Town Council Meeting 10 February 2016 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD IN THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES, PONTELAND ON 10 FEBRUARY 2016
Present: Councillor C Rawlings (in the Chair)

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

183. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
An apology for absence was received from Councillor P Cowey.

184. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest

185. MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD 13 JANUARY 2016

The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 13 January 2016 were confirmed and signed by the Mayor.

186. MATTERS ARISING

(i) Letter of thanks from Great North Air Ambulance
A letter of thanks had been received from GNAA in respect of the grant awarded at the last meeting towards annual running and maintenance costs.
(ii) Subsidy for continuance of Bus service 74
It was reported that the bus service had been reintroduced on 30 January. Grants of £500 and £600 respectively had been agreed by Stamfordham and Matfen Parish Councils.
(iii) Flood Resilience Plan
It was reported that a further meeting had been held to examine the plan that had been presented to the last meeting. Thanks were expressed to Councillor Shanley for all of the work he had put into the formulation of the plan.

187. PLANNING

(i) Planning Committee
Minutes of meetings held on 12 and 26 January 2016 were circulated for information.

The Chairman of the Planning Committee informed members that a meeting had been held with NCC officers and residents regarding the frontage at 9 Bell Villas.

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

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CHAIRMAN DATE

188. GRANTS

(i) Ponteland United Football Club
A grant application had been received from Ponteland United Football Club towards the cost of purchasing equipment to improve facilities at the club.
The application included a list of items that the Club needed to acquire.

RESOLVED – A grant of £414 + VAT be approved in order to allow the Club to purchase three respect safety barriers.

189. PROJECTS REPORT

A report relating to various ongoing projects had been circulated.
In relation to the paper street maps it was reported that a proof had been sent to Cityscape in order to progress this project.

The Clerk reported that it was intended to present this report in a different format from next month which would allow Councillors to see progress on various projects that the Council were involved in.

190. REVIEW OF STANDING ORDERS/FINANCIAL REGULATIONS

Councillors were informed that a review of Standing Orders and Financial Regulations had to be carried out on an annual basis.
A group had been established at the October Council meeting tasked with carrying out a review of Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.
The Group had met on 25 January and made various recommendations for amendments to the Standing Orders and Financial Regulations for consideration by the Council.

It was noted that some amendments to both Standing Orders and Financial Regulations would have to be made in relation to contracts. However, the Clerk had recently received a copy of revised model Financial Regulations from the National Association of Local Councils which appeared to substantially alter the order and wording of the document. It was therefore proposed to defer consideration of Financial Regulations to allow the Clerk time to study the new document and report to the March meeting.
It was noted that some slight change to the Standing Order relating to contracts would be required.
A further two amendments to Standing Orders as set out below were suggested and approved:
Standing Order 28 – include the words ‘social media’ in the title.
Standing Order 30 c(i) – delete the words ‘which may be the PNV’ and insert ‘or community magazine’.

RESOLVED –
(i) Approve Standing Orders as presented subject to the two amendments
listed above and note that further amendment to SO 30 will be required.

(ii) Defer consideration of Financial Regulations to the March meeting to allow
examination of the new model Regulations to be carried out.
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CHAIRMAN DATE
191. FUTURE AUDIT ARRANGEMENTS

A report was submitted to the Council which set out information regarding reforming the local government audit system.
There were changes planned for external audit which would take effect from the 2017-18 financial year.
The report reminded Councillors that the Audit Commission had been dissolved in March 2015 and the role had been filled temporarily by Public Sector Audit Appointments Limited. The role of the current external auditors for local councils BDO, would finish in 2017 on completion of 2016-17 accounts.
A number of national bodies have come together to create a new audit procurement body called ‘Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments Ltd (SAAA) and they would be undertaking an open procurement exercise to recruit one or more firms to undertake local councils audit work.
Advice had been received from the Northumberland Association of Local Councils (NALC) asking them to consider whether they wanted to use the services of the body outlined above or whether they wished to procure their own audit services.
NALC asked if local councils could discuss the matter but not reach a formal agreement until further detail was available from SAAA/NALC.

