Town Council Minutes February 2018





Present:  Councillor A Varley (in the Chair)

Councillors S Ahmed, Mrs C Caisley, L Darwin, Mrs C Greenwell, Mrs S Johnson,  A Shanley and Mrs K Woodrow.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors T Edwards-Clay, R Dodd, A Hall and Mrs K Overbury.


There were no declarations.



The Minutes of the Council Meeting held on 10 January 2018 were confirmed

and signed by the Mayor.

RESOLVED – The minutes be approved



(i)         Item 148 – Highways Working Party

Additional information relating to the lighting levels on Callerton Lane had been circulated.

Councillor Mrs Greenwell referred to information received from Street Lighting in relation to the above that had been discussed at the last meeting.  This had previously been circulated to Councillors.

She wished to thank everyone involved in achieving this positive result.



 (i) Planning Committee 

Minutes of meetings held on 9 and 23 January 2018 were circulated for information.

The Chairman of the Planning Committee reported that several members had attended planning training at NCC recently when much of the discussion was around Neighbourhood Plans.

(ii) Report on recent planning decisions

There was nothing to report



(i)         Darras Hall Estate Committee

It was reported that the Darras Hall Estate Committee had submitted their annual request for a grant towards upkeep of the bridle path.  The sum of £600 had been included in the budget for this year.

RESOLVED – A grant of £600 be approved.

  1. GRANTS (Continued)

(iii)       Youth Service grant

The Clerk had circulated a report in relation to the above.

Councillors were reminded that at a recent meeting with the NCC Youth Service they had been informed that some funds had already been utilised in the current financial year and they agreed to provide details and costs of these activities.  This information had been included within the report.

The work totalled £7144.96.  The Clerk confirmed that the grant for 2017-18 had not been paid to the Youth Service this year and the same sum was included within the budget for 2018-19.

The Youth Service representative stressed that he did not expect the Council to fund the whole sum as they appreciated the budget was much less than that figure.

Concern was expressed that the Town Council had not agreed to or authorised these activities to be carried out and it was therefore suggested that the grant should not be awarded for this purpose.

Discussions had taken place with the Youth Service regarding possible outreach work in Ponteland on a Friday and Saturday evenings for three hours each night.  This had initially been suggested for a trial period.

The Youth Service had provided details of costs involved for providing this service for a three-month period.  This would be delivered through a service level agreement.

The Clerk was asked to contact the Youth Service regarding the possibility of providing this service for a month and then obtaining some feedback on its success before committing to the next few months.  They also asked if it would be possible to mix up the times so that some weeks would be between 6 and 9pm and others, 7-10 pm.


(i)         The Council do not agree to reimburse the NCC Youth Service for the

work carried out this year to date for the reasons outlined above.

(ii)        The Clerk be asked to contact the Youth Service regarding the

provision of outreach work for a month initially and then obtaining

feedback on it success before committing to further sessions and also

raise the query regarding times of sessions as set out above.  This

work would be funded from the 2017-18 budget.



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

The Clerk was asked to see if any progress could be made with regard to the land survey.

RESOLVED – The report be accepted.



 Councillors were reminded that consideration of the location of the above plaque was deferred from the January meeting pending a report from the Clerk and Councillor Hall regarding the location of the above plaque.

A site visit was held on 12th February with Councillor Hall, Mr David Marshall and the Clerk in attendance.

Two new areas were suggested as part of the walkabout and photographs showing these locations were included within the report.

One area was on the wall outside of the Pele Tower and the second was on the grassed mound outside of Merton Hall.  The area next to the Rotary Yew tree in the Park was also re-considered.

It was pointed out that the first two locations mentioned would in all probability require permission and possibly approval as they were in the Conservation area.

The Council favoured the grassed area outside of Merton Hall as their first choice and the Clerk was asked to examine whether PTC contractors could cut that grass to avoid damage to the plaque.

If this option was not possible then the Council agreed the reserve areas were the wall near to the rockery on Main Street as second choice and in the Park near to the Rotary Yew tree as their third option.  Members agreed to delegate the final position to the Clerk and the Mayor after checking any relevant permissions or potential obstacles.


(i)         The Council agreed to install the plaque at one of the three locations listed below in order of preference:

  1. a) Outside of Merton Hall on the grassed bank
  2. b) On the wall outside of the Pele Tower near to the rockery
  3. c) Near to the Rotary Yew tree in the Park.

(ii)        The Council agreed to delegate the final position to the Clerk and the Mayor after checking any relevant permissions or obstacles.



 It was reported that the Civic Society had produced a ‘local list’ of assets for possible incorporation within or as an addition to the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan.

This information had been previously reported to Councillors.

Some Councillors had attended a presentation by the Civic Society on 31st October to discuss a draft list of Heritage Assets for Ponteland.

The Civic Society were keen to progress this list however, it required the support of the Town Council.


Details of the 29 Heritage Assets included on this list were included within the report and the detailed document was available to view in the Town Council office.


The criteria used for items to be included on the list was also set out in the report and this was loosely based on the Historic England Good Practice Guide (1).

It was reported that as yet, NCC did not have an umbrella structure for local lists to fit into.

The Council were asked to consider how they wished to progress this item.

Councillors queried whether the owners of the various assets had been approached by the Civic Society and the Clerk was asked to follow this up.

Some members suggested other assets that were not included on the list such as the Street Houses Farm (now the Badger).

Councillors felt that they required more time to consider this and it was suggested that this should be considered again once NCC had a structure in place to deal with such items.


(i)         It agreed that the Council required more time to examine this information and therefore would consider it again once NCC had introduced a structure to deal with the lists.

(ii)        A query be raised with the Civic Society to see if they had

made contact with owners or residents of the properties listed.

(iii)       The Chairman of the Civic Society be asked to attend a future

meeting to provide more information on this subject.



Members were informed that there were currently two vacancies on the list of outside bodies due to the resignation of Councillor Alan Hall.  These were:

The Ponteland Community Partnership (and PNV Editorial Group)

The Ponteland Community Trust

The PCP met on the third Wednesday of each month at 7.00 p.m. and the Community Trust met monthly on a Thursday evening at 5.00 p.m.  The editorial group met infrequently and meetings were held during the day.

Councillor Mrs Greenwell expressed her interest in the PCP appointment.  There were no nominations for the Ponteland Community Trust at this time.


(i)         Councillor Mrs Greenwell be appointed to the Ponteland Community

Partnership and the PNV Editorial Group.

(ii)        The position on the Ponteland Community Trust be left vacant until such time as an appointment could be made.



The Clerk had circulated a report regarding the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) from 25th May.

It was reported that the new legislation would have a significant impact on parish and town councils as well as many small organisations.

Both the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and the Society of Local Councils (SLCC) were working on providing information for the local councils sector.

Every Council holding personal data must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO).  It was still unclear whether this officer could be appointed from within the organisation.  It was essential that any person acting as the DPO had an expert knowledge of data protection law.  SLCC are already providing training courses and webinars on this important subject and they are developing their training to support the DPO role.  The Council were asked to approve the participation in training to ensure they were ready for the new Regulations.

It was reported that the SLCC were also developing a consultancy service for councils who require additional support and they were willing to undertake audits of personal data held by councils.

The Council were informed that non-compliance with the GDPR would carry significant penalties.

The personal data held by this Council includes staff records including salaries and pensions; Councillors details including contact details and interests and lists of local organisations and allotment tenants contacts.

Much of this data will need to be kept in locked cabinets or password protected on a PC.

This Council currently paid the £35 annual fee to the Information Commissioners Office.  This was likely to be increased to £55 when the legislation was introduced.  It is anticipated that all Councils will be expected to pay this fee as well as many small organisations.

Councillors were asked to note the potential additional workload this could impose on staff and in particular the DPO if this appointment could be made in house.


(i)         The Council note the information contained within the report relating to

the introduction of GDPR and the likely impact on staffing and resources.

(ii)        Agree that the Clerk can authorise appropriate training from within the

existing subscriptions and courses budget heading.

(iii)       Note that additional information will be provided when available.



 Councillor Mrs C Caisley reported that it had been agreed to hold an Easter Treasure Hunt on Saturday 31 March at 11.00 a.m.  Funding had been made available in the budget for 2018-19 for this purpose.

She suggested that it may be better to hold an Easter themed Treasure Hunt rather than an Easter Egg Hunt.

An advert had been prepared for inclusion in the March edition of PNV and banners and posters were being ordered,

She asked for volunteers to assist her and Councillor Mrs Johnson with this project and stated that a meeting would be held within the next two weeks.

Councillor Ahmed agreed to be involved with the organising group.

RESOLVED – The information be noted and Councillor Ahmed be appointed to assist the organising group.



Minutes of a meeting of the Highways Working Party held on 12 January 2018 had been circulated.

