Town Council Meeting 12 August 2015 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 12 AUGUST 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 G Ramsay, Mrs E Thompson and A Varley

63. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

An apology for absence was received from Councillors P Cowey and A Shanley.

64. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 8 JULY 2015

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 8 July 2015 were confirmed
and signed by the Mayor.

65. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest.

66. MATTERS ARISING
(i) Minute 47(i) Matters Arising – Complaints procedure
This procedure was on the agenda for discussion.
(ii) Minute 48 – Planning
The Birney Hill decision had been received.
(iii) Minute 49 (i) – Grant to Holy Saviour Church, Milbourne
A letter of thanks in respect of a grant awarded by the Council to the above organisation had been received and circulated for information.
(iv) Minute 52 – Flood Resilience Planning
The Clerk would circulate some dates for this meeting.
(v) Minute 54 – Review of Polling Districts
The Council’s response had been sent to NCC.
(vi) Minute 59 (ii) – Music in the Park
A letter of thanks had been received from Ponteland Scouts in respect of a donation made by the Council for their assistance at the above event.
(vii) Minute 59(iii) Judging competition at Ponteland High School
The Mayor thanked Councillors Mrs Butcher, Mrs Greenwell and also David Greenwell for attending the above event.
67. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 30 June and 14 and 28 July 2015 were circulated for information.

In relation to item 3.1 of the meeting held on 28 July the Chairman of the Planning Committee reported that the Committee had considered the draft planning protocols and a response was being formulated which would be circulated to all Councillors for comments prior to submission to NCC.
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67. PLANNING (Continued)

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

68. GRANTS
(i) Rotary Club of Ponteland
A grant application had been received from the above organisation towards the cost of running a Christmas Market at Ponteland High School on Saturday 5th December 2015.

Councillors expressed concern at the change of location from Merton Way which they felt would be a more suitable site for such a community event. It was agreed to defer a decision on the grant pending receipt of additional information from Rotary about the reasons for the change of venue.

RESOLVED –It was agreed to defer a decision to the next meeting pending receipt of further information.

69. PROJECTS REPORT

A report relating to the above had been circulated.

A draft of the paper map had been received and was available in the office for Councillors to view and make comments upon.

The Clerk also provided an update to Members in relation to the skate park.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

70. COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

Members were reminded that the Council had recently agreed a vexatious policy and it was stated at the time that a Complaints Policy would be drafted and presented for consideration.

A copy of a draft Complaints policy was circulated for discussion and agreement.
In relation to a complaint that is about the Clerk the Council agreed that this should then be directed to the Mayor and the following paragraph be inserted

“If your complaint is directed at the Clerk you may wish to make your complaint directly to the Mayor who will investigate the matter and will reply to you within 10 working days. If you are still not satisfied then the matter will be referred to the Council (or Complaints Committee) under stage two of the procedure”.

RESOLVED – Agree to adopt the policy with the inclusion of the amendment outlined above.

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71. GUARDIANS COURT

A report regarding the above was submitted for consideration.
Members were reminded that the Environment Working Party had recently had various discussions regarding Guardians Court and the play area that was part of the development.

It had been agreed to carry out some maintenance work to the equipment or replace it on a like for like basis.

Some additional information regarding the Council’s responsibilities in relation to Guardians Court had been received and it appeared that as part of the planning approval back in 1999 the then Parish Council was provided with a sum of money by the developers for the benefit of residents of Ponteland.
This was on the understanding that the Council would accept responsibility and take on maintenance of the seating area, play equipment, surfacing, planted areas, access gate and walls.

It had previously been reported that the access gates were in a poor state and required replacement. It was suggested that this could be done by the Council’s contractors and it was agreed to delegate this to the Clerk to progress as soon as possible.

RESOLVED –
(i) Note the information received which would mean that future maintenance of this area would become part of the Council’s ongoing maintenance programme and capital asset replacement scheme.

(ii) Approve the expenditure in respect of the replacement of the access gates and delegate this to the Clerk to progress as soon as possible and note that the expenditure will be met from contingencies.

72. PURCHASE OF RECORDING EQUIPMENT FOR MEETINGS

Councillors were reminded that they had recently approved the purchase of recording equipment as part of the wish list deliberations. A sum of £1000 had been set aside although it was hoped to make some savings on that figure.

This related to a recent change in legislation which allowed members of the public to record town and parish council meetings.

The Clerk had contacted similar Councils in the area and had found that Morpeth Town Council had acquired audio recording equipment from a local company and that this had proved very useful. A quote of £355 plus VAT had been received in respect of the same equipment.

