Newton on the Moor and Swarland Parish Council

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MORE concerns have been raised about the transferral of services from Northumberland County Council to parishes.

Clerk Lisa Hamlin and vice chairman Coun Vera Vaggs met county council officers to discuss the provision of local services last week.

Mrs Hamlin told members that a number of services are to be taken on by the council, which will incur charges.

“In December they told us we were going to have to increase our precept by £18,000,” she said.

“We have got it down to a much more satisfactory level.”

The council will be responsible for bus shelters, one of which it already owns, but the county will make sure they are fit for purpose before being handed over.

Litter bins will also come under the parish’s remit with a bin being used for normal and dog waste, however the county council will still collect and dispose of the rubbish.

Grass cutting on the football field will be taken on as well.

But Coun Vaggs voiced fears about the parish having to take on responsibility of closed churchyards.

Mrs Hamlin said that the churchyard at Felton, which comes under the remit of Felton, Thirston and Newton on the Moor and Swarland, will need to be maintained at a cost of around £1,500 a year.

Grass cutting will have to be undertaken, alongside checking pathways, boundary walls and trees.

“I feel very uncomfortable about it,” she said.

“We have never been able to split the parish precept between Newton on the Moor and Swarland although Newton people are in Shilbottle ecclesiastical parish.

“But a lot of Newton people are buried in Felton and that means they could get the local domestic fee for so doing, or their relatives can.

“But as far as the churchyard is concerned, I think that is something different, I really do.

“There will be other parishes that have the same problem, but there will be many more that don’t.”

Mrs Hamlin said that the county council is still looking at the legalities of transferring churchyards and added that no formal figures for any of the services have yet been given and are expected soon.

CHAIRMAN Daxid Rixon said it had been a year of highs and lows for the parish council.

He thanked former chairman and councillor Derek Baugh for his work prior to resigning and other councillors for their continued hard work.

Coun Rixon was re-elected as chairman while Coun Vera Vaggs was elected as vice chairman.

CONDITIONS attached to planning permission for a new plaque on the war memorial have been completed.

The council had to provide examples of the material that is to be used for the plaque.

Now that has been done, work will be organised and it is expected that a dedication ceremony will take place in September.

POLICE are keeping an eye on illegal parking by Swarland First School.

Zig-zag yellow lines at the crossroads near the school denote that cars are not allowed to park.

But some parents have been flouting the rules, making vision difficult for other drivers.

The county council has also been contacted about the problem and has yet to respond.

THE cutting of a hedgerow on Hudson Croft is still being pursued.

Mrs Hamlin told last week’s meeting that the county council is going out to investigate the site as there are concerns over what is the county council’s responsibility.

No response has yet been made to the parish council.

OIL stains in Swarland Square have not disappeared, despite cleaning.

Coun John Richardson told the council that the marks have faded but are still there.

The clerk is to contact the county council to clean it again as the area has been adopted by highways.

A BURST pipe near Swarland Woods needs fixing.

l A SIGN at Shiel Dykes is still to be replaced.

l A DAMAGED sign on Park Road has been replaced.

l AN enforcement officer is to look at tree felling problems in Newton on the Moor.

l A DONATION to Northumberland Theatre Company was deferred to next month.