RESOLVED – The minutes and the following recommendations be approved:

 (i)         Proposed boundary treatment for Merton Way car park Scheme

A report had been circulated in relation to the above item.

Councillors were reminded that agreement to contribute the amount of £10,000 towards the Merton Way car park scheme had been agreed in March 2017 (Minute ref 211(i) refers).

Several screening options had been considered by the Highways Working Party and it was proposed to install recycled plastic picket fencing in a green colourway as it was felt this would inject colour into the area once the few trees and grass verges had been removed.

The Chairman of the Highways Working Party explained that the fencing would not be around the entire car park but would be in front of Station Cottages and would screen the rear of the businesses.

Examples of the two colours of brown and green were shown to the Council.

RESOLVED – The recommendation to install green recycled plastic picket fencing in the identified areas be approved and this request be submitted to NCC.

 (ii)        Proposal for a request to install ‘hatching’ on the mini Roundabout located between North Road and the A696

The Working Party had discussed a request for consideration of the installation of hatching and//or ‘Keep Clear’ markings on the mini roundabout located between North Road and the A696.

Several complaints had been received regarding the lack of courtesy of motorists when using the roundabout.  The problem occurred when the lights at the Diamond Inn were on red and traffic travelling south continues to enter the roundabout and blocking anyone travelling down North Road who wanted to turn right.

RESOLVED – The Council agree a recommendation to request NCC to consider investigating the proposal to provide hatching and/or ‘Keep Clear’ signage on the North Road mini roundabout in the interests of better traffic congestion management.

(iii)       Proposal to rename the housing estate located off Thornhill road

At a recent meeting of the Working Party a proposal to rename the housing estate located off Thornhill Road was raised.

The majority of houses were now privately owned in this area and it was felt that the estate itself deserved its own identity.  Research was conducted using historical maps of Ponteland and several names were circulated for a response from Councillors.  Details of the names and responses were outlined within the report.

Councillors were informed that NCC were not obliged to complete a public consultation but had strongly advised the Town Council to complete their own in order to identify whether they A) wanted to name the estate, B) what the preferred name would be and C) whether street name signage was required.  The cost of signage would have to be met by the Town Council as well as the costs of any public consultation.

Various methods of public consultation had been discussed such as Councillors carrying out door to door visits and an insert in PNV.

The editor of PNV had been asked for a cost for an insert and he required further information about the number of properties involved.

Some Members felt that this proposal was unnecessary unless there had been requests from residents.  It was reported that there had been some requests made.

After some discussion it was agreed to defer this matter pending further information being provided to the next meeting regarding the costs of public consultation.

RESOLVED – This matter be deferred to the next meeting pending receipt of additional information regarding the costs of public consultation in PNV.




(i)         Minutes of a meeting of the Environment Working Party held on 15 January 2018. 

The above minutes had been circulated for consideration. There were no


Concern was expressed at the lack of response from Karbon Homes in

relation to the Twizell Play area.  The Clerk agreed to ask the Council’s

Solicitor to follow this up.

RESOLVED – The minutes be accepted and the Council’s Solicitor be asked to contact Karbon Homes regarding the delay in processing a new lease for Twizell Play Area.



Councillor Mrs Veronica Jones was in attendance at the meeting.  She reported that the NCC budget was to be agreed by the County Council on 21st February.  She reported that there was currently a gap of £64 million in funding and ways to resolve this were currently being examined.  It was proposed that the capital programme would be reduced which would make savings of £30million for the revenue budget.  Further information could be viewed at

In relation to the Local Transport Plan (LTP) it had been agreed that resurfacing works would be carried out at the top of Middle Drive.

There had been some complaints about litter issues etc at the back of the Broadway shops and Mrs Jones reported that she had met with County Council officers to try and find a way forward.  She had also met with the owner of the development.

Problems in Medburn continued to be a cause for concern, particularly the issue of the private road at the Avenue and the current situation with ongoing developments.



 (i)         Mayor’s Diary

The Mayor submitted details of his diary engagements for January February and March 2018


  1. REPORTS BY TOWN COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES ON LOCAL ORGANISATIONSi) Ponteland Community Partnership – Minutes of meeting held on 17th January 2018.

Copies of the above minutes had been circulated for information.



             The Accounts Committee approved payments totalling £27,783.52. A copy of the quarterly budget revisions report and the monthly budget report was also circulated, as well as the Bank reconciliation for January 2018.

RESOLVED – The reports be approved.





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