Town Council meeting January 13 2014 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 13 JANUARY 2014

Present: Councillor P Cowey (in the Chair)

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

171. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs S Lewis and A Shanley.

172. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Councillors Cowey and Ramsay declared a personal interest in Minute 189 and took no part in the voting or discussion other than for points of information.

173. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 11 DECEMBER 2013

The minutes of the Council Meeting held on 11 December 2013 were confirmed and signed by the Mayor subject to amendment to Minute 159 to read Monday 13 January and not December as printed. The minutes of the Special Council Meeting held on 18 December were also confirmed and signed.

174. MATTERS ARISING

(i) Minute 154 – Dalton Village Hall – Grant – Letter of thanks
A letter of thanks had been received from the Secretary in respect of the grant towards the annual running costs of Dalton Village Hall agreed at the last meeting.

175. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 3 and 17 December 2013 were circulated for information.

(ii) Report on recent planning decisions
Councillors were informed that the recent application in respect of Belville House had been approved by NCC.

Note – Councillor R Dodd took no part in any discussion or voting in respect of Minute 175 above.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

176. PROJECTS REPORT
A report relating to progress of current projects had been circulated.
In relation to the Street Map paper copies, Councillors were asked to view the information and submit any comments by the end of January.

RESOLVED – The report be received.

177. SKATEPARK

A report relating to progress on the above mentioned facility had been submitted.

Councillors were reminded that the opening of the skate park had been delayed following advice received from ROSPA after their post installation inspection had been carried out. A copy of the report was available in the Town Council offices on request.

A list of the failures and who was responsible was circulated with the report. Other items had also been raised such as the extension of the new fencing, a shelter and seating, signage etc all of which were outlined within the report.
In conclusion there were a number of measures that needed to be taken in order to get the facility opened and it was suggested that these should be delegated to the Clerk.

RESOLVED – The works involved in completing the skate park and opening the facility with appropriate insurance cover be delegated to the Clerk. These works included:
(i) Extension of the new fencing
(ii) Works by the installer including painting.
(iii) Repairs to existing fencing.
(iv) Checking gates.
(v) New signage
(vi) Provision of a litter bin.
(vii) Preparation and submission of a report on shelter and seating.
(viii) Warranty.

178. BUDGET AND PRECEPT 2014-15

A report relating to the Budget and Precept for 2014-15 had been circulated.
The proposed budget for 2014-15 was submitted and required formal approval. It was pointed out that the amount of the precept sum had to be submitted to NCC by 17 January 2014.

The major items for approval related to the amount of the precept and the sum set aside for wish list items.

Councillors were reminded that the grant in respect of the localisation of council tax benefit would not be passed on by NCC in 2014-15 and this meant that the Town Council had to decide how to handle the amount of £4349 which had been received this year.

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CHAIRMAN DATE
178. BUDGET AND PRECEPT 2014-15 (Continued)

Various options in respect of the precept and the amount available for the wish list were set out within the report.
RESOLVED –

(i) The budget as presented be approved.
(ii) Levy a precept request of £358,815 on the County Council
(v) Consider the remainder of the wish list at a further meeting to be
arranged to determine the allocation of the projects list for
2014/15.

179. ADDITIONAL WORK TO WAR MEMORIAL

Members were reminded that the work on the War Memorial was complete.
A report in relation to additional work necessary to the War Memorial was submitted for consideration.

The work on the war memorial had been carried out however the existing kerbstones also required attention.
A proposal to replace the kerbstones as part of the refurbishment to match the existing wall was considered and agreed by the Council at a cost of £1840.

RESOLVED – Agree to the additional work being carried out in accordance with the report and the expenditure of £1840 be approved.

180. BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN

Councillor Mrs Sue Johnson had submitted a report relating to a suggestion that the Town Council should look into having a Business Continuity Plan which would allow the Council to continue to operate in the event of an unexpected crisis situation such as loss of power, fire etc.
She also suggested examining a succession planning document which would allow the more recent Councillors to gain information as to the various matters and duties carried out by a small number of more experienced Councillors.
Councillors welcomed the report but felt that succession planning may not be the right term.

RESOLVED – The Council agree to examine both suggestions further and a Working Party meeting would be held to progress these ideas. A further report would be submitted to the next meeting.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

181. NORTHUMBERLAND ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS (NALC) SUBSCRIPTION 2014-15

A report was submitted which set out details of the subscription for 2014-15 in respect of the above.

NCC support for NALC was being withdrawn at the end of the current financial year.
It was reported that the NALC County Committee had met and considered the possibility of changing the formula for the calculation of subscriptions from that based on electorate numbers to linking it to band D figures. It was however recognised that many town and parish councils would have to raise their band D figures in 2014-15 in view of the non payment of the Council Tax benefits grant.

The subscription for Ponteland would therefore be £1159.73 for 2014-15.

In response to a query, the Clerk stated that the range of services provided by NALC were extremely useful to parish and town councils.

RESOLVED – The subscription to NALC in the sum of £1159.73 for 2014-15 be approved.

182. PONTELAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

(i) Response to NCC re Core Strategy

A copy of the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group’s response to the NCC Core Strategy had been circulated.
RESOLVED – The information be received.

(ii) Results of Questionairre
It was reported that information relating to the results of the recent questionnaire would be sent out with PNV. An article summarising the responses received would appear in the February edition.

183. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting held on 18 December 2013 had been circulated.
There were no recommendations.

184. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd reported that the County Council was in the process of going through their budget exercise for 2014-15.
He also referred to the issue of parking and the traffic on Meadowfield Industrial Estate which was becoming a problem on occasions. NCC would be looking into this as part of the parking survey.

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185. MAYOR’S REPORT

(i) Darras Hall Estate Committee Christmas Event – 18 December 2013
The Mayor had attended the above event.
(ii) Ponteland Town Council Christmas Event – 19 December 2013
The Mayor referred to the above event which had been well attended and was most enjoyable.
(iii) Wheelbarrow Race
The Mayor had attended the above event held on New Year’s Day.
(iv) Volunteering
The Deputy Mayor reported that he was currently in discussion with the editor of PNV and that an article would be appearing in the February issue on this topic.
(v) Footpath Users Group
Councillors were asked if they would be willing to take part in some work to the bridle path on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st January. This was a joint venture being carried out with NCC to spread material on the path in order to improve the surface.
(vi) NALC – invitation to Royal Garden Party – 21 May 2014
It was reported that an invitation to bid for a place to attend the above event had been received from NALC. This was for the serving Mayor only and attendees would be randomly selected. All expenses would have to be met by either the parish or town council or the individual.
The Mayor asked for his name to be put forward and stated that he would be prepared to meet his own expenses if selected.

186. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Minutes of meetings held on 5 December had been circulated for information.

187. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET REPORT

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £63698.17 and the transfer of this sum from the Councils Deposit and Reserve Accounts. The Bank reconciliation for December 2013 was also approved. A monthly income and expenditure review report showing amounts received and expended against each main budget heading was accepted. A quarterly budget revision report was also reviewed and accepted.

RESOLVED – The reports as presented be accepted.

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CHAIRMAN

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DATE

DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2014 AT 6.45 P.M. AT TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES