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Posted by Pat Edwards
Kirknewton Parish Council
Minutes of a meeting held on Tuesday, 17th February 2015,
at the Village Hall
Present: Cllrs. Edward Brown (Chairman), Helen and Andy Blowers and Kaye Ainsthorpe. County Cllr. Anthony Murray, PC Mark Lynn (Northumbria Police), Clerk Angela Hallam-Baker, and 3 parishioners.
1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs. Steve Marriott and John Lloyd.
2. Police Report:
PC Lynn reported a break-in at the cafe in Milfield, and said that burglaries were
occuring at properties along the A697 road. Consequently, the Police are stopping vehicles
travelling along this road at night.
3. The minutes of the meeting held on 18th November 2014 were agreed and signed after
an amendment in paragraph 4: for “Lord Lambton” read “the Hon. Claude Lambton”.
4. Matters arising from the minutes:
It was noted that in paragraphs 2.2 and 7.3 of the Delegated Report, reference to the eastern end of the property should read “western”.
5. Financial Report:
It had been agreed by contact with the councillors that the precept should remain at £700.00.
The current bank balance stands at £718.19, there having been no financial transactions since the last meeting.
6. Replacement of overhead electricity supply with underground cable:
Notices dated 2nd December 2014 advertising the installation of an underground cable had been posted on poles round the village, with a request that representations regarding the proposal should be sent to Jessie Johnston at Northern Powergrid within 28 days.
The route shown on a diagram is from Catkin Cottage, past the Village Hall and round to East Kirknewton Farm Steading.
There was surprise that the Parish Council had not been informed of these proposed works, and the clerk was asked to write to Northern Powergrid asking that they be kept informed as to when the work is to start and any disruption to the power supply.
It was explained that this work had been initiated by NNPA with a Government grant, and that they also should have contacted the Parish Council
It was noted that some of the telephone wires are attached to the electricity poles, and that this may also cause disruption to the lines.
7. National Park – changes to Development Management Protocols:
A letter had been received from NNPA setting out changes to the way in which planning applications are dealt with. An attached document described these changes, and would be referred to in the event of an application being questioned
8. Report from Village Hall meeting:
Cllr. Lloyd, the PC representative on the Village Hall Trust, had left a copy of the minutes of the last Village Hall meeting, in which the item regarding the proposed extension and internal alterations was discussed. It was noted that the grant of £4,813 from NNPA SDF has to be spent by the end of March. New seating is to be purchased and also steel shelving for the main store room.
9. Glendale Gateway Trust Mission Statement:
A copy of this had been sent to the councillors, and since there had been no adverse comments, it was assumed they were agreeable to its proposals. This was confirmed.
10. Report on NALC Roadshow on 12th February 2015:
Cllr. Brown had attended the Roadshow and reported that the main topic concerned the transparency of town and parish council meetings following the problems which had arisen in Berwick Town Council.
It was agreed that the Kirknewton PC meetings were open to anyone who wished to attend, and that the agendas and minutes are posted on the village noticeboard and on the Kirknewton website.
Cllr. Brown also reported that PCs with a turnover of more than £25,000 would be subject to more regulations.
11. Report on Area Meeting on 9th February 2015:
This meeting also brought up questions about Berwick Town Council, but the main topic was the Review of Supported Bus Services. It was reported that 80% of bus services are commercially operated, but the other 20%, which would not otherwise be financially viable, receive a subsidy from NCC.
The clerk was asked to write to Kirsten Francis and stress the importance of the Wednesday Kirknewton to Wooler service, particularly for elderly people without transport to visit doctors, dentists, solicitors, banks, etc.
12. NCC’s Review of the Planning Service:
A letter had been received from Geoff Paul, Director of Planning, Economy & Housing at NCC, informing parish and town councils that as part of the review, it was proposed in the Deloittes report that County Councillors consider a proposal to remove the automatic “triggers that result in applications being taken to committee, including objections requiring a committee decision”. It is intended that the adoption of this change would streamline the planning process.
A consultation period of only two weeks had been given for local councils to consider this, and many parish and town councils had written to Mr. Paul asking for this period to be extended. They had also complained about the proposal that local councils and local residents would be denied the opportunity of having their comments and objections discussed by the committee. Kirknewton PC agreed with these comments and the clerk would send an email to Mr. Paul endorsing them.
Cllr. Brown added that at the NALC Roadshow, David Francis had stated that the planning service is poor and that NCC must sort it out, otherwise the Government would step in.
Cllr. Murray said that planning is a long, drawn-out process, and all representations have to be discussed by the committee. Many of these are not based on planning regulations, and for the most part, the people raising the objections do not attend the meetings to speak on their representations. The clerk felt it would be useful if the Planning Service were to issue a list of planning regulations.
Cllr. Murray also told the meeting that deadlines for planning are set nationally, so County Councils are obliged to adhere to these.
13. Northumberland Development Plan:
The majority of this large document does not apply to small parishes such as Kirknewton, and it was agreed that the representations the PC had made on last year’s plan had not changed.
14. County Councillor’s Report:
Rural bus services - Cllr. Murray emphasised the importance of parish councils pressurising NCC to retain the rural bus services, and the clerk would send a letter as agreed in Item 11.
Education – a public meeting had been arranged at Wooler Middle School on Thursday, 26th February, at 7.00pm, to discuss the reorganisation of the education system.
If Alnwick were to adopt the two-tier system, Wooler Middle School would not be able to exist, as there are not enough children in Glendale to make it viable. The First and Middle Schools could be combined on one site with one headmaster and a central governing board. If the two-tier system were to be adopted, the 4-11 year olds would be in Wooler and then go on to Alnwick, which would negate the 11-13 year olds from taking part in any after school activities. There is also talk about stopping parents from choosing the schools their children attend.
15. Any other business:
16. Date of next meeting: Tuesday, 17th March 2015, at 2.00pm at the Village Hall.
The meeting was closed at 3.15pm.