Draft minutes of Neasham Parish Council meeting held on Tuesday 7 November 2023, 6:30PM, in Neasham Reading Room
B Crossen, P Dunn, G Crute, M Hannaford, E Miller, K Sandick, J Weighell, L Tostevin, P Walters, Clerk J Walker
23/099 - WELCOME
K Sandick welcomed Councillors to the meeting. Apologies for absence were accepted from J Grainger (Holiday).
23/100 – DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no Declarations of Interest.
23/101 - MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
The minutes of the Ordinary Meeting held on 3 October 2023 were confirmed as a correct record.
23/102– MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MEETING / PROGRESS REPORTS
There were no matters arising from the previous meeting.
23/103 – PACT REPORT
L Tostevin reported that the meeting had been held in Hurworth. A complaint had been raised about numbers of children running around the grounds of the Grange causing a nuisance, however periodic visits by the police had calmed the situation.
23/104 – ROADS AND FOOTPATHS
- The Vice Chair reported that there had been little progress on the survey on the condition of the main roads running through the village. However, he intended to call a meeting of the members involved on the return of the member currently on holiday.
- A further complaint has been received from a parishioner regarding the condition of access roads in the verge on Teesway and for which ownership is unknown. The issue had arisen in 1985 when the Highways Authority had agreed to adopt the service road but this did not extend to the grass strip and therefore clearly not the responsibility of Neasham PC. In 2018 Neasham PC again reviewed the issue and remain of the view that the area was not their responsibility (as updated notes attached to February 2018 minutes). As the parishioner had raised this complaint with P Walters, he agreed to make a further approach on the matter to Darlington BC to seek a solution despite a previous rejection by them.
23/105– ENVIRONMENT AGENCY MATTERS
J Weighell confirmed that the Agency will be carrying out the remedial work to the stile in November and curtailment of mole activity in the foodbank during November and February.
23/106 – VILLAGE GREEN
- The Vice Chair confirmed that a recent inspection of the trees in the Neasham side of Kent Beck had revealed that they are not a danger to the public and therefore no current action is planned. The Vice Chair also stated that he will add a note to this effect on the Tree Register and an item in the PSRA for it to be reviewed annually.
- The remedial works to the Memorial Garden had all been completed with the exception of the repair to rear retaining board of the raised bed which is buckled and it was agreed that this repair should deferred until the spring and an assessment made then as to what is required. The Chair and Vice Chair had visited the site the previous day and noted that the paving near the lectern had been raised by 3 to 4 inches and a baffle board was not be required. They had installed hooks to suspend the 3 wreaths.
23/107- ARRANGEMENTS FOR FORTHCOMING VILLAGE EVENTS
- It was agreed that the Remembrance Day Service on the 12th November would commence at 12.45pm. The Lord Lieutenant’s office had confirmed that Deputy Lieutenant Mr. Christopher Cunnington-Short JP would lay the Lieutenancy wreath. It was confirmed that wreaths would also be laid by Cllr P Walters (on behalf of the constituency MP) and E Miller (on behalf of the parish). Cllr. L Tostevin agreed to carry out the reading, G Sandick volunteered to hand out the Order of Service, M Hannaford would marshal the roadside to ensure no overspill onto the road and the Chair would sound the Last Post.
- The Christmas Carol Service will be held on 18th December commencing at 5.45pm with an active involvement by the Reading Rooms committee. The celebration will commence with the service at the Square around the Christmas tree in a setting enhanced with Christmas decorations and lighting. Following the service attendees are invited back to the Reading Rooms for refreshments provided by the committee, and for children to meet “Santa” in his grotto and receive a small present. The event is partially funded by a grant awarded to the parish.
- Applications received since last meeting:-None.
- Decisions received since last meeting: -None.
- 22/00875/FUL Dinsdale Park Golf Club. At the October meeting it was confirmed that a formal complaint should be submitted to Darlington BC regarding the process that resulted in approval of the application, for a variety of reasons this decision had not yet been implemented. L Tostevin reported that disagreement remained between a number of members of the Planning Committee and DBC Officers as to whether a refusal decision had been made at the Committee’s July meeting. However since then they had implemented new procedures to ensure that such confusion did not arise in the future. The Vice-Chair stated that any formal complaint should include measures the complainant would want to see implemented in the future, but it appeared that these measures had already been incorporated. None of these revisions would affect the current decision. However in view of the information provided by L Tostevin he suggested that it may be more appropriate to send a simple letter. This was agreed. It was also noted that the Clerk had contacted Middleton SG with a view to a joint approach on the matter but had received no reply.
- L Tostevin reported that there was still no decision on the Appeal against enforcement notice for the siting of 4No mobile caravans and associated works at Skipbridge, Neasham Road.
- An email received (26/10) from the newly formed North Yorkshire Council regarding their Local Plans and who had considered Neasham PC to be an important consultee and as such the interest was registered.
23/109 – RISK MANAGEMENT
- Scheduled inspections completed in October were Trees (deferred from September) and planters, with inspection records forwarded to the Clerk. P Dunn reported that two replacement tubs are required, one has been donated and one to purchase.
- A meeting had been held the previous day between the Chair, Vice Chair and M Hannaford when the Risk Management documentation had been handed over to Mark Hannaford who will take over the Overseer duties.
- Previously approved payments made in October:- Eden Landscapes £40.00 (Repair garden upstand), R Heward £200.00 (Maintain Kent Beck verge).
- Three cheques made payable to the clerk for salary and expenditure on behalf of the council had gone missing at the end of September. Post Meeting Note: The issuing bank required a fee of £37.50 to stop the cheques which the clerk refused to pay as it was not the fault of Neasham PC. The impasse was resolved after a month when the payee bank agreed to pay the fee as a good will gesture and the cheques reissued.
- There is currently a shortfall in expenditure in respect of the Levelling Up Fund second grant, review required.
- The application to the Banks Community Fun had been successful and a grant of £930 as a contribution towards the Christmas Event had been paid into the Neasham PC account. An Impact Statement is required to be submitted upon completion of the project and it is essential that records are kept of expenditure, attendance numbers and photographs of all aspects of its progress.
- B Crossen agreed to provide costings for portable lighting for use of events on the village green.
23/111– REACHING OUT AND COMMUNICATIONS
- The Chair stated that overall he felt it had been a good year for publicity and promotion of events.
- As previously agreed, differentiation was now being made between social and formal parish council Facebook postings. The Vice Chair asked members to “like” postings to increase their ranking.
23/112 – WARD COUNCILLOR MATTERS
- P Walters raised the issue of “fly tipping” which is a problem throughout the borough and cited the case of one offender who had been convicted three times but had escaped with a minor fine.
- P Walters stated that he was disappointed that there had been no progress in the blocking off the illegal access to Neasham Road near Skipbridge and had raised the matter with Highways.
- P Walters reported that preparations for extensive celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the inaugural journey of the Darlington and Stockton Railway were well under way, although there was concern among some over the use of the name “Hopetown”.
- L Tostevin reported that buses will not stop at Newbus Corner and Hurworth Springs on the contraflow circular route until new bus stops are installed.
23/113 – CORRESPONDENCE (AS CIRCULATED IN OCTOBER)
- Various emails from NALC regarding Chief Executive Bulletin (05/10, 12/10, 26/10, 02/11), Newsletter (11/10, 18/10), Events (24/10), Legal Update (24/10). For information only.
- An email (06/10) from Hardwick in Partnership regarding Training Opportunities.
- An email (06/10) from the Banks Group reporting on their take over by Brookfield, which they consider will not affect local operations
23/114 – OTHER VILLAGE MATTERS
- Defibrillator records updated on the Circuit, expiry date on pads confirmed as November 2025.
- M Hannaford raised the of the white line markings on the road between Hurworth, Neasham and Middleton SG which were worn away. L Tostevin requested that he provide her with details and she will take it up with Highways.
- M Hannaford also raised the issue the flood bank grass edging encroaching the footpath which needs clearing off is a public safety matter. Mr Inch of the Environment Agency to be informed. Clerk to raise a defect notice.
23/115 – DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Date of next ordinary parish meeting is Tuesday 5 December 2023. The meeting concluded at 7.50pm.