Wylam Parish Council

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MINUTES OF AN ELECTRONIC ORDINARY MEETING OF WYLAM PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON 12th OCTOBER 2020 AT 7 PM ______________________________________________________________________________

Present: Councillors S Duckworth (Chair), A Francis, J Henderson, C Percy and H Waddell

Also present: Marie Moore (Parish Clerk) and Councillor K Quinn

Questions from Members of the Public M Hadden had submitted a question via email regarding the LTP Priorities for 20-21. (See item 8 below.)

Report from County Councillor K Quinn 

  • K Quinn reported that she had contacted the appropriate officer about the Council’s LTP Priority submission for 20-21 ad understood that a response had now been received.
  • An update had also been provided in relation to the Public Spaces Protection Order. Because of the timescales involved the Order would only focus on alcohol. A further Order was to be progressed in relation to anti-social behaviour including tombstoning/climbing on Points Bridge. M Moore indicated that she had been in contact with NCC on this issue to ensure that the Order was progressed as quickly as possible.
  • Current works to Woodvale Gardens would not include the ‘service strips’. NCC Officers had indicated that this may be looked at again next year but would come down to priorities and resources available.
  • Updated Covid-19 restrictions were now in place and although there was not much change the situation would be reviewed continually.
  • She understood that the Council would be considering the Riverside Footpath and asked that she could be updated as soon as possible so that a further meeting could be arranged.

1. Apologies for absence Councillor
J Martin

2. Declarations of Interest from members on items on the Agenda
None declared.

3. Minutes
Resolved
that the minutes of the meeting held on 14th September 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

4. Report of the Tree Warden
Resolved that the Tree Warden update for October 2020 be noted.

5. Report of the Village Handyman
The Handyman had identified a number of issues principally with regard to road safety and the Local Transport Plan priorities. (See item 8 below)

6. Nomination of Representative to Ovingham Joint Burial Committee
Resolved that Councillor J Henderson be appointed to serve on the Committee on behalf of Wylam Parish Council.

7. Village Footpaths
J Henderson had asked that this be discussed given that a number of footpaths in the village were in an increasingly dangerous condition e.g. Cherry Tree Lane and a number on the Dene Estate.

NCC had previously indicated that if the Parish Council were able to contribute financially to improvement schemes then they may receive a higher priority. However, given the significant costs associated with such schemes and the Council’s limited budget this was not felt to be a realistic option.

More detail was needed on the extent of the problem so that priorities for action could be identified. M Hadden had already started to collate this information and social media could be used to ask people to identify problem areas. An action plan could then be developed for submission to the County Council in 2021.

Resolved that J Henderson lead on the development of a detailed list to identify dangerous footpaths and local priorities for action.

8. Local Transport Plan Priorities 21-22
The Clerk reported that the County Council’s response to the Council’s LTP Priorities for 20-21 had now been received as follows:

  • 40mph approaches/20mph zone: This was being looked at for Holeyn Hall Road but it was unlikely that NCC would be able to consider it for the other approaches due to the lack of development. It had also been stated that no further signs/markings would be added to the 20mph zone as experience shows it was unlikely to make any difference.
    The speed survey carried out in the village centre did show that speeding was an issue and the Parish Council had been advised that the matter would be referred to the Police for their consideration and recommendations. No information had been obtained from the Police so their recommendations, on the best course of action to address this issue, should be pursued.
  • Interactive signs – these were not eligible as they were now the responsibility of the Parish Council. A quote would therefore be obtained to have the sign on Ingham Terrace serviced. The sign on Station Road would need to be replaced as this was an old style sign.
  • Fox & Hounds/Co-op area – a scheme put forward by NCC in early 2017 had been rejected by the then Parish Council but the County Council would look again at it if it was still considered to be a priority. At the time it had been agreed to review the situation following the opening of the co-op store. It was clear that road safety and parking/congestion in this area remained a significant concern.

Following discussion of the County Council’s response and the current priorities within the village it was

Resolved that the following 3 LTP priorities for 1921-22 be approved:

  1. To improve road safety through the village centre by reinforcing the existing 20 mph speed limit zone. The recommendations of the Police be obtained to support this.
  2. To introduce parking restrictions and speed control measures in the vicinity of the Fox and Hounds and the Co-op.
  3. To implement a programme of footpath repairs in the village as a number are now becoming dangerous for pedestrians e.g. Cherry Tree Lane & footpaths on the Dene Estate

9. Charlie’s Corner
Members were asked to consider the continued use of Charlie’s Corner by dogs. The Council had previously agreed that dogs should be allowed into the area as it provided a safe space for residents during the Covid-19 restrictions.

It was noted that no problems had been experienced and fouling had not been an issue.

The area continued to be underused however and the County Council’s Community Chest Scheme provided an opportunity for the Parish Council to secure grant funding to further develop the area to facilitate increased benefit to the wider community. It had been suggested that the area would be ideal for a sensory/dementia garden and continued use by dogs would therefore not be appropriate. There were many other areas where dogs could be exercised locally.

J Henderson had spoken with a garden designer who was prepared to come and have a look at the area and suggest some ideas. In addition it would be important to identify evidence of need for the project and carry out community consultation so that local people could put forward ideas and be involved in the development and implementation of the project. It was felt that the project should benefit all sections of the community. This project development process would enable a robust funding bid to be developed and costs could be built into the Council’s budget for 21-22.

Resolved that:

  1. The use of Charlie’s Corner for exercising dogs be extended until the January meeting of the Council when the situation be reviewed. Use of the facility to be in line with current government guidance and local restrictions relating to Covid-19.
  2. Work be carried out to develop a funding bid to the NCC Community Chest for the improvement of Charlie’s Corner to create a community space at the heart of the village.

10. Provision of Dog Waste Bags
Historically the Council had purchased dog waste bags to be provided free of charge from the Spar, the Library and the Institute however over the last year bags had been obtained free of charge from the NCC Green Dog Walker Scheme which meant that the Council had not incurred any cost.

In line with current Covid-19 restrictions the NCC scheme had been suspended and the supply of free bags would therefore come to an end. Members therefore discussed whether the Council should again purchase bags and were of the opinion that this should be the responsibility of dog owners.

Resolved that

  1. Once the supply of free NCC Green Dog Walker Scheme Bags comes to an end, no further bags be purchased by the Parish Council for free distribution.
  2. Once the NCC scheme is restarted an approach be made for a further supply of free bags.
  3. Local dog owners be encouraged to sign up to the NCC scheme through which they would receive free bags once the scheme is reinstated.

11. Remembrance Sunday 2020
The Clerk reported on the arrangements for Remembrance 2020. Services would be held at both the Methodist and St Oswin’s Churches with numbers attending being carefully managed in line with Covid-19 restrictions. A brief, discreet service of remembrance would also take place beforehand with this being filmed to be shown during the services. It would also appear on YouTube and What’s on Wylam at 11.00am too. These arrangements would be advertised so that people did not gather at the memorial on the day.

12. Grant Aid Request – Wylam Institute Community Association
The Clerk reported on a request for grant aid of £3,000 from Wylam Institute Community Association towards Stage 2 of its roof improvement works.

Resolved that the application be approved on the basis that no further funding requests from the Institute will be considered during the current financial year.

13. Finance
Resolved that

  1. The payments detailed in appendix B be approved
  2. The financial reports to September 2020 be received
  3. The bank reconciliations for September 2020 be received.
  4. The quote received from Broxap Ltd for 2 new litter bins in the sum of £355.00 plus VAT be approved.
  5. The quote received from Scorpion Joinery & Home Maintenance Services for the installation of the new litter bins, in the sum of £220.00 be approved

14. Planning Applications and Decisions
Resolved that no comments be submitted in relation to the following applications

  • 20/02958 – Demolition of disused building and creation of 2 bedroomed passivhaus dwelling - Builders Yard, Ship Inn, Main Road, Wylam
  • 20/03078/FUL - Construction of single storey rear extension, replacement of existing front porch, and conversion of garage into living accommodation - 19 The Dene Wylam Northumberland

15. Correspondence
Resolved that:

  1. The correspondence received since the last meeting be noted and actioned where appropriate.
  2. A donation of £100 be made to the Great North Air Ambulance

The Council passed a resolution excluding the press and public from the meeting in accordance with Section 1(2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted (sensitive information).

16. NJC National Salary Award 20-21

Resolved that the National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC) pay scales for 2020-21 to be implemented from 1st April 2020 be noted and they be applied to the Clerk’s salary in accordance with the contract of employment.

17. Riverside Footpath
The Clerk reported on the most recent legal advice from the National Association of Local Council’s and also the advice service linked to the Council’s insurer. This was in response to the legal opinion provided by the adjacent landowner.

Resolved that

  1. The specific advice provided by NALC be noted and arrangements be made to obtain a further professional technical report as detailed in the advice.
  2. A copy of the legal advice be provided to the adjacent landowner and arrangements be made to hold a further meeting with all interested parties.

18. 3-4 Laburnum Terrace
The Clerk reported on the most up to date information with regard to the sale of the property as provided by the Council’s Estate Agent.

In discussing the current position Members expressed the view that all possible efforts should be made to conclude the sale as soon as possible given the ongoing financial implications of owning the building

Resolved that the report be received, the Council’s position be conveyed to the Estate Agent and a further update be requested as soon as possible.

19. Minor items & items for the agenda of a future meeting

  1. Covid-19 – it was agreed that in view on the tightening of Government restrictions in the area the Council’s Covid-19 helpline should again be promoted.
  2. George Stephenson’s Cottage – C Percy reported that he had been contacted by the National Trust who wanted to discuss the position with the Cottage.
  3. Christmas Activities – J Henderson suggested that it would be a wonderful idea to bring Santa to the village, particularly given that many of the usual activities would not be able to go ahead. She would investigate this further and report back to the next meeting.

20. Date of next meeting
9th November 2020

The meeting closed at 8.35pm.