MINUTES OF A MEETING OF CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE HELD ON 7 JULY 2021.
Cllr H Allsopp
Cllr G Huntley, Chairman
Cllr A Iley
Cllr J Rowell
Cllr P S Vaughan
Ms A Brindley Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer, Mr D L Nicholson Deputy Parish Clerk and Sgt Paul Davis Northumbria Police.
CD&E 028/21.1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.
Apologies were received from: Cllr A Hart (work commitment), Cllr J Foster (family commitment) and Cllr L Watson (family commitment). The meeting accepted these as proper reasons for absence.
CD&E 029/21. 2. MEMBERS’ DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(S).
No declarations were presented.
CD&E 030/21.3. TO APPOINT A CHAIRMAN TO SERVE FOR 2021/22.
The Parish Clerk invited nominations. Cllr G Huntley was nominated by Cllr P S Vaughan and seconded by Cllr J Rowell. There being no further nominations Cllr G Huntley was elected to serve as Chairman for 2021/22.
CD&E 031/21.4. TO APPOINT A VICE CHAIRMAN TO SERVE FOR 2021/22.
Cllr L Watson was nominated by Cllr P S Vaughan and seconded by Cllr J Rowell. There being no further nominations Cllr L Watson was elected to serve as Vice Chairman for 2021/22.
CD&E 032/21.5. PUBLIC QUESTIONS.
The Parish Clerk reported no questions had been submitted.
The Chairman suggested agenda item 9 be considered out of sequence.
CD&E 033/21.6. REPORT FROM NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICE.
Sgt Paul Davis presented a report on recent policing activities in the area, including:
- Caravan theft – 3 arrests made.
- Half Moon public house burglary, one of a series of similar offences – arrest made.
- Drug and alcohol interventions
- Burglaries aggravated – person charged.
- Dangerous driving – offender sentenced (20 months custodial).
- Stakeford store robbery – custodial sentence imposed).
- Public order (racially motivated), preventative multi-agency approach being adopted.
- Motor trail bike offences – bike seized, and perpetrator prosecuted.
- Northumbria Police public engagement van (mobile station) being deployed to expand public engagement.
- Northumbria Police encouraging residents to report incidents and concerns to allow police to prioritise resources and police response.
Responding to questions Sgt Davis detailed:
- The neighbourhood police resources for Bedlingtonshire (the parishes of Choppington, East and West Bedlington) as 1 sergeant, 2 police constables and 4 police community support officers.
- Recruitment through degree entry with opportunity for other recruits to train to degree level.
The meeting expressed its appreciation for the work undertaken by local PCSOs, complimenting their skills and dedication. On behalf of the council the Chairman thanked Sgt Davis for his report.
CD&E 034/21.7. TO RECEIVE AND AGREE AS A TRUE RECORD THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 9 FEBRUARY 2021.
The minutes were received, accepted as a true record with authority given to the Chairman to sign as such.
CD&E 035/21.8. MATTERS ARISING.
There were no matters arising from the minutes.
CD&E 036/21.9. TO AGREE TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE COMMITTEE.
The Parish Clerk presented draft terms of reference for the committee explaining they are presented for consideration by members and can be amended by the meeting or in future.
RESOLVED: Members approved the terms of reference, complimenting the Parish Clerk for a clear and considered document.
CD&E 037/21.10. PARISH CLERK UPDATE ON CURRENT ISSUES.
- Public Seating. The Parish Clerk detailed work undertaken on an audit of seats in the area and a repair/replacement programme which is underway. This includes replacement seats in the Riverside Park, the repair of those that can have life extended with replacement of those considered beyond repair. The audit has identified older seats of design significance that will be refurbished. The programme will be funded through earmarked funds for repair and replacement.
A request for a memorial seat to be located in the vicinity of Choppington rail crossing has been received and the Parish Clerk has arranged to meet with the applicant to discuss style and location.
The Parish Clerk explained that commemorative seats were retained in the ownership of the Parish Council and maintained to the local standard, asking members to agree the preparation of a policy to govern memorial seats, which will restrict the addition of commemorative plaques and other materials other than those approved by the Parish Council.
- The meeting received the report, approving the actions detailed for repair and replacement.
- Approval was given for the memorial seat at a location to be agreed by the Parish Clerk.
- Members instructed the preparation of a policy document containing the proposed restriction.
- Trees and green areas. The Deputy Parish Clerk highlighted the problem of Ashdieback, which will kill around 80% of ash trees across the United Kingdom, at a cost estimated in the £billions. Locally most ash trees are already infected, and their removal will change the local landscape forever and threaten many species that rely on ash. The Parish Council is working with partner organisations to determine the scale of the problem and to identify those trees that pose significant risk to the public. The spring programme of edging, grass cutting, flower bed and shrubbery maintenance has been completed and flower towers are now being installed. No significant issues have been encountered and work is progressing to prepare a plan for shrubbery improvements in key locations. Weed control has been initiated and the parish is included in the NCC pilot to reduce the use of chemicals. The results of this pilot will be presented to a future meeting. Guide Post football field is well maintained, however there is a vast space along Woodhorn drive towards Cleaswell and Mowbray schools that is uncultivated and has the potential to become an area for fly tipping. This area is the responsibility of Northumberland County Council, and the Parish Council has in discussions with NCC about it.
- Youth activities during the summer holidays. A full programme of activities has been prepared which includes activities for young people at The Welfare with play schemes being supported in Scotland Gate and West Sleekburn. Local schemes promoted by Northumberland Together will be enhanced through activities provided through the parish partnership with PFC. The Parish Council’s mobile football court will be deployed throughout the area.
- Play Areas. Choppington Together, the residents’ association for the Eastgate area, has requested the Parish Council delay installation of the new play area to allow the existing facility to be used during school holidays.
RESOLVED: Members agreed to delay installation until September.
7. Financial recovery following lockdown. In view of the confidential nature of this item consideration was transferred to part 2 of the agenda.
CD&E 037a/21 11. CLEASWELL HILL PARK
The Parish Clerk explained that the park belongs to Northumberland County Council and are responsible for upkeep, repairs, and replacement.
The condition of play equipment is poor, giving limited play value. Wider park maintenance is limited, with work being required in several areas. It is generally accepted that the park is amongst the worst within NCC’s responsibility.
For some time, the Parish Council has been urging NCC to bring the facility up to the standard it delivers elsewhere in the county.
At Northumberland County Council’s liaison committee for parish and town councils Paul Jones, Director of Local Services and Housing announced the county council has updated the play area at Druridge bay and is installing a new facility at Newbiggin Bay, and that Cleaswell Hill Park was the next facility to be considered. Responding on behalf of the Parish Council the Deputy Clerk welcomed this news and reiterated the Parish Council’s willingness to work with the county council to provide a facility worthy of the area.
- Members thanked the Parish Clerk for the report and asked that as the facility serves the wider community County Councillors for Choppington and Stakeford be asked to support proposals to improve Cleaswell Hill Park.
- The Parish Clerk was given authority to convene a working group to discuss the development of Cleaswell Park
Agenda, Part 2.
Members resolved that in consideration of standing order 3a and because of
their special and confidential nature, the following items require discussion in
the absence of press and public.
CD&E 038/21.1. CONSIDERATION OF REQUESTS FOR GRANTS.
The Parish Clerk confirmed there were no requests requiring consideration.
CD&E 039/21.2. FINANCIAL RECOVERY FOLLOWING LOCKDOWN.
Referred from part 1 of the agenda.
Members received a report from the Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance officer detailing support given to strategic partners during lockdown and arrangements made for recovery. Recovery of support funds will result in a net zero cost to the Parish Council.
RESOLVED: Members approved all actions taken by the Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer.
There being no further business the meeting concluded at 11.50.