Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 14th January 2015

Starting at 7pm in Newbrough Town Hall

Present       Cllrs MW Gibson (Chairman), J Annan, H A Walton and K E Bell

Also Present: Clerk, R Macfarlane, County Cllr RM Gibson and Joe Tulip, Hexham Courant

Apologies     Cllr D Walker, I S Hunter and A Smith.

Declaration of Interest

None

Presentation

Northumberland Council Local Plan Core Strategy

Frances Wilkinson, Specialist Service Manager, Forward Planning and Development attended the meeting.  She is actively involved with the Northumberland Local Plan Core Strategy – Consultation and she explained the process and answered questions.  Areas  discussed included –  Housing, Green Belt, Minerals, Conservation, Employment and how these interact with The National Planning Framework.

Local Plan – Small Settlements and the Green Belt

NCC are also undertaking a comprehensive review of the Green Belt boundaries around settlements as part of the Core Strategy.  This review will include an assessment of the approach to the treatment of smaller settlements, potential options include:

  • Inset within the Green Belt i.e. if a settlement is inset, it is surrounded by Green Belt, but not within it; or
  • Washed over by the Green Belt i.e. if a settlement is washed over by the Green Belt this means that it lies within the Green Belt and Green Belt restrictions apply.

A further meeting on 12th February has been arranged to discuss the Local Plan – Small Settlements and the Green Belt.

Minutes 

The Minutes of the Meeting of Newbrough PC which was held on 5th November 2014 were approved by the Council then signed by the Chairman.

Matters Arising

Pavingstone Work

Phase I of the Whitebeam project has been completed and Phase II will address the extra work which is required because the trees’s expanding roots; it is scheduled to take place in March. When repairs to the wall surround are carried out it is proposed to add the Stanegate Festival Queen’s Jubilee commemorative stone.

Communications

  • NNPA Joint Local Access Forum Amanda Earnshaw has contacted the Council about caring for local public rights of way (footpaths and bridleways). The Council agreed to act as facilitator in encouraging local residents who regularly walk local footpaths to provide feedback.  Amanda has provided questionnaire for walkers to complete.
  • Letters of thanks for Grant Aid  These were received from Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, Newbrough and Warden Parochial Church Council, Northumberland Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Newbrough and Warden Sportsfield Association, Sport Tynedale, Newbrough and Warden Pantomime, Community Action Northumberland, Great North Air Ambulance and Tynedale Hospice at Home.
  • CAN Winter newsletter and CPRE newsletter

Public First Focus

No members of the public present

Remembrance Sunday

The Chairman, Cllr MW Gibson placed a wreath on behalf of Newbrough Parish Council at the War Memorial as part of the annual service on Sunday 9th November; he reported a good attendance.

Roads        

NCC Winter Services Policy Information and Highways Services in Winter

Councillors were given copies of Precautionary Gritting in Northumberland (updated November 2014) together with information on Snow Clearance and Grit Bins.

Pot Holes

It was reported that the pot hole at Fourstones level crossing had been filled; but the question is how long will it last?

Footpaths

Riverside Footpath

The Clerk has contacted NCC Footpath’s Officer Tim Fish about the erosion of riverbank footpath between Level Crossing and Allerwash Mill where the bank side erosion is worsening. There is a degree of deterioration in the path and the extent of the bankside erosion has increased along to the point at which NCC and Land Owners had agreed to make the permissive diversion into a private field.  It does appear however that there is extensive use of alternative access points that enable people to avoid the tightest pinch points. There isn’t anything that can be done to do to address the riverbank erosion where it has occurred, but NCC will further negotiate to see if land owners would be agreeable to formally providing an alternative route in the edge of his field, either on a permissive basis or by a formal diversion. This problem isn’t something that is preventing access along the riverbank to a great degree as there is clearly a great deal of use made of the adjacent field.

Planning    

Planning Consultation: 14/03352/52/FUL  Demolition of existing stone wall and formation of access and off street parking

14/03974/LBC    Listed Building consent for the same application.

These applications were  withdrawn at the Applicants request.

Consultation on Planning Application: 14/04156/52/FUL  Change of use from B1 “Business” to Sui Generis “overnight tourist accommodation” along with the internal alterations and construction of an external store to suit the new use.

The Council supports this application.  It is sympathetic to NCC Core Strategy for small businesses, being very good for the rural economy, tourism and leisure.  The Council recognises the role played by smaller settlements such as Newbrough Town Hall which act as drivers of economic activity and form an essential place of vitality, which will build on the character and role of the Newbrough Community.

Sidgate Play Area

Following the public consultation event it is planned that the Playdale led scheme on the Isos play area in Sidgate will start in this financial year.

Standing Orders

Public Recording and Transmitting Electronically the Proceedings of a Meeting of the Council

It was RESOLVED to add the following paragraph to the Council’s Standing Orders.

Newbrough Parish Council Standing Orders Paragraph 3.2

The public may record and transmit electronically the proceedings of a meeting of the Council and of any of its Committees.  No recording may be made of the public who are in attendance at the meeting, or of matters that occur in the meeting-place immediately prior to of following the meeting, without the Council’s prior consent.

Reports

Northumberland County Council

In regard to the Licensing Act 2003 – Northumberland Council Statement of Licensing Policy,  Cllr Gibson relayed information from a previous Area Committee meeting including issues of licences and permits.  He also mentioned aspects of  NCC community safety services covering dog control in relation to stray dogs and dogs fouling public land and also the topic of Anti Social Behaviour.

N&W Sportsfield Association

Cllr Walton gave an encouraging report – the football team is top of the league – a good fund raising bingo had taken place in the Town Hall and it looks promising that Allendale CC will use the facilities once again.

Newbrough Town Hall

A new caretaker is in situ and the project to use the WI House as “tourist accommodation” is now at the planning stage.

Stanegate Trees

The Clerk updated the Council on the tree-damaged footpath along the north side of the C227, Stanegate Road, where tree roots from the large trees in the field, between Newbrough Hall Lodge and Forge House, have damaged the footpath quite badly. The issue of the damage was first reported in 2013; the site was inspected by NCC and the areas of specific damage to the footway identified.  At each damage-area a mature tree is within two metres of the location. The damage in question is consistent with root damage and is an actionable nuisance in law.  The Tree and Woodlands Officer (West) has raised the issue with NCC Highways Inspector and other interested bodies to discuss possible options.  The trees are mature and lend an amenity value to the area.

The Council asked whether the roots could be ramped over in order to retain the trees and was informed that this was impossible. The footpath is narrow, below current national guidelines and is already high. To raise the footpath any higher would cause increasing difficulty for access for disabled users and people with buggies.   If the footpath was to be raised, it is likely that two metres of adjacent private land would need to be compulsory purchased so that the standard width of footway (1.2m) could be achieved. This would result in the loss of all of the trees along this stretch of road, rather than the six which are currently damaging the footway.

In order to repair the footway to a safe condition, the path would have to be excavated to remove roots under the footway, in order to prevent future damage. As the trees are so close to the footway this would mean the loss of structural roots, thus compromising the stability of the tree. Due to the size of the trees and the proximity to the highway and the risk of failure following root removal, it looks like the only reasonable solution is for the trees in question to be removed.

There are two trees within the conservation area and so an application is being submitted to the council  planning department by the owners for permission to have those removed.

Finances

Bank Accounts 1st January 2015 BMM £ 15208.59   Community £4786.08

Payments Approved Expenses £44.35 (vat £4.41), OneandOne £31.43 (£5.24 vat)

Date and Time of Next Meeting  – 7.00 pm, 4th March 2015

The Meeting was closed at 9.05 pm.