Town Council Meeting 8 March 2017 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 8 MARCH 2017

Present: Councillor C Rawlings (in the Chair)

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

200. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

An apology for lateness was received from Councillor Mrs S Johnson.

201. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest.

202. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 8 FEBRUARY 2017

The Minutes of a special meeting of the Council held on 1 February and minutes of the Council held on 8 February 2017 were confirmed and signed by the Mayor.

203. MATTERS ARISING

There were no matters arising

204. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 7 and 21 February 2017 were circulated for information.

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

(iii) Additional response from PTC regarding application 16/04672/OUTES
An additional response to the above mentioned application had been circulated to Councillors.

RESOLVED – The response be approved and submitted to NCC on 9 March.

205. GRANTS

(i) Darras Hall Estate Committee – Annual grant towards
upkeep of the bridle path – letter attached

The Council considered the annual grant application from Darras Hall Estate Committee in respect of maintenance of the bridlepath. The sum of £600 had been included in the budget for this purpose.

RESOLVED – A grant of £600 be approved.
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205. GRANTS(Continued)

(ii) Ponteland Methodist Church – request for donation towards
cost of providing 3no community defibrillators

A letter had been received from the Ponteland Methodist Church requesting support for the provision of public defibrillators in Ponteland. The Methodist church and surrounding businesses were investigating the installation of a unit in the church car park. It was pointed out in the letter that two other community organisations, Ponteland Lions and the Ponteland Community Trust were also interested in providing such equipment.

There were other defibrillators in Ponteland however these were not accessible to the public. The equipment would be affixed to an outside wall and a user would need to dial 999 and would then be given a code to open the box. The unit inside will give instructions therefore no training was required.

The cost of the equipment was in the region of £1500.
The Clerk reported that there was currently £1550 remaining in the small grants budget.

It was proposed that a fund of £1500 should be set up to deal with applications of this nature. Each applicant would be able to apply for up to 20% of the total cost of the equipment subject to the remaining funding being in place. Subject to all requirements being met the release of funds would be delegated to the Clerk.

RESOLVED – That a fund of £1500 be established to deal with applications of this nature as long as the conditions set out above are met which would allow payments to be delegated to the Clerk.

206. PROJECTS REPORT

The projects report had been circulated for the information of Councillors.
Members were advised that since circulation of the report, the Millennium Bridge works were now complete and that installation of the Meadowfield Information sign was scheduled for the following day.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

207. STANDING ORDERS/ FINANCIAL REGULATIONS

Councillors were reminded that a review of Standing Orders and Financial Regulations had to be carried out on an annual basis.
A Working Group had been established at the October Council meeting tasked with carrying out a review of Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.
The Group had met on 27 February and made various recommendations for amendments to the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations for consideration by the Council.

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207. STANDING ORDERS/ FINANCIAL REGULATIONS (Continued)

RESOLVED –
(i) The Standing Orders as presented be approved.
(ii) The Financial Regulations as presented be approved.

208. REMEDIAL WORK BY GALLIFORD TRY AND MILL RISE

Members were advised that Galliford Try (GT) had finished the construction of Mill Rise adjacent to the Scout Hut
As part of the arrangements made for use of parking space within the park whilst construction was underway it was agreed by GT to grasscrete the area. This required some remedial works. A meeting was held with GT to discuss what other remedial works were required which was attended by Councillor Rawlings, Ramsay and The Clerk.
In addition GT agreed to provide concrete edging to the grasscrete, post and rail fencing in the park and reinstatement of the pedestrian access into the Park.
GT had originally agreed to carry out various additional works to the Scout hut which include a soakaway trench however they had recently retracted this offer.

A photo showing the extent of the damage to the area was circulated. Members were disappointed that the area had been left in a poor state.

Councillors had also been provided with a copy of a sign that the Scouts hoped to install at either end of their building. This was for information only and the Scouts had been advised to check whether planning permission was necessary.

RESOLVED –
(i) It was agreed that a letter be sent to Galliford Try insisting that the remedial works were carried out as a matter of urgency and asking them to reconsider their decision regarding the soakaway in view of the co-operation afford to them by the Scouts and the Town Council during the construction works.

(ii) The information provided relating to the proposed sign be noted.

209. MAJOR PLANNING APPLICATIONS IN PONTELAND

An update report relating to the four current large applications in Ponteland had been circulated.

The report updated members on the numbers of objections and support for each of the four applications listed in the report and a further verbal update was provided. Concern was expressed that the Town Council’s objections in respect of two of the application had still not been added to the public access system despite being sent into NCC on 2 and 3 February.

A letter had been sent to the Leader of NCC expressing the Town Council’s concerns and this was also copied to the Chief Executive, Director of Planning and Economy and the Head of Planning Services. A copy of a letter received from the Leader of the Council had been circulated to members.
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209. MAJOR PLANNING APPLICATIONS IN PONTELAND( Continued)

The three applications relating to Dissington, land west of Cheviot View and the school/leisure complex were to be considered by the NCC Strategic Planning Committee held on 15 March. The Town Council had registered to speak at the meeting. Councillors were informed that all three applications were recommended for approval.

RESOLVED – The information be received.

210 REPLACEMENT OF TRACTOR FROM ASSET REPLACEMENT

Members were informed that the Council’s tractor was scheduled for renewal in the asset replacement fund in 2017-18.
A report relating to details of the quotes sought for a replacement vehicle was submitted to Councillors. The vehicle would also have attachments for pavement gritting, path clearance and grass cutting.

Details of the age of the current vehicle were also included in the report.
The Town Council had been offered the sum of £5000 from a local business for the existing tractor and gritter.

The Clerk reported on other items that were due for replacement from the asset fund in 2017-18 and these include replacement of some wooden seats; updating of office equipment including miscellaneous items; Christmas lights; park fencing; tree survey of the park and election costs. There was also a sum for a contribution to the street lights on Main Street and an allowance for grass cutting if required over three years.

RESOLVED – The Council approve the replacement of the tractor from company B at a cost of £26,350. It was noted that £5,000 would be received in respect of the old tractor to offset against this cost.

211. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 10 February 2017 had been circulated.
(i) Proposed modifications to car park at the back of Merton Way
A recommendation relating to the proposed modifications to the car park had been made by the Working Party for approval of the sum of £10,000 to be made to the car park to supplement the funds already in place from Councillor Dodd and NCC.
It was reported that a design for the scheme had been received from NCC and would be discussed at the next Highways Working Party and then the Town Council meeting in April.

RESOLVED –
(i) The minutes be approved.
(ii) That agreement in principle be given to the sum of £10,000 being allocated to the above proposal subject to sufficient funds remaining in the budget at year-end.
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212. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 15 February 2017 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendations be agreed:

(i) Relocation of Composting facilities
The Council approved the installation of a compost facility in the park at a cost of £500 to be met from the Park budget.

(ii) Britain in Bloom
a) The various actions required with progressing the BIB entry be noted.
b) Agree that the planters in the middle of Merton Way, the hammerhead
beds and the planted wall outside of the toilets be covered in
artificial grass with planters on top.
c) Agree that the higher planters on Thornhill Road be sown with the
annual dwarf mix wildflowers and the costs of items b and c be met
from the budget agreed for the BIB entry.

213. CEMETERY COMMITTEE

Minutes of a special meeting of the above Committee held on 27 February 2017 had been circulated.

The main purpose of the meeting had been to discuss the award of the contract for the Cemetery landscaping project. A copy of the report that had been considered by the Cemetery Committee was circulated with the minutes.
Only one company had returned a tender out of the three companies who had been asked to quote. The price for all of the works included in the contract was felt to be too expensive without taking out a loan. Discussions had been held with the successful company to agree a number of elements of the scheme that could be carried out in 2017-18 with the remainder being phased over a number of years. The works to be carried out initially were landscaping works to the woodland area, installation of the columbaria and works to provide a new work compound just off the car park.
The Cemetery Committee had been asked to approve the award of the contract to RHD in the sum of £65,326 with the sum of £63,817.83 being payable in 2017-18 and the remaining retention sum in 2018-19.
Details of the current financial provision within the Cemetery budget had been provided in the minutes and also in an additional report that had also referred to the sustainability of the Cemetery. It was possible to fund these initial works from the Cemetery reserve account.

RESOLVED –

(i) The change to the work scheme be approved as set out in the report.
(ii) The Council approve the scheme as set out in the report and the letting
of the contract to RHD in the sum of £65,326.46 with the sum of
£63,817.83 being paid in 2017-18 and the remaining sum in the
following year.
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213. CEMETERY COMMITTEE(continued)

(iii) The schedule of deferred items be approved as set out in the
expenditure profile up to 2021-22 as set out in the report,
subject to sufficient funds being available.

214. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd reported on the recent meeting held at County Hall to approve the budget.
He also reported on the recent Planning meeting held to discuss the application for the County Hall site that had been approved.
It was noted that the Strategic Planning Committee would meet on 15 March to discuss three major applications relating to Ponteland for Dissington Estate, the school and leisure complex on Callerton Land and the land to the West of Cheviot View.

215. MAYOR’S REPORT

(i) Mayor’s Diary

The Mayor submitted details of his diary engagements for February, March and April 2017.

216. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group –
Minutes of meeting held on 24 January 2017 had been circulated for information

(ii) Ageing Well in Ponteland
Minutes of a meeting of the above Group held on 16 January had been circulated for information. It was noted that the Step into Spring event would be held on Friday 5 May at Merton Hall.

(ii) Coates Education Foundational Foundation –
Minutes of meeting held on 19 January 2017 were circulated for information.
There was some discussion regarding an emergency meeting that had been arranged between the foundation and NCC relating to a potential land swap between the two organisations.
Councillor Mrs Greenwell agreed to keep the Council informed.

217. ACCOUNTS/BANK RECONCILIATION/BUDGET REPORT

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £53,805.46 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for February 2017 was also approved. A monthly income and expenditure report had also been circulated for information.

RESOLVED – The reports be approved.

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DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 12 APRIL 2017 AT 7.00 P.M. FOR THE ANNUAL TOWN MEETING FOLLOWED BY A MEETING OF THE TOWN COUNCIL AT APPROXIMATELY 8.00 P.M. TO BE HELD AT MERTON HALL.