Town Council Meeting 12 October 2016 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 12 OCTOBER 2016

Present: Councillor C Rawlings (in the Chair)

Councillors Mrs C Caisley, P Cowey, R Dodd, Mrs C Greenwell, Mrs L Noble, R G Ramsay, A Shanley and Mrs E Thompson

Prior to the meeting the Mayor thanked those Councillors who were involved in the various Committees and Working Parties for all of the work they carried out on behalf of the Council.

101. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs J Butcher, Mrs S Johnson and A Varley.

102. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 14 SEPTEMBER 2016

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 14 September 2016 were confirmed
and signed by the Mayor.

103. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest.

104. MATTERS ARISING

There were no matters arising.

105. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 23 August and 6 September 2016 were circulated for information.

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

106. PROJECTS REPORT

The projects report had been circulated for the information of Councillors. The Town Clerk was thanked for managing the completion of several projects.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

107. ANNUAL AUDIT RETURN 2015-16

It was reported that the completed annual audit return had been received from the Council’s external auditors BDO and it was confirmed that the auditors had no issues to raise. A copy had been circulated to the Council.

Councillors were informed that the Annual Return had been displayed on notice boards and on the website for the required period of time.

RESOLVED –The Annual Return be accepted.

108. ELECTRONIC BANKING

It was reported that there were now ten signatories who had registered online and in view of the problems being experienced by two other Councillors it was suggested that the Council proceed with ten signatories. It was hoped that the new banking arrangements would be in place in time for the November pay order.

RESOLVED – The Council agree to proceed with ten signatories.

109. REVIEW OF STANDING ORDERS/FINANCIAL REGULATIONS

The Clerk reported that the Town Council were required to review their Standing Orders and Financial Regulations on an annual basis.
A Working Party was required to carry out the initial review and their findings would be reported back to Council for approval.

RESOLVED – A Working Party comprising of the Mayor, Councillors Cowey, Mrs Caisley, Mrs Greenwell and Mrs Noble be established to review the documents referred to above and report back to the Council.

110. PONTELAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN – PRE-SUBMISSION
DRAFT

A copy of the above document had been circulated to all Councillors.
It was reported that the public consultation for the Neighbourhood Plan was due to commence on Tuesday 1 November and end at noon on Friday 16 December.
Prior to that, the Town Council was required to give their approval to the document. After the public consultation the document would be considered by the County Council and then the Examiner. There would then be a public referendum and if 50% of those who voted approved the Plan then it would be classed as ‘made’ and would then help NCC make decisions that are informed by locally prepared policies relevant to the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan area.

There were some changes to pages 27-31 and these had been circulated to Councillors for inclusion in the document.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

110. PONTELAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN – PRE-SUBMISSION
DRAFT (Continued)

A comment was made in relation to page 42, paragraph 4.101 that related to public toilet facilities. The words ‘Merton Hall’ should be used instead of ‘Memorial Hall’.
Comment was also made that there should be a reference included regarding the views of the community in relation to the protection of green belt. It was stated that a reference to this would be included in the foreword from the Mayor.

The Mayor expressed his gratitude to those who had been involved in the formulation of the Plan for the last three years, in particular the Chair and Vice Chair of the Steering Group. He also thanked the Planning consultants who had been engaged recently to work on the Plan who had carried out their work to a high standard.

RESOLVED – The Plan be approved by the Council subject to the amendments to the foreword and to page 42 as set out above.

111. SALARY REVIEW – STAFF
The Clerk reminded Members that they were also required to examine the staff salaries and terms and conditions on an annual basis and a Working Party was to be set up for that purpose. A meeting would be held in due course.

RESOLVED – A Working Party comprising of the Mayor and Councillors A Shanley and Mrs E Thompson be established to carry out the review as mentioned above.

112. REMOVAL OF BT PHONE BOXES
Information had been received from NCC regarding the proposed removal of three phone boxes in the Parish area at North Road, Thornhill Road and Prestwick. Comments were required by 21 October.
Usage figures for the two phone boxes at North Road and Thornhill Road were low. Figures were not available for the one at Prestwick.
Councillors agreed that due to the high ownership of mobile phones it was to be expected that phone boxes would not be well used. They were also the focus of vandalism and this in turn lead to increased costs for BT.

RESOLVED – A response be submitted to NCC stating that the Town Council did not have any objections to the removal of the phone boxes for the reasons outlined above.