RESOLVED – The Council agree in principle to use the services of the newly created SLAAA for the procurement of audit services for local councils.

192. PONTELAND NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN – RESOLUTION OF VISION STATEMENT
Councillors were informed that the Neighbourhood Plan Group had not reached a consensus regarding the vision statement for the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan. The terms of reference for the group stated that any dispute should be referred to the Town Council for consideration.

The report outlined three different statements that had all received three votes each at the Neighbourhood Plan meetings. Two further amendments were made at the meeting.

An overall majority of Councillors preferred option A as set out in the report.

RESOLVED – The Council approve option A as the vision statement for the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan as set out below:

“Ponteland will maintain its identity as a sustainable, thriving community, accessible to people of all ages.
A gateway to Northumberland, which values its rural setting, rich heritage, natural environment and open spaces. It will remain visually distinct and separate from the Newcastle/Tyneside conurbation, meeting the needs of the local population, without compromising this distinction. The special identities of Darras Hall, the historic core of Ponteland village and the small settlements in the Parish will be maintained and enhanced for future generations, making the Parish of Ponteland a desirable place to live, work and visit.”

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CHAIRMAN DATE

193. FLOOD RESILIENCE LEAFLET

Councillors were reminded of the various discussions and meetings that had taken place in relation to the formulation of a flood resilience plan for Ponteland.
A meeting had been held on Friday 29 January when the plan and a leaflet that had been produced had been discussed.
Those present at the meeting were keen to circulate the leaflet to each household in the civil parish area. The author of the leaflet, Councillor Shanley had obtained costs for production and distribution and it was agreed that a further price would be sought.
The Clerk reported on the cost of printing and distribution with Pont News and Views which was £594. If any artwork was required this would be a further £150.
This could be funded from the sum of £1200 that had been agreed during consideration of projects for consultation with the public on a particular issue.
One or two minor amendments to the leaflet were suggested and it was agreed that these would be corrected for the production.

RESOLVED – The Council agree to circulate the leaflet to all households within the civil parish and approve the costs for inclusion within PNV. These costs would be met from the budget heading outlined above.

194. PONTELAND LIBRARY

Councillors were reminded of the various lines of enquiry that were currently running in relation to the proposed re-location of Ponteland Library to the Leisure Centre.
The Town Council had written to NCC on several occasions. A further draft letter requesting a response to the last communication was agreed for submission to NCC.
Councillor Dodd reported on meetings he and his fellow County Councillors had had with officers at NCC and at the latest meeting in January they did agree to examine the possibility of creating a community hub on the current site alongside some sort of housing development. He hoped that this could be expedited as soon as possible although he stated that a temporary re-location of the library may have to be made in the short term.
He hoped to be able to report on progress at the next meeting.
The Ponteland Community Trust were also keen to see a community hub on the current site but it was unclear at this stage how far advanced their plans were.
Some residents had also had meetings with NCC officers and they had also set up a petition to retain the library facility on its current site.

RESOLVED –
(i) The information be received and a further report be considered at the March meeting.
(ii) Agree that the draft letter to NCC be approved and submitted.

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CHAIRMAN DATE
195. QUEEN’S 90TH BIRTHDAY

The Council were updated on progress to date in respect of the Queen’s 90th
birthday celebrations. Letters had been sent from the Town Council to all
businesses, organisations and schools in the area and direct contact would be
made over the next few weeks.

Merton Hall would be hosting an afternoon tea on 14 June and the Ponteland Methodist Church planned to hold an event on 9th July.

Further updates would be provided at subsequent meetings.

RESOLVED – The information be noted.

196. ROTARY DUCK RACE

An application to use the Park by the Rotary Club of Ponteland on 4 September 2016 for the Annual Duck Race had been received.

It was reported that the Town Council usually met the cost of providing portable toilets for the event and that this sum had been included in the budget for 2016-17

RESOLVED – The application to use the Park on 4 September be agreed and the Council agree to provide portable toilets for the event.

197. PROPOSED REMOVAL OF PARKING RESTRICTION

Information had been received from the County Council regarding the proposed removal of parking restrictions at Meadowfield Industrial Estate. The area in question relates to the turning head next to Lawsons Fuses that currently has double yellow lines in the lay-by area. Comments were required by 9 March 2016.

The Town Council welcomed the proposal which would hopefully ease the parking situation at Meadowfield Court.
It was suggested that NCC should be asked to consider marking the bay in a herringbone fashion that could potentially create an addition 8 – 10 spaces.
The Clerk was also asked to submit a request to the Landlord for three or four dedicated Town Council spaces.

RESOLVED –
(i) That a response be submitted to NCC welcoming the proposals and
requesting that the lay-by be marked with bays in a herringbone
fashion.
(ii) The Council’s landlord be asked to give consideration to providing
three or four spaces for Town Council use only.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

198. HIGHWAYS WORKING PARTY

Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 15 January 2016 had been circulated.
There were no recommendations.
RESOLVED – The minutes be approved.

199. ENVIRONMENT WORKING PARTY
Minutes of a meeting of the above Working Party held on 18 January 2016 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendations be agreed:
(a) Memorial seats on Coates Green/Seat policy
(i) Note the seat register for Coates Green and approve the various
actions to be carried out.
(ii) Note that a report on the remaining seats would be submitted in
due course.
(iii) Agree the charges for memorial seats as set out within the report
and recommend that these charges be reviewed annually as part
of the budget process. Charges will be £575 for seats and £200
extra if paving is required for the base.
(iv) Agree that a seat to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday
be sited on Coates Green.
(v) Agree the request for a memorial seat as discussed to be sited
on Coates Green.
(vi) Defer consideration of the seat policy to the next meeting.
(b) Tree works on land owned/managed by PTC
(i) The tree works be carried out in one year.
(ii) The contract for the tree works in the sum of £3470 be awarded to
the firm that submitted tender A.
(iii) The sum of £470 be carried forward from the budget for 2015-16
to supplement the budget for 2016-17.
(iv) Subject to the agreement of the Cemetery Committee a 3 year
contract in the sum of £150 per year be awarded to the firm that
submitted tender A.

200. NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL REPORT

Councillor Dodd reported on the current situation regarding the proposed move of County Hall from Morpeth to Ashington.
It had been agreed that an independent audit of the costs involved would be carried out.

201. MAYOR’S REPORT

(i) Mayor’s Diary
The Mayor had submitted details of his diary engagements for January 2016 and also forthcoming engagements in February.

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CHAIRMAN DATE

201. MAYOR’S REPORT (Continued)

The Mayor also referred to the moving memorial service held for Mrs Sally Allan that he and several Councillors had attended.

202. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

(i) Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Minutes of meetings held on 8 December 2015 and 12 January 2016 had been circulated for information.

It was reported that an e mail had been received from the Director of Environment and Planning at NCC asking if representatives of the Town Council and the Neighbourhood Planning Group would attend a meeting at County Hall to discuss progress on the Core Strategy. Three dates had been offered.
It was agreed that the Town Council should be represented and Councillors were asked to inform the Clerk if they wished to attend. The Clerk was also asked to check with NCC how many could attend the meeting.

(ii) Richard Coates Education Foundation
Councillor Mrs C Greenwell reported on her attendance at the above mentioned meeting.

203. ACCOUNTS/ BANK RECONCILIATION/ BUDGET REPORT/

The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £38035.28 and the transfer of this sum from the Council’s Deposit Account. The Bank reconciliation for January 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 9 MARCH 2016 AT 6.45 P.M. AT THE TOWN COUNCIL OFFICES