MINUTES OF A MEETING OF CHOPPINGTON PARISH COUNCIL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE HELD ON 9 FEBRUARY 2021 BY ZOOM.
Cllr H Allsopp
Cllr E A Barrell
Cllr J Foster
Cllr K Grimes
Cllr G Huntley
Cllr A Iley
Cllr J Rowell
Cllr P S Vaughan
Cllr L Watson
Ms A Brindley, Parish Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer and Mr D L Nicholson, Deputy Parish Clerk.
CD&E 017/20. 1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.
All councillors in attendance.
CD&E 018/20. 2. MEMBERS’ DECLARATION OF DISCLOSABLE PECUNIARY AND OTHER REGISTERABLE INTEREST(S).
No declarations were presented.
CD&E 019/20. 3. PUBLIC QUESTIONS.
CD&E 020/20. 4. TO RECEIVE AND AGREE AS A TRUE RECORD THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 10 NOVEMBER 2020.
The minutes were received, accepted as a true record with authority given to the Chairman to sign as such.
CD&E 021/20. 5. MATTERS ARISING.
There were no matters arising from the minutes.
CD&E 022/20. 6. PLAY AREAS.
In consideration of the special and confidential nature of the business to be transacted members resolved to consider this item in part 2 of the agenda.
CD&E 023/20. 7. ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR QUESTIONNAIRE.
The Parish Clerk presented a written report attached as Appendix 1, detailing the circumstances leading to a questionnaire from the council being hand delivered to residents living adjacent to the A1068 from Guide Post roundabout to the rail crossings at the parish council southern boundary.
The responsibility to address issues of anti-social behaviour rests with Northumbria police and Northumberland County Council, and the questionnaire was circulated by the Parish Council in response to residents dissatisfied with the response from Northumbria Police.
The questionnaire sought resident’s views on incidents of anti-social behaviour. Response evidence suggests there is a background of anti-social behaviour which is of concern to residents.
Information has been sought from Northumbria Police on reports received by them of anti-social behaviour. The information recorded by Northumbria Police does not accord with incidents reported to Choppington Parish Council.
County Councillor Julie Foster highlighted similar occurrence within her electoral division.
Members discussion highlighted the need to advise residents to report incidents to the Police and Northumberland County Council, keeping a record of the nature of the report, the date, time and person it was reported to, and obtaining an incident number/reference when appropriate.
- Members thanked the Parish Clerk for the report and action taken on behalf of the Council.
- Members asked the Parish Clerk to monitor reports of anti-social behaviour and to continue to liaise with Northumbria Police and Northumberland County.
- The Parish Clerk was instructed to raise the formal concern of the Parish Council with Northumbria Police in relation to incident reporting and recording.
- Members asked that a representative of the Police attend the next meeting, or in their absence provide a written report for circulation.
- Members suggested this is a matter that should be drawn to the attention of the Police and Crime Commissioner by Cllr E A Barrell at a meeting of NALC with the PCC, to see if the perceived problem of recording incidents is local or one experienced in other areas.
CD&E 024/20. 8. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS QUESTIONNAIRE.
The Parish Clerk reported that the December parish news asked residents whether they wished the Parish Council to provide Christmas lights for December 2021. The response to the question was limited but demonstrated a significant majority of those responding in support of the provision of festive lighting by the Parish Council.
RESOLVED: Members thanked the Parish Clerk for the report and asked that costed options be prepared for future consideration by members.
CD&E 025/20. 9. CHOPPINGTON DISABLED GROUP REPORT.
Cllr Graham Huntley reported that he has been elected as Choppington Disabled Group (CDG) Chairman, with Cllr Hilary Allsopp appointed to the CDG committee. During the pandemic, the CDG concentrated on measures to tackle isolation, which included a tablet loan scheme to enable online engagement. The Chairman concluded by thanking the Parish Clerk who has stood down as secretary having served in this role since the group was established.
Agenda, Part 2.
Members resolved that in consideration of standing order 46a and because of their special and confidential nature, require discussion in the absence of press and public.
CD&E 026/20. 1. CONSIDERATION OF REQUESTS FOR GRANTS.
The Parish Clerk confirmed there were no requests requiring consideration.
CD&E 027/20. 2. PLAY AREAS.
Referred from part 1 of the agenda.
The Deputy Parish Clerk detailed the commissioning process employed by the Parish Council, the responses received from the 4 shortlisted companies, and the technical appraisal of quotations. The Parish Clerk and Deputy Parish Clerk will conduct further discussions with respondents and invite presentations to a panel of members, following which members will be invited to award contracts.
RESOLVED: Members approved the process adopted and authorised the Parish Clerk in consultation with the committee Chairman and Vice Chairman to:
- Prepare a shortlist of companies invited to present to members, and
- Convene a panel of Members to consider the award of contracts.
There being no further business the meeting concluded at 12:15.
Anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of unacceptable behaviours and when it does occur can cause nuisance, distress or harm to individuals, neighbours and communities. This behaviour includes but is not limited to intimidation and harassment, day to day incidents of crime, vehicle related nuisance and street drinking and disorder.It is the responsibility of the Police and or Northumberland County Council to deal with anti-social behaviour and when it is reported to the Parish Council, we pass the information on.
In July 2020, the Parish Council was approached by a resident, who was experiencing anti-social behaviour from young people congregating at a bus stop in the vicinity of his home along the A1068. The resident had already reported the behaviours to the Community Safety team at Northumberland, and the Police. The resident had contacted the Parish Council initially to report the incidents, and later, asked that the bus shelter could be removed.
The Parish Council contacted Northumberland County Council and the Police to determine the level and prevalence of anti-social behaviour along the A1068. It was reported to us that the most pressing anti-social problem in that area at this time was related to motorcycle joyriding.
In October/November, the Parish Council leafleted all houses along the A1068 from the Guide Post roundabout to the crossings at the White Swan advising how to report anti-social behaviour and including a questionnaire to determine:
- The type of anti-social behaviour, if any that is experienced along the A1068
- Which if any bus shelters attracted anti-social problems.
- Passengers attitude to bus stops with bus shelters – would they walk to a bus shelter rather than use their nearest bus stop without one.The respondents were not asked for their names or addresses but were asked to approximate where they lived by one of 4 vicinities along the road:Closer to Guide Post Medical GroupCloser to St Pauls Church 4 identified anti-social behaviour at the bus stop near the Premier Store including urinating (1) 15% reported anti-social behaviour at the bus stop. 50% reported observing anti-social behaviour at any time in the area of the survey.
- The police have provided the following information: 1 incident around bus shelter since 2014, 1 incident opposite bus shelter since 2019
- NCC safer communities have advised that they recently had a report of anti-social behaviour from this area in January 2021.
- In the 12-month period from January 2019 to January 2020, the Parish Council has had one act of vandalism against one of its bus shelters along A1068 – at Guide Post Roundabout.
- ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- Bus shelters are popular with bus users. We received 16 out of 26 replies from bus users, 10 out of 16 said they would prefer a bus shelter at a bus stop and would walk to one further away from their nearest stop to benefit from it. Fewer, 5, would walk to a bus stop with a seat. NB this questionnaire went only to households facing the main road, so their next nearest bus stop would not be too far from their nearest one.
- BUS USERS
- Some of the reported incidents are minor and incur infrequently. Most of the activities reported in the vicinity of the Premier Store occur multiple times and some should be categorised as criminal activities. Anti-social/criminal activities reported in the questionnaire do occur in and around the bus shelter, but many occur on the other side of the road, around residential areas, and the attraction of Choppington Woods. Evidence demonstrates that anti-social behaviour occurs at the bus shelter, but it is only one place, and that other places in the same vicinity attract it too.
- 50% reported no anti-social behaviour.
- 23% reported anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of the premier store including Choppington Woods which lies over the road from the premier store.
- In addition all 6 respondents living in the vicinity of the Premier stores reported anti-social behaviour at other places in the same location, including behind Hunns buildings, in Choppington woods, on the A1068 smashing street lights (1), parties in woods (1), drug taking (2), sexual activity (1) playing chicken in road (1), throwing things (1), drunkenness (2) setting fires in woods (1), abusive language (1), Playing football on road (1).
- Drug use (2), gathering of boisterous youths (4), sexual activity (1).
- 6 respondents out of those 13 observing anti-social behaviour, lived in the vicinity ‘closer to the Premier Store’.
- From the remaining 13 the following general anti-social behaviour was observed (number of respondents reporting this is bracketed): speeding cars (1) cyclist on path (1), pushbike on road (1) fireworks (3), throwing cans out of travelling car (1), damage to litter bin (1), removing cases off electric points (1), shouting in street (1).
- From the 26 replies, 13 (50%) had not observed any anti-social behaviour.
- Closer to Swan Crossings
- Closer to Premier Stores
Since 2014 – one incident created on Huns’ buildings itself. This is the location of the shelter. Since 2019 – one incident created on Richardson’s buildings which is the street opposite the Bus shelter. Since January 2019 there have been 26 incidents created on the Scotland gate estate itself. Of these incidents: 5 related to youths and ASB and 8 incidents relates to Motorcycle disorder.
Based on the information from the questionnaire, the evidence suggests that there is a background of ‘anti-social behaviour’ which is of concern to residents, far more reaching than at the particular bus shelter. Officers recommend that the Parish Council monitors the situation and continues to liaise with Northumbria Police and NCC as the responsible agencies. Members are asked to consider any other actions they may consider appropriate.
3 February 2021