Town Council Meeting 11 November 2015 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

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

Present: Councillor C Rawlings (in the Chair)

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

122. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P Cowey and A Varley.

123. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 14 OCTOBER 2015

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 14 October 2015 were confirmed
and signed by the Mayor.

124. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Councillor A Shanley declared an interest in item 136 (ii) and took no part in the discussion on that item.

125. MATTERS ARISING

(i) Minute 111 – NCC Homelessness Strategy
It was reported that the response had been submitted to NCC on 28 October.
Councillors Mrs Noble and Shanley were thanked for their work in co-ordinating the response on behalf of the Town Council.

126. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 6 and 20 October 2015 were circulated for information.

The Chairman reported that it had not yet been possible to prepare a report on the possibility of receiving plans by electronic means. It was hoped a report could be submitted to Council very soon.

Some queries were raised regarding enforcement issues that had not yet been dealt with.

It was reported by County Councillor Peter Jackson that additional resources were being employed at NCC to deal with enforcement matters and that Building Control officers were receiving training on enforcement.

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

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127. GRANTS
The Clerk had circulated a report regarding the four grant applications received and the current budgetary situation.

(i) Tynedale Hospice at Home
Councillors were reminded that consideration of this application had been deferred from the October meeting pending receipt of up to date accounts. These had been received and circulated. It was reported that 25% of the organisation’s activity took place in Ponteland.
RESOLVED – A grant of £250 be approved.

(ii) Ponteland Beer Festival 2016
A request had been received from the organisers of the above event for a grant towards the cost of organising the 2016 festival.
A grant of £250 had been awarded last year.
A suggestion was made that a pledge could be made to the organisers with the grant payable in the new financial year in April 2016. However members agreed to fund the grant out of contingencies and pay it in this financial year.

RESOLVED – A grant of £250 be approved which would be met from contingencies.

(iii) Ponteland Memorial Hall
A grant application had been received from the above organisation in respect of their annual grant from the Town Council. The amount had been included in the budget for 2015-16.

RESOLVED – A grant of £6300 be approved.

(iv) Diamond Inn, Ponteland
Correspondence had been received from the proprietor of the Diamond Inn requesting a grant towards the cost of providing a fireworks display on 31 December 2015. The letter stated that both the attendance and the costs of arranging the event were increasing.

RESOLVED – A grant of £250 be approved.

106. PROJECTS REPORT

A report relating to the above had been circulated.
Members were informed that the sign showing the amended opening hours had been erected at the skate park.

RESOLVED – The report be noted.

129. RISK MANAGEMENT REPORT

A report relating to the review of risk management procedures for 2015-16 had been circulated.

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129. RISK MANAGEMENT REPORT(Continued)
A table which set out the various risks involved in the financial management side of the Council was also circulated and discussed.

A comment was made about the emergency alarm in the public toilets that had recently been set off. The re-set button was too high for people to reach.
It was agreed that this would be looked into.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

130. INTERNAL CONTROLS REPORT
A report dealing with the Town Council’s systems of internal control had been circulated.

The report highlighted the item raised by the external auditors as part of the 2014-15 audit. This related to consideration of the level of reserves held by the Council during the budget process. The Council had agreed at the October meeting to consider all of its budget reserves as part of the budget process in December/January.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

131. REVIEW OF INTERNAL AUDIT

A report relating to the review of internal audit for 2015-16 was submitted for consideration.

The report set out the work carried out by the internal auditor, Peter Basnett.
Reports produced by the auditor were produced in his own name and sent to the Clerk for consideration by the Council. It was suggested that the Council could also request that a copy is sent to a Councillor (the Mayor) to avoid any possibility of the report not being presented to the Council by the Clerk.
Councillors agreed this course of action.

RESOLVED –
(i) The report be accepted.
(ii) The Council confirm the re-appointment of Mr Peter Basnett as the
Town Council’s internal auditor for 2016-17.
(iii) The internal auditor be asked to send a copy of his report to the Mayor as well as the Clerk for the reasons outlined above.

132. SALARY REVIEW – STAFF
The Council was reminded that they were required to examine the salaries and terms and conditions of staff during each financial year.

The Council was requested to set up a Working Party to carry out this task.

RESOLVED – A Working Party comprising the Mayor, Councillors Mrs Johnson and Ramsay be set up to examine the salaries and terms and conditions of the PTC staff.

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133. QUEENS 90TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
A report by Councillor Ramsay relating to the above had been circulated.

Members were reminded that a decision had already been made regarding the lighting of the beacon on 21 April and a red, white and blue colour scheme had been chosen for Ponteland in Bloom for 2016 in the village area.

Various other suggestions had been made in the report such as a firework display, ringing the church bells, a church service and a civic parade.

Letters would be sent to all businesses and organisations inviting them to mark the day either on the 21st or during the year.

Councillors were asked to submit any ideas they had for events to Councillor Ramsay.

