2019-07 July – Minutes

Minutes Uploaded on March 16, 2021

Minutes of the Meeting of the Parish Council held in Matfen Village Hall on Tuesday 30th July 2019 at 7.00pm.

Present:  Mr Stuart Mills, Chairman of the Council together with Mr Frank Robson, Mr Keith Irving, Mrs Ann Gregory-Smith, Chris Austin, Hugh Murphy

In attendance: Mrs Mandy Senior (Clerk); County Councillor Mrs Veronica Jones

Residents:  Charles Kelly, Phillip Chaffer, Mr and Mrs Mavin, Liz Bishop




0965.    RESIDENTS present raised a number of matters and where relevant they are listed together with the actions that will be taken, if required.  In due course, if necessary, reports will be made back to the Council.

a)     WEBSITE.  It was noted that the agendas and minutes for several meetings were missing from the website.  This was an oversight by the Parish Council and will be rectified immediately.   Action:  Mrs M Senior to update the website.

b)     MODEL PUBLICATION POLICY.  It was pointed out that this policy is out of date and needs to be reviewed.  This will be carried out and reviewed at the next meeting.  Action:  Mrs M Senior to draft a new policy.


  • There is an abandoned vehicle on the road up to the church
  • Damaged bench on the village green which needs to be removed
  • Dog owners walking 2-3 dogs off lead in the village and fouling. County Councillor Mrs V Jones advised that incidents of dog fouling could be reported to NCC.  She will speak to the dog warden to advise of the problem.

d)     RYAL ISSUES.  Charles Kelly advised that Joe Turner, NCC Planning Enforcement had not replied to his letter which was sent 2 months ago. In Joe Turner’s letter of 26 May 2019 he had promised to keep in touch with Mr Kelly and this had not happened. Mr Kelly would like the Parish Council to take strong action against Northumberland County Council should he not receive a response.  County Councillor Mrs V Jones is to contact Joe Turner to arrange a meeting onsite to discuss.  County Councillor Mrs V Jones advised that Northumberland County Council had issued an enforcement order against the gentleman however she advised that it is a very slow process.

e)     VILLAGE GREEN.  Comments were made that the village green had deteriorated in recent years.  The damaged bench and grass cutting being contributing factors.  Also, the travellers encampment in recent years on route to Appleby had not helped the situation.

f)       GRASS CUTTING.  Concerns over the grass cutting were expressed.  NCC cuts the grass in Matfen and the Parish Council pays for additional grass cutting above the standard amount of cuts.  The Parish Council also pays for a contractor to carry out a village tidy up which includes edging, tidying the gutters etc.  Residents suggested that volunteers could carry out tidy ups through the village.  This could be publicised via a leaflet drop, notices on the notice board or via Facebook.   NCC will provide litter picking equipment to community groups to carry out regular litter picks.

g)     FACEBOOK.  It was noted there is a Facebook page called ‘Matfen Village’ which is under utilised.   This page could be used to publicise events and ask for volunteers.

h)     PLAY AREA.  The location of new play equipment on the Village Green was discussed.  Revised plans are awaited and residents views will be welcomed on locations.

0966.    COUNTY COUNCILLORS REPORT.  County Councillor Mrs V Jones gave her verbal report on matters relating to Northumberland County Council.

Grass cutting.  NCC has put more money into grass cutting and the service is improving.  This year has been very difficult for grass cutting due to the weather.

i)       High Schools.   Plans are progressing for the new High School in Hexham which is due to be open to pupils by September 2021 and the new Ponteland High School will be open to pupils by September 2020.

j)      Adult Wellbeing.  Social care is difficult to deliver in rural areas.  NCC has set up an apprentice scheme to encourage people to go into social care.  There are 30 spaces starting in September.  NCC is looking into extra care house and are looking at small schemes together with 2 large schemes in Morpeth and Cramlington.

k)      Finance.  Finances are improving.  NCC had an underspend of £11m and have managed to reduce their loan.

l)     Northumberland Draft Local Plan.

m)    Tourist Destination of the Year.  Northumberland County Council submitted the Northumberland Local Plan to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government for examination.  Northumberland is bidding to become Tourist Destination of the year 2019.  Voting is now open

0967.    MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 28th May 2019.  It was proposed by Cllr S Mills, seconded by Cllr Mrs A Gregory Smith and AGREED to accept the minutes as an accurate record.


a)  Village Tidy up and Bus Shelter.  Phillip Dixon had carried out the village tidy up and had done a good job.  The bus shelter had also been tidied up.

b)  Benches.  The provision of benches from Durham Prison is no longer an option.  Northumbrian Water is to contribute £400-£500 towards the purchase of the benches.  It was noted that 1 bench is required in Ryal, 1 in Ingoe and 2 in Matfen.  It was also noted that the 2 picnic benches on the village green are in a bad state of repair.  Cllrs C Austin and Mrs A Gregory Smith to walk around the village and see what is needed.  A supplier/installer will then be sought.  Action:  Cllrs C Austin and Mrs A Gregory Smith to arrange for new benches.

c)  Estate Garden.  The garden had been tidied up by Matfen Estates.

d)  BT Signs.  The signs still need to be removed.  Action:  Mrs Senior to arrange.

0969.    FINANCE

a)  ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENT.  It was proposed by Cllr S Mills, seconded by Cllr Mrs A Gregory Smith and AGREED accounts on                         the list attached be paid.

b) BARCLAYS BANK.  It was proving difficult to change the contact details with Barclays Bank.  Statements and cheque books were                      still being sent to the previous clerk.  Cllrs S Mills and Mrs A Gregory Smith are to make an appointment at Barclays to change the                    details in person.

Payee Detail Cheque Issued VAT Net of VAT Cheque Number
Philip Dixon Groundworks 700.00 700.00 101041
Mrs A Senior Clerical services 455.60 455.60 101042
Playsafety Ltd Play area inspection 164.40 27.40 137.00 101043
L Paterson Public toilet cleaning 100.00 100.00 101044
HM Revenue & Customs PAYE 113.80 113.80 101045
Matfen Village Hall Rental – May 2019 10.00 10.00 101046
Mrs A Senior Play area inspection 75.00 75.00 101047
J C Accountants Internal audit fee 36.00 6.00 30.00 101048
Barclays Bank Interest 3.53 3.53 01.04.19
Barclays Bank Interest 3.53 3.53 28.06.19

0970.    CORRESPONDENCE.  All correspondence received since the May 2019 meeting had been listed on the agenda and circulated to all councillors.

0971.    POLLING DISTRICT AND POLLING PLACES REVIEW.  Northumberland County Council is carrying out a review of Polling Districts and Polling Places.  Details relating to the review can be found on the Council’s website at

0972.    LOVE NORTHUMBERLAND AWARDS.  Nominations are invited for projects and individuals that are enriching the environment and the live of people in Northumberland.  Winning projects will receive a £250 prize and runner up projects a £100 prize to assist the project or group with future activities.

0973.    NORTHUMBERLAND DRAFT LOCAL PLAN.  Northumberland County Council submitted the Northumberland Local Plan to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government for examination.  The draft Local Plan and all the supporting documents can be viewed on the Council’s website at An independent examination of the Northumberland Local Plan will now be conducted by the Planning Inspectorate. This could be later in 2019, possibly starting in September. Part of this process will involve hearing sessions where those invited to attend will have the opportunity to respond to matters raised by the appointed Planning Inspector.


  • NALC – weekly eNews
  • Clerks AND Councils Direct – July 2019 Issue 124
  • Community Action Northumberland – Summer 2019 July Issue


Reference No Address Details Decision
19/01742/VARYCO Kearlsey Farm, Ingoe Removal of condition 8 (to be used in connection with agriculture) relating to approved planning application CM/01/D/182 Comments by 2nd July
19/01763/FUL High Bellridge, Ingoe Conversion of existing agricultural barn to 2 x holiday lets Comments by 4th Jully
19/01871/FUL Land North of Kilnside House, Ryal Proposed equestrian arena for private use Comments by 15th August


a)  PLAY AREA UPGRADE UPDATE.  Rachael Dempsey is to submit further suggestions for the village play area.  She has had a number of discussions with Sir Hugh Blackett who is taking an active interest in enhancing the village facilities for the benefit of the community and local businesses.  With Hugh’s support and the support of a number of local residents and business owners, a new proposal will be submitted that will reflect the needs and wants of the members of the community.  Kompan is going to provide new drawings and outline costs for the alternative proposal.  An additional quote is to be obtained as a means of comparison.

b)  LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN PROGRAMME 2020-21.  NCC is requesting the top three highways and transport priority issues so that they can be considered for inclusion in the LTP Programme 2020/21. This was deferred to the September meeting.

c)  NOTICE BOARDS.  These have now arrived and will be installed in due course.

d)  REQUEST FROM MATFEN CRICKET CLUB.  Matfen Cricket Club are looking to improve the facilities at the Cricket ground and are hoping to buy some new benches as the current outdoor seating is old and inadequate for the number of supporters coming to matches and training.  After discussion, a £500 contribution towards the seating was AGREED.

e)  SIGNS.  Horse warning signs have appeared throughout the village.  These are propped on the grass verges.  County Councillor Mrs V Jones is to look into this to see if they were erected by NCC.

f)  POTHOLES.  There is a pot hole at the east end of the village by the bridge.  County Councillor Mrs V Jones will report this to NCC.  She advised that all emergency repairs will be carried out in 24 hours.  Once the pothole is repaired it is put into the programme to be dug out and a thorough patch carried out.

0977.    RESIGNATION OF A PARISH COUNCILLOR.  Cllr H Murphy has moved out of the village and will therefore be resigning from the Parish Council.  He thanked the Parish Councillors and Cllr S Mills thanked Hugh on the Parish Council’s behalf for his contribution over the 2 years he had stood on the Parish Council.  NCC will be informed of the resignation and the statutory notice will be displayed for 14 working days.  Action:  Mrs M Senior to advise NCC.

0978.    BROADBAND.  Cllr C Austin advised that Alncom was now live and providing superfast broadband to Ingoe.  It was agreed for Cllr Austin to contact Alncom to provide support and assistance to promote the service to residents.  This could be a new alternative system for residents who are off the main grid and Alncom may be able to reach out to the other outlying communities in the parish.

0979.    FENWICK.  It was noted that a stone wall in Fenwick is in need of repair.  Cllr K Irving had been in contact with Matfen Estates.

0980.    OVERGROWING TREE.  It was noted that a large purple elder at the bridge from the Ingoe/Ryal road into Matfen was growing into the road.  Action:  Cllr Mrs A Gregory Smith will speak to the residents involved.

0981.    DATE OF NEXT MEETING.  The next meeting is to be held on Tuesday 24th  September 2019 at 7.00pm in the Village Hall.