ROAD CARE: At the latest meeting of Ellingham Parish Council, Mr Mundy noted that while there had been a mixed experience with regard to how the authorities had managed winter weather conditions on the roads, the efforts of the county council highways team was greatly appreciated.
Snow clearance and gritting of the A1 was at times poorly coordinated and while the Highways Agency is responsible for this road, it is felt that greater liaison between all those involved in maintaining roads would be helpful.
The county council will be holding a meeting to discuss how the severe winter conditions were managed and what the council can learn from and improve on.
During the parish walkabout in November, councillors identified a number of problems on roads. Photographs of these areas were taken and submitted to highways.
Due to bad weather, action on most of these has been delayed. However, gullies in Ellingham village have been cleaned and all are now clear and running freely with the exception of the gully outside 10 Golden Close.
The clerk is to write to the county council and thank it for addressing the issue with gullies but highlight the problem with this gully and ask that it be given serious attention to prevent continued problems.
Regarding the cutting of soakaways in verges, the county had advised the clerk that there is no problem with the parish council arranging to clean out existing soakaways but advice should be sought from highways regarding any new soakaways required as there may be utilities cables in the verge which could be damaged.
Mr Mundy noted that due to budget cuts the parish council should take a realistic approach when reporting road issues, for example looking at prioritisation for repair of the more serious potholes, etc on the most used roads.
MAKING PLANS: Details of a proposed conservatory at Ivy Cottage, Chathill, were circulated prior to the meeting. There were no comments or objections.
All agreed that it would be good to see a proposed conversion at Brockdam Farm, going ahead.
There were no comments or objections to plans for a new opening in an external wall and installation of a roof light at The Stables, Wandylaw.
CUTTING EDGE: The county council currently cuts grass verges within 30mph limits of the village.
The cost of additional cuts in March, late October and November would be payable by the parish council.
Members agreed that the additional cuts are not necessary given that the county will continue to supply the normal grass-cutting service already operated.
BANK MATTERS: It was agreed that funds in the bank, which in part have been generated from the sale of walk guides, should not drop below £1,000 and should preferably remain at present levels to cover contingencies.
After extensive discussion, councillors voted to fix the precept at £1,600.
FLOOD WORK: The county council hopes to carry out planned work at Ellingham in February.
Discussions between the county, Northumbrian Water and Network Rail have taken place. Network Rail proposes to construct a new pipe under the level crossing at Chathill and rebuild the stone culvert in November.
CORRESPONDENCE: Members agreed that the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Authority IMRP and survey is generally good although perhaps does not go quite far enough with regard to the unification of the ambulance service and the fire and rescue service. Councillors may submit individual responses.
The clerk is to submit a response to The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, stating that legislation should ensure that the way in which licences are issued should address local circumstances.
DIARY DATE: The next meeting is on Tuesday, March 8, at 7.30pm.