113. CEMETERY COMMITTEE

Minutes of a meeting of the above Committee held on 15 September had been circulated.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

113. CEMETERY COMMITTEE (Continued)

It was noted that requests for quotes for the proposed landscaping works would be sent out on 14 October.
Councillors were also informed that it had been agreed to create a further 60 burial plots in the cremated remains area as the number of plots currently available was a cause for concern.

RESOLVED – That the minutes be approved.

114. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 16 September 2016 had been circulated. There were no recommendations for approval.
There was some discussion regarding item4 (iii) relating to the flexible bollards near the junction of Stamfordham Road and Western Way. A suggestion was made that these bollards should perhaps be removed and it was agreed that this would be discussed at the next meeting.

RESOLVED – The minutes be approved and that further consideration of the flexible bollards issue as set out above be discussed at the next meeting.

115. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 19 September 2016 had been circulated. A report relating to the recommendation regarding the park entrance signs had also been circulated for information.

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendations be approved:
(i) Entrance signs to Ponteland Park
The Council agree to the installation of 6 additional signs at the Park entrances that did not have signage plus a finger post sign as outlined in the report at a cost of £1100 which would be met from contingencies.

(ii) Seat for Athol House
The Council agree to provide a seat in memory of Mary Short at Athol House.

116. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd reported that there would be a debate relating to the £80 million of expenditure planned for Ashington.
Councillor Dodd also mentioned that he had met with Dissington Estates regarding the garden village proposal as it was important that he was aware of what was being proposed in his division (North Ward) particularly in view of the large investment proposed for a relief road, a school, sports facilities, affordable housing, flood defence and town centre improvements.
The Government would decide on the applications for garden villages in early December.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

116. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT (Continued)

Councillor Veronica Jones referred to the reduction in the number of committee meetings being held at the County Council.
She also mentioned the Ageing Well Winter Warmer event that would be held in Merton Hall on Friday 14 October.

117. MAYOR’S REPORT

(i) Mayor’s Diary
The Mayor submitted details of his diary engagements for September and October and some forthcoming events in November.

The Mayor referred to the climate change film he had attended at the
Methodist Church Hall on 8 October which had been very enjoyable.

He also mentioned that he had been told at the 8 October event that it was
hoped that Ponteland would retain its Fairtrade status.

He reported that at a recent meeting of the Music in the Park group had
agreed that the event would be held on Sunday 25 June in 2017.

118. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group – Minutes of a
a meeting held on 6 September 2016.
Minutes of the above meetings had been circulated for information.

(ii) EA Flooding event – 4 October 2016 attended by Councillor
A Shanley

Councillor Shanley reported that he had attended this event organised by the
Environment Agency (EA) that was held in their Newcastle offices on 4th
October. The purpose of the meeting was to share the experiences of those
present and attendees were also given a tour of the facilities at the EA offices.
The leaflet that had been produced and distributed by the Town Council was
commended and it was possible that other local councils may now produce
their own information for residents.
It was suggested that the Town Council should consider circulating the
information again particularly to those residents most affected by flooding and
place it in venues such as the library, shops etc.

(iii) Bus Users Group
Councillor Ramsay reported on a meeting of the Bus Users Group held on 29th September. Notes of the meeting had been circulated.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

118. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS (Continued)
(iii) Bus Users Group

There was some discussion about the difficulties the bus companies faced in
parts of Darras Hall caused by large overhanging branches which meant that
smaller single decker vehicles had to be used. This had led to some criticism
from users. The County Council representative agreed to arrange for letters
to be sent to residents in the areas worst affected by this problem.
It was reported that passenger numbers had increased on the late night bus
service that was being subsidised by the Town Council and also Stamfordham
and Matfen parish councils.
A report would be submitted to the Town Council in the near future to decide
whether this subsidy would continue beyond this year.

The introduction of a phone app that provided real time information for users
of both Arriva and Stagecoach services was discussed. Mr David Gambles,
one of the members of the group had agreed to write an article
for PNV to promote the benefits of these apps for users.

119. ACCOUNTS/BANK RECONCILIATION/BUDGET REPORT

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £68,297.67 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for September 2016 was also approved. A monthly income and expenditure report had also been circulated for information as well as a report relating to quarterly budget revisions.

RESOLVED – The reports to be approved.

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CHAIRMAN

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DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 9TH NOVEMBER 2016 AT 6.45 P.M. AT THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES