MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING - Tuesday
5th May 2015
Minutes of the Annual
Parish Meeting held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 5 May 2015 in
Acklington Village Hall
Present: Mr G Budge, Mr E Critchlow, Mr D Barras,
Ms I Lillie, Mr J Newton, Mr G Orr, Mrs A Sharpe Mr M
Townshend, Mr J Watson and Mr L Welch
The Parish Clerk in attendance – Miss E Brown
Apologies: Mr Monkhouse
1. Minutes of the meeting held on 6 May 2014 were
accepted and signed as a correct record of the meeting.
2. Chairman's Report
The Chairman presented his report which was accepted.
It is with great pleasure I give my chairman’s report
for 2015 and reflect on the developments and events over
the last year.
Having undertaken this exercise for the last few years,
I am always struck by how many of the issues we deal
with never seem to go away – and I will mention one or
two of these a little later. Fortunately there are
always enough new issues to bring some variety to our
I have always taken the view that one of the key
responsibilities of the parish council is to provide a
grassroots perspective on development. I think it’s fair
to say that the views of the community have not always
aligned perfectly with those who eventually take
planning decisions, particularly where guidelines and
quotas come into play.
My confidence in the system was partly restored when
proposals for the development of land in Churchill Way
were rejected. This demonstrated that the views of the
community – and those of the parish council – can
That is not to say we should always oppose development
or succumb to NIMBYism. Indeed, we should always deal
with such matters with an open mind and where we can see
clear benefits for our community, we should be
As mentioned, a lot of issues we discuss simply carry
over from meeting to meeting and never seem to be
resolved – and not for want of trying. I regret to say
that one such problem is dog fouling for which a
long-term solution continues to prove elusive.
There is no doubt that those responsible for this
problem represent a minority of dog owners, but I find
it utterly baffling that people who live in our
community take so little pride in it. Other problems
which continue to afflict us include the excessive speed
of traffic through the village, the poor condition of
roads, inconsistent levels of connectivity and problems
over rights of way.
However, these are the negatives. Living in Acklington
parish also has many positives which are recognised and
supported by the wider community through individual and
Speaking on behalf of the parish council, I take pride
in the contribution we make to the appearance and upkeep
of the parish. Recent examples include the new benches
which are now in place at the crossroads bus stop and
Dobson’s Corner, along with new bus shelter at North
On the latter point, I would like to offer special
thanks to Councillor Jeff Watson for his pivotal role in
making this happen.
The council’s ambitions will always be constrained by
the financial parameters in which we operate and our
natural desire to spend taxpayers money in way which
brings maximum benefit to the community.
Decisions to increase the precept have always been taken
with the greatest reluctance, but the parish council’s
responsibilities have increased significantly over
It was this reason that we decided to raise the precept
for this year from £4,750 to £5,000 and therefore ensure
the council can meet its obligations and continue to
have a stable financial position.
On this point I am very pleased to say the parish
council has reached the end of the financial year in
good shape – in no small part due to the careful and
responsible use of limited financial resources.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to
various people for their hard work and support over the
Firstly, I would like to acknowledge our clerk, Elaine
Brown, for her continued professionalism and her
patience in dealing with me, as chairman.
On behalf of all parish councillors I would like to
thank the aforementioned Jeff Watson for the support he
has provided as our county councillor.
And finally, I would like to thank all members of the
parish council for their continued commitment and unpaid
contribution which – while it brings its own rewards -
doesn’t always get the wider recognition it deserves.
5 May 2015
3. Any questions, comments or resolutions
The Annual Parish Meeting closed at 7.35 pm