Town Council meeting 9 July 2014 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 9 JULY 2014

Present: Councillor C Rawlings (in the Chair)

Councillors Mrs J Butcher, Mrs C Caisley, P Cowey, R Dodd, Mrs C Greenwell, Mrs S Johnson, R G Ramsay and Mrs E Thompson.

43. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs L Noble, A Shanley and A Varley.

44. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 11 JUNE 2014

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 11 June 2014 were confirmed
and signed by the Mayor.

45. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

A declaration of interest was submitted by Councillor Mrs Greenwell in respect of Minute 52.

46. MATTERS ARISING

There were no matters arising.

47. PLANNING
(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 3 and 17 June had been circulated for information.

The Chairman of the Planning Committee reminded Members that they had been asked to submit any amendments or additions to the Birney Hill application which had to be with the Planning Inspectorate by 10 July. The comments received had been considered by the Planning Committee held on 1 July and a letter had been sent to the Inspectorate.

Further information had been received from NCC relating to the proposed withdrawal of the objection relating to flooding and drainage following confirmation from the Environment Agency and the SUDS officer at NCC that they had withdrawn their objections after receipt of additional information from the applicant.

(ii) Report on recent planning decisions
Land north of Furze Hill, Medburn – Replacement of existing stable block outbuildings with a new dwelling – approved.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

48. PROJECTS REPORT

A report relating to progress on projects was submitted.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.

49. EMAIL ETIQUETTE

This item had been included on the agenda at the request of Councillor Peter Cowey.
He stated that in some cases, Councillors were replying to all instead of just the sender of an e mail. He used the idea of the issue of business cards as an example and he felt it was unnecessary to see all responses.
It was recognised that there were times when the reply to all option was necessary but not in relation to minor items such as the example given.

50. WISH LIST 2015-16

Councillors were asked to give some thought to items they would like to see included on the wish list for 2015-16. Any suggestions should be emailed to the Clerk who would compile a list for consideration during the budget exercise.

This item would appear on the agenda each month until the budget was formulated.

RESOLVED – The information be noted.

51. REGENERATION – MERTON WAY

The Council considered a report produced by Councillor Ramsay relating to the decision by the County Council not to proceed with the preferred developer’s scheme for the Merton Way shopping area. It appeared that this would be carried out by the NCC developer, Arch.
It was agreed that a letter would be sent to NCC seeking a meeting with them and the Ponteland Community Partnership to establish details of the action plan for implementing this project. The Council were also dissatisfied at the lack of communication from NCC on this matter and were seeking an apology and an explanation as to why they had not been informed directly of the decision made by NCC.

RESOLVED – A letter be sent to NCC requesting an apology for the lack of communication and also seeking a meeting including representatives of the Ponteland Community Partnership to establish details of the action plan to be implemented.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

52. LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME (LGPS) – POLICIES

Members were informed that the Regulations covering the LGPS required all employers who participated in the scheme to produce policies setting out how they would apply certain discretions available under the rules of the scheme.
At the moment the only employee in the scheme was the Deputy Clerk.

RESOLVED – The following policies in respect of the discretions available be approved and forwarded to NCC:

(i) Employer contribution towards the cost of purchasing additional pension
The Town Council will not normally contribute to the cost of purchasing additional pension. However the employer does reserve the right in exceptional circumstances to contribute to the cost of purchasing such additional pension where it is clearly in the financial and managerial interests of the Town Council to do so.

(ii) Granting flexible retirement
The Town Council will consider each request for flexible retirement on its merits and will only agree to grant such retirement where it can be clearly established that granting such retirement would be in the financial and managerial interests of the Council.

(iii) Waiving actuarial reductions
The Town Council will not normally agree to waive actuarial reductions; however the Council does reserve the right to waive reductions in exceptional circumstances where it is clearly in the financial and managerial interests of the organisation to do so.

(iv) Awarding additional pension
The Town Council will not normally award additional pension to employees. However the Council does reserve the right to award additional pension in exceptional circumstances where it is clearly in the financial and managerial interests of the organisation to do so.

(v) Rule of 85 protection
The Town Council will only agree to ‘switch on’ the 85 year rule in exceptional circumstances and where it is in the financial and managerial interests of the Council to do so.

53. LETTER FROM PONTELAND ROTARY SATELLITE CLUB RE POSSIBLE CHRISTMAS MARKET IN 2015

The Mayor had received a letter from a member of the above group asking for the Council’s opinion about a suggestion to hold a Christmas market in Merton Way and on Thornhill Road in 2015. It was hoped to attract craft and food stalls and some entertainment as well as Christmas activities such as a visit to Santa etc.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

53. LETTER FROM PONTELAND ROTARY SATELLITE CLUB RE POSSIBLE CHRISTMAS MARKET IN 2015 (Continued)

It was noted that the Group would need to get in touch with the NCC Markets Officer to obtain the necessary advice and permission.
The Town Council were in favour of the idea and it was agreed to pass on details of the Markets Officer to the author of the letter.

RESOLVED – A response be sent to the author of the letter expressing the Council’s enthusiasm for the idea and that the details of the NCC Markets Officer be included in the letter.

53A RELEASE OF TOWN COUNCIL CONTRIBUTION FOR MULTI
USE GAMES AREA (MUGA) PROJECT

A report by the Clerk to the Council was circulated for consideration.
Councillors were reminded that as part of the budget deliberations for 2014-15, the Council had agreed a contribution of £10,000 towards the cost of the above project. The MUGA would be located on land owned by NCC at Ponteland Middle and High Schools.
Funding had now been received from the Football Foundation and Sport England and the Town Council had been asked to release their contribution to NCC who would be dealing with the project as landowners.

RESOLVED – The Council approve the release of the £10,000 contribution subject to a letter being sent with the payment stating that the funding would be expected to be returned to the Council if the project did not proceed for any reason.

54. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 16 June had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes of the meeting be agreed and the following recommendations be approved:

(i) Request for two litter bins on Thornhill Road
The Council approve the installation of two litter bins on Thornhill Road subject to NCC agreeing to empty them.

(ii) Report re Memorial Trees
An additional report had been circulated in relation to a recommendation from the above Working Party regarding memorial trees.
The various problems being experienced with memorial trees in two areas of the Park were outlined within the report.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

54. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY (continued)
(ii) Report re Memorial Trees

RESOLVED –

(a) Approve the recommendation of the Environment Working Party to cease
The practice of having memorial trees in the two areas of the Park near
to the Scout Hut and Park House within the Park.

(b) Approve the introduction of the policy agreement for memorial trees
for a five year period at a cost of £200. This would cover the cost
of the tree, planting, the plaque with stone and a sum of £100 for
maintenance.

(c) The Council agree to honour any agreements already made for 10 years however, when these were due for renewal, the period of five years be offered to the individual/family renewing the lease.

(d) The Environment Working Party be asked to look at the question
of renewing any trees in the two existing areas of the Park and
how this would be handled and report back to the Council.

55. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 18 June 2014 had been circulated. The minutes of the Working Party were agreed and the following recommendations were approved:

(i) Maintenance of Bus Shelters – the quote from Dodwell Bothers Ltd, for a new GRP roof at a cost of £1292.50 be accepted.

(ii) Rotation of Speed Signs – agree a policy to rotate signs on a 3 monthly basis.

(iii) Display on Speed signs
A report relating to the above was circulated.
The Council agreed as part of the wish list items to purchase another Vehicle Activated Sign for Cheviot View.
A suggestion was made at the last Highways meeting to examine the costs for the signs which displayed the actual speed vehicles were travelling at.
Initial costs seemed to be £300 more although there were further options to consider.
RESOLVED – The Council agree in principle to proceed with the purchase of a sign that displays actual speed for Cheviot View and that this issue be delegated to the Clerk in consultation with the Chairman of the Highways Working Party with authority to spend up to an additional £600.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

56. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd reported that he was still awaiting a date for a meeting relating to the car parking situation at the back of Merton Way. He referred to the widespread abuse of the use of this car park and the various problems in the mornings and afternoons with the school traffic.
A debate on the proposals relating to Post 16 transport would be held at County Hall on 11 July at 9.30 a.m.
He also reported on his attendance at a Local Development Framework meeting which had mainly discussed the issues relating to minerals extraction and wind turbines.

57. MAYOR’S REPORT

(i) Mayor’s Diary
The Mayor circulated details of his diary from when he took up office to mid July.
Details of forthcoming events were featured on the website.

(ii) Review of Music in the Park event – 29.6.14
The Mayor wished to thank all those who had assisted with the above event which had been a great success even though the weather had been changeable.

(iii) Judging competition – Ponteland High School – 11.7.14
The Mayor expressed his thanks to Councillors Joyce Butcher and Christine Greenwell as well as David Greenwell and Chris Brummitt for agreeing to take part in the above event.

(iv) Service at St. Mary’s Church on 3.8.14 at 10.00 a.m. to mark
the outbreak of World War 1
The Mayor referred to the above event that he would be attending. All Councillors were invited to attend.

(v) Service of Commemoration to mark the outbreak of World War
1 to be held at Hexham Abbey on 3.8.14 at 4.00 p.m.

The Mayor had received an invitation from the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland to attend the above event. He would be attending with the Deputy Mayor.

58. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Minutes of a meeting held on 3 June 2014 had been circulated for information.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

59. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET UPDATE

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £30846.82 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for June 2014 was also approved. A monthly income and expenditure review report showing amounts received and expended against each main budget heading was accepted.

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CHAIRMAN

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DATE

DATE OF NEXT MEETING – WEDNESDAY 13 AUGUST 2014 AT 6.45 P.M. AT TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES