Minutes of a Meeting of Trimdon Foundry Parish Council held on Tuesday 13th April 2021 by Zoom

178/20 Present:
Councillors Carole Bell (Chairman), Gail Elliott, Brian Ferguson, Mike Gilvin, lan Storey, County Councillor Lucy Hovvels

179/20 Apologies:
Cllr Gary Elliott, accepted.

180/20 In Attendance
Parish Clerk Kate Holmes One member of the public joined part of the meeting as noted in the minutes.

181/20 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.

182/20 Declaration of Interest

183/20 Dispensations for Declared Interests
None required.

184/20 Exclusion of the Press and Public
It was RESOLVED to exclude members of the press and public from Agenda Item 12, the environmental maintenance contracts for 2021-22.

185/20 Open Session

185a/20 Police and Wardens' Report
The report from PCSO Foreman was noted. The recently-discovered breakage of a window of the changing room and damage to the Memorial Garden rear double gates are to be reported.

185b/20 County Councillor's Report
Cllr Hovvels updated Members as follows:

  • Neighbourhood Warden Kenneth Short is achieving results;
  • The Post Office has reopened, but for only 2.5 days per week. This remains a concern for local residents and the Parish and County Council;
  • The broken fence at the corner of Malvern Crescent has yet to be repaired;
  • A stolen quad bike has been recovered and returned to its owner;
  • The pit pony sculpture on the A181 roundabout has been taken into safekeeping following a theft attempt. TFPC may be asked for a contribution to its repair and re-installation.
  • The application for planning permission by Green Lane Nursery is under consideration. This property is outside the TFPC boundary;
  • The AAP will be leading an initiative to tackle empty properties in local towns and villages, as part of planning for the future. The Parish Council may be able to secure funding from this scheme;
  • Vacant Ashley House remains a blight on the local environment but DCC is seeking a remedy with the owner;
  • The former Methodist Chapel has now been sold, and will become a funeral parlour. The Members voiced their approval of this change of use;
  • Potholes continue to be reported;
  • In the forthcoming elections there are 7 candidates for Trimdon Foundry Parish Council and 3 for the Police and Crime Commissioner


185c/20 Public Participation
None: one member of the public arrived at this point but did not wish to contribute on agenda items.

186/20 Minutes
It was RESOLVED to accept the minutes from the Parish Council meeting on the 9th March 2021 as a true record.

187/20 Finance
It was RESOLVED to pay all items listed in the report filename 'financereport.pdf that had been circulated by e-mail to Members on 10/4/21 EXCEPT FOR the invoice for playground inspections. It was unanimously agreed that the service received during 2020-21 was unacceptable. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk should notify DCC of this and the detailed reasons.

The monthly bank statement (Sheet 500) and bank reconciliation reports were reviewed and approved.

The Clerk reported that she has already challenged the direct debit payment taken by E-ON for the lighting at the Samaritan Tree. This was based on estimated readings despite a smart meter being in place, and far exceeded the expected charge. It appears that the smart meter cannot send readings through its metal pillar, although E-on has agreed to check whether it is functioning correctly. The Clerk will obtain a pillar key from DCC then take and submit readings to correct the over charging;

It was RESOLVED to defer debate and decision on a contribution to the pit pony sculpture reinstatement to the next meeting.

188/20 Arrangements for Future Meetings
It was resolved that at present it is impossible to hold face to face meetings in a Covid-secure manner in the available facilities. It may be possible to redevelop the changing room at the recreation ground to make it suitable for future meetings.

It was RESOLVED, in anticipation of a positive outcome to the current legal challenge, to hold May's Full Council and Annual Parish Meeting by Zoom. It was confirmed that a further Parish Meeting could be held later in the year, face to face, when conditions permit.

It was RESOLVED that the Clerk should visit the newly-elected Members with the Acceptance of Office book for signature ahead of the meeting scheduled for 11th May.

189/20 Policing in the Area
It was RESOLVED to focus efforts on securing Parish land and property against unlawful damage by vehicles for now.

190/20 Defence against Off Road Vehicles
The Clerk reported that approaches to two quarries had been unsuccessful for sourcing large boulders for preventing access. Cllr Storey offered to ask his contacts if any can supply.

It was RESOLVED that the Clerk should seek suppliers and prices for width restriction gate bars and foldable bollards to improve protection. Digging a trench to protect the rear Memorial Garden gates was also considered.

191/20 Playground Maintenance and Re-opening
It was RESOLVED that the playgrounds cannot be reopened until all damaged equipment is repaired/replaced and a safety certificate obtained. Cllr Bell to supply the Clerk with contact details for an alternative provider to DCC, in case they are unable to deliver promptly.

192/20 Cemetery
It was RESOLVED that following feedback from cemetery visitors about the water feature, the previous decision to remove the mains water supply to the cemetery should be reviewed once costs and options are obtained from Northumbrian Water. The Clerk confirmed that she had followed up her earlier request to them, but their Operations Team has a backlog of more urgent requests. Other sources of water such as underground rainfall butts were considered.

The Clerk reported the Land Registry has confirmed that Deaf Hill Cemetery is not registered to any owner. She will continue to seek documentary evidence with which to submit a request to register the land to Trimdon Foundry Parish Council.

DCC has refused to resurface the cemetery lay-by on the grounds that it is not their land.

The drainage works at the cemetery entrance have been completed, and surplus tarmac used to fill the worst pot-hole in the lay-by.

193/20 Publication of Members' Details
Deferred to next meeting

194/20 Policy Review
Deferred to next meeting.
195/20 Planning
The Parish Council agreed to comment that the responsibility rests with the Principal Authority which must ensure that the terms of the application and any permission granted are adhered to.
No comment to submit.

The member of the public in attendance left the meeting at this point.

196/20 Chairman's Report
Cllr Bell reported that after the series of issues reported previously, a fence has been installed across the Community Orchard. She is investigating whether the land has been sold, or if this is an unauthorized enclosure, and will update the Council when she has further information. It was suggested that the remaining fruit trees and bushes could be salvaged and donated to Deaf Hill Primary School.

197/20 Clerk's Report
The Clerk updated Members as follows:

  • The new website is now live, and is giving the IT Committee members the desired improved look, feel and functionality that prompted the change of provider;
  • No progress to report on Virtual Gardening Competition, Christmas Tree lighting or Front Line Workers' Event because of other demands on time;
  • Armed Forces Covenant draft submitted;
  • Samaritan Tree artist informed Clerk that original plan was to have metal discs engraved and then attached to the existing leaves, rather than add new leaves. It was RESOLVED that the Clerk should obtain samples for approval by the Council before proceeding with any potential nominations. The intention is to engrave the name of the recipient(s) and a reference number on the disc, then publish the list of names and reasons for awards on the website

198/20 Councillors' Reports
It was reported that the Groundworks charity has been distributing support parcels to local families, including 34 to residents of the parish. It was noted that financial support could be provided by the Parish Council if an appropriate grant application were submitted and approved.

199/20 Correspondence Received
Display of the Citizens Advice Energy Support poster was approved.

200/20 Items for Future Agendas
• Fly tipping behind Nattress Terrace
• Request for financial support for pit pony sculpture
• Publication of Members' Details (deferred from this meeting)
• Policy Review (items deferred from this meeting)

201/20 Exclusion of Press and Public
Not required as none present

202/20 Parish Council profile
It was RESOLVED to publish a statement reaffirming the Parish Council's support for all parish residents, including reference to support grants given to local organisations.

203/20 Environmental Maintenance 2021-22
It was RESOLVED to invite the current suppliers of horticultural and grass cutting services to continue doing so for the new financial year.
It was RESOLVED to invite a tender for an alternative to Durham County Council for bin-emptying and playground cleaning services.

204/20 Close of Meeting
The business of the meeting was concluded at 8.27pm.
These minutes were agreed as a true record at the meeting of Council held on 17th May 2021


Page added 6th June 2021