £913.92

 

 

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

 

 141. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY (Continued)

 

(iii)       4 Public Rights of Way Proposal – Parish of Ponteland Dismantled Railway

The Council was consulted on an application under s53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 for a Modification Order to amend the Definitive Map and Statement. Members considered the document proposed by members of the Ponteland Ramblers Association; which aimed to formalise a historical and well used footpath north of Avondale Road, and correctly record a bridleway at The Crescent as a vehicular highway. Members agreed to recommend the Council’s support for the proposal to modify the definitive map as outlined above and provide anecdotal and or photographic evidence if possible.

(iv)      Quality Contracts Scheme

To contact Mr Ian Coe Passenger Transport Support Manager at NCC to pass on the Councils concerns that cross boundary bus services may be adversely affected should the Quality Contracts Scheme be introduced in Tyne and Wear.

 

142. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

 

Councillor Dodd reported the yellow lines would be removed from the lay-by at the shops at Merton Way and bollards would be installed to stop delivery wagons parking on the pavement.  There would be a 20 minute waiting restriction imposed which would allow people to call in at the shops for a short period of time.

 

Councillor Dodd had had a meeting with the Head of Parking relating to problems being experienced in the car parks in Ponteland which he outlined.

If any solutions were proposed then the Town Council would be consulted as part of the consultation process.

 

143. MAYOR’S REPORT

 

(i)         Office opening – Christmas and New Year

It was reported that the Town Council offices would be closed from 12.30 p.m. on Monday 23 December and would re-open on Thursday 2 January 2014.

(ii)        Volunteering  

The Deputy Mayor would be preparing a report on volunteering for consideration by the Council in December.  This would seek to try and encourage volunteers to assist the many worthwhile local organisations in Ponteland, some of which struggled for voluntary assistance.  It was suggested that something could be placed on the Council’s website and into PNV.

 

 (iii)      NALC AGM 19.10.13

The Mayor had attended the above meeting which had dealt with the appointment of various positions.

(iv)      It’s Your Neighbourhood Awards 23.10.13

The Mayor had presented the awards at the above event held at Ponteland Memorial Hall.  Councillor Mrs Butcher had also been in attendance.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                  DATE

 

  1. MAYOR’S REPORT(Continued)

 

(v)       Pont Group Charity Concert 26.10.13

The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors Adam Shanley and Robin Ramsay had attended this concert held at the Memorial Hall.  It had been an enjoyable evening and it was understood the event had raised over £4000 for charity.

 

(vi)      Meeting to inform PTC re Community Trusts

An informal meeting regarding the above was agreed. This would take place at the Town Council Offices on 18 November 2013 at 7.30pm and Mr Tony Kirsop would be in attendance.

 

(vii)     Remembrance Parade

The above event had been very well attended and well organised.

 

144. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

 

(i)         Richard Coates Foundation

Notes of the meeting of the above held on 15 October 2013 had been circulated.

(ii)        ISOS Housing Consultation

Councillor Mrs Greenwell had produced a report of a meeting held on 16 October 2013 with ISOS and residents of the area.

 (iii)      CAN AGM 5.11.13

This meeting had been attended by the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Councillors Mrs Greenwell and Shanley.  A brief verbal report on the meeting was presented.

(iv)      Fairtrade Working Party

Councillor Mrs Noble reported on a meeting she had had with Mr Steve Helm regarding the above Working Party.  Councillor Mrs Noble had accepted a framed certificate which designated Ponteland as a Fairtrade town and this would be displayed in the office.

(v)       Bus Users Group

A report of a meeting of the above Group held on 7 November had been circulated.

 

145. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET REPORT

             

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £36508.47and the transfer of this sum from the Councils Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for October 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                                                                  DATE

 146. REPORT RE LEASE FOR UNIT 1 MEADOWFIELD COURT

 

The Clerk had been asked to report back to the Council on the terms of a lease for Unit 1 and suite 10 at Meadowfield Court.

 

A copy of a draft lease was also circulated.

 

Various suggestions regarding future office arrangements had been made at the October 2013 meeting and it was proposed that these should be discussed and resolved at a future meeting.

 

RESOLVED – The Council agree to enter into a three year lease with the landlord of Meadowfield Court for Unit 1 and Suite 10 Meadowfield Court.

 

 

DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 11 DECEMBER 2013 AT 6.45 P.M. AT TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES