Agenda and draft minutes

Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council - Wednesday, 20th January, 2021 4.00 pm

Contact: Heather Bowers 

No. Item


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 220 KB


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council held on Wednesday, 18 November 2020, as circulated, be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.



To reply to any questions received from members of the public which must be received in writing 5 days in advance of the meeting.  Questions can be asked about issues for which the Council has a responsibility.  (Public question times take place on a bimonthly basis at Local Area Council meetings: in January, March, May, July, September and November each year.) 


As agreed by the County Council in February 2012, the management of local public question times is at the discretion of the chair of the committee.  


Please note however that a question may possibly be rejected if it requires the disclosure of any categories of confidential or exempt information, namely information: 

1.             relating to any individual; 

2.             which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual; 

3.             relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person 

4.             relating to any labour relations matters/negotiations; 

5.             restricted to legal proceedings 

6.             about enforcement/enacting legal orders 

7.             relating to the prevention, investigation of prosecution of crime. 


·                is defamatory, frivolous or offensive;  

·                it is substantially the same as a question which has been put at a meeting of this or another County Council committee in the past six months;  

·                the request repeats an identical or very similar question from the same person; 

·                the cost of providing an answer is disproportionate;  

·                it is being separately addressed through the Council's complaints process; 

·                it is not about a matter for which the Council has a responsibility or which affects the county; 

·                it relates to planning, licensing and/or other regulatory applications 

·                it is a question that town/parish councils would normally be expected to raise through other channels. 


If the Chair is of the opinion that a question is one which for whatever reason, cannot properly be asked in an area meeting, he/she will disallow it and inform the resident of his/her decision.  


Copies of any written answers (without individuals' personal contact details) will be provided for members after the meeting and also be publicly available. 


Democratic Services will confirm the status of the progress on any previously requested written answers and follow up any related actions requested by the Local Area Council. 




No questions had been received.



This item is to: 


(a)Receive any new petitions: to receive any new petitions. The lead petitioner is  entitled to briefly introduce their petition by providing a statement in writing, and a response to any petitions received will then be organised for a future meeting; 


(b)Consider reports on petitions previously received: no reports are due to be considered at this meeting; 


(c) Receive any updates on petitions for which a report was previously   considered: any updates will be verbally reported at the meeting. 





There had been no petitions submitted since the previous meeting, no reports for consideration and no updates to be provided.





This presentation will outline the Council’s strategy to the 2021-22 Budget within the context of the Corporate Plan.  The presentation will provide details of the approach to setting the budget for the next financial year and the broad impact this will have on the delivery of services.   






The presentation outlined the Council’s strategy to the 2021-22 Budget within the context of the Corporate Plan. The presentation provided details of the approach to setting the budget for the next financial year and the broad impact this would have on the delivery of services.


Councillors Nick Oliver, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Richard Wearmouth, Cabinet Member for Business & Tourism were in attendance to provide a power point presentation which outlined the Council’s strategy to the 2021-22 Budget within the context of the Corporate Plan. A copy of the presentation would be filed with the signed minutes and be uploaded to the Council’s website.


Councillor Oliver presented the following information:


Budget 2021-22 Approach


• Maintain high quality services most important to residents and businesses.

Continue to support the most vulnerable in communities whilst giving communities more control.

• Leading economic recovery following Covid with an investment in a green recovery.

• Meet budget challenges through a programme of continuous innovation and improvement.


Councillor Oliver wished to place on record his thanks to officers across all services who had responded in an amazing way to provide an excellent service to residents in these unprecedented times. In Northumberland 10% of people had now been vaccinated and it was hoped the economy would re-open in the Spring. These had been very difficult times for many people and the Council must be geared up and ready for recovery.


State of the Area


Public Health - the most up to date Covid figures were provided and it was hoped that the peak had been reached in Northumberland, however, there was no room for complacency, and it was important that everyone continued to follow the current Government guidelines to protect themselves and others. The North East was performing particularly well in the roll out of vaccinations.

