MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS -  Tuesday 2nd July 2013      


Present: Cllrs J Newton, D Barras, E Critchlow, T Corson, I Monkhouse, G Orr, A Sharpe and L Welch.
             County Councillor Watson    The Parish Clerk in attendance – Mrs L Hamlin

1. Apologies for Absence: Cllrs Budge and Craig

2. Declarations of Interest on the Agenda - None

3. The minutes of the meeting 8 May 2013 were agreed and signed as a true record.

4. Standing Item – Public Questions - None

5. Matters Arising from the meeting on 8 May 2013:

a. Replacement Seat – this is on order and will be delivered in the next 2-3 weeks. The seat at the crossroads has also been damaged beyond repair and unsafe and was removed by Cllrs Barras and Newton. It was agreed to order another seat to replace this. Clerk to place order.

b. Repairs to flower tubs – Two new tubs have been placed at Millennium Walk, one tub is remaining which will be located once the new seat is installed. The rings around some of the tubs need replacing and Mr Mezza kindly offered to look into this if the size of the rings can be forwarded to him. Cllr Critchlow will measure the tubs.

c. New posts for signage – Clerk has spoken to Lee Baxter of NCC who states this is not in his remit and have forwarded to Neighbourhood Services. Mr Garnick responded stating this would be undertaken but should come from CC Watson’s Members Scheme money. It was agreed the Clerk respond stating that these are a safety issue and need to be replaced at NCC’s expense.

d. Millennium Walk Footpath – hedge cutting back and use of horses on this footpath – NCC has reported that the ground vegetation will be cut this year and the hedges will be trimmed in the winter. NCC will also look at the problem of the gate as horses are not allowed along the footpath. The gate used to be locked and NCC will look to putting a chain on it again. It was agreed to put an item in The Pelican on this.

e. 20mph in Acklington by play area – The Clerk raised the issue with CC Watson as the costs of £6k would have to be sought from his funds or Parish Council funds. CC Watson thought he had already funded signs for “children slow” and would check into this. Cllr Corson asked the Clerk to find out how much it has cost to install the 20mph areas in Ashington and Blyth.

f. Replacement notice board – This has now been installed and has received a number of compliments. Clerk to relay to the joiner.

g. S106 agreement in relation to Warkworth Farms Ltd developments – The S106 linked to this development is the actual Affordable Housing so there will be no further financial benefit to the community.

h. Situation with roads and pot holes – Still a number of potholes need filling and Clerk is chasing NCC on this.

i. Trees in Quarry Avenue and St Omer Rd - Clerk to arrange for a risk assessment to be taken of the trees along with a location map of each tree. Cllr Barras offered to liaise with the tree surgeon on tree review.

j. Hedge cutting in Acklington – Once again the Clerk has been contacted in relation to cutting of hedges at 4 properties in Acklington. The resident is adamant that NCC has cut these hedges in the past. NCC is adamant that they have never cut these hedges. The Clerk has again asked NCC if they will cut these hedges however NCC has still not responded to this request despite numerous reminders from the Clerk. It was agreed that this was an issue that the residents need to take up with NCC.

k. Ball play in childrens’ play area – The Clerk has at last received confirmation from Ministry of Justice that a “no ball” sign can be installed by the play area as long as they are installed in a suitable place that will not cause upset or a danger to people using the site. Once this was received the Clerk contacted property owners by the large grassed area to see if they have any objections to goal posts being installed. To date two responses have been received both in favour of goal posts. One resident has also raised the issue of the grass not being as well cut over the last few years and also the issue of people allowing their dogs to foul this grassed area. Clerk to source “no ball” signs and if no response has been received from the remaining residents contacted by mid-July then to source football posts. It was agreed that the grass cutting had not been undertaken on a regular basis and Clerk to report to NCC. The Clerk has confirmed she has responded to the resident stating any information they have in relation to offenders with dogs can be forwarded to the Clerk or NCC with as much detail as possible so they can tackle offenders. The Clerk also reported that NCC has made more prosecutions in the last 6 months than previously. CC Watson to report this in his report in The Pelican.

l. C100 update and weight restriction request
C100 update - In relation to the request put to NCC for a copy of the letter sent to residents about the C100 update NCC responded by stating “The letter in question was to one resident only and addressed the issues of the landslips and the closed road, which will have been of interest to the Parish Council. It also responded to specific concerns regarding school transport. Yes, it was remiss of me to not inform you of the landslip update. However, some of the material was pertinent to the addressee only. The letter was not intended for general circulation, although that appears to have been the case.
I understand further correspondence, in the form of a circular letter, is due from the Highways Area Office. This will provide an update on the work to repair Factory Bridge slip and Guyzance Bank/Cottage, the C100.
At the time of writing, Factory Bridge is being designed with a view to being on the ground in September, subject to third party consents, Environment Agency etc. Following which design work will be undertaken to repair both Guyzance Cottage and the Bank (C100). As both of these slips have to be addressed before opening the road. Because of the need for access for the two dwellings, it is likely the Bank will be repaired first. Followed by the Cottage section. Having spoken with Guyzance Hall their access will have to be via Warkworth during works on the C100. They are able to accommodate us in this respect, with the proviso they have adequate notice.”
Weight Restriction - NCC do not wish to impose a weight restriction at Factory Bridge nor Cooksburn Bridge (over the Hazon Burn). As the road layout stands, restricting these bridges will prevent access by the Council’s bin wagons, private delivery vehicles and farm traffic which is deemed unacceptable. NCC understand the reasons behind the Parish Council’s request in order to preserve access for private cars and smaller vehicles. However, at this point in time, it is not a suitable solution.

6. Report by County Councillor

CC Watson has been approached by the farmer from East House who has expressed concern about his farm vehicles needing to come down Hartlaw due to the road closures and this will prove difficult for oncoming cars to pass. The Parish Council could not see a resolution to this problem as the road cannot be reopened and it is problematic for all road users.
Speeding in Acklington is still an issue and the chicanes do not appear to be slowing drivers down. CC Watson did ask for suggestions via The Pelican but no ideas were forthcoming. CC Watson has asked that if any Councillors or residents have any suggestions please email them to him. He also will look into the Speed Watch Initiative that the police are running for volunteers to undertaken speed checks.
Some complaints have been received about the fencing around the new land which is not in a good state of repair. This was discussed at the last meeting and it is not possible to access the fencing to repair or remove it due to the hedging.
A request has been put in for a bus stop at the bottom end of Acklington Road. CC Watson stated that the Parish Council is now responsible for the cost of bus shelters and they do not have the funds to buy one outright so he will see if his Members Scheme money can be used for this, however it would help if the Parish Council would support this request and also make a financial contribution if possible. The Parish Councillors were in agreement with this.

7. Finance

a. Financial Summary
The balance on account at 8 May 2013 is £4,974.76

b. Payments
The following list was put before members and approved for payment:
000329 L Hamlin £100.77
PAYE to be ring fenced for end of year payment £25.20
000330 Steven Thirlwell (noticeboard) £437.51
000331 Zurich Municipal £243.80
000332 Felton PC Recharges £9.20
000333 NALC £93.80
000334 L Hamlin – Claim for Seat purchase £301.32

c. Receipts – None

8. Planning

a. To report on any planning decisions:
13/00938/VARYCO - Mill House Guyzance – extend time limit on approved application – APPROVED
13/00683/LBC – 11 Bank House Farm – ground floor single storey extension - APPROVED
13/01111/FUL – 1 Brainshaugh – Retrospective – demolish and rebuild existing cottage – The Councillors undertook a site visit and had no objections- APPROVED

b. To consider any planning matters:
12/01718/RENE – Land East of East House Farm, Warkworth - 67m single wind turbine – this has been revised to reduce the size of the turbine and also locate it in a more appropriate location – new plans to be submitted. Clerk to check as the 12 month approval for this application should be due for renewal.
13/01508/DISCON – Building adj 5 Guyzance Village - Discharge of Conditions 1 – 6 – objections have been submitted by the Parish Council
13/01482/DISCON – Building adj 5 Guyzance Village - Discharge of Conditions 1–17 – objections have been submitted by the Parish Council

9. Requested Agenda Items

Neighbourhood Plan – This was once again raised following a suggestion from NCC that this would have been beneficial to have in place when the application was submitted for affordable housing. CC Watson also stated that any plans would be subject to change in which party was leading NCC and also that the Core Strategy is not yet complete but would likely to be out of date once it is completed. Also if the PC were to progress with this it could cause conflict within the parish in terms of where future developments could take place. The Councillors agreed that this was not something they wish to progress due to the costs involved and the limited affect it would have in terms of future planning and development within the parish.

Broadband provision – Cllr Critchlow was speaking with a BT engineer who stated that if there is enough demand in the parish for superfast broadband then the council should be proactive in seeking this as there is funding available. The Clerk confirmed that NCC has investment to cover 90% of the county with superfast broadband and that Acklington is likely to come under this 90% coverage. Alternative funding is being sources for the remaining 10% in more rural areas. The Clerk to contact NCC to progress this for Acklington and also to contact Mr Sayers who may be able to advise more on this. Cllr Critchlow to forward Mr Sayers contact details to the Clerk.

Trees overhanging at Bank House Farm Holiday Lets – The Clerk has reported that the overhanging trees at Bank House Farm holiday lets need cutting back. This has been reported and the managing agents are waiting to hear back from the owners with instructions. It was agreed to pursue this if no action has been taken by mid-July.

Cavil Head – asbestos reports – Reports have been submitted to NCC about asbestos removal at Cavil Head development. The Clerk has been informed that asbestos sheeting is being left lying around the site and potentially not being disposed of in the correct manner. NCC referred the Clerk to The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) where a report has been logged along with similar concerns expressed by residents.

Road sweeping complaint – A resident complained that the road sweeper went through Acklington but did not sweep the roads correctly as there was still blossom left on the road. The Clerk reported this to NCC to be told that the operator was actually weed spraying the channels, not road sweeping. This information was relayed to the complainant.

10. Correspondence Received

NCC – Settlement Services and Facilities Audit update – a request has been received for the Parish Council to update the information held by NCC for the Core Strategy. The only section that appears to need updating is the “pub” section which has recently been added. Clerk to send in the return to NCC.

NCC – Proposed changes to planning system (Already circulated) - The Clerk reported that one days notice has been given on the changes in the planning system and for plans covered under “permitted development” will only be advised to direct neighbours and not Parish Councils. NALC were unaware of this situation and have opened dialogue with NCC on this issue as they believe Parish Councils should still be informed of any proposed developments.

NCC – Free Parking For All – for information only as the Parish does not have any parking areas they charge for. However when the consultation does take place the Parish Council may wish to have a say over Alnwick and Morpeth parking proposals.

NCC – Proposals to support areas at risk of flooding – NCC wish to work with Parish Councils and other flood risk authorities such as the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water to develop Community Agreements for areas that are at risk of flooding. This would outline roles and responsibilities, improve communication and assist the community to take action in the early stages of a flood event. NCC is intending to hold a launch event in early summer to explain the proposals and is asking if the Parish Council would be interested in being involved in this initiative. Date of proposed meeting to be circulated so Councillors can attend if they wish.

NCC – Joint County Council and Parish/Town Council meeting to be held on 14 October at 6pm Venue to be confirmed. NCC is asking how they can improve their interaction with the Parish and Town Councils for these meetings and how the meetings content/format could be improved. It was agreed that a Q&A session is the best way forward with Councils submitting their questions in advance so the meeting is not dominated by any one Council.

Police survey on Parish Council Policing Updates – It was agreed that there is little or no contact with the police and updates on what is happening in the area are not being received. Cllr Welch stated he receives Farm Watch updates and will forward the information to the Clerk so the PC can receive these. Clerk to complete this form. Mrs Lillie also stated that there had been an attempted break in at Inglenook in the last month.

Acklington First School funding request to assist in start-up of a Toddler Group in Acklington – the trial period is for 6 weeks from 11 June to 16 July and the hall hire will be £90 for these 6 weeks and the group is looking to the Parish Council to fund the hall hire. The Clerk to respond stating that the Rotary Club has already provided the funds for this however the Parish Council would consider any future requests to support this project.

Mid-Northumberland Scouts request for help both as uniformed and non uniformed leaders and helpers. Clerk to put an item in The Pelican and also on the web site.

Lloyds TSB – Following an EC ruling in 2009 Lloyds TSB is forming a separate bank called TSB. The letter was to inform the Parish Council that they will not be moved over to the new bank but will remain with Lloyds TSB.

Clerks and Councils Direct – on circulation

11. Urgent Items

Cllr Sharpe raised the issue that the post box is being obscured by an overgrown tree. Clerk to contact the occupier of the property to request this be cut back.

It was reported that Rose Cottage has fallen into a bad state since the tenant passed away. Clerk to request Northumberland Estates look to tidy up this property.

12. Items for Next Agenda - None

Chairman closed the meeting at 9.12pm
Next meeting: Tuesday 3 September at 7.30pm in Acklington Village Hall