Agenda and draft minutes

Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Committee - Wednesday, 20th July, 2022 4.00 pm

Venue: East Bedlington Community Centre, 16 & 17 Station Road, Bedlington, Northumberland, NE22 7JN

Contact: Heather Bowers 

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bowman, Daley and Taylor.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 334 KB

Minutes of the meetings of the Cramlington, Bedlington & Seaton Delaval Local Area Council held on 18 May and 26 June as circulated, to be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.

Additional documents:


The Minutes of the meetings of the Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council, held on 18 May 2022 and 26 June, as circulated, were confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.


Councillor Robinson referred to K Dalton’s question regarding the KMPG audit report to which he had received no reply.


The Chair stated that Council had agreed that the report could be made public and at present the Executive Director (Section 151 Officer) was reviewing the report and once completed, would be made available to the public.  The Chair apologised that Mr Dalton had not received a direct response and requested Councillor Robinson to convey his apologies.


A written reply would be sent to Mr Dalton.


With the agreement of the Chair of Planning, the Chair referred to the Local Area Council planning meeting of 22 June and stated that each planning decision must be based on planning regulations and be justifiable.  On numerous occasions there were times when people and councillors included were not happy with applications.  However, if there was no justifiable planning condition to support a decision against/objection then this could not be with upheld.  The decision taken at the June meeting, was unanimous and followed the required planning regulations.


If anyone felt that the planning process, or the Council was not following the correct planning procedure, were urged to come forward with evidence in line with the process to be followed to investigate and resolve through a complaint's procedure.  The process should not be carried out through social media.


Discussion took place regarding pre-determination of planning applications and a suggestion was made for training sessions to be in public to help understand the planning process.



To reply to any questions received from members of the public which have been submitted in writing 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; 
  1. which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual; 
  1. relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person 
  1. relating to any labour relations matters/negotiations; 
  1. restricted to legal proceedings 
  1. about enforcement/enacting legal orders 
  1. 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.


PETITIONS pdf icon PDF 250 KB

This item is to: 


(a) Receive any new petitions: to receive any new petitions.



(b) Consider reports on petitions previously received


  1. An extension/amendment to existing speed limit and extent of the road safety scheme in Seaton Sluice. 


Extend current 30 mph past the properties at Seafield Mews to look at a range of traffic calming measures including the potential to relocate the fixed camera speed site further to the north as the current location is potentially affected by the signalised control crossing point (to the Astley Arms Public House) which was installed after the speed camera. 


Seafield Mews has no calming features.  Improve the crossing point at Seafield Mews and improve safety with traffic calming measures. 


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


This item was to: 


  1. Receive any new petitions:  No new petitions had been received. 


  1. Consider reports on petitions previously received:  Petition requesting an extension/amendment to the existing speed limit and extent of the road safety scheme in Seaton Sluice. 


Neil Snowdon, Principle Programme Officer (Highways) and Robin McCartney Infrastructure Manager, Technical Services were in attendance. 


Members were informed that preliminary design work was currently being progressed by the Design Team to look at a range of potential solutions.  Once the preliminary design work had been completed this would be shared with the Ward Councillor.  This would also include speed surveys which had not been carried out since 2013. 


As the lead petitioner Mrs Margaret Murray was unable to attend the meeting, Councillor Ferguson asked the following questions/comments on behalf of the petitioner:- 


  1. When would the speed survey start and end and would the conclusion be published? 
  1. How was a speed survey is conducted, as drivers’ behaviours are different when it is obvious that a measure is being conducted and not necessarily a true reflection ? 
  1. Since the work at North Tyneside and the speed restrictions carried out by North Tyneside Council has made road safety worse all through Seaton Sluice. 
  1. Speed reductions could not be done by encouragement, speed reductions have to be implanted with consequences. 
  1. The splitter island you say is not a pedestrian refuge is used by a lot of people to cross the road, as at certain times of the day, it cannot be crossed. 
  1. Speed camera relocation – that particular camera has not worked for at least 10 years and local people know this, how many people received a speeding penalty for that camera? 
  1. I am shocked that the police have raised no concerns about the speed on the road. 
  1. Living on that stretch of the road after the camera is like living on a racing circuit. 
  1. If reliable evidence is required, then put down the speed straps to gather this information before someone is killed. 
  1. Ideally, average speed cameras should be placed from the Delaval Arms to the start of the 60 mile limit after Seafield Mews. 


Mr Snowdon responded that the speed survey would be completed in a couple of months and added to the list of requests and the speed survey carried out by placing strips on the road.  Since the work at North Tyneside might have made road safety worse, the splitter island was used by a lot of people.  The survey would show how many people used it.   


The pedestrian crossing affected the operation of the speed cameras and the police were aware that the route was regularly used by boy racers.  Speed enforcement was carried out by speed camera van. 


As soon as the feasibility study was ready that information would be shared. 


In response to a comment regarding the use of speed humps, Mr McCartney stated that a whole range of options had been considered. 


RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted including the issues raised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.



Officers to give a presentation which provides an overview of the Service.


Caroline Matthews, Recruitment & Engagement Officer, Residential & Family Placement Service and Lynne Love, Fostering Team Manager were in attendance and shared a presentation with an overview of the service.  (Presentation attached with the minutes).


In response to comments/questions from members, the following information was provided:-


There were myths around foster care, people think they can’t foster if they can’t work, are single, or if they have not had any children themselves. Campaigns aimed to combat the myths.


There were very few barriers, a spare bedroom was required, time and love for children.  There were very few things to stop people fostering.   There were never enough foster carers and a nationwide shortage.


Finance could be a barrier, people had to be realistic. There were add on earning and learning opportunities to support training and finance.


There were always shortages for teenagers and sibling groups and often for children with disabilities.


A small percentage of children were taken out of the county, but it was usually for a good reason.


The Authority try to “grow their own” foster carers, by expanding their skills through training and experience.


The fostering process could be lengthy 3 to 6 months depending on availability of the applicant, from the first enquiry to home visit, Skills to Foster course and assessment which could take up to 12 weeks.  The assessor would make a recommendation to the independent fostering panel who would make the decision.


The Chair thanked the officers for their presentation and the importance of making a significant difference.  He had hoped that more members of the public had attended the meeting and gave an open invitation for the officers to return to a future meeting.


RESOLVED that the information be noted.



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.


Tony Gribbin, Local Services Area Manager provided the following information:- 


Waste Service 


  • Residual, Recycling and bulky waste collection services continued to perform well. 
  • Garden waste service was also performing well but could be challenging on occasion. 
  • There were 9900 customers at present. 


Grass Cutting 


  • Now on cut 10 in Seaton Valley, cut 7 in Bedlington and cut 7 in Cramlington. 
  • Grass cutting had proved to be a challenge for teams in the early part of the year. 
  • Several days had been lost to rain in the early part of the season followed by warm and hot weather. 
  • 5 bank holidays in the early part of this cutting season added to the challenge imposed by the rain. 
  • This typically presented two challenges, the first being to complete  cutting rounds efficiently to avoid having long (and seemingly unmanaged) grass on view. 
  • The second was the inevitable grass arisings left following cuts of grass which could be longer than usual. 
  • Conditions had stabilised. 


Weed Control 


  • Service was being delivered in house again this year. 
  • The second round of treatments had commenced across the areas 
  • Councillors would be emailed when their areas had been completed. 
  • Blue dye was being used again this year. 
  • A spare ride on mower machine had been secured which had weed ripping brushes fitted to it, a useful option for instant removal of weeds should the need arise.  


Glass Trial 


This was ongoing in the [Morpeth/Alnwick/Bedlington/Hexham] areas with approximately 134 tonnes in the Bedlington area. 


 In Bloom or Green Flag 


  • Green Flag inspections had been carried out in Dr Pit Park, Gallagher Park, Astley Park, Alexandra Park 
  • Results of the inspections were being awaited. 


In response to member questions, the following information was provided:- 

·       Mr Gribbin would check if Southfield Lea had been treated for weeds 

  • Staff were deployed as and when for the mechanical sweeper.  There had been staff off sick due to Covid. 
  • Mayfield Cemetery – Mr Gribbin would follow this up 
  • A backpack would be used by the team to spray any weeds around parked cars 
  • The recycling scheme was being assessed to see how successful it was 
  • The issues in relation to the condition of the pavement on the B1505 and the sign post at the junction of High Pit Road would be chased up 
  • The Countryside Teams would be contacted in relation to the issues at Gallagher Park 
  • Mr Gribbin to come back about Green Flag status at Plessey Woods 
  • Teams would WhatsApp before and after weed ripping 
  • The routes for blue dye were dependent on parked cars  
  • There had been no response regarding the Barns Park Scheme. 


Mick Carle, Lead Highways Delivery Manager provided an update to the Committee:- 


All Highways Inspectors and maintenance crews continued to work Inspecting, fixing carriageway defects, making repairs, and making safe category one defects across the South East area.  


The gully emptier was fully deployed dealing with reported issues and cyclic maintenance. 


Larger Tarmac Patching has been carried out in the following locations; 




Details of the Cramlington, Bedlington & Seaton Valley Members Local Improvement Schemes for the period 2022-23 are provided for information only.


Details of the Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Members Local Improvement Schemes for the period 2022-23 were provided for information.


RESOLVED that the information be noted.



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).


The Chair advised that the work programme was for information and should Members wish to ask for any items to be added to the agenda, then they contact either himself or Democratic Services.


RESOLVED that the information be noted.