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Posted by Pat Edwards.
Kirknewton Parish Council
Minutes of a meeting held on Tuesday, 21st March 2017,
at the Village Hall at 2.00pm
Present: Cllrs. Edward Brown, Steve Marriott, Helen and Andy Blowers, John Lloyd,
County Cllr. Anthony Murray, PC Dan Perry (Northumbria Police),
Clerk Angela Hallam-Baker.
In attendance: Tom Forrester (Chief of Staff to Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan),
Parishioners Pat and Jenny Edwards.
1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllr. Kay Aisthorpe.
2. Police Report:
PC Perry stated that there had been no reported crime in the area since the last meeting. However, there are unidentified people selling generators and television sets from the back of vans. The public are asked to be vigilant and report suspicious vehicles and registration numbers to the Police.
PC Perry informed the meeting that Sgt. Andy Pullen is moving to Berwick until October. In the intervening months he will be replaced by Sgt. Neville Warrior.
PC Mark Lynn’s area will be taken over from 24th April by PC Darren Moffat who will work with PC Perry.
3. The minutes of the meeting held on 21st February 2017 were agreed and signed.
4. Matters arising from the minutes:
5. Financial Report:
The clerk’s half-year fee of £80.00 plus expenses of £70.25 (mileage, postage, stationery, internet) was paid up to the end of March in order to have the cheque cleared before the year end. The current balance stands at £1,266.30.
Application ref: 17NP0020 - Construction of a single storey extension at The Hut, Fleehope Farm, College Valley, NE71 6TU.
Application ref: 17NP0023 – Construction of temporary forestry track for timber extraction at land west of Fleehope Farm, NE71 6TU.
There were no objections from the Parish Council to these two applications.
7. Parish Council Elections – Thursday, 4th May 2017:
Nomination forms are available from Berwick Customer Information Centre, Walkergate Building, Walkergate, TD15 1DU, or can be downloaded from www.northumberland.gov.uk (search for “Becoming a councillor”.
They must be hand-delivered on any working day from Tuesday, 21st March to Monday, 3rd April (9.00am – 4.00pm) to Alnwick Registry Office, 27 Fenkle Street, Alnwick, NE66 1HW.
Cllr. Helen Blowers has kindly agreed to delivery all the nominations to Alnwick, but an appointment will have to be made. Contact Helen on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01890 883550.
Dormant parish councils:
A notice had been received from NALC with information that in a number of areas parish councils legally exist, but have not met for some years. The two adjacent to Kirknewton are Akeld and Kilham. When these parishes were invited to join Kirknewton, Akeld said they had more in common with Wooler, and Kilham did not want to pay towards the precept. Consequently, they both remain dormant.
NALC hope that the notices being displayed in Akeld, Kilham and Kirknewton might encourage the residents to form or resurrect parish councils.
Cllr. Murray said that smaller parishes without parish councils, such as these, are generally looked after by the County Council.
8. Boundary Commission changes:
Tom Forrester explained that, in view of powers having been transferred to the EU the previous Government administration wished to reduce the number of Westminster MPs from 650 to 600. This would mean that boundary changes would need to be made to reduce the number of constituencies. Consequently, the Boundary Commission had submitted proposals to do this, without consideration of topography, communities, rural areas, etc. It just works in figures, and requires a similar number of voters in each constituency. Boundary changes are generally made every 5 or 7 years.
The Berwick Constituency is the second largest in the country, but has the smallest electorate.
After a consultation meeting in November, it was proposed to put all of Morpeth into the Berwick constituency, but that has been changed to take out Morpeth, Rothbury and Longhorsley, and add Ashington to Berwick. This proposal is considered by residents and all political parties, except Labour, to be completely impractical in terms of the current services, commercial transport routes, schools, etc., and particularly the huge difference between the rural towns of Berwick, Alnwick and Morpeth, and urban Ashington.
Tom said that the Boundary Commission takes into account public opinion, and people are urged to send their comments to the Boundary Commission’s website at: www.bce2018.org.uk before 27th March.
9. Broadband Speeds:
It has been continually reported that the broadband speeds are particularly slow in Kirknewton. Tom Forrester said that Anne-Marie Trevelyan is working hard to ensure that rural areas are not left behind by BT. He asked the clerk to send him details of the problems which he would pass on to her office.
It was also noted that there is no mobile signal in Kirknewton and the College Valley, and this should also be mentioned.
10. County Councillor’s Report:
Cllr. Murray reported that the proposed move of County Hall from Morpeth to Ashington is currently on hold due to hiccups in the planning application. The move would cost £80 million, whereas updating the existing building in Morpeth is estimated to cost £8 million. It is reported that the people of Morpeth are opposed to the move and the proposed retail park planned for the abandoned site, and that the people of Ashington would not benefit either, since there would be no new jobs.
Cllr. Murray said that the main computer currently at Morpeth is to be sent to Darlington, since there is no room for it.
11. Any other business:
Pat reported that Evelyn Pendleton is in the Borders General after a fall at home. She is recovering well, but is being kept in hospital for observation.
12. Date of next meeting: Tuesday, 18th April 2017, at 2.00pm in the Village Hall.