Town Council Meeting 9 November 2016 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 9 NOVEMBER 2016

Present: Councillor C Rawlings (in the Chair)

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

120. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mrs S Johnson.

121. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 12 OCTOBER 2016

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 12 October 2016 were confirmed
and signed by the Mayor.

122. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Councillors Cowey and Ramsay declared an interest in minute 125(ii).
Councillor Shanley declared an interest in minute 137(i).

123. MATTERS ARISING

Minute 112 – Removal of BT Phone Boxes
Councillor Shanley asked if any further information was available in relation to the above. The Clerk reported that the Town Council’s comments had been submitted to NCC and a report had been received showing the various recommendations about each of the boxes recommended for removal.
The boxes in and around Ponteland had been recommended for approval.

124. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 4 October and 18 October 2016 were circulated for information.

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

125. GRANTS

(i) Ponteland Beer Festival 2017
A request for a grant in respect of the above event had been circulated. Councillors were reminded that they had given a grant of £250 to the Beer Festival organisers in 2015.
The Clerk reported on the sum remaining in the small grants budget.

RESOLVED – A grant of £250 be approved.
…………………………………………………………………………………………..
CHAIRMAN DATE
125. GRANTS Continued)

(ii) Ponteland Memorial Hall
A grant request had been received from the Ponteland Memorial Hall.
The Clerk reported that the amount of £6300 had been included in the budget for this year in respect of this grant. The same figure was awarded in 2015.

RESOLVED – A grant of £6300 be approved.

(iii) Ponteland Rotary Club Christmas Market
A grant request from the Rotary Club in respect of the above event had been received.
The Club had been awarded £500 last year.
The Rotary Club had also asked if the Council would agree to providing the portable toilets for the event.

RESOLVED – The Council approved a grant of £250 and also the provision of the toilets at a further cost of £250 (excluding VAT).

126. PROJECTS REPORT

The projects report had been circulated for the information of Councillors.
The outstanding projects were now shown in red in the report and the completed items were in black.
RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

127. PERSONAL SECURITY ALARMS FOR COUNCILLORS

Councillors were informed that a request had been received from Councillor Mrs Caisley for the Council to consider providing personal alarms for Councillors (and staff) in the light of the recent tragic murder of the MP, Jo Cox.
The costs had been examined and it appeared that alarms could be acquired at a cost of between £5 and £10.
It was suggested that a batch of 12 to 15 alarms be purchased for those Councillors who wished to have one. The remaining alarms would be held in stock.

RESOLVED – The purchase of 12 personal alarms at an approximate cost of £120 be delegated to the Clerk. This cost would be met from contingencies.

128. PONTELAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

Councillors were reminded that the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan was currently out for public consultation until the 16 December. A small number of responses had been received by e mail and the drop in event held at Merton Hall on 5 November had a reasonable attendance.

RESOLVED – The information be noted.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..
CHAIRMAN DATE

129. NCC CORE STRATEGY/SPD CONSULTATION

Councillors were reminded of the forthcoming consultation on further major modifications to the NCC Core Strategy that would take place between 11 November and 23 December 2016.
There would also be a consultation on a re-drafted South East Ponteland Supplementary Planning Document during the same period.
Councillors were asked to read the documents in preparation for a special meeting to be held in the next few weeks.

RESOLVED – The information be noted.

130. BOUNDARY COMMISSION PROPOSALS

A report by the Clerk in relation to the above had been circulated.
The Boundary Commission was currently consulting on new Parliamentary constituency boundaries in England with a view to reducing the number of constituencies from 533 to 501.
In the North East, it was proposed that constituencies would be reduced from 29 to 25.
One of the proposals affected the Ponteland East and Stannington County Council division which included the Ponteland Town Council East ward. This would be moved to a new constituency called Newcastle upon Tyne North West and the remainder of residents in the North, South and West wards would remain in the Hexham constituency.
Residents of the East ward had been alerted to this proposal by a letter sent to all properties by County Councillor Mrs Armstrong.
Councillors were informed that if the proposal was agreed residents would still receive their local government services from NCC and PTC.
A draft letter to the Boundary Commission had been produced and circulated to Councillors and it was suggested that this should be sent subject to the comments of the meeting.
Councillors were in favour of the letter subject to one amendment – the addition of ‘small’ in front of ‘town’ in paragraph three.

RESOLVED – The letter including the above amendment be approved for submission to the Boundary Commission.

131. DISSINGTON GARDEN VILLAGE

Councillor Dodd had written to Councillors asking if they wished to attend a meeting with Dissington Estates on 11 November relating to the Garden Village proposal.
Councillor Dodd explained why he felt it necessary to meet with the developers and stated that he felt it was time to engage with them particularly in relation to the route of the proposed relief road.
The government announcement on garden villages was expected in early December.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..
CHAIRMAN DATE

131. DISSINGTON GARDEN VILLAGE (Continued)

Various Councillors offered their views on the issue. Some felt it was premature to engage on this matter and PTC should wait until a formal application had been made whilst others felt that they should attend as an information gathering exercise only.

RESOLVED – The information be received and the decision to attend the meeting be left to individual Councillors to decide.

132. PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF LIBRARY SITE

Various Councillors had attended a recent consultation event regarding the development of the library site.
It was understood that there would be two blocks of four storey buildings on the site housing a number of two bedroom apartments. Nearby residents were concerned at the height of the properties.
Various residents had written to Arch/Ascent Homes on this topic and a request had been made to use one of the units on the ground floor as a library facility.
It was suggested that a letter should be sent to Arch/Ascent Homes supporting this request and expressing concern at the height of the proposed buildings on the site.

RESOLVED – A letter be sent to Arch/Ascent Homes supporting the suggestion to have a library facility in one of the units and also express the Council’s concern at the proposed height of the buildings.

133. REQUEST FOR BT CABINET TO BE SITED ON PRESTWICK VILLAGE GREEN

A report by the Clerk in relation to the above matter had been circulated.
An approach had been made to PTC by BT Openreach seeking permission to site a cabinet and install cabling on Prestwick Village Green in respect of the provision of superfast broadband.

The information had been passed to the Town Council’s solicitor who had stated that he was satisfied that the Council could agree to this request if they were minded to do so.

A one off payment of £1440 had been offered to the Town Council by BT and details of how this was calculated was included in the report. It was noted that BT would not meet the Town Council’s legal costs.

The cabinet had already been placed on the green although it was not connected and could be removed.

Copies of correspondence, plans and photographs from BT had been circulated to Councillors.

RESOLVED – The Council agree to the request from BT Openreach.
…………………………………………………………………………………………..
CHAIRMAN DATE
134. REPLACEMENT OF STREET LIGHTS

A report in relation to the replacement of street lights in the conservation area had been circulated.

The report was the result of discussions held by the Highways Working Party and a street lighting officer at NCC to discuss the progress of the Invest and Save Street lighting project and to look at the various options available for street lighting in the conservation area.

A number of options were set out within the report in relation to the proposed replacement of lights in the conservation area. These included painting all of the new standard lights in green (or black), replacing all lights in the conservation area with the swan neck design. There were already three of these in situ. A further option related to the replacement of the lights with a lantern style, however this was discounted at the meeting due to the fact many more lights would be required to achieve the same level of lighting.

It was noted that County Councillor Jackson had agreed to make a contribution of £15,000 to the project from his small schemes budget. Funding from the Town Council would have to be taken from either asset replacement or reserves this year and would need to be replaced over two or three years.

It was also reported that the Civic Society had been consulted although it was recognised that there was a very short timescale for responses. An e-mail from the Chairman of the Civic Society was read out at the meeting.

There was a great deal of discussion on this item due to the number of options included in the report. It was eventually proposed that the street lights from the Natwest bank to the Diamond and leading up to the Blackbird be replaced with the swan neck (Albany) design and painted in black. The approximate cost was £30,000 plus painting costs and it was agreed that the cost would be met from the capital asset fund and replaced over two to three years. It was noted that with the contribution from County Councillor Jackson would leave a cost of just over £15,000 for PTC.

RESOLVED – That the proposal as set out above to replace the lights in the area outlined above with the Albany design in black be approved and that the method of funding be approved.

135. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 14 October 2016 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendation be approved:
(i) Bollards at Western Way – agreed that permission be sought from the County Council to remove the last three bollards at this location and that the parking activity be monitored.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..
CHAIRMAN DATE
136. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 24 October 2016 had been circulated.

RESOLVED –The minutes and the following recommendation be approved:
(i) Memorial Trees – it was agreed that the option to have a memorial tree in Ponteland Park be withdrawn due to the lack of suitable space in the area.

137. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

(i) Leisure Centre fees
Councillor Dodd referred to the recent increase in fees at Leisure Centres in the county, which in some cases had increased by 100%. This was despite comments being made in leisure centre meetings that the increases would be slight.
Active Northumberland would be attending the Area Committee in January.
Concern was expressed by the Council at the lack of consultation carried out regarding these increases. The Town Council had not been consulted.
It was felt that there had been a lack of publicity on the Active Northumberland website.
It was agreed that a letter should be sent to Active Northumberland expressing the Town Council’s concern at the lack of consultation; in some cases, the doubling of fees; the lack of information on the website and asking for the justification for the increases.

RESOLVED – That a letter be sent to Active Northumberland setting out the concerns listed above.

Councillor Dodd went on to refer to the e mail that had been received from the Chief Executive at NCC in relation to anti social behaviour and he stated that this had been brought up at the meeting that had replaced LMAPS.

138. MAYOR’S REPORT

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

139. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Neighbourhood Plan Group – Minutes of meetings held on 29th September and 11th October 2016.
Minutes of the above meetings had been circulated for information.

(ii) Richard Coates Educational Foundation – 20 October 2016 report from Councillor C Greenwell
The minutes of the above meeting had been circulated for information.

140. ACCOUNTS/BANK RECONCILIATION/BUDGET REPORT

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £68,070.98 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for October 2016 was also approved. A monthly income and expenditure report had also been circulated for information.

RESOLVED – The reports to be approved.

……….…………………………………………
CHAIRMAN

………………………….
DATE

DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 14TH DECEMBER 2016 AT 6.45 P.M. AT THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES