Minutes of a Meeting of Trimdon Foundry Parish Council held on Tuesday 13th October 2020 by Zoom

047/20 Present:
Councillors Carole Bell (Chairman), Gail Elliott, Gary Elliott, Brian Ferguson, Mike Gilvin, Jean Loverance, Ian Storey
County Councillor Lucy Hovvels

048/20 Apologies:
None: full attendance.

049/20 In Attendance
Parish Clerk Kate Holmes

050/20 Notice of Motion
The notice of motion to call the meeting was proposed by Cllr C Bell and seconded by Cllr Mike Gilvin. This was carried.

051/20 Declaration of Interest

052/20 Dispensations for Declared Interests
None required.

053/20 Exclusion of the Press and Public
It was RESOLVED that as no members of the public were present, no exclusion would be necessary.

054/20 Open Session

054a/20 Police and Wardens’ Report
No PCSO report had been received, so it was RESOLVED that if and when one was supplied, the Clerk should forward it to Members.

054b/20 County Councillor’s Report
Cllr Hovvels reported that she had been in contact with PCSO Foreman, and also that there is a new Community Warden in post for the area. (The Warden, Kenneth Short, had attended a previous meeting of the Council shortly after his appointment.)

Her main item of concern was the proposed closure of the Post Office and Sorting Office on Station Road, and its impact on local residents and employment. It is understood that the sorting work and pickup of undelivered mail would be transferred to Hartlepool. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk should write to the manager of the Hartlepool office to protest against the closures.

Cllr Hovvels reported that the road markings around Malvern Crescent had been refreshed and the broken fence had been repaired.

She has received several complaints from residence about the proliferation of caravans and activity on the former colliery site behind Durham Pharmaceuticals, with concerns including environmental health, plumbing and sewage management, and non-payment of Council Tax.

During the current pandemic, the County Council has taken steps to improve housing provision, e.g. the project in Wheatley Hill. Schools have had additional handwashing facilities funded plus other support. £100M has been distributed to local businesses as Business Rate Retention Grant, and Area Action Partnerships are holding an online gathering for towns and villages on October 28th.

County Durham has joined the North East England ‘LA7’ group of authorities for a stronger, unified response to Covid-19. Cllr Hovvels has sent two further letters to the Secretary of State for Health, and is yet to receive an answer to either these or the earlier two. Co Durham’s care homes are all private sector, but the council has provided them with extra funding for personal protective equipment and is supporting the development of a Care Academy at East Durham and Houghall College.

054c/20 Public Participation

055/20 Minutes
It was RESOLVED to accept the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 8th September 2020 as a true record, subject to the correction that Steve White is the new Police and Crime Commissioner not Chief Constable.

056/20 Finance
It was RESOLVED to pay all items listed in the report filename ‘20201009 Pending Expenditure Transactions – Approval List.pdf’

A ‘round robin’ grant request email had been received from Durham Cathedral, but it was RESOLVED that as this did not fall within the Council’s grant awarding policy it should not be acted upon.

057/20 Lighting of Samaritan Tree and Christmas Tree(s)
Following payment of the Section 50 Permit charges and the invoice for Samaritan Tree works and lights, work will proceed. The Clerk agreed to continue to push for progress.

The Clerk reported that she had contacted Northern Tree Transplanters. They had ceased supplying Christmas trees because they were failing when left unwatered, but proposed to start doing so again in the next few weeks. Indicative prices would then become available.

058/20 Cemetery Water Feature
It was RESOLVED that Clerk should sign and return the offer paperwork from the AAP, and send an official order to the artist for the work.
It was agreed that a socially-distanced visit to the artist should take place to view his work once sufficiently progressed to give a clear idea how the finished item might look, but soon enough to incorporate any desired changes.

059/20 Remembrance Day 2020
It was RESOLVED that, subject to any further restrictions in force at the time, wreaths would be laid by an individual on November 11th, and photographs taken for website/Facebook.

060/20 Cemetery
The Clerk reported that she had received a complaint of flooding at the entrance to the cemetery. It was RESOLVED that Cllr Elliott would arrange for the drains to be blown clear. The state of the roadway outside the cemetery was discussed at this point. Cllr Hovvels agreed to supply a map to clarify the boundary of County and Parish land and responsibility.

The Clerk asked for guidance on handling requests to purchase burial plots that appeared vacant within the cemetery, but according to the official cemetery plan and records should not exist, i.e. apparent ‘extra’ space between existing graves or pre-purchased plots. It was RESOLVED that such requests must be refused, to avoid any risk of compromise of the existing graves and plots, or of the overall plan.

It was RESOLVED that purchase of a noticeboard for the Cemetery, for the display of rules, contact details, prices etc, is not a priority for the Council at present.

061/20 Policy Review
The draft Exclusive Right of Burial leaflet was discussed. Changes requested were:
- Prohibition of glass items on graves
- Prohibition of borders around graves and of gravel/pebble/other coverings that obstruct grass cutting.
- Responsibility of holder of EROB to ensure compliance by all parties.

The amended draft is to be reviewed at the next meeting in November 2020.

062/20 Planning
No applications of interest to the Council had been received.

063/20 Chairman’s Report
All matters were covered under separate agenda items.

It was RESOLVED that one further iPad should be purchased to make a complement of 8, so that each current Member has one from new, and the former Clerk’s iPad is kept as a spare. The Chairman undertook to set up the additional iPad once purchased for the member currently without one.

064/20 Clerk’s Report
The Clerk reported that she had received a verbal request from the External Auditors for clarification of the following AGAR details:

  1. An apparent discrepancy of £370 on the Asset Register
  2. Further details about the differences in income and expenditure between 2018-19 and 2019-20, even though the main reasons had already been documented and submitted;
  3. Explanation of the apparently high sum held in reserve.

It was RESOLVED that £30,000 should be held in reserve to cover the cost of surfacing the Memorial Garden car park, in addition to reserves already identified.

The interruption in e-mail service experienced during the recent change of supplier has been resolved, and the hoped-for benefits including intact transfer of email attachments to recipients have been achieved. Unfortunately, despite the Clerk’s stating the requirement up front, it has not yet been possible to recover e-mails sent and received previously, even though these were exported and saved. The Clerk will continue to work on this.

All Members are requested to complete and return to the clerk the Register of Interests forms supplied to them.

The Clerk had held a webchat with NPower to investigate possibility of obtaining smart meters for the two Recreation Ground power supplies, but this was both frustrating and unproductive. She had also just received an unrelated email from NPower saying that one of these meters might be faulty as it was recording no usage. This is the meter for the supply that is turned off. The Clerk agreed to deal with both matters.

065/20 Councillors’ Reports
Concerns were reiterated about the siting of caravans on the land behind Durham Pharmaceuticals that is designated as grazing land. DCC Planning Control is dealing with this. The Clerk was requested to contact Stephen Reed at Planning Enforcement to ask for a progress report.

Quad bikes operating on this land and on Wingate Road through most nights are causing disturbance and have been reported to the police. Details were passed to the Clerk for follow-up.

Allotment Plot 38 has been let to the next resident on the waiting list.

Another allotment tenant has complained of flooding of their plot. In this case, the land on either side is at a higher level. It was RESOLVED that no action should be taken to address the problem, but the tenant should be offered a different plot as and when one becomes vacant.

The Clerk will be supplied with a list of tenants whose plots are not kept to the required standard, so that they can be sent letters instructing them to deal with the problems. She will also be sent an updated/corrected list of all tenants so that they can be sent individual letters about the waiver of 2020-21 rents.

The Clerk was requested to contact the environmental maintenance contractor as the gate to the cemetery spoil compound still has not been repaired properly, and the hardboard sheets left in there are making the problem worse.

The Clerk was requested to follow up a request from Durham Pharmaceuticals to install a flower planter box on their forecourt. This would both enhance the location and possibly deter access to the old pit site.

066/20 Correspondence Received
Covered under separate agenda items.

067/20 Items for Future Agendas
- 2021-22 Budget and Precept-setting
- Environmental Maintenance – to be discussed in a separate ad-hoc meeting
- Website Hosting

068/20 Exclusion of Press and Public
Not required.

069/20 Close of Meeting
The business of the meeting was concluded at 7.54pm.

These minutes were agreed as a true record at the meeting of Council held via Zoom on 10th November 2020.


Page added 4th December 2020