Minutes of Neasham Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 3 October 2023, 6:30PM, in Neasham Reading Room
P Dunn, J Grainger, E Miller, K Sandick, J Weighell, P Walters, L Tostevin, Clerk J Walker
B Crossen, G Crute, M Hannaford
23/083 - WELCOME
K Sandick welcomed Councillors to the meeting. Apologies for absence were accepted from B Crossen (Holiday), G Crute (Sickness), M Hannaford (Holiday).
23/084 – DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no Declarations of Interest.
23/085 - MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 5 September 2023 were confirmed as a correct record.
23/086– MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MEETING / PROGRESS REPORTS
There were no matters arising from the previous meeting.
23/087 – PACT REPORT
L Tostevin reported that she had attended the September meeting at which various issued throughout the ward had been discussed, but nothing of real significance.
23/088 – ROADS AND FOOTPATHS
- The lack of cutting to a grass verge in New Lane was again reported to Darlington BC by J Weighell and was told that a new operative, who was unfamiliar with the area had been cutting it. But it is now being cut regularly.
- Process of recording the condition (including photographs) of the existing main roads running through the village. This was evidence of the current condition and identifying defects and recommending any necessary course of remedial action. It was felt that this was too much involvement for one person and J Weighell, K Sandick and J Grainger volunteered to support G Crute in this task.
23/089– ENVIRONMENT AGENCY MATTERS
Remedial work to Agency stile to footpath off Sockburn Lane. J Weighell reported that the Agency and the landowner had had agreed that the Agency would remove the style deck, but leave the posts in position, to which the landowner could install a gate.
23/090 – VILLAGE GREEN
- The Vice Chair reported (via a written report) that in the absence of any further contact with the owner of the Abbey it is assumed that the West Bank is not owned by Neasham PC although this is not supported by any definitive document and he intends amending the note on the Tree Schedule to exclude trees in this area. There are several trees on the east bank which is Neasham PC land and which he had inspected with Miss Trees. As access to this area is difficult and the trees do not represent a danger to the public no action will be taken currently. G Crute will append a note of the to the next issue of the Tree Register and also recommends that this be included on next year’s PSRA to demonstrate consideration of the risk.
- The Cherry Tree (T6) requires emergency pruning before it damages the overhead cables A quotation from Miss Trees of £180 for carrying out the work was accepted and will now probably have to be done in February 2024
- Outstanding works to the Memorial Garden. The Chair agreed to obtain a price from Eden for corrective works to the raised bed retaining boards, which leaves the baffle to the lectern outstanding. The cutting down of the tops to the new noticeboard posts and the removal of the stubs of the old posts will be carried out this week.
- Darlington BC have appointed a new Rights of Way Officer with contact details as circulated.
- Applications received since last meeting:-
23/00373/FUL Creation of 2No great crested newt ponds at the Ashes Lodge, Low Dinsdale, Neasham DL2 1PL – APPROVED.
- Decisions received since last meeting: - None
- 22/00875/FUL Dinsdale Park Golf Club. At the September meeting in was agreed to write to Darlington BC to complain about process that resulted in the application being approved by Darlington BC. Subsequent to the meeting it was unanimously resolved by a ballot of those members whom had been present at the parish council meeting that the complaint should be a formal complaint. The Vice Chair reported (via a written report) on possible amendments to his original draft that he was considering. However as it had been suggested that we compare notes with Middleton St George on the issue, he had deferred consideration pending results on this contact. It was felt that this item would be deferred until the November, but it was agreed that he should resume work on his draft when possible.
- L Tostevin reported that there had been no further updates on the Appeal against the Enforcement Notice for the siting of 4No mobile caravans at Skipbridge, Neasham Road.
- The clerk has not received any response to his email to Darlington BC regarding updates on planning applications by email. Further reminder to be sent.
23/092 – RISK MANAGEMENT
- Scheduled inspections carried out in September are the Consolidated Village Green Schedule (incorporating items previously listed separately). The half yearly tree inspection to the trees had been delayed due to the inspector having contracted Covid. The flower tub inspection will be carried out at the time they are emptied in October. It had been noted two replacement tubs will be required.
- The quarterly Risk Management Report has been circulated.
- As M Hannaford was on holiday, the handing over of the Risk Management documentation was deferred until the November meeting.
23/093 – FINANCE
- Previously approved payments made in September:- G Cute £35.66 (Expenses), Zurich Municipal £507.74 (Insurance), RBL £50.00 (Wreath), Clerk £504.00 (Salary), HMRC £126.00 (PAYE).
- The Finance Report for the second quarter has been circulated.
- Review of the expenditure to date in respect of the Levelling Up Fund second grant was deferred until the next meeting. This would include resuming purchase of portable lighting as previously approved as part of the second levelling up grant.
- An application to Banks Moor House Wind Farm Community Fund for a grant has been submitted on line via the link in their email dated 12/09/23, which was based on the scope of works and budget agreed between the Chair and Vice Chair. Subject to the application being approved by Banks, the members will be asked to confirm their approval of the scheme overall and also agree any required S137 approval. L Tostevin reported that applications to the fund will be considered next week, which hopefully will include the Neasham PC application.
- It was proposed that post fixed static lighting be provided for events with posts having local “plug in” connections for the duration of the event, the Chair and B Crossen to provide a costing.
23/094– REACHING OUT AND COMMUNICATIONS
- The Chair reported that he felt what the parish council was doing is working, particularly in relation to the liaising with the Reading Rooms over the Christmas Event.
- The members agreed with a proposal that there should be a differentiation on Facebook between personal and official posts. It was agreed that this would be by an official page accessible by J Weighell or the word “councillor” in the name (as Darlington BC practice).
- It was agreed that a detailed confirmation of delivery addresses by volunteers of council “flyers” to ensure all properties are covered, would be carried out at the time of issue.
23/095 – WARD COUNCILLOR MATTERS
- P Walters stated that he had received several complaints regarding the danger of wide vehicles using Neasham Road, but that Highways could do nothing about it. He also relayed the frustrations of the council in it’s efforts to stop the illegal road crossing on to Neasham Road.
- L Tostevin reported that it had been agreed that the Hurworth bus had an on demand stop at the Abbey Corner, but she would like to see a temporary bus stop sign. Concern was expressed regarding the reverse direction bus and the safety of passengers alighting on the wrong side of the road,
23/096 – CORRESPONDENCE
- Various emails from NALC regarding Newsletter (06/09, 20/09, 27/09), Event (19/09). For information only.
- An email from NALC/De Monford University (20/09) requesting participation in a survey on recent local elections had been completed by the Clerk.
- An email received 09/09/23 with advice over Courier Fraud and other issues, which had been circulated.
23/097 – OTHER VILLAGE MATTERS
- The Vice Chair updated the members (via a written report) on the arrangements for the Remembrance service in November. The members were generally in agreement with his proposals, except that they did not wish to see Windrush and Korea separately identified in the service. The members also felt that the Vice Chair should be congratulated for his hard work in organising the event. Volunteers were requested to hand out the Order of Proceedings and also to clean the benches. J Weighell agreed to read the Exhortation and E Miller to lay the wreath.
- An email had been received from a parishioner regarding Bully XL dogs, however this is not an issue that the parish council can address.
- A further complaint had been received from a parishioner regarding holes in the access roads across the verge in Teesway over land where ownership is unknown. It was suggested that the Vice Chair be asked to write a further letter to Darlington BC.
23/097 – DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Date of next ordinary parish meeting is Tuesday 7 November 2023. The meeting concluded at 7.30pm.
Minutes signed on 7 November 2023 by K Sandick