RESOLVED – Approve the purchase of the audio equipment as outlined in the report at a cost of £355 plus VAT and note that this would be permanently set up in the meeting room.
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73. CORE STRATEGY

Councillors were informed that information had been received from Northumberland County Council regarding the next stage of the consultation process in respect of the Core Strategy.

The Pre-Submission Core Strategy would be out for public consultation on 14 October and this would run for six weeks until 25 November 2015.
It was pointed out that this was the final opportunity to comment on the content of the Core Strategy before it was submitted to a Planning Inspector for independent examination.

NCC had also pointed out that this was a statutory stage of consultation and any comments submitted at this stage must be made in relation to the ‘soundness’ of the approach or whether it meets the relevant legal requirements. It was reported that drop in sessions would be held in each of the main towns and service centres and details of these events would be circulated when available.

RESOLVED – The information as set out in the report be noted and the Council agree that consideration would be given at a later date as to how PTC would manage the response to the Core Strategy.

74. REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY

A report regarding the organisation of the above event had been circulated.

Councillors were reminded that refreshments had been held at the Diamond Inn after the service for a number of years.

Last year, it was agreed to have light refreshments in the Memorial Hall in order to give those who attended the service the opportunity to view the War Remembrance exhibition.

It had been suggested that a similar approach should be adopted for this year and a provisional booking at the hall had been made.

It was suggested that the Council should make some provision for food for the young people who participated in the service and this would be looked at nearer the time.

It was also agreed that the parade would return to the Leisure Centre as in previous years and that numbers who attended the hall and participated in the parade would be monitored.

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74. REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY (Continued)

RESOLVED –

(i) Light refreshments would be held at the Memorial Hall after the service this year. A decision would be made regarding more substantial refreshments for the young participants in the service at a later date.

(ii) The parade would return to the Leisure Centre after the service and that the numbers on the parade and attendees at the Memorial Hall be monitored.

74A. DATA PROTECTION POLICY

A draft data protection policy had been circulated for the consideration and approval of the Council.

The Council agreed the policy although reference was made to document control and this would be taken on board.

RESOLVED – The data protection policy be approved.

75. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 10 July 2015 had been circulated.

There were no recommendations.

A complaint regarding the flexible bollards on Stamfordham Road had been passed to NCC Highways. A report regarding an outstanding footpath repair on Western Way was to be added to the Highways agenda

RESOLVED – The minutes be approved.

76. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY
Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 27 July 2015 had been circulated.
RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendation be agreed:
(i) Replacement of open litter bins
The three open litter bins be replaced as outlined within the report with the costs being met from the appropriate budget heading.

77. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd referred to cutting of verges in the more rural areas that seemed to have been delayed and he was hoping this would be discussed at Scrutiny level at the County Council.
He also mentioned the re-surfacing of Thornhill Road that had recently taken place.
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78. MAYOR’S REPORT
(i) Mayor’s Diary
The Mayor had submitted details of his diary engagements for July 2015.

79. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Minutes of a meeting of the above mentioned group held on 25 June had been circulated for information.
Comment was made about the remark of the planning consultant regarding the remit of the Group.
Members also asked for some clarification about the reference to the Housing Needs Survey and when the results would be available.
The Mayor informed members that a meeting of the Core Strategy Sub Group had been held and the minutes of that meeting would be circulated once approved by the PNPSG.
Reference was made to a comment in the minutes in paragraph 4 of page 2 relating to Prestwick Pit. Concern was raised about a notice that had been erected on a footpath near Rotary Way and it was agreed that this would be investigated with NCC and an explanation forwarded to Councillors.

(ii) Meeting at Newcastle Airport – 29 July 2015
The Mayor and Councillor Dodd had attended a meeting at Newcastle Airport regarding the parking situation. This had been arranged as the result of some publicity given to comments that had been made regarding parking issues.

The problems being experienced in and around Ponteland in relation to parking had been relayed to the Airport management. They did assure the Councillors that they were prepared to monitor the parking at Prestwick Cemetery.

This was an ongoing issue that would require further discussions.
It was reported that the Prestwick Residents Association had also had a meeting with the Airport management regarding similar problems.

(iii) Ponteland Memorial Hall
Councillor Cowey had prepared a report regarding a meeting of the Memorial Hall held on 23 July.

80. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET UPDATE/

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £31309.57 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for July 2015 was also approved together with a budget report for the same period. A report showing quarterly budget revisions was also circulated.

RESOLVED – The reports be approved.
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