Town Council Meeting 10 December 2014 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 10 DECEMBER 2014

Present: Councillor C Rawlings (in the Chair)

Councillors Mrs C Caisley, R Dodd, Mrs C Greenwell, Mrs S Johnson, Mrs L Noble, R Ramsay, A Shanley, and A Varley.

144. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs J Butcher, P Cowey and Mrs E Thompson.

145. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 12 NOVEMBER 2014

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 12 November 2014 were confirmed
and signed by the Mayor.

146. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Councillor Mrs C Greenwell declared an interest in items 164 and 165 and left the meeting.

147. MATTERS ARISING

(i) Minute 127(i) Ponteland RFC
It was reported that a letter of thanks had been received from the above organisation in respect of the grant agreed at the last meeting.

148. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of the meeting held on 4 and 18 November 2014 had been circulated for information.

(ii) Report on recent planning decisions
The Vice Chairman of the Committee reported that the Council had spoken at the West Area meeting in relation to the Bank Top application for Prestwick and that it had been refused.

149. GRANTS

(i) Dalton Village Hall
The Council considered a grant application from Dalton Village Hall in respect of annual maintenance of the Hall.
RESOLVED – A grant of £1000 be approved.

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149. GRANTS (Continued)

(ii) Legacare
The above mentioned organisation had submitted a grant application which was circulated to Councillors.
The organisation provides free legal services to people with life threatening or life limiting illnesses.
Following discussions on the amount of grant to be offered a sum of £250 was agreed.
RESOLVED – A grant of £250 be approved.

150. REQUEST FOR GRANT TOWARDS COST OF FIREWORK DISPLAY
The Proprietor of the Diamond Inn had submitted a request for assistance towards the cost of providing a firework display on New Year’s Eve.
The Council was reminded that a grant of £250 had been awarded in 2013 for this purpose.
The costs were met by local businesses and the expenditure for this year’s event was £1500 compared to £1200 last year.

RESOLVED – A grant of £250 be approved.

151. PROJECTS REPORT

A report was presented for consideration.
In relation to the skate park, the Clerk was endeavouring to find a date for the installer to return and paint the ramps. He had suggested a grey colour and Councillors were asked for their views on this.

It was reported that the recently commissioned tree survey of PTC owned land had been completed and required detailed examination. However there were three trees listed in the report as ‘very high’ priority and considered dangerous. The Clerk was seeking quotes for removal whilst also liaising with NCC re an application for a 5 day notice.

RESOLVED –
(i) The report be noted.
(ii) The colour of the skate park ramps be delegated to the Clerk.
(iii) The information regarding removal of the dangerous trees be noted.

152 VANDALISM

A report by the Mayor relating to a recent spate of vandalism had been circulated.

Various recommendations had been included within the report which were discussed in detail.

The Council felt it important to stress the message of their zero tolerance approach to vandalism although this did have a cost implication in terms of resources.
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152 VANDALISM(Continued)

It was suggested that meetings with the new Police Inspector and the Youth Services Officer should be arranged to discuss the problems being faced by the Town Council at the present time.

RESOLVED –
(i) That the Council continue to report every act of vandalism to the Police.
(ii) That the Police be requested to increase their vigilance and that a meeting be arranged with the Police Inspector.
(iii) That PTC is represented at the bi-monthly LMAPS meetings held in Ponteland.
(iv) That the Youth Services Officer is informed of this problem.
(v) That an article be prepared for publication in PNV about the costs to the community of vandalism and requesting the public to report such acts when they witnessed them.
(vi) That communication be increased with local schools and youth organisations.
(vii) That PTC learns from experiences of other Councils and their efforts to combat vandalism.

153. REQUEST TO USE THE PARK FOR THE ROTARY DUCK RACE

A request had been received from the Ponteland Rotary Club for formal agreement for them to use the Park for the above event to be held on 6 September 2015.

They also requested the Town Council to continue the practice of providing the portable toilets and also asked permission to cut back the vegetation as agreed this year.

RESOLVED –
(i) The Council agree to the use of the Park for this event on 6 September 2015.
(ii) The Council agree to provide the portable toilets as their contribution towards this event.
(iii) Agree that the vegetation can be cut back to the same level as agreed this year.

154. REQUEST FROM THE PONTELAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN STEERING GROUP TO ENDORSE THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS

A report by the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (PNPSG) had been circulated.

The report related to the decision made by the PNPSG to reject the proposed NCC Final Draft Core Strategy in respect of Ponteland.

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154. REQUEST FROM THE PONTELAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN STEERING GROUP TO ENDORSE THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS
(Continued)

The reasons for this decision included a lack of understanding on the methodology used on housing numbers and the disproportionate area of greenbelt deletions in relation to housing numbers.

The PNPSG made several decisions at a meeting held on 18 November and these included:
– a recommendation not to support the current Final Draft Core Strategy in its present form.
– To include reasons for their recommendation not to support the document
– The PNPSG wish to continue to work with NCC to find a way forward through co-operation and honest dialogue.

It had also been suggested that NCC Officers would be invited to attend a PNPSG meeting to explain the methodology behind the creation of the housing numbers for Ponteland.
That meeting had been held and had been very useful. NCC had also forwarded some additional information through to the Chairman of the PNPSG and the Mayor and this had been circulated to Town Councillors.
The PNPSG also asked the Council to endorse their decision to restart the process of cooperation with NCC by discussion and working together to achieve a better deal for Ponteland.
It was noted that the Core Strategy consultation formally started on 12 December and would end on 11 February. There were two consultation events to be held in Ponteland in January on the 14th and the 31st at the Leisure Centre and Memorial Hall respectively.
The Town Council would be meeting in January to discuss their response to the Core Strategy.

RESOLVED – The Town Council agree to endorse the recommendations and actions taken by the PNPSG in relation to the Core Strategy.

155. LETTER FROM NCC RE THEIR PROPOSED BUDGET 2015-16 TO 2016-17 CONSULTATION EXERCISE

It was reported that the County Council was holding an eight week consultation on their budget proposals for the next two years and this would run until 23 January 2015. Further information was available at budget@northumberland.gov.uk.

It was agreed that the Town Council should formulate a response pointing out the lack of investment planned for Ponteland as part of the NCC’s Capital Programme proposals.

RESOLVED – That a response be formulated as set out above and submitted by the deadline date of 23 January 2015.
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155A. NOTES OF A MEETING WITH LYNN DUNLEAVY (FLOODING ADVISER) HELD ON 2 DECEMBER 2014.

A report of a meeting held with Lynn Dunleavy on 2 December and attended by three Councillors had been circulated.

The meeting discussed flood resilience planning that had been done in other areas of Northumberland where flooding was a major issue.

It was suggested that a further meeting be held in the New Year.

RESOLVED –
(i) The Council noted that flood resilience plans were being formed.
(ii) That a further meeting be held with Lynn Dunleavy in 2015 together with representatives from NCC and the EA if possible.
(iii) That Ms Dunleavy be asked to provide details of the current flood wardens in Ponteland.
(iv) That the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan website is accessed to read the flooding section.

156. ATTENDANCE AT LMAPS MEETINGS

Councillors were reminded that the above meetings were held each month and on a bi-monthly basis in Ponteland.

It had been noted recently that the Town Council was not represented at these meetings and it was suggested that these may provide an opportunity for the Council to raise any issues of concern relating to vandalism etc.

It was suggested that a rota could be established for Councillors to attend the meetings in Ponteland so that attendance did not place an undue burden on any individual.

It was reported that the format of the LMAPS meetings would be changing in the near future.

RESOLVED – The Council establish a rota for Councillors attendance at the bi-monthly LMAPS meetings held in Ponteland.

157. OFFICE CLOSURE – CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR

Councillors were informed that it was proposed to close the Town Council offices from 12.30 p.m. on Tuesday 23 December 2014 and re-open on Monday 5 January 2015 at 9.30 a.m.

RESOLVED – The information be noted.

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158. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 14 November 2014 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendations were approved:-

(i) Upgrade of existing static VAS signs to actual speed display signs
The Council agreed to the recommendation for the early replacement of 3 existing VAS signs to the Speed Indicator Display signs to be funded by a combination of early draw down from the asset replacement fund and contingencies.

(ii) Proposed introduction of short stay parking bays in Merton Way
Agree that a request asking for No overnight parking be added to the Council’s response re the above.

159. CEMETERY COMMITTEE

Minutes of a meeting of the above Committee held on 24 November 2014 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendation be approved:

(i) Fees for 2015-16
The Council agreed the recommendation for a 3% increase across the fees for the Cemetery for 2015-16 following a period of no increases for two years. A list of proposed fees and charges rounded up or down would be submitted to the January meeting for approval as part of the forthcoming budget exercise.

160. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd referred to the Core Strategy which was out for public consultation. There was some discussion regarding the housing numbers for Ponteland.

He also mentioned that the NCC Budget process was underway.

161. MAYOR’S REPORT

(i) Mayor’s Diary – November 2014
The Mayor had submitted details of his diary engagements for November.

(ii) Report re meeting with Dr C Pryer re changing facilities for MUGA and the Honours system
A report of a meeting held on 20 November with Dr Pryer, the Mayor and the Clerk had been circulated. An article would appear in PNV regarding the Honours system which Dr Pryer was promoting in her role as Deputy Lieutenant.

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161. MAYOR’S REPORT(Continued)
(iii) Letter from Arch regarding regeneration of Merton Way
A copy of a letter received from Arch regarding the above had been circulated to Councillors for information.

162. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Minutes of meetings held on 29 October and 6 November 2014 had been circulated for information.

163. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET REPORT

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £58,951.99 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for November 2014 was also approved. A monthly income and expenditure review report showing amounts received and expended against each main budget heading and the quarterly budget revision report were accepted.

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DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 14 JANUARY 2015 AT 6.45 P.M. AT THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES