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Minutes of the meeting of Chollerton Parish Council held on Wednesday 27th July 2022 at 7.37pm in Gunnerton Church

Present: Cllr Edward Heslop in the Chair

Cllr Andy Bennett

Cllr Fiona Charlton

Cllr Malcolm Johnson

Cllr Bruce Lowdon

Cllr Dorothy Pigg

Cllr Maggie Tarbit

Ms Jayne Longlands in attendance.

Mrs Jen Dover and Mrs Denise Phillips were also in attendance to discuss various items at the meeting.

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

1. Apologies for Absence.

Received from; County Cllr Nick Morphet and Cllr Michael Smith.

2. Opportunity for Matters Raised by Members of the Public before the meeting to be  discussed

Questions which require a substantive answer at the meeting need to have been submitted to the Parish Clerk in writing 5 days before the meeting


3. Declaration of Interest from Members

To receive disclosures of personal and/or prejudicial interest from Members on matters to be considered at the meeting

The Chair noted a letter received earlier that day from Sport Tynedale, an organisation for which he was Chairman.

4. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes of the PC Meeting held on Wednesday 25th May 2022 were approved as a true and correct record (as proposed by Cllr Andy Bennett and seconded by Cllr Dorothy Pigg), and duly signed by the Chair.

(a) Matters Arising from the above minutes not addressed elsewhere on the agenda.

The Chair informed the meeting that, unfortunately, Colin Hall had been unable to attend that evening. However, he had agreed to join us at the following PC meeting on 28th September 2022.

The Chair reported that the Chollerton Vicarage drainage sinks were now working. He had however seen many weeds on the footpath at Chollerton, and added that Callum Bowman would be sorting out this issue.

Barrasford Quarry; the Chair had met with the new Barrasford Quarry Manager, Adam Smith. Mr Smith had explained they were well aware of issues raised and were trying to get Google to change directions to the quarry. Mr Smith said he would be interested in attending a future meeting. Cllr Andy Bennett asked about the lighting issues and the Chair noted this was something which the Quarry Manager was aware of. The Chair had invited Mr Smith to the next meeting.

B4RN Update; Cllr Bennett had been in touch with B4RN. Unfortunately, they said the build, which had been expected to start end of May, was delayed. Confirmation of matched funding against the £150 voucher was still awaited and there was some clarification for the scheme criteria still needed, as it had been re-instigated following a Central Government pause late in 2021 with some changes to criteria. He confirmed he would keep in touch with them.

NALC Subscriptions; it was AGREED that a thank you letter would be sent by the Clerk on behalf of the Parish Council to the retiring Officer, Mr Stephen Rickitt.

(b) External emails forwarded by the Clerk

Please note that emails received from external stakeholders are being distributed for information. It is proposed that if anyone wishes to raise any points then they should contact the Clerk

5. County Councillor Report.

Unfortunately, Humshaugh Ward County Cllr Nick Morphet had been unable to attend the meeting as he was testing positive for Covid. However, he had supplied the following written report (note that comments and actions agreed at the meeting are shown in green italics):-


5a. Gunnerton traffic calming. The work was scheduled to start today and should be finished by the end of the week. If there are any problems or delays, please let me know!

It was noted that the Gunnerton traffic calming works had started that day.

5a cont. The potholes by the railway bridge in Gunnerton. I recently took the Highways Maintenance Area Manager (Andy Olive) on a tour of all the highways issues in the ward – including the potholes by Gunnerton railway bridge. Andy told me that if I made a £2,000 contribution from my Members Local Improvement Scheme allowance the short potholed section would be patched and overlaid this financial year. Andy will then request that a longer section is surface dressed next financial year. Would you like me to make the contribution?

Jen Dover said that the potholes were still a problem, it was AGREED that the £2,000 contribution from the Members Local Improvement Scheme allowance should be used to fund the potholes work. Cllr Bruce Lowdon made the point that traffic calming measures needed a good road to put the signs on, which just wasn’t the case at the present time.

5b. The lack of centre line on the C216 between Chollerton and Gunnerton. The regulations state that roads less than 5.5m wide shouldn’t have a centre line, because it encourages motorists to slow down when they’re passing each other and discourages them from overrunning the verge. The Highways department felt that it was particularly appropriate to remove the centre line from this stretch of road because the northern section of the road had no centre line already – and consistency is always best for safety. The edge lines are usually retained because they help to prevent overrunning of the verges, slow traffic by making the road seem narrower and make it easier for road users to see the edges of the road at night. The reports of cars cornering at speed in the middle of the road are concerning but are hopefully just a short-term problem while people adjust to the new arrangement. Has the situation improved yet? I’d be happy to provide the Highways department with feedback.

Jen Dover and others present expressed their concerns about the current situation with a lack of centre line on the C216 road between Chollerton and Gunnerton. It was AGREED that we write to NCC Highways saying we had a number of residents concerned about this matter, with a few close shaves experienced, adding that we wanted to flag this up as we weren’t happy Cllr Andy Bennett had observed a noticeable change in road behaviour and suggested this wording be included. Cllr Bruce Lowdon also felt there was a lack of consistency – as there had been a white line on the road in the past and this was now missing.

5c. Jen Dover asked whether the County Council has any oversight over the duty of care that Karbon Homes has to its tenants. I spoke to the Service Director for Housing (Phil Soderquest) about this, and the answer is that it doesn’t. Although the County Council regards Karbon Homes as a key partner, it has no legal control over them. Dissatisfied tenants should in the first instance follow Karbon’s complaints procedure. If that doesn’t resolve matters, they should refer their complaint to the Housing Ombudsman or to the Social Housing Regulator.

Jen Dover outlined the situation in question; it was AGREED that she would follow this up with an email to Karbon Homes, with the Clerk to help with the composition and wording of the message being sent to them.

5d. The reflector posts on the A68, just south of Errington Red House Farm. Unfortunately, these still haven’t been replaced. I made a point of taking the Highways Maintenance Area Manager there on our tour of the ward, and it’s now on his list of jobs to do. He told me that for reasons of efficiency it would have to wait until they have another job in the area.

5e. The 20mph speed limit sign on Woodbine Terrace, Barrasford. I told Highways Programme that the parish council would like this sign to be installed on 26th May. Has it been installed yet? I emailed them for an update last week but haven’t had a reply yet.

It was stated that this sign had not been installed as yet.

5f. The “phase 1 design work” for the extension of the crash barrier to the north of Chollerton viaduct. I requested this in March, sent a reminder in May and asked for an update last week, but I’ve not had a single reply. When I emailed last week, I also asked whether the extension of the crash barrier needs to be submitted as an LTP request. In the absence of an answer to that question I’d suggest that you make it one of your LTP suggestions, if you can.

5g. Our Storm Arwen review is complete. When we interviewed Northern Powergrid I pushed them to invest more of their profits into the maintenance of their infrastructure, so I was pleased to hear that they’ve since announced that they’re going to increase the amount they invest in their overhead lines by 60%. They’re also going to invest over £50m on tree cutting over the next 5 years and donate £7.5m to charities working to improve community resilience.

5h. I’ve had the go ahead to order the benches. I’ve been told that the parish council would like a bench with a commemorative plaque, and I’ve been given the wording. All I need to know now is which model, colour and fixing method you would like. Models with code BX71 come with a plaque. This is the link to the website:

It was AGREED that the Parish Council would opt with the Traditional Three Seat option. The seat would be placed on grass so would need a spike to secure it (we would double-check with Cllr Morphet that this was the case).

5i. The species-rich grassland trial is going very well. The children at Chollerton First School have made posters which we hope to make into signs, and they’ve named the project The Barrasford Bs (Bees, Butterflies, Beetles and Bugs). We did a plant and insect survey on June 13th and a “bioblitz” with the school children last week. Unfortunately, the application for funding that I submitted to Hadrian’s Wall 1900 was unsuccessful, so at present we’re not sure where we’re going to find the £156 that we need for the signs. The dry weather has suppressed the vegetation considerably, so we’re wondering whether the signs are going to be necessary after all. It’s only a month until its due to be cut. We would welcome feedback.

It was AGREED that the Parish Council would offer to cover the £156 costs for the signs.

5j. I’ve looked into open space developer contributions, and they seem to be very similar to the old sport and play contributions. The main difference is that the open space contributions scheme applies to the whole county, whereas sport and play contributions were specific to certain areas, such as Tynedale. Most of the open space contributions will be used to create and improve green spaces and playgrounds, but it will still sometimes be possible to request a contribution for the improvement of sports facilities. Open space provision can be on-site or off-site, and if it’s off-site it can be provided directly or via a financial contribution to an open space “pot”. I believe that parish councils and community groups will be able to access the money in this pot in the same way that they could (and still can) access the old sport and play money. Housing developments only have to make open space contributions if there are ten or more houses (or the area of the development exceeds half a hectare).

Items elsewhere on the agenda:

6c. The County Council is pushing ahead with its Community Resilience Programme, and several parish councils have started to work on their Emergency Plans. Nigel Fisher from the Civil Contingencies Team is very happy to attend parish council meetings to talk about these things and answer questions. His contact details are 01670 621208, 07747 791536 and

6d. I’m sure you’re aware that this year’s deadline for LTP suggestions is July 29th? Given what I told you earlier, I’m not sure there’s anything to be gained by making the potholes by the railway bridge in Gunnerton one of your requests for 23/24 – but it wouldn’t do any harm either. If you’re looking for a third suggestion, I had a complaint about the surface of the C222 between Five Lane Ends and Hallington Mill. I think you could request that the road is surface dressed or resurfaced under the LTP programme. Would you mind letting me know what you decide, so that I can try not to duplicate?”

6. Items for Discussion

To discuss issues which have arisen or are causing concern within the Parish of Chollerton

(a) Platinum Jubilee: Commemorative Mugs

The Platinum Jubilee Commemorative Mugs had now been distributed to children within the Parish. The Chair thanked everyone for their part in carrying out this task.

It was AGREED that the remaining mugs would be placed in the shop for sale at £5 each, with Barrasford Village Hall to be given any remaining mugs in due course.