Economy – Rural and coastal areas had been hit harder by the impact of COVID having a strong tourism and hospitality sector. There had been an increase of 62% in unemployment figures since March 2020 and a rise in the claiming of benefits. This particularly affected young people working in the

Ch.’s Initials……… Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council – 20 January 2021 3



sector and grants had been unprecedented. It was hoped the sectors would make a quick recovery following the lifting of restrictions. Vacancy levels across the County were provided and these were 3% less than in 2019. It was hoped vacancies would rise and fall again as jobs were filled going forward.


Council Services - Throughout COVID the Council had maintained services most important to residents. Officers had reacted quickly and successfully and had adapted to news ways of working, embracing digital solutions, and continuing to improve services. Within 4 weeks, 4,000 people had been given access to remote working. Some changes would remain, and some would be for the short term and others permanent.


Budget 2021-22: Financial Context


• Next year savings target  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



To receive a verbal update from the Area Managers from Technical Services and Neighbourhood Services in attendance about any key recent, ongoing and/or future planned Local Services work for the attention of members of the Local Area Council, who will also then have the opportunity to raise issues with the Area Managers. 


The Area Managers have principal responsibility for highway services and environmental services, such as refuse collection, street cleansing and grounds maintenance, within the geographic boundaries of the Local Area Council. 



The Neighbourhood Services Area Manager and Highways Delivery Area Manager were in attendance to provide verbal updates about any key recent, ongoing and/or future planned Local Services work and to respond to issues raised by members.


Neighbourhood Services


Tony Gribbin, Neighbourhood Services Manager, stated that it had been a long and challenging year, with front-line staff out working across the entire Christmas period.

Delivering the following services:


• Bereavement Services

• Refuse collections

• Public convenience increased cleaning

• Emptying litter bins

• Street cleansing to ensure streets remained clean and tidy

• Continuing other winter works programme

• Winter maintenance


Since the lockdown on 23 March 2020, social distancing restrictions had been implemented with teams adapting to revised working practices to ensure they continued to deliver the high profile services across all the LAC areas. Embracing challenges in an extremely professional way. He acknowledged the efforts of front-line teams and the back office staff, during what continued to be one the most difficult and challenging periods ever faced.


Bereavement Services


The teams in both the crematorium and cemetery staff had worked magnificently. There had been an initial surge in services at the beginning of the lockdown, but thankfully, service numbers had returned to what was expected at this time of year. Monitoring took place on a daily basis to ensure that staff were available to provide services for families.


Waste Service update


Refuse collection service had worked very well over the Christmas period. There had been some unfavourable weather conditions but minimal missed bins in this area. A good communication strategy ensured that substitute collection days were successful. Refuse staff collected around 1530 tonnes of residual waste and 230 tonnes of recycling waste on the collections after the Christmas and New Year period, a 15% increase of residual (household) waste and 25% increase of recycling compared with the previous period last year.


Grounds Maintenance


Regular winter works were well under way and requests made by members would be addressed. Members were requested to submit any further winter work requests (e.g. hedges and shrub maintenance) for assessment. These would be added to the schedule, if appropriate, and carried out if there were available resources subject to any new COVID restrictions.


Street Cleansing


Leaf clearance routes were now completed with a return to regular sweeping schedules. These had been suspended for a few days due to the snow and ice. Other cleansing activities were ongoing as usual.


Additional information


Free Tree Scheme – during December, free trees were given out to residents at 11 locations across the county. Ultimately, the aim was to give away 15,000 trees and were on target to achieve this in January, but as a result of the current national lockdown this was being reviewed.

Mr Gribbin noted the following concerns and agreed to look at them or forward them to the relevant officer as appropriate:




Councillor Flux passed on thanks from a resident in relation to the Free tree scheme.


• The system for the changing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



To note the latest version of agreed items for future Local Area Council meetings (any suggestions for new agenda items will require confirmation by the Business Chair after the meeting)  (Appendix A) 


Members received the latest version of agreed items for future Local Area Council meetings (attached to the signed minutes as Appendix A).


RESOLVED – that the Work Programme be noted



The next meeting will be held on Wednesday,17 February 2021 at 4.00 p.m.


It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Wednesday 17 February 2021.


The meeting closed at 5.40 pm



CHAIR __________________________




DATE __________________________