Various suggestions were made including trying to involve the schools and some of the youth organisations who could hold pageants and treasure hunts.

The various suggestions would be considered together with the allocation of funds for the events.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted and that a further report be submitted at a later date incorporating the various suggestions outlined above and also to examine the allocation of funds for the various events.

134. PROPOSED PARKING RESTRICTIONS ON THORNHILL ROAD

Information had been received from the County Council in relation to proposals to impose some parking restrictions on Thornhill Road during peak school hours. Comments were required by 3 December.

A query was raised about who had been consulted on these proposals and the Clerk reported that a letter had been sent to at least 24 residents and approximately 30 statutory consultees.

RESOLVED – A response be submitted to NCC expressing the Town Council’s support for the proposals and the hope that these would be implemented in an attempt to alleviate the problems in this area at school drop off and pick up times.

135. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

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

The Council expressed their appreciation to the contractor carrying out the work on dirty road signs and asked that this be passed on to the individual concerned.

RESOLVED – The minutes be accepted.
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136. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY
Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 18 October 2015 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendations be agreed:
(i) Sensory Garden
That the design brief be approved by the Council. It was noted that this would involve preparation of a scheme meeting the requirements of the brief, consultation with the public, production of a specification and budget costs and if satisfactory the scheme would go out to tender.

(ii) Public Conveniences
a) That the minor items of work be carried out as reported.
b) Agree to a double sided direction sign being affixed to a lamp post in
Merton Way subject to the agreement of NCC.
c) Note the amounts going forward for budget consideration.
d) Agree that a letter be sent to Guy Opperman MP regarding concerns
about business rates being levied on public conveniences.

116. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd reported that a decision would be made on the moving of County Hall to Ashington on 2 December.
He also referred to the situation regarding the library in Ponteland. The proposal was to move the facility to the Leisure Centre by April 2016.
Residents were against this proposal and he suggested setting up a Working Party comprising County and Town Councillors to discuss alternative proposals including a multi use building on the site. The Ponteland Community Trust was also interested in the site and the Working Party would include one of the Council’s representatives from that organisation.
Councillor Dodd stated that he had reported the misuse of the car park at the back of Merton Way to the Parking Services Manager.
He also referred to the large turnout at the recent Core Strategy drop in session held at the Memorial Hall.
Councillor Peter Jackson mentioned that there were some changes being made in relation to the planning service with additional officers being employed for enforcement purposes as well as training of existing staff to assist in this role.
A review of the new Planning Committees was also being held in December and he stated that it would be a good time for the Town Council to submit any comments about any issues they had with the process.

117. MAYOR’S REPORT
(i) Mayor’s Diary
The Mayor had submitted details of his diary engagements for October 2015 and also forthcoming engagements in November

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117. MAYOR’S REPORT (Continued)

(ii) Mayor’s Christmas drinks event
The Mayor suggested that he may hold his Christmas drinks event at an alternative venue this year such as the Golf Club and he sought the views of Councillors. Members were in favour of this suggestion

(iii) 105th birthday celebrations of a resident in Ponteland Manor
The Mayor stated that he was delighted to have recently attended the birthday celebrations of Kitty Stredder, a resident of Ponteland Manor. Mrs Stredder had been presented with a card and flowers from the Town Council.

139. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Minutes of meetings held on 6 and 22 October had been circulated for information.

(ii) NALC AGM – 19 October 2015
The Mayor and Councillor Ramsay had attended the above meeting which they had found very interesting. A talk had been given by David Francis who would be retiring from his role early next year.
(iii) Ageing Well
Councillor Mrs Greenwell submitted a report relating to a meeting of the Ageing Well Group held on 2 November.
She highlighted the success of the winter warmer event that had attracted an attendance of 130 people.

(iv) Report of a meeting of the Northumberland & Newcastle
Society re 20mph speed limits
Councillor Mrs Thompson presented a report relating to her attendance at a meeting of the above organisation held on 26 October. She had found the meeting to be interesting and informative. Councillors noted that there were an increasing number of 20mph zones being introduced near schools in the North East.

(v) Visit to Newcastle International Airport to view recent renovations
Councillor Mrs Butcher reported on her attendance at the Airport on 15 October to view the recently completed renovations.

(vi) Launch of Tynedale Community Bank
Councillor Mrs Butcher presented a report regarding her attendance at the above event in Hexham on 6 November. The event was attended by the Archbishop of York and Guy Opperman MP.

Councillor Mrs Butcher outlined the role and purpose of the Bank and stated that forms would be left in the office for anyone who was interested in taking advantage of its services.

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140. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET REPORT/

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £41,285.07 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for October 2015 was also approved together with a budget report for the same period.
RESOLVED – The reports be approved.

141. CONTACT WITH THE TOWN COUNCIL
The Clerk gave a brief update to Members on the increase in contact with the Town Council via the contact page on the website.

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CHAIRMAN

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DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 9 DECEMBER 2015 AT 6.45 P.M. AT THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES