MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS -  Tuesday 3rd September 2013      

Present:  Cllrs J Newton,  G Budge,  D Barras,  T Corson,  L Craig,  I Monkhouse,  G Orr,  A Sharpe  and  L Welch.  

             The Parish Clerk in attendance – Mrs L Hamlin     15+ members of the public were present


Apologies for Absence: Cllr Critchlow and CC Watson



Declarations of Interest on the Agenda – Cllr Budge – Planning Application 13/02120/OUT – Land West of Churchill Way, Cllr Craig – Planning Applications x 2 for land adj 5 Guyzance Village.



The minutes of the meeting 2 July 2013 were agreed and signed as a true record.



Mr Clinton Mysleyko, Architects for the Planning Application for Nine 3 bedroomed houses at Land West of 14 Churchill Way.

Mr Mysleyko explained that the applicant, Mr Horton, purchased the site from the MoJ and Mr Horton approached architects to draw up plans according to the brief. In addition to receiving the purchase price for the land, the MoJ inserted a clause into the contract through which it will receive 50% of any uplift in the land value following consent for development. A pre-application submission was sent to NCC as a result of which officers recommended affordable housing within the application. It is likely that three of the nine properties will be “affordable” but it is not clear if these will be for sale or rent.  All nine dwellings are split over three floors. The dwellings are not classified as town houses but they have rooms in the roof with dormer windows at the rear to benefit from the views. A privacy distance has been adhered to as per legal requirement of 21m from habitable windows to other properties.  Facials will be similar materials to surrounding properties and Mr Horton is looking at sustainability aspects being incorporated in the construction, i.e. solar energy and sustainable boilers. 

 The Councilors were given the opportunity to ask questions of Mr Mysleyko on the design. Points which emerged:

·         The planners have raised issues with some trees having to be removed and also there was an issue with affordable housing - the latter of which has been addressed. 

·         S106 funding for the village could be a consideration as opposed to affordable housing but this would be for NCC to decide. 

·         Mr Mysleyko stated the area was not used by the locals -this was disputed by the residents at the meeting who said the area is used by the children to play on. 

·         There would be no difference in the specification between the affordable and the other properties. At the moment no specific properties have been allocated for the affordable housing requirement. 

·         The affordable houses cannot be sold at a higher price than the original purchase price (national legislation keeps these as affordable housing). 

·         Concern was raised about the impact of light in properties opposite and Mr Mysleyko stated a shadow assessment can be undertaken but this is why the rules require 21m of space between properties to alleviate this issue. 

·         It was pointed out to Mr Mysleyko the site was previously an old quarry which had been backfilled with waste materials from the RAF station. It was suggested the site suffers from visible subsidence. This would be investigated by the NCC Building Regulations Department if Planning Approval is granted. 

·         Mr Myselyko was advised that when Townsend Court was built it had to be in keeping with the rest of the village, these proposals do not meet these same requirements.

The Members of the Public were then given the opportunity to ask questions of Mr Mysleyko:

·         Questions were raised about parking – there are two cars per driveway on the plans however the plans only state parking for 9 cars.  Mr Myselyko stated that if 18 cars had been put on the form it would not have looked good despite being more realistic.  Also there is no area designated for visitors parking, the residents do not want the turning area blocked or the pavements blocked by visiting cars. 

·         The issue of trees was raised – some trees are being removed and despite the fact they are being replaced it would be a number of years before they would be in a position to be as effective as mature trees.  Mr Myselyko stated some of the trees are not in the best state of health.  The Applicant could have removed all the trees but is keen to keep as many of the original ones as possible.  One resident has commissioned another tree report as he does not believe the statements contained in the Applicants tree report which will be submitted to the Applicant and NCC.  

·         The ombudsman has been asked to look into the original sale of the land as it is believed that this was not undertaken correctly. 

·         A number of discrepancies were pointed out on the application especially in relation to foul sewerage and its ability to access the main sewerage system in place, also there are unknowns within the surface water issues. One resident has already received compensation from NWL following flooding close to the proposed site. Mr Myselyko stated NWL are a statutory consultee so they will have been asked to comment on the application. 

·         It was suggested a land contamination survey needs to be undertaken.  Mr Myselyko stated that the land did not show up on the NCC land contamination map – however one resident stated they had moved to the area recently and they had received a report from NCC that their property was next to contaminated land.

·         The biodiversity report is not accurate on animal wildlife and does not address the bats in the area – bat survey needs to be undertaken. 

·         Access for construction traffic will be an issue here and there is the safety issue of the traffic having to pass the children’s play area and planned football area.  It was noted that NCC Highways would be consulted on this application and Mr Myselyko stated conditions can be attached to the application in relation to highways safety. 

·         A question was raised as to who would undertake the construction and where would the builder’s employees would park.  The response was that no firm has yet been appointed and workers would park at the front of the development off the road.  If successful the work would start in March next year for about 6 months – it was pointed out that this would be the busiest time for the children’s play area.

·         It was asked if the Applicant would actually see the project through to completion or sell it on with planning approval.  Mr Myselyko stated this is small development for him and he would see it through to completion. 

·         A recent planning application has been submitted where a building had to be moved to accommodation existing tree roots to protect the tree – Mr Myselyko stated he had never known that to happen before.  HBC set guidelines for building and tree roots stipulating specific distances which have to be adhered to.

 Cllr Newton thanked Mr Myselyko for attending the meeting.




Standing Item – Public Questions

Ms Lillie put forward a suggestion of installing rumble strips in the village as a traffic calming issue. The Clerk stated that this would be added to the suggestions to be raised later in the meeting.

Ms Lillie informed the Council that the wooden planter at the east end of the village is in a bad state of repair and the Clerk stated she had also received a complaint which is to be raised later in the meeting.

Ms Lillie stated the road from Guyzance Bridge to Brainshaugh needs the overgrowth from overhead trees needs cutting back, the same problem needs addressing at the Alnwick Bridge exist from the parish and the Clerk to inform NCC of this.

Mr Mezza asked if the whole of the grass area surrounding the play area is a designated “no dogs allowed” area. The clerk confirmed this was the case and Mr Mezza stated the signage informing people of this needs improving.  The Clerk has some signage that could be used for this if she can get holes drilled through the signs.  He also raised the issue of whether this excluded guide dogs and the Clerk stated that a lot of signage states no dogs but people area aware that this generally excludes guide dogs.  There has been a horse on this land which is a safety risk to children and the Clerk confirmed this was not acceptable and would put an item in The Pelican informing residents of this and also asking if anyone had details of dog owners or horse owners using this area to report this to the Clerk in confidence.


Matters Arising from the meeting on 2 July 2013:

a.  Replacement Seats – These seats are awaiting installation and Cllrs Newton and Barras agreed to undertake this job.

b.  Repairs to flower tubs – No measurements of the rings for the tubs have been forwarded to Mr Mezza.  It was agreed this would be done as a matter of urgency.

c.  New posts for signage  - CC Watson reported to the Clerk that NCC have still to do this work and he is pursuing them on this matter.

d.  20mph in Acklington by play area – The Clerk, to date, has been unable to find out the costs of implementation of 20mph limits in Ashington and Blyth.  It was also pointed out to the Clerk that these were for much larger areas than Acklington were requiring and that the costs provided by NCC were realistic.  Clerk will approach smaller parishes to see if they have any 20mph signs and obtain details of costs. It was also noted that NCC is looking to adopt a blanket 20mph limit in side streets according to local press reports.

e.  Trees in Quarry Avenue and on the new land – Cllr Barras met with David Orange the Tree Surgeon to review the trees on the land acquired from the MOJ.  No trees were identified as particular risks and none were recommended for removal.  One or two limbs need removing at lower levels.  Mr Orange suggested the most cost effective way for the Parish Council to manage this task would be to borrow or buy a tool for lopping branches.  He also identified a ring of weed killer damaged around the footing of trees adjacent to the road and footpath which suggested the incorrect use of weed killing chemicals during grass cutting operations.  Clerk to speak to NCC about whether they have been undertaking spraying and if so to inform them that this is the incorrect chemical.

f.   Hedge cutting in Acklington – After a long battle NCC has agreed that they are responsible for cutting back of the hedges along the 4 properties in Acklington who have been contacting the Parish Council. NCC has finally accepted they are the owners of this part of the hedge.  These hedges will be included in the autumn cutting programme.

g.  Ball play in Children’s Play Area – Mr Mezza kindly offered to look at making three “no ball games” signs and it was agreed these would not be put up until the football posts were purchased.  The Clerk stated she was waiting to find out if funding was available via The Football Foundation to part pay for posts however Mr Mezza provided information on posts that were not too expensive and kindly offered to pay 50% of the costs.  Clerk to arrange for posts to be purchased and these can be installed at the same time as the signs.

h.  Broadband Provision – Superfast broadband is being rolled out over the next 2-3 years for 90% of the County.  As yet arch-group (the NCC offshoot responsible for broadband) cannot state exactly when Acklington and Guyzance will be included in the roll out as they have just received initial confirmation of those areas that were targeted for initial roll out but will have further information towards the end of September when there will be road shows informing people of what is happening.

I.  Trees overhanging at Bank House Farm Holiday Lets – these have now been cut back.

j.  Post Box being obscured by tree and resulting issue with Parish Council Noticeboard – A request to have the tree cut back alongside the post box resulted in Mr Master of Grainger plc contacting the clerk to state the post box is still accessible and can be seen from the highway. He said it would be a shame to cut back such an impressive tree any further at this time.  He also noted that the parish council notice board is on Grainger land and asked if the PC makes any payment for this.  He  suggested the Parish Council could approach the Royal Mail and ask them to re-locate the box onto public land to avoid such issues in the future, he would be more than willing for this to happen as his company do not receive any payments for having it located on their property. Alternatively, would the parish council have use of such a tree for Christmas events and if so would the parish council like to re-locate it?  The parish councilors agreed  the Notice Board had been in place for at least 25 years and had been agreed with the property holder at that time.  In relation to the moving of the post box this request to Royal Mail would have to come from the property owner not the Parish Council and it was agreed that there was no requirement for a tree for Christmas events.  Clerk to contact Mr Master and relay this information.

k.  Property in bad state of repair – 28 Ackington Village – Northumberland Estates have confirmed they are going to tidy up the site – this work has now been undertaken.


Report by County Councillor - None



a.  Financial Summary

The balance on account at 3 September 2013 is £3,402.50

b.  Payments

The following list was put before members and approved for payment:


L Hamlin for replacement seat



Playsafety (RoSPA report)



L Hamlin (July & August)






Jeff Newton (Compost)


c.    Receipts – None




a.  To report on any planning decisions:

12/01718/RENE –East House Farm, Warkworth - 67m single wind turbine – WITHDRAWN

13/01508/DISCON –adj 5 Guyzance Village - Discharge of Conditions 1 – 6 - APPROVED

13/01482/DISCON –adj 5 Guyzance Village - Discharge of Conditions 1 – 17 – APPROVED

Concern was raised over the discharge of all conditions on the above two applications which is already causing issues with some residents.  It has also set a precedent for any future planning applications throughout the county if NCC is going to blanket discharge conditions.  Clerk to speak to Planning Officer in relation to these concerns and issues.

13/01749/FUL – Coquet Moor House, Acklington – erection of new extension - APPROVED

b.    To consider any planning matters:

13/02120/OUT – Land West of 14 Churchill Way – Nine 3-bedroomed houses – Parish Council  to object to this application on the grounds of size and scale of properties, density of development, parking issues, safety issues as it is close to the play area, possible contamination of land, draining concerns and concerns about subsidence.

13/02461/FUL – 2 Brainshaugh Farm Cottages – demolish cottages 2 and 3 and replace with new 4 bed dwelling and detached double garage with new vehicular access – no objections

Concerns were raised by councilors about affordable housing requirements linked to housing developments being retracted after approval has been granted (a number of such cases have been highlighted in the press recently).  Clerk to ascertain from NCC Planning what the situation is with regard to “linked” applications which are on different sites.


The Chairman of the Council asked the Parish Councillors for agreement to suspend standing orders to enable the completion of the items on the agenda as the Parish Council meeting had been running for 2 hours.

It was agreed to suspend Standing Orders.



Requested Agenda Items

·       Local Government National Pay Award with effect from 1 April 2013 – The Clerk confirmed that a national pay award of 1% backdated to 1 April 2013 has been given to Clerks.

·       PAYE for 2013/14 – removal of annual payer status – HMRC has written to inform the Parish Council that payments have to now be made quarterly to HMRC for PAYE instead of annually as has been the case in the past.



Correspondence Received

·       NCC – Briefing Note on Landslips situation in the Parish The following update was received by NCC on the landslip situation

C100 Guyzance Bank - Ground investigations and testing have been undertaken and NCC will be constructing additional groundwater drainage mechanisms together with the lateral reinforcement of the reconstructed carriageway. Works are programmed to commence mid-September subject to confirmation from NWL on their programme to divert a buried water main in the vicinity. Works are expected to take 6-8 weeks to complete.

C100 Guyzance Cottage

Ground investigations and testing have been undertaken and NCC will be constructing additional groundwater drainage mechanisms together with the lateral reinforcement of the reconstructed carriageway. Works programmed for early to mid-November subject to confirmation from NWL on their programme to divert a buried water main in the vicinity and the completion of works to the Guyzance Bank landslip.  Works are expected to take 4 to 6 weeks to complete and it is hoped the C100 will be open before Christmas.

C102 Factory Bridge

Ground Investigations and testing have been carried out and it has been determined that the landslip has been caused by the water saturation of the over-steep embankment. The failed slope will be repaired by soil-nailing techniques and the road edge supported by pre-cast retaining elements. The road will need to be closed completely to allow the works to take place.  Discussions are already underway with the Environment Agency and Natural England with regard to the necessary consents required to work adjacent to the River Coquet and within a SSSI. Work is expected to start mid-January and should take 8 weeks to complete subject to weather conditions.

U3033 Brainshaugh

There is some evidence of historical movement in the embankment and some slight historical deformation of the carriageway running surface. It is not clear how active this potential landslip is and NCC are currently monitoring.

·       NCC – Local Transport Plan Programme 2014-15 – it was agreed to retain existing parish council priorities – extend footpath to railway station, 20mph speed limit at Acklington Drive/Churchill Way and resurfacing of C102 Acklington to Guyzance.  Clerk also to pursue where the Children’s Play Area warning signs are that NCC have been asked to put up from CC Watson’s Members Scheme funds.

·       NCC – Don’t Stand For It Campaign- NCC are re-launching their campaign to reduce dog fouling.  They have trained and multi-warranted their civil enforcement officers (who enforce parking regulation) to issue fixed penalties for dog fouling and littering which makes an increase of 21 officers working on this issue.

·       RoSPA Report on Play area – the Clerk reported that RoSPA had raised the following concerns – excessive cable on the zip wire needs cutting off; ground clearance at the roundabout should be 60-110mm or 400mm. tube slide misshapen, erosion of earth form the top of the slide and steps warn, need padding at each end of the tunnel to prevent children bumping their heads on this.  It was agreed to have a site visit on Saturday at 11am. Cllr Corson also reported that pegs from the matting on the grass had been thrown into his garden.  The grass cutting by NCC has not been taking place regularly and the Clerk to look into this and Mr Mezza requested that NCC be asked not park vehicles outside his driveway when undertaking works as it causes access issues.  It was also reported that an unmarked police car was sitting by the play area following a youth making calls to emergency services. 

·       Email from Barbara King – Mrs King had responded to the request of suggestions regarding speeding through Acklington but it had not managed to reach the right email address. She suggested a mini roundabout at Dobson’s corner; zebra/pelican crossing at entrance to estate, speed humps, regular police speed checks.  Chicanes are not worth putting in as many drivers take no notice of them.  It was also noted that Ms Lillie had raised the issue of rumble strips.  It was agreed more police checks can be requested in the short term.  In the long term it was felt that larger traffic calming measures would be viable when the area at the back of Pearson’s Garage is developed however all the information would be passed to CC Watson.

·       Political Email re Replace the Old Conservative Party - Political Email from Mr John Newell – this email, being political in content, was outside the PC’s remit, and as such was not discussed.  It was agreed that the Clerk can use her discretion on what correspondence should be passed to Councillors.

·       CAN News - distributed



Urgent Items

·       Flower tub at west end of the village – this was reported by Ms Lillie and also by CC Watson as in need of repair.  Cllr Sharpe to speak to the Community Team about this.  Cllr Budge stated that Amble TC has put coal tubs at the entrances to Amble which have been supplied by the prison and perhaps Acklington could have the same. It was agreed this was a good idea and Clerk to put a request into the prison.



Items for Next Agenda

Review of Risk Assessment
Review of Policies



Chairman closed the meeting at 9.55pm

Next meeting:  Tuesday 5 November at 7.30pm in Acklington Village Hall