(b) Internal Auditor Vacancy

Councillors were asked to suggest suitable people for the role of Internal Auditor. It was AGREED that PC’s would consider this by the following meeting as we needed to have someone in place as soon as possible.

(c) Parish Emergency Plan

It was AGREED that Cllr Maggie Tarbit and Cllr Andy Bennett would progress the Parish Emergency Plan, together with Mr Nigel Fisher’s support; they would also review Humshaugh Parish Council’s plan to assist with this task.

(d) 2023-24 Local Transport Plan Programme consultation

It was AGREED that the top three priorities for the Local Transport Plan (LTP) Capital Programme for 2023/24, would be submitted to NCC as follows:-

1)  Extension of crash barrier at Chollerton viaduct
2)  C222 between Five Lane Ends and Hallington Mill
3)  A68 Quarry Quarry Bends – frequent accidents historically.

7. Correspondence

To note items received and sent out and consider their contents, as necessary

(a) Sport Tynedale: Request for Funding 2022/23

The Chair left the room whilst this item was discussed. In his absence, it was AGREED that a donation of £200 would be presented to Sport Tynedale as funding for 2022/23.

The Chair then rejoined the meeting and thanked the Parish Council for their donation.

(b) Car Parking at Chollerton Church

Jen Dover said that the PCC had applied to the Diocese to see if they could use part of the Glebe Field for parking – as lack of parking was a major problem at Chollerton Church. This item was discussed under any other business.

Jen Dover and Denise Phillips then left the meeting.

8. Financial Matters

(a) End of Year Accounts 2021/22

As previously noted, Armstrong Watson had audited the PC accounts for 2021/22.

It was explained that there had been a financial anomaly with the accounts four years ago; it was AGREED that this matter be left as it currently stood.

(b) Bank reconciliation as at 29th June 2022: £11,049.80

This figure was noted and accepted.

(c) Online Banking Update

The Clerk now had the online banking paperwork from Lloyds Bank; for all four PC signatories to sign after the meeting.

A reminder that all signatories were required to submit their personal information directly at Lloyds Bank in Hexham.

(d) BHIB Limited: Insurance: £657.47 paid 07.06.22

It was noted that a cheque for £657.47 had been paid to BHIB Limited, as payment for 2022/23 Parish Council insurance. The services of BHIB Limited had been secured for a three year period.

(e) Clerks Wages (Feb to May 2022): £561 paid 07.06.22

It was noted that £561 had been paid to the Clerk on 7th June 2022, as payment for wages from February to May 2022.

(f) Clerks Hours

The Clerk left the room for this item.

The PC discussed the clerks contract of three hours per week average. The members agreed that the clerk had settled-in well. The Chairman stated that it was obvious that the work was taking longer than three hours and having compared comparable PCs it was agreed that four hours per week average were needed to carry out the job.

In her absence, it was AGREED that the Clerk’s Hours be increased to four per week with effect from 1st August 2022.

(g) Lime Design Website Hosting: £154.80 to pay

The cheque for £154.80 to Lime Design had been posted to their old business address (as per the invoice address). Unfortunately, Lime Design had been unable to locate the cheque. It was therefore AGREED that a replacement cheque for the same amount would be issued to their new business address (with an agreement in writing that Lime Design would return the old cheque to the Clerk if it subsequently appeared).

9. Planning Applications

(a) Application Refused: The Old Mill C216 Dalla Bank To Barrasford NE48 4AA

(b) Permission Granted: 2 Front Street Barrasford Northumberland NE48 4AG

(c) Permission Granted: Land Between B6342 And Hallington Reservoir West Colwell

These decisions were noted.

(d) Decision awaited: Buildings To North And Land To West Of Hallington Mill

(e) Decision awaited: Barns At Demesne Farm Coal Road Gunnerton Northumberland NE48 4E

It was noted that planning permission was awaited for these two applications.

10. Information Items

To note information items received and passed to Parish Councillors via email.


11. Any Other Business

Business taken under this agenda item is for discussion only.

(a) Parking at Chollerton PCC; advice to work (as above)

Following earlier discussions regarding this item it was AGREED that the PCC would work with NCC and Cllr Nick Morphet, together with the support of Chollerton PC, raising any future issues with relation to this item.

(b) Road Sign at entrance to Middle Farm, Barrasford

It was AGREED that the Chair would get back to County Cllr Nick Morphet about the issue of the road sign before Middle Farm with the broken leg.

(c) Japanese Knotweed at Gunnerton

It was AGREED that this item be added to the agenda for the following meeting. Cllr Malcolm Johnson felt that early in the following year would be a good time to tackle the knotweed.

(d) Gunnerton Church

It was AGREED that the two invoices for the hire of Gunnerton Church (£20 for each booking in July and September 2022, therefore £40 in total) would be paid at the following meeting.

12. Date and Venue for Next Meeting

Wednesday 28th September 2022 at 7.30pm, Gunnerton Church

The following meetings would take place as follows: –

  • 23rd November 2022 at Barrasford Park

The Chair thanked everyone for attending for their contributions. There being no further business, the meeting closed at 8.40pm.