Town Council Meeting June 2018 – Minutes



Present:  Councillor A Varley (in the Chair)

Councillors Mrs C Caisley, R Dodd, A Hall, and Mrs K Overbury


Abi Conway, Chief Executive of Northumberland Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) gave an informative presentation of the work of the CAB; how it is funded, how CAB services are currently accessed and her vision to improve access to the CAB service throughout the County in the future. A report detailing usage of the service by Ponteland residents was provided for further information and questions invited from Members regarding the recent grant application made by CAB in the sum of £10,000.  This was to provide a facility in Ponteland and meet the costs of office space, CAB volunteers and a staff and laptop/phone facilities.

NCC was the main funder of CAB.

Mrs Conway was relatively new in post and was developing a strategy of better engagement with stakeholders such as the town and parish councils in the County.

The service had changed to meet current customer requirements.  For example, they now provided a telephone service and received on average 1000 calls per month to their advice line.  There was still an appointment service available and in the last year they saw 12,000 people and gained £2.83 million in income for clients and over £1million of debt was written off.

There was no visible presence in Ponteland however the handout highlighted the number of residents who accessed the service either by telephone or a face to face appointment.

The service also had specialist Macmillan health workers who work with chronically and terminally ill people to ensure they gain access to all payments they are entitled to.

In reply to a query regarding NCC funding, Mrs Conway stated that CAB received £250,000 per annum which covered staff salaries and rental of premises.

A question regarding the need for a facility in Ponteland when residents could access other offices across the county and in Newcastle was raised.

Mrs Conway replied that transport was often an issue either physically or financially for some people.

Mrs Conway was informed that there had previously been a service in Ponteland which had been located in Merton Hall either on a weekly or monthly basis.  The accommodation had been provided free of charge and it was likely that this facility was still available if required.

Mrs Conway was interested in this and stated that if this was available to the organisation, the only costs would be for staff/volunteers and laptop/phone/printer type equipment.

Mrs Conway was asked to prepare some costings based on the above and submit these to the Council for further consideration.

Mrs Conway agreed to provide this information.

She was thanked for her attendance and left the meeting.



Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S Ahmed, T Edwards-Clay, L Darwin, Mrs C Greenwell, Mrs S Johnson, A Shanley and Mrs K Woodrow.




The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 16 May 2018 were submitted for approval.  An amendment was proposed to Minute 7 as set out below:

Minute 7 – Appointment of Accounts Committee

RESOLVED – The Council approved the appointment of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and nine Town Councillors to the Accounts Committee for the purpose of authorising all payments made by the Council’s Deposit Account.


RESOLVED – The minutes be agreed subject to the amendment to Minute 7 as set out above.



There were no declarations of interest.



There were no matter arising to report.




(i) Planning Committee 

Minutes of meetings held on 1 and 15 May 2018 were circulated for information.


(ii) Report on recent planning decisions

There was nothing to report.




(i)         St Mary’s Church, Ponteland – application towards costs of installing improved toilet and kitchen facilities


A letter and application had been received from St Mary’s Church requesting a grant of £1000 towards the costs of costs of installing improved toilet and kitchen facilities in the church. The Clerk reported some funds had been carried forward from the small grants budget from last year.  She also advised that a grant application for a similar improvement project was being held over for Milbourne Church.

The Council agreed to pledge a grant of £1000 and to release these funds subject to other funds being raised and the project going ahead.


RESOLVED – A grant of £1000 be approved subject to the remaining funds to complete the project being raised.




The projects report had been circulated for the information of Councillors.

The Clerk reported that the new streetlights on Main Street had now been installed.


RESOLVED – The report be accepted.


  1. ANNUAL AUDIT 2017-18


The Council was reminded that they had been notified earlier this year that new external auditors had been appointed by the Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments (SAAA) for the next five years.  The Company is PKF Littlejohn based in London.


A copy of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) was circulated.

The annual internal audit report (page 3) had been completed by the Council’s Internal Auditor, Mr Peter Basnett.  A copy of his separate internal audit report was also circulated.  He had not raised any issues of concern to the Council.

A copy of the Annual Governance Statement (page 4 of the AGAR) had been circulated and Councillors reviewed the information and responded to the various questions included in the Statement.

The Accounting Statement (page 5) was approved and was signed by the Mayor at the meeting.  The Clerk had already signed the Accounting Statement prior to circulation to the Council.  The Council also reviewed the explanation of variances from 2016-17 to 2017-18 and the draft annual accounts.


Members were informed that the process for the exercise of public rights must include the first 10 working days of July (i.e. 2nd – 13th July).  PKF had asked for completed and approved AGAR forms to be sent to them by 11th June.  However, the Clerk had requested an extension to the 18th June as the Town Council meeting was held after the 11th  June deadline.  The exercise of public rights would start from Monday 18th June until Friday 27th July.



(i)         The Council approve the Annual Internal Audit report (page 3 of the AGAR) and the separate internal audit report as presented.

(ii)        Following a review of the Annual Governance Statement set out on page 4 of the AGAR, the Council approved the Statement.

(iii)      The Council approved the draft final accounts as presented.

(iv)       The Council approved the Accounting Statements set out on page 5 of the AGAR which were signed by the Mayor at the meeting.

(v)        Members approved the explanation of variances as circulated for submission to the Council’s external auditors.

(vi)       The Council noted the process for the exercise of public rights starting from Monday 18th June until Friday 27th July.  It was noted that the relevant information would be posted on the Council’s website on 15th June.




A report by the Clerk in relation to the above had been circulated.

Members were reminded that they had been informed of the launch of the Airport Masterplan by email on 15th May.

The consultation commenced on 10th May and would end on 13th September at 5.00 p.m.

The document had been downloaded from the Airport website and was available to Councillors on request.

The Town Council had previously commented on earlier Masterplan documents and the usual practice was to form a small Working Party to consider and examine the documents in detail.  They would then submit a report to the Council in advance of the deadline date.


The Council agreed to adopt that approach and it was suggested that the Mayor, Councillors Mrs Caisley and Hall be members of the Working Party and that the two remaining East Ward Councillors be asked to attend if possible.


It was suggested that they should meet in time to submit their report to the August Town Council meeting.


RESOLVED – Agree to form a Working Party to examine this document comprising of the Mayor, Councillors Mrs Caisley, A Hall, Mrs S Johnson and T Edwards-Clay which would meet and report back to the August TC meeting.




An update report on the above had been submitted by the Clerk and Councillor Mrs Overbury.  The report informed the Council of progress to date and actions that required their approval.


They reported on further discussions with Reverend Allinson in relation to events taking place to mark the commemoration.

To date, the three Primary and Middle Schools had received letters regarding a poster competition and production of banners for a special church service on Friday 9th November.  They had also been involved in planting out barrels with wildflower and poppy seed mix which were now on display near to St Mary’s Church and at Broadway.  Some pupils had also assisted with planting out the wildflower beds in Merton Way and at Broadway.  Large poppies had been acquired to hang on lampposts in the Main Street area during November.  Five Perspex ‘there but not there’ silhouettes had been ordered with one being given to each church in the Parish area.

Reverend Allinson agreed to provide regular updates in the church newsletter and had also arranged for the Church choir to be involved during the weekend of Remembrance in November.

Councillors were reminded that a commemorative bench had been offered to Ponteland from a fundraiser working with the North East War Memorials




project.  The Clerk had met with the representative from the Charity to agree on a location for the seat.  There was limited choice available and the area outside of Peel House apartments had been viewed as well as the area next to the War Memorial.  The Chairman of the Memorial Hall had been approached informally to ask if the Trustees would agree to the seat being situated to the right of the entrance to the hall.  A photograph showing how this would look had been circulated.  As part of the installation, a small dedication event and service was usually held and refreshments offered afterwards.

A suggestion had been made to have small wooden crosses which could be planted in the St Mary’s Garden of Remembrance on Friday 9th November by schoolchildren attending the service.  There would be one for everyone listed on the War Memorial.  They would also be placed in the garden area of the War Memorial in time for the service on the 11th November.  This was agreed by the Council.


The Clerk had been asked to pursue the possibility of grants towards the cost of providing a light projection show on the evening of 11th November when the beacon was being lit.  Grant funding may be available from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Clerk was asked to examine the possibility of obtaining this grant.  It was unlikely that the light projection show would proceed without grant funding.


The Council would be writing out to the various care homes in Ponteland asking if they were holding any commemorative events.  The Council was asked to consider offering a small grant to each of the care homes to provide entertainment etc.

The Council agreed to sponsor two commemorative kneelers for St Mary’s Church at a cost of £135.

Further meetings on this subject would be held and monthly updates would be included in PNV.



(i)         The Council agree to site the commemorative bench at the area indicated at the Memorial Hall subject to agreement from the Hall Trustees.

(ii)        Members agreed to hold a dedication and service after the installation of the commemorative seat and provide refreshments at the Memorial Hall.

(iii)       It was agreed to purchase small wooden crosses for the 9th July service and also for the service on Remembrance Day morning as outlined above.

(iv)       The Clerk was asked to continue her examination of grant funding in respect of the light show and report back to the Council.

(v)        It was agreed to provide a small grant towards events that any of the care homes and facilities wished to organise.

(vi)      The Council agreed to provide two centenary kneelers for St. Mary’s Church at a cost of £140.




Minutes of a meeting of the Highways Working Party held on 11 May 2018 had been circulated.  The Council agreed with the request to withdraw the recommendation outlined in item 4 (215) regarding a request for disc parking at the car park at the back of Merton Way.  This had been agreed due to the possible delay in the improvement works at this site.  However, it appeared that the works would proceed as agreed.

RESOLVED – The minutes be approved and the following recommendations be approved:

(i)         New Road Signs

Purchase and installation of 14 no new street name signs complete with Northumberland flag detail as specified in the report supplied.




Minutes of a meeting of the Environment Working Party held on 21 May 2018

had been circulated for consideration.


RESOLVED – The minutes be approved and the following recommendations be approved:


(i)         Riverbank Erosion

The Council agreed that the Tyne Rivers Trust be asked to carry out the works at the area identified within the report at a cost of £4983.20.

They agreed the cost of the necessary tree works also be carried out and that these costs be met from the appropriate budget heading.

The Council also agreed that the Tyne Rivers Trust be engaged to carry out an annual survey of the Park riverbank at a cost of £500.  The cost would be met from the project development fund and would start from this financial year.

(ii)        Proposed footpath from the Scout hut to the second timber footbridge in the Park

The Council approved the recommendation from the Working Party not to proceed with this project and note that the funds would be used for other projects in the Park.




Councillor Dodd reported that he hoped works to the car park at the back of Merton Way would proceed as planned later this year.

He reported on discussions that were taking place between NCC and the NHS regarding funding for hospitals in various locations abroad and in the UK.

He stated that potholes were being dealt with as quickly as possible and additional funds had been allocated to this task.




(i)         Mayor’s Diary

The Mayor submitted details of his diary engagements for May, June and July.

He commented on various events and reminded Councillors of the upcoming Music in The Park event on Sunday 1st July. A final request for assistance to set up and dismantle at this event had been made.




(i)         Ponteland Community Partnership Minutes

Copies of the minutes of a meeting of the above held on 18 April 2018 had been circulated.

(ii)        Ageing Well

Councillor Mrs Greenwell was not present at the meeting to submit a report on Ageing Well.

 (iii)      Ponteland Footpath User Group

Copies of the minutes of a meeting of the above held on 2 May 2018 had been circulated.

(iv)      Newcastle International Consultative Committee

Copies of the minutes of a meeting of the above held on 5 June 2018 had been circulated.




The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £33,655.12. A copy of the monthly budget report was also circulated, as well as the Bank reconciliation for May 2018.


RESOLVED – The reports and the end of year transfers as set out be approved.







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