Town Council Meeting 11 March 2015 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 11 MARCH 2015

Present: Councillor C Rawlings (in the Chair)

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

201. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

An apology for absence was received from Councillor A Varley.

202. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 11 FEBRUARY 2015

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 11 February 2015 were confirmed
and signed by the Mayor.

203. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest.

204. MATTERS ARISING

(i) Funeral of former Clerk, Mr J Anderson
It was reported that Councillor Ramsay had attended the above funeral on behalf of the Town Council.
(ii) Public question
The Mayor reported that he had sent a copy of his response to the question to Mrs Campbell at her request.
(iii) Minute 189(iii) DCLG Consultation document on building more homes on Brownfield sites
It was reported that the Town Council’s response had been submitted to the DCLG by the deadline date.
(iv) Minute 189 (iv) Possible changes to the Planning system
The Council had submitted a response to the above consultation.
(v) Minute 199 Meritorious Service Award
It was reported that the proposed recipient of the above had been contacted and PC Rob Anderson was delighted to accept the award.

205. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of the meeting held on 10 and 24 February had been circulated for information.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

205. PLANNING (Continued)
The Chairman of the Planning Committee reported on her attendance at a meeting at NCC regarding the proposed changes to the Planning process in Northumberland. It had been an interesting meeting with a number of town and parish councils in attendance. The various points made in the Town Council’s response to the document had been made. It appeared from an article in the Journal that the recommendations included within the document had been approved by the Policy Board and it was likely that this would be agreed by the NCC Council meeting on 1 April.

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

206. CORE STRATEGY – UPDATE
A report by the Mayor had been circulated.
It was suggested that there were a number of issues that the Town Council should raise with NCC.
These included:
1. Query when the latest ONS/DCLG data would be applied to recalculate the projected housing numbers for Ponteland.
2. Query the intention of NCC to review housing numbers and green belt deletions following the criticism by an Inspector of Durham County Council’s figures. It was understood that NCC had used the same company.
3. Whether NCC had responded to the DCLG consultation on Brownfield development.
4. Ask if NCC were monitoring the development plans of Newcastle City Council as their current plans would reduce the gap between the two areas.
5. Request any news of regeneration in Ponteland and if Arch were in a position to provide an update.

RESOLVED – A letter be send to the Head of Planning at Northumberland County
Council listing the questions as set out above and that a copy be sent to the
Ponteland County Councillors.

207. GRANT APPLICATION
(i) Friends of Ponteland Park
A grant application had been received from the Friends of Ponteland Park.
Councillors were informed that a sum of £1000 had been included in the budget for
this purpose.
The application related to placing a seat at the top of the dipping platform at the Oxbow Lake.

RESOLVED – A grant of £1000 be approved.

208. PROJECTS REPORT

A report was presented for consideration.
It was hoped that the land survey project would be completed by the end of the financial year.

RESOLVED – The report be noted.
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CHAIRMAN DATE

209. STREET CLUTTER REPORT
A report by the Clerk had been circulated to the Council.
The Ponteland Civic Society had submitted a report relating to street clutter in Ponteland to the Town Council with a range of recommendations as to what they would like the Council to consider. This report had been previously sent to the Council in 2010.
The report contained comments about a range of issues including advertising ‘A’ boards by businesses; duplication of road signs, untidy areas etc.
It was reported that the County Council was currently carrying out a review of ‘A’ boards across the county.
The Clerk supplied additional information regarding the introduction of byelaws. Parish and town councils could only introduce byelaws for land or property that they owned. They could also only be introduced for a specific list of services and they had to be agreed by the DCLG. There were also issues surrounding enforcement.

RESOLVED –

(i) Refer the report to the Highways and Environment Working Parties with a view to reporting back to the Council in due course.

(ii) Note the action being proposed by NCC and await the results of the planned review of ‘A’ boards for advertising.

(iii) Contact BT and NCC regarding the green utility box at the junction of Eastern Way and Darras Road to see if it could be moved as it was creating a traffic hazard.

210. CEMETERY COMMITTEE

Minutes of a meeting of the Cemetery Committee held on 9 February 2015 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes be approved.

211. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 13 February 2015 had been circulated.

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

(i) Report on the effectiveness of Speed Indicator Display Signs and various proposals
The Council agree in principle to move towards making all 10 of their current vehicle activated signs permanent in the future subject to information regarding funding and a timetable being presented to a future meeting.

Councillor Ramsay asked that it be noted that he had voted against this recommendation.
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CHAIRMAN DATE

211. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY (Continued)
(ii) Grit bin at Merton Way

The Council agreed to request the removal of a grit bin at Merton Way.

212. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 16 February 2015 had been circulated.

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

(i) Bridge 2 Abutment works
The Council agreed to approve the lowest quotation from contractor A in the sum of £2995.30 as a matter of priority and that this sum be met from contingencies.

(a) Report re public toilets
The Council was informed that the Environment Working Party had considered a report including various suggested layouts for the above facility. The Working Party had agreed a layout involving two identical toilets each for use by the disabled and with nappy changing facilities. A plan showing the layout was shown to Members. It was noted that there was a slight amendment to the lobby area to allow the doors to open outwards.

In relation to the roof it was reported that a structural engineer had been engaged to examine the structure. A further report would be circulated once he had visited the site and submitted his findings.
It was further reported that the external works had been put on hold until the situation with the roof was known.

RESOLVED –
(i) The layout as shown on the circulated drawing be approved.
(ii) The Council confirm the appointment of the contractor A subject to suitable financial information being available.
(iii) Confirm that no further consideration be given to the other contractors who submitted quotes and authorise the Clerk to write and inform them accordingly.
(iv) Note that a further report was to be submitted on the external works including the roof.

(b) Otter Sculpture in the Park

Members were informed that the Working Party had considered a report relating to a request from a donor to have an Otter sculpture in the Park.
The Working Party had referred the report to the Council for consideration.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

212. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY (Continued)
(b) Otter Sculpture in the Park

A copy of the report had been circulated.
Various locations had been suggested however it was felt that the location close to Waitrose on the bank may be preferable in view of the heavier footfall and the possibility that the site could be viewed from the CCTV.
It would however be necessary to consult with the EA and possibly NCC as this area was within the Conservation area.
It would not be possible to insure the item and it would be necessary to examine the method of ground anchor arrangements.
The Clerk reported that she had recently met with the donor and representatives of FOPP and it was stated that the donor understood the risks involved but was keen to progress this project.

RESOLVED –
(i) That the donor be thanked for her offer and the Council agreed in principle to accept this gift subject to obtaining the necessary approvals from third
parties and agreement of a suitable location and form of statue.
(ii) That the Clerk be given delegated authority to process the matter subject to agreement by the Environment Working Party.

213. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Richard Dodd reported on the budget that had been agreed by the County Council covering a two year period.
He reported that the car park at the back of Merton Way had been resurfaced and marked out.
He stated that some funding would be spent on resurfacing Thornhill Road.
Councillor Dodd also reported on his attendance at the recent LMAPS meeting. From April it would be held bi-monthly at Hexham and Prudhoe.

214. MAYOR’S REPORT

(i) Mayor’s Diary – February 2015
The Mayor had submitted details of his diary engagements for February.
The Mayor referred to his attendance at the meeting organised by the Community Trust that had been well organised.
The volunteer lunch at Merton Hall had also been well organised and attended by over 40 volunteers.
(ii) Review of subsidised public transport services
The Mayor referred to this review that was being carried out by the County Council.
He asked that Councillors submit any comments to the Clerk by 23 March so that a response could be submitted to NCC by 26 March. The 74 and 79 services were both under review and comments had already been received from a resident who was concerned at the possible loss of the services.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

215. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Minutes of a meeting held on 22 January 2015 had been circulated for information.
(ii) Newcastle Airport Consultative Committee – 3 March 2015
Councillor Mrs Butcher submitted a report regarding her attendance at the above mentioned meeting.

She reported that the Airport had been voted top UK airport for 2014 in the Wanderlust magazine. The Airport was celebrating its 80th anniversary on 26 July.

216. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET UPDATE

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £ 38,525.00 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for February 2015 and a monthly income and expenditure review report showing amounts received and expended against each main budget heading was also approved.

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CHAIRMAN

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DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 8 APRIL 2015 AT AT 7.00 P.M. AT PONTELAND METHODIST CHURCH HALL FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTORS FOLLOWED BY THE COUNCIL MEETING AT APPROXIMATELY 8.00 P.M.