Present: Councillors Mrs Walklett (Chairman), Mrs Noble, Mrs Dawson, Hesler, Gilson, Reynalds, Rutherford, Devlin, Bridgett; C Miller, two members of the public. Apologies for absence: Coun Hesler, work commitment.
Declarations of Members’ Interests: Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or other personal interests they may have in any of the items of business on the agenda in accordance with the Code of Conduct. The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true record after addition of proposer and seconder to forward objection to Planning Application NO 15/03995/FUL.
Community Services: Gardening and Winter Maintenance.
Possible gardener Contract of Employment had been discussed between gardener and Coun Gilson. Works actioned during the month of December had been leaf/drain and gulley clearance, this work is NCC responsibility, but not being actioned due to lack of resources. Full schedule of future work with estimated costs to be drawn up with gardener, and full council would confirm work, however, future works cannot be confirmed until budget 2016/2017 finalised. In the near future, PC need to create a new village caretaker post or put gardening works out to tender. Coun Reynalds declared a personal interest. Regular reports from the gardener would be circulated to all members of RPC for discussion at monthly P&CSC meetings. Coun Gilson proposed meeting with gardener to discuss future work, Coun Reynalds seconded, carried. Coun Bridgett suggested keeping to current system until end of financial year, then formal tender and job description be drafted for gardening contract for next financial year.
Benches: 73 benches with approximately 18 being at the end of their useful life, and Coun Gilson suggested seats beyond reasonable repair be removed. This item to also be discussed with village gardener as part of forward plan.
Bins: Several bins around the village in need of replacement, however they cannot now be ordered through County Council, PC need to order themselves through Glasdon. Clerk to research and contact all with details.
Fences, posts and railings: Concrete posts outside URC Church, Stephenson Terrace and Haugh in need of repair and two white posts near to rectory (however, these the responsibility of NCC) flattened. Vehicle driver had confirmed to Clerk they were to action repair to post near to triangle. Coun Mrs Walklett and Clerk to confirm exact details of posts in need of repair and whether some are responsibility of NCC. Corner of kerb and manhole previously reported to Bill Pringle NCC had not been actioned, clerk to re-contact, however NCC had carried out works to cobbles outside of rectory.
Telephone kiosk outside Jubilee Institute: British Telecom looking into replacement kiosk.
Whitton View playpark area: Northumberland Estates had twice been asked to attend site, with Coun Mrs Walklett checking site and not certain whether improvements had been carried out. Dog bin at park also full, clerk to contact Bill Pringle NCC and Northumberland Estates to request an update.
Beggars Rigg project: Proposed flower project regarding wildlife garden and outdoor musical instruments at Beggars Rigg on greenery towards pathway, with persons able to seek funding with bid to be submitted in May and request that RPC can be included as supporters of the project, which may lead to RPC committing to financially. It was agreed in principle to support the project.
Fencing/trees near to Whitton View/Armstrong Cottages: Detailed history provided by Coun Reynalds concerning large trees growing on slope and hanging over properties on Whitton View. Bernicia did confirm they owned this land, carried out fence maintenance and cut back several beech trees, however, work had been sub-standard, NCC had expressed grave concern, with Bernicia then agreeing to carry out further work. Householder at No 31 Whitton View had been complaining about trees since 2012 and contacting NCC on a weekly basis, however, personnel dealing with the issue had left NCC and the situation had now ground to a halt. Coun Reynalds proposed RPC engage a surgeon to inspect the tree and confirm if works required, however, Coun Bridgett to speak to Tree Officer NCC.
Flooding and Riverside Access: Residents had reported problems on riverside regarding flood gates, as when they are closed there is technically no access for an emergency vehicle. Potential options for access could be a footpath at pumping station, set of wooden steps which would come out at Walby Hill, or creating a hole in wall backing onto Muckle’s yard, all needing landowners permission. Clerk to initially contact Coun Hesler for advice. Clerk to action.
Forward Plan: To add to forthcoming agendas: February, Haugh public conveniences, Clerk. March: Hanging baskets. Neighbourhood Plan report, Helen.
Details of W/C maintenance included in spend to date. However, there was the possibility a ‘Village Warden’ could oversee W/C cleansing and watering hanging baskets.
Approval of Planning Application had been received for the following:
15/03778/FELTPO: Mr B Rogers, Hurley Knowes, Station Road – works to trees protected by TPO. Correspondence: G Davidson – parking – Coun Walkett read out full email concerning NCC parking proposals/writers personal opinion, who had various concerns and wished answers to questions regarding rumour RPC were to introduce parking restrictions/levy town centre residents; how many mothers had complained about difficulty crossing road near to Newcastle House; suggesting a wall be built around the War Memorial; asking why PC had not instigated signage for Haugh parking; and why Coun Gilson is making decisions for the community when his home is up for sale. G Davidson’s opinion being the proposals appear flawed and do not meet future needs of the village. However, it wasn’t only mothers but elderly persons having difficulty crossing road; there are no proposals for RPC to implement restrictions/charges and RPC opinion however, any signs indicated the Haugh parking, most people would still park in the village, however, some signage would be of use. NCC were to carry out further consultation with residents, however, physical changes were to be implemented first, and then policy changes, which would cover Haugh signage. Coun Gilson reported he had spoken personally to Mr Davidson regarding this email.
Northumberland County Council – winter services – snow expected tonight, Coun Bridgett gave update of NCC action. The meeting finished at 8.45pm.