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Kirknewton Parish Council. June meeting. :  details

Kirknewton Parish Council

Posted by Pat Edwards.



Minutes of a meeting held on Tuesday, 23rd June 2015, 

at the Village Hall at 2.00pm


Present: Cllrs. Edward Brown, Steve Marriott, Helen and Andy Blowers, John

Lloyd, Kaye Aisthorpe, Clerk Angela Hallam-Baker.


In attendance:  Peter Brewis and Andrew Birch (NCC))

  Clive Coyne and Claire Bromley (NNPA)

  Parishioners:  Pat & Jenny Edwards, Tony Reed-Jones, Jean & Moira Taylor


1.  Apologies for absence were received from PC Mark Lynn (Northumbria Police).


2.  Police Report:

PC Lynn had sent a message informing the PC that there were no crimes to report in the parish.


3.  Westnewton Bridge Works:

Peter Brewis distributed photographs showing the build-up of gravel blocking the bridge arch and the damage to the bridge foundations.   Concrete-filled sandbags had been placed under the arch as a temporary measure, and latterly concrete blocks placed at the abutment where the two arches meet.   A further photograph shows the original course of the river, and another shows the route of the river after the flood.

Concern was expressed by the PC as to the load-bearing capacity of the bridge, particularly as it is currently being used by logging trucks.   Peter assured them that it was capable of carrying 40 tons and more.

The NCC works are intended to straighten the river and keep it straight, although the Environment Agency  believes the river should be allowed to take  its natural course.   The three landowners involved are in agreement with NCC to keep the river straight, as the meanders take out sections of their valuable land.   A document from the EA states that it has no duty or responsibility to undertake river maintenance or maintain flood defences on the College Burn;  this responsibility lies with the riparian landowners.   However, the document further states that “anyone wishing to undertake any work or maintenance in, over, near or adjacent to, the watercourse may need prior written consent from the EA and Natural England”.

Diagrams were provided to the meeting showing details of the intended works, which include raising the embankment in certain places and the placement of groynes directing the flow of the water to the centre of the river.

The plans, which have taken three years to put together, have been submitted to NCC and NNPA.   The Parish Council raised no objections and, provided planning permission is granted, expects the work to be completed by October 2015.

Peter stated that it will not be necessary to close the road since all the work will take place underneath the bridge.


4.  NNPA Management Plan Review:

Clive Coyne told the meeting that the Management Plan (available to view on the NNPA website) is reviewed every five years or so.   The Plan sets out the aims and objectives of the NNPA, and in order to seek views from the public, a six-week consultation period will take place from 11th September to 23rd October 2015, the Plan to be completed by March 2016.   Also included in the consultation will be stakeholders, the Environment Agency, Natural England,  the Ministry of  Defence, and the Local Plan.

Meetings for parishes in the north and south of the Park will be held later in the year – the northern one to be held at the Cheviot Centre in Wooler in September, and led by Cllr. Sue Bolam.   Details to follow.   The Chairman said the PC would discuss prior to the meeting what pertinent questions would be asked.

Concern was expressed by the PC over the possibility of permission for wind turbines, dumping of nuclear waste in the Cheviots and fracking.   Since the wind turbine subsidies are to cease next year, this should not be a problem, and Clive considered that the other two issues are most unlikely.


5.  Planning Application Ref:  15NP0037 – Long Back Cottage, Kirknewton

A planning application had been received for a Lawful Development Certificate in respect of residential use of this existing dwelling.   The PC had submitted no objections to NCC and NNPA with the following comments:


The property lacks the main basics – no electricity, no mains/piped water, no drainage, and poor access.   No insulation/damp proofing, etc.

The cottage would need a considerable amount of funding to bring it up to present day regulations.

The track which passes the front of this building is listed as a permissive path on the OS map, and is part of the Hillforts Trail.   Bearing in mind the attempts a few years ago by some residents to prevent walkers using the road which passes Nos. 1-4 East Kirknewton Cottages, we need to ensure that usage of this particular permissive path (going past Long Back Cottage) remains open to walkers.

If there were to be a temporary closure of the track while building/renovation works were going on, it might be all too easy then to keep it closed permanently.


6.  Minutes of the meeting held on 19th May 2015 were agreed and signed.


7.  Matters arising from the minutes:

  • Potholes – two of the three issues reported to Highways had not yet been dealt with and the clerk would send a reminder, pointing out that the trench which had been dug on the Hethpool road was causing flooding.
  • Grass cutting in the churchyard – Cllr. Helen Blowers reported that the PCC intends to leaflet the Ecclesiastical Parish with a view to possibly forming a Friends of Kirknewton Church group.   She had told them that Kirknewton PC will not make a financial contribution, but will help with any fund-raising event they might put on.   The clerk stated that she had heard that Milfield PC will not make any financial contribution, but may also help with an event.


8.  Training Session – Planning:

A training session on planning is to be held on Wednesday, 15th July, at the William Elder Building in Castle, Berwick, between 6.00pm and 8.00pm.   Cllr. Lloyd agreed to attend this.


9.  Financial Report:

A total of £470.21 had been received in VAT repayments, and the current bank balance stands at £1,170.84.


10. County Councillor’s Report:  none due to absence of Cllr. Murray


11. Any other business:

  • Kirknewton Village Hall - a letter had been received from the Chairman of the Village Hall Trust explaining that the minutes of its meetings are not open documents and do not have to be made available for public inspection, but that the current representative on the Parish Council, Cllr. John Lloyd, would keep the PC up to date with any relevant information.   This was accepted by the PC, but Chairman Cllr. Brown pointed out that no organisation can expect support, including financial, if outcomes are not given.   Any competitive quotes, etc., could be stated as “commercial in confidence” and then everyone knows the position.   The main reason for the PC being kept informed is that, should difficulties arise, then the PC has to take over until a new Hall Committee is formed.

It was noted that the AGM is held in November each year and that members of the public are welcome to attend.   Cllr. Lloyd was asked to let the PC know the date.

  • Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places 2015 – a letter had been received from NCC informing parish councils that a review of polling districts and places is due to be completed by November 2015.

This is to ensure that all electors in the constituency have such reasonable facilities for voting as are practicable in the circumstances, and that the polling places are accessible to those who are disabled.   Factors that need to be considered include boundaries, size of polling districts, population changes and the emergence of new housing developments.

Copies of the consultation notice will be posted on the village noticeboard, and initial representations should be received by 28th July 2015.

  • Friends of Rural Northumberland – CAN (Community Action Northumberland) is recruiting volunteers for a new network which will report issues facing rural communities.   Communication will be by email and newsletters.   The PC agreed that it would join as a member – no fee required.


12. Date of next meeting:   Tuesday, 21st July 2015, at the Village Hall at 2.00pm.









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