Newton on the Moor and Swarland Parish Council

Questions have been asked about what is happening with the installation of yellow lines outside Swarland First School.

The clerk confirmed that letters had been sent to residents within the vicinity by Northumberland County Council (NCC) as part of the consultation process. No objections have been received and now NCC is raising a traffic order for this. The process takes approximately six months, but it is in hand.

Mrs Vaggs asked what is happening about the trees that were cut back along the Avenue. The clerk reported that the enforcement officer is undertaking a land search and writing to the owner of the land. NCC believes the land owner has undertaken this work to ensure that sight lines are acceptable for motorists and is looking into this with the highways section.

Most of the work is on unprotected shrubs, however, as limes grow out from the bottom there has been some workon the basal growth from the limes for which the land owner should have sought permission from NCC. The work is not being done very well, but not badly enough to jeopardise the health of the trees in the tree officer’s view.

In addition, the leaving of the debris is not good practice, however, NCC cannot enforce removal of the debris. The letter being sent out will be informing them that it is an offence to carry out unapproved work to the trees and also to give good practice advice.

Mrs Vaggs asked if a letter had been sent to Eric Pickles following the lack of response from NCC on issues raised with them by the parish council.

The clerk stated that a letter had been sent about the initial complaint against an employee of NCC which was responded to by the employee’s line manager.

A letter had also been sent to Steve Stuart however no response had been received from this letter. It was agreed the clerk would write a second letter to Mr Stuart and also forward information to Coun Francis which can be passed onto the new Parish LiaisonWorking Group, which has been set up by the new council.

Mrs Vaggs met Sharon Kelly to discuss the Cattle Shelters. Ms Kelly stated they needed to identify who owned the shelters and Mrs Vaggs had informed her that this was not an issue as the owners are known.

Ms Kelly also stated that she needs to speak to building control about the health and safety issue of the shelters. A request was put forward for the parish council to write to the owners asking them to undertake works and perhaps use as a golf shelter. It was agreed the parish council would do this.

Concern was raised that public questions were being allowed while the council was not quorate.

The clerk sought advice on this and was informed that public questions is not a formal part of the parish council meeting and does not involve the council committing to having to take a decision on any matters raised.

While it may be desirable for a sizeable number of members to be present to hear the questions, it is not a requirement.

There is nothing written in law because public questions are entirely optional, through the goodwill of the parish council.