Town Council Minutes 13th April 2016

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

 

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN MERTON HALL, PONTELAND ON 13 APRIL 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, Mrs E Thompson and A Varley.

 

  1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

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

  1. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest.

 

  1. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 9 MARCH 2016

 

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 9 March 2016 were confirmed and signed by the Mayor.

 

  1. MATTERS ARISING

(i)         Minute 211(i) and (ii) – Grants

It was reported that letters of thanks had been received from Friends of Ponteland Park and the Darras Hall Estate Committee in respect of the grants approved at the last meeting.

(ii)        Minute 211(iii) – Grant to Ponteland Youth Service

The Clerk reported that she had been informed that the Youth Services Manager had left Northumberland County Council. She was looking into this and would defer payment of the grant approved at the last meeting until she had more information on this matter.

 

  1. PLANNING

 

(i) Planning Committee

Minutes of meetings held on 8 and 22 March 2016 were circulated for information.

 

(ii)        Report on recent planning applications

 

There were no matters to report.

 

  1. PROJECTS REPORT

 

The above report had been circulated to all Councillors.

 

RESOLVED – The report be approved.

 

 

 

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CHAIRMAN                                                                 DATE

 

 

 

  1. FINANCIAL REGULATIONS

 

It had been agreed at the last meeting that the Review Group set up to review Financial Regulations would meet again to consider the new model document received from the National Association of Local Councils.

The Review Group comprising of Councillors Mrs Caisley, Ramsay and Rawlings had met on 31 March and had considered the suggested amendments in detail.

Various amendments were proposed and a copy of the suggested new Financial Regulations was circulated to Councillors for approval.

A re-draft of Standing Order number 30 had also been circulated.

It was noted that each Councillor would be given the approved copies of Standing Orders and Financial Regulations once they had been agreed.

 

RESOLVED –

(i)         The Financial Regulations as amended by the Review Group be approved.

(ii)        The amendment to Standing Order number 30 be approved.

 

  1. CONSULTATION RE SCHOOLS IN PONTELAND

 

Councillors were aware of the consultation currently being carried out by NCC in relation to proposals for the Ponteland Partnership of schools to move to a two tier system of education.

 

The consultation ends on 11 May.  It was noted that there were two consultation events being held in Ponteland on Saturday 23 April and on Thursday 28 April.  These events had been well publicised.

 

Councillors were asked for their initial views on the consultation and whether they were in favour of retaining the current three tier system of education or the proposal to move to two tier.

 

Councillors were urged to attend one of the consultation events, following which, a response to the proposals would be submitted to NCC.

 

RESOLVED – The Council formulate a response to the consultation following their attendance at one of the two events organised for Ponteland.

 

  1. QUEEN’S 90TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

A report by Councillor Ramsay had been circulated for the consideration by the Council.

The report updated the Council on the various events that would be held in Ponteland that had been arranged by the organisations and businesses to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

 

Councillors were reminded that the Beacon would be lit at 7.30p.m. on Thursday 21 April, the actual birthday date, with a firework display at 9.00 p.m

 

Councillor Mrs Caisley reported that she and Councillor Mrs Johnson were organising a treasure hunt for children that would hopefully be held on the Saturday before Party in the Park.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                 DATE

  1. QUEEN’S 90TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS (Continued)

 

Various proposals were included within the report for approval.

 

RESOLVED –

(i)         The Town Council send a letter of congratulations to Her Majesty on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

(ii)        The press release that had been circulated be issued to the

local media.

(iii)       That the message from Prince Charles that had also been circulated

to Councillors be placed on the PTC website and Facebook page.

 

  1. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

 

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 11 March 2016 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendations be approved:

(i)         NCC Replacement Street Lighting project

It was agreed to formally recommend the installation of 1 additional lighting column on the footpath between Kirkley Drive and Meadowfield Industrial Estate and another at The Close just off Darras Hall for reasons of pedestrian safety.

(ii)        Request for additional street name signs

The Council approve the two packages of additional street name signs that included 5 between Western Way and Edge Hill and 8 between North Road and Main Street. It was noted that the budget set aside for this work may be exceeded slightly and that any overspend would be taken from contingencies.

It was also noted that Councillor Peter Jackson would examine the possibility of funding some additional signs from the Small Schemes allowance.

 

  1. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 18 March 2016 had been circulated.

 

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendations be agreed:

(i)         Pele Tower various works

  1. a) It was agreed not to replace the Beech tree at the Pele Tower but

confirm that a tree would be planted elsewhere in accordance with

the Council’s policy.

  1. b) Note that the work to the display sign in the Pele Tower had already

been carried out at minimal cost.

  1. c) Note the information regarding the power supply and await further

information as and when it becomes available.

 

(ii)        Merton Way large planter

It was agreed that costs for covering the large planter with either

artificial grass or recycled rubber surfacing in green be obtained with

a view to seeking approval to proceed at the May meeting so that

the work could be finished in time for the NIB summer judging.

 

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CHAIRMAN                                                                 DATE

 

 

  1. PONTELAND LIBRARY

 

Councillors were informed that it seemed that the current site of the library

was being earmarked for a housing development. It was still hoped that a

library and community hub including offices would also be located on the site.

It was reported that it was very likely that the library would move temporarily

from its current site to the Leisure Centre in the near future.

Discussions would continue with NCC officers.

 

There was no further information from the Ponteland Community Trust.

 

RESOLVED – The information be received.

 

  1. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

 

Councillor Dodd indicated that the County Councillors were keeping a watching brief on the schools consultation.

It was reported that a recent Planning Committee had approved the plans for the new County Hall to be located at Ashington.

Councillor Dodd stated that he intended to use some of his special allowance funds to carry out some works at the car park at the back of Merton Way in conjunction with the Town Council’s Highways Working Party.

Councillor Dodd urged as many Councillors as possible to attend the Central Area Committee to be held on Thursday 12 May at the Memorial Hall at 6.00 p.m. This gave Councillors an opportunity to discuss matters of concern with various County Council officers.

 

Councillor Peter Jackson reported on changes to the planning system.

The County Council had reviewed the recent changes to the planning process in the county and it was intended to reduce the number of central planning committees from three to two. Delegation of decisions was now at 96% and it was felt that the three committees did not have sufficient workload.

The meetings would continue to be held at 2.00p.m. Councillor Jackson had objected to this as it limited the attendance of those who work. There had been a request made from one of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees to consider making the planning committees area based but this was rejected. He also disagreed with this decision.

 

Any objections to applications would be considered by a small working group comprising of the officer in charge of planning and the Chair and Vice Chair of the committee. They would consider the objections and decide whether they were serious enough to warrant taking the application to Committee.  It was intended to publish the deliberations of this working group.

It had also been agreed that the planning enforcement system in Ponteland would be strengthened. The County Council intended to employ four additional officers who would be area based and once appointed there would be a named officer to contact for the Ponteland area.

 

 

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CHAIRMAN                                                                 DATE

 

  1. MAYOR’S REPORT

 

(i)         Mayor’s Diary

The Mayor had submitted details of his diary engagements for March and April 2016.

 

  1. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

 

(i)         Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (PNPSG)

Minutes of meeting of the Steering Group held on 18 February and 8 March 2016 had been circulated for information.

 

Reassurance was again sought that there would be no further meetings of PNPSG members with NCC without PTC involvement. Councillors were informed that this would not happen.

 

It was hoped that the plan could be finalised in this calendar year.

Councillors thought that the plan had to fit in with the Core Strategy that had been delayed.

 

It was stated that various towns and villages were coming up with Neighbourhood plans. Residents in all areas were seeking some planning protection.

 

The PNPSG recognised the limitations of what they can legally do. They could not legally make alterations to the green belt.  The Steering Group had decided to push ahead with the neighbourhood plan taking into account the limitations of what they could do.

 

(ii)        Ponteland Community Trust

A report of a meeting of the Ponteland Community Trust held on 24 February 2016 had been circulated for information.

 

(iii)       Ageing Well in Ponteland

Councillor Mrs Greenwell had circulated notes of a meeting of the above meeting held on 21 March 2016.

It was noted that the Step into Spring event would be held on Saturday 14 May.

 

  1. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET REPORT/

 

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £35,533.48 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for March 2016 was also approved together with a budget report for the same period.

 

RESOLVED – The reports be approved.

CHAIRMAN

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DATE

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DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 11 MAY 2016 AT 6.45 P.M. AT THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES