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Wylam Parish Council


Present: Councillors S Duckworth (Chair), D Carney, R Herrmann, J Martin and C Percy

Also present: Marie Moore (Parish Clerk), K Quinn (County Councillor) and J Robinson (Hexham Courant)

Questions from Members of the Public None

Report from County Councillor K Quinn
K Quinn provided an update on the following issues:

  1. Local Burglaries – The Police were keen to reassure local residents and were actively pursuing lines of enquiry regarding the perpetrators.
  2. Covid-19 – cases in the West of the County had increased dramatically which supported the case for Northumberland remaining with the north east group of authorities.
  3. Riverside Footpath – the Clerk would provide an update on recent developments and would be looking to arrange a meeting in the New Year as the date suggested had not been convenient for either Councillor Quinn or County Council Officers.
  4. George Stephenson’s Birthplace – the National Trust were arranging a meeting early in the new year, to which she and G Opperman MP were to be invited.

1. Apologies for absence Councillor
Councillors J Henderson and H Waddell.

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

3. Minutes

  1. The Minutes of the Meeting held on 11th November 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman subject to the amendment of ‘User’ to ‘Action’ in the resolution on item 9.
  2. The Minutes of the Extra-ordinary meeting on 2nd November 2020 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

4. Reports of the Tree Warden and Handyman

Members considered the reports of the Handyman and the Tree Warden. Particular reference was made to the approach to the School to get involved in the Countryfile tree planting scheme. This scheme had been brought to the Warden’s attention by a local resident. S Duckworth welcomed this as the school was particularly keen to get more involved in outdoor learning activities.

Resolved that the reports be received and actioned where necessary.

5. Nature Reserve Survey Report

Members were asked to consider the Site Assessment and Management Plan that had been prepared by O S Ecology in relation to Wylam Haughs Local Nature Reserve. The report set out general principles for the site but further detail was needed.

L Bray provided some context to the report, particularly for new members and referred in particular to the Management Plan prepared in 2012 by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust. Unfortunately since then there had been little progress on the site nor wider community involvement.

She suggested that members visit the Clara Vale reserve to see how this had been developed and also that the area beyond the boundary of the Nature Reserve be considered as part of a wider plan e.g. the undeveloped allotment site and the riverbank.

D Carney had visited Clara Vale and noted that they had Exmoor ponies grazing the site. This was something that had been mentioned previously in relation to Wylam so could perhaps been considered again.

All agreed that wider community involvement, ideally through a dedicated group, was essential to the positive future management of the site.

L Bray suggested that she could carry out some pilot coppicing work using hand tools during January and February.

Resolved that:

  1. A further meeting be arranged with OS Ecology to discuss the report findings in more detail and to agree a forward plan. L Bray and D Carney expressed a particular interest in being involved.
  2. L Bray be authorised to carry out some pilot coppicing work on the site in the New Year.

6. Light Up Wylam/Christmas Activities

Light up Wylam had proved to be very successful.  Additional lighting and expertise had been provided to the Group, by local lighting contractors, to light up the Christmas tree and Charlie’s Corner and the Parish Council had been requested to meet these costs.

The plan was to build on this in 2021 with the intention of working with the Parish Council and seeking grant funding to support this.

Resolved that the lighting costs be circulated to members by the Clerk for approval.

7. Charlie’s Corner

Resolved that as J Henderson, the lead on this project was not able to attend the matter be deferred to a future meeting.

8. Falcon Centre Update

C Percy reported that the inaugural meeting (in effect the first AGM) of the Falcon Centre Action Group, at which it would become constituted, was due to be held on 20th January 2021 and this would be publicised in advance in the local press, social media and notices. A funding sub-group was already exploring potential sources of funding and related matters to take the development forward. A meeting with key officers from the County Council’s library and community regeneration services, to discuss their position on the future of the building and activities in it, was due to take place later in the week.

Resolved that the update be received.

9. Grant Policy and Applications

S Duckworth stated that he was keen to revisit the Council’s Grants Policy particularly in relation the Village Plan that was to be developed so that applications could be assessed against this.  Also, in relation to those organisations that provided services that would otherwise have to be provided by the Council it was suggested that rather than an annual grant based approach this should be through a Service Level Agreement arrangement.

In terms of applications from other local groups it was suggested that the process should be reviewed so that rather than it being on a first come first served basis there should be one application and decision-making round.

Members then went on to consider applications received from Wylam Community Playing Field Association (WCPFA) and Wylam St Oswin’s Parochial Church Council (PCC).

Resolved that:

  1. A grant of £3,000 be awarded to WCPFA for groundworks to improve safety and appearance,
  2. A grant of £2,916 be awarded to St Oswin’s PCC towards the Church Hall Centenary Extension.
  3. Arrangements be made to move towards an SLA approach to funding both WCPFA and Wylam Institute with a report being considered on this in due course. Both organisations to be advised of this decision.
  4. The overall grant policy and arrangements be reviewed for 2021 with a further report on this being considered by the Council.

10. Finance
Resolved that

  1. The report of the External Auditor for 2019-20 be received.
  2. The half yearly report of the Internal Auditor for 2020-21 be received.
  3. The payments detailed in Appendix D be approved subject to the addition of the following:
    Tyne Valley Woodlands Tree work at the Dene & Jackson Rd, Hagg Bank Play Area and Forster Gardens Hedge 990.00 109.00 1188.00 BACS
    NCC Payroll Costs Nov 20 1177.17 2.50 1179.70 BACS
    Broxap New Litter bins 396.00 79.20 475.20 BACS
  4. The financial reports to November 2020 be received.
  5. The bank reconciliations for November 2020 be received.
  6. The draft budget for 2021-22 be approved and the Precept be set at £51,150 for 2021-22
  7. The following quotations be approved:
Tyne Valley Woodlands Tree work identified in Tree Survey £340.00 + VAT
Scorpion Joinery & Maintenance Sign installation and New Noticeboard £460.00
Lenovo New PC and software £587.00


11. Planning Applications and Decisions

The Clerk reported that a resident had contacted the Council in relation to 20/03847/PRUTPO and had asked that their comments be taken into consideration by the Council in coming to its decision.

It was also reported that the tree work approved at Fairholme, The Crescent had been scaled back in line with the Parish Council’s comments

Resolved that:

  1. No comments be submitted in relation to 20/03938/FUL.
  2. Once clarification has been provided by NCC to the Tree Warden in relation to 20/03847/PRUTPO, a response be prepared and circulated to members for consideration, prior to submission to NCC

12. Correspondence
Resolved that the correspondence received since the last meeting be noted and actioned where appropriate.

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).

13. Riverside Footpath

The Clerk reported on the current position on this issue. Although it had been hoped that all parties could meet to discuss action and next steps both Karen Quinn and the County Council officers had unfortunately been unable to attend, so the meeting was to be rearranged.

The Clerk had obtained two quotes for the further professional technical advice suggested in the NALC legal opinion. However, it was suggested that a decision on taking this forward should be deferred pending the receipt of further advice.

Resolved that:

  1. The report be received
  2. Arrangements be made to hold a meeting early in the New Year with all involved parties.
  3. Further advice be obtained on the matter prior to the Council reconsidering its position early in the New Year.

14. 3-4 Laburnum Terrace

R Bailes provided an update on the matters related to the sale of the property including planning, discussions with the purchasers and the work required to protect the condition of the property.

An update was also provided on the response from BT Openreach in relation to the Council’s formal application to move the cabinet to the front of the property.  More advice would be provided on this in due course.

Resolved that the report be received and an approach be made to the purchasers to ask if they would be prepared to fund one element of the work.

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

  • Charlie’s Corner Project Update – January.
  • Appointment of representative to Ovingham Joint Burial Committee – January.
  • Update on meeting with National Trust on George Stephenson’s birthplace.
  • Village ‘recognition’ scheme.
  • Climate Change Audit Survey.
  • Building on good practice developed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Update on allotments site inspection.

16. Date of next meeting
11th January 2021

The meeting closed at 9.05pm.