Minutes are provisional, until approved by members and signed off by Chair. All meetings are minuted and minutes of past meetings are available for inspection on application to the Clerk.
The Chair opened the meeting at 7.15pm.
1. Attendance and apologies.
Attending: Chair Mr Angus McIntosh, Councillors Mrs Lynne Chapman, Ms Rosemary Cott and Mrs June Taphouse; Clerk Mr Don Brownlow.
2. Declaration of Interests.
3. Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 21 November, 2016.
The minutes of the meetings were approved by councillors and signed by the Chair.
4. Public speaking.
Nobody had applied to speak.
5. Matters arising.
Nothing had been heard from the person who it had been suggested might quote for renovating the telephone box. The Clerk would chase up again.
The Clerk reported that NALC was providing a web portal by which councils could meet the requirements of the transparency regulations. This would be charged for. The council pages on the Duddo Community Website already satisfied the regulations so there would be no necessity for the Council to subscribe to the NALC project.
(i) Balances. The Clerk circulated copies of a financial statement to 6 February. Mrs Margaret Jeffrey, Clerk to Shoreswood Council, had confirmed that she would continue to act as internal auditor for the annual audit.
Payments were approved for £19.78 (itemised expenditure on stamps and stationery by the Clerk, cheque no.100196) and £25.00 (subscription to the Northumberland & Newcastle Society, cheque no. 100197).
(ii) Precept. The precept request had been submitted and acknowledged by NCC. No comment had been received on the requested increase in precept.
(iii) Donations. The Great North Air Ambulance, Hospice Care North Northumberland, Northumbrian CAB and Age UK Northumberland had all written to thank the Council for their donation.
The Clerk noted that the Council's insurance policy expired at the end of May, so he would seek quotes from at least 2 other providers.
Elections. The arrangements and timetable for local elections on 4 May were discussed. It would probably be necessary to arrange an extraordinary meeting in March in order to finalise arrangements and check nomination forms and other paperwork prior to submission.
Councillor Taphouse said that she would not be standing again. This would leave 2 vacancies unless other candidates came forward.
A letter had been received from Mrs Anne-Trevelyan, MP, regarding the Department of Transport’s pothole fund allocation of £3.9 million for the North East for 2017/18.
The Chair suggested that it might be a good time for he and the Clerk to repeat the survey of parish roads to check for potholes and other road damage that needed reporting to NCC. It was suggested that councillors might care to report any particularly egregious examples to the Clerk, together with detailed location references.
The Clerk reported on correspondence with Cornhill PC regarding weed growth on the Twizel Bridge footpath. He had reported this to Phil Bradley, NCC Footpaths Officer, who replied that he had mentioned this to NCC Highways because it did not fall within his remit, and that they appeared to have done some work on it before Christmas.
The Clerk took councillors through prospective responses to an online Stakeholder Survey being conducted by NCC. Responses were agreed by councillors.
11. Any other business.
Councillor Cott asked whether the Parish Council was actively identifying and responding to community needs.
The Clerk noted that work on the Neighbourhood Plan would shortly involve an extensive consultation exercise with all households in the parish asking about their concerns and needs.
He also pointed out that the Council tried as far as possible to publicise the annual parish meeting as a forum for the community. The services available from different agencies and organisations were publicised via the Duddo Community Website, the village noticeboard and distribution of leaflets.
Councillors agreed that without a community hub, such as a village hall, it was difficult to contact all members of the local community, especially in such a thinly populated area.
12. Date and place of next meeting.
It was agreed that the Parish Meeting should be provisionally scheduled for the earlier time of 6.30pm on Monday, 22 May, 2017, to be followed by the Council AGM, both at the Gables.
The Chair was thanked for his hospitality and the meeting closed at 9.00 pm.
Don Brownlow, Parish Clerk
3 Grievestead Farm
Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2NN
Tel. 01289 382702