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Kirknewton Parish Council Meeting. 16th February 2016. :  details

Posted by Pat Edwards.


Residents expressed their appreciation and thanks to Northern Power Grid for acting so quickly with the installation of emergency power generators in the locality. This enabled our electricity supplies to be restored, and efficient for the duration. 

DRAFT Kirknewton Parish Council

Minutes of a meeting held on Tuesday, 16th February 2016,
at 2.00pm in the Village Hall

Present: Cllrs. Edward Brown (Chairman), Steve Marriot, Helen and Andy Blowers,
County Cllr. Anthony Murray, Clerk Angela Hallam-Baker, and 6 Parishioners.

Guests from Northern Power Grid:
Kevin Parkin - Customer Liaison Officer
Jim Cummings - Design Engineer
Dave Brown - Delivery Manager
Amanda Parry - Customer Care Manager

1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs. Kay Aisthorpe, John Lloyd, PC Mark Lynn.

2. Northern Power Grid:
Jim Cummings gave an interesting and informative presentation on how electricity is supplied, the damage caused by the recent flooding from the River Glen, NPG’s efforts to restore power to residents, and the possible long term solution.
Mr. Cummings said that on 6th January some of the electricity poles had snapped and some washed away. NPG was immediately on the scene, and the following day 37 generators were installed to communities stretching from Coupland and up the valley. Work started in appalling weather conditions to try to install new poles, but the land was too soft and the river had changed its course northwards to the Lanton House boundary. Heavy machinery was brought in to try to return the river to its original course, and as the water subsided, this was achieved.
A possible long-term solution to the problem will be to move the original cable to north of the river on to higher ground. The course of the new line was pointed out on a map of the area. New sturdier poles and much stronger cables will be used.
Mr. Cummings explained that the use of overhead cables is preferable to putting cables underground, which, if a problem occurs, require laborious excavation.
Before the new overhead line is put into action, all landowners, farmers, residents, the National Park, etc., will be consulted. Cllr. Murray, in his capacity as a member of the Northumberland National Park Authority, confirmed that the NNPA would be sympathetic towards the planned locations of poles.
Planning permission, legal consents, and finance will all be taken into account. It is hoped that the work will be completed before the end of the year.  
When asked how NPG is funded, Mr. Cummings said that an average of £86.00 per customer per year is taken from the standing charge made on electricity bills.
A resident brought up the subject of short interruptions to the supply, which affected computers and timers on electric appliances. Mr. Cummings said that if there is a glitch in the supply, this is automatically corrected, so that the supply is only off for a very short time. Mr. Parkin asked that he be notified if these cut-outs occurred regularly.
Power cuts west of the sub-station at Coupland are likely to take longer to restore.

The Chairman thanked Mr. Cummings and his team for all their hard work to restore power to Kirknewton Parish and for coming to the meeting to explain what is to be done to update the supply. The team then left the meeting.

3. Police Report: none.

4. The minutes of the meeting held on 19th January 2016 were agreed and signed.

5. Matters arising from the minutes:
• Potholes – these have been reported to NCC.
• KVHT AGM minutes - not yet available.
• Westnewton Bridge Works – an email from Peter Brewis stated that the recent changes to the river are about to be re-surveyed and that this may cause some minor changes to the proposals. He is hoping to submit the revised planning application sometime this month, but details are still being discussed. However, he does not anticipate any significant hold ups to delivery this year.
• NALC Transparency Fund – an application had been lodged for new equipment to comply with the new regulations.

6. Financial Report:
There were no financial transactions since the last meeting, and the bank balance remains at £1,191.46.

7. Plan to upgrade restricted byway to bridleway from Milfield to Crook House:
A letter had been received from NCC outlining a plan to upgrade this byway to bridleway. It had been established that the landowners involved, Lord Joicey and Mr. and Mrs. Ian McKie are happy for this to go ahead, and the Parish Council had no objections.

8. Northumberland LED Street Lighting Project:
A notice had been received to inform that street lighting is being modernised across Northumberland to fit existing lights with new LED lights, likely to take place in the local area in the summer of 2017. Since Kirknewton has no street lighting, and speed limit signs no comment would be made.

9. Correspondence:
• Copy of letter to the Prime Minister re provisional local government funding – this had been signed by 14 County Councils including Northumberland, pointing out that, in spite of extra government funding, rural areas will not be allotted as much finance per head of population as urban areas.
An accompanying note from the Leader of NCC stated that although the Council will receive an extra £3.15m over the next two years, this does not change the overall financial position, due to £58m which will have to be cut from the budget over the next four years. Consequently, council tax will have to be raised for local residents by 16% over the next four years and they will receive less in services.

• Mobile phone coverage – the clerk had written to the Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport on 8th September 2015 following advice from NCC, and had received a reply dated 8th February 2016. She was advised by DCMS to contact one of the Mobile Network Operators. It was pointed out that this had already been done without success, having been told that Kirknewton is too far away from the exchange.
The clerk agreed to get back in touch with the local MP. In the meantime, Cllr. Helen Blowers would mention at the forthcoming PCC meeting the possibility of putting a mast on the church tower.
• Future external audit arrangements – new arrangements are to be put forward for smaller authorities with neither income nor expenditure exceeding £25,000 with effect from 2017/18. These authorities are being asked whether they require Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments Ltd. to make the arrangements, or whether they wish to opt out and appoint their own auditors. It was agreed to opt in, as it is unlikely any audit fee will be charged.

10. County Councillor’s Report:
Corporate Parenting Panel – Cllr. Murray, as Chairman of the Panel, said that children’s services are being looked at over a three-week period, and that he hoped they would come up to the required mark.
Wooler Post Office – the current owner wishes to retire and sell the premises, but there has so far been no serious interest due to the onerous post office hours. There is no threat as yet of the post office closing, but there has been talk of a mobile if it were to close.
Land by the Old Vicarage – an application has been submitted for retirement bungalows on the field adjacent to the Old Vicarage and possibly a new wing on to the house. This would be a replacement for Horsedenside, which has been demolished.

11. Any other business:
David Francis of Community Action Northumberland is due to retire at the end of March, and donations towards a leaving gift may be sent to Andy Dean at CAN.

12. Date of next meeting: Tuesday, 15th March 2016, at 2.00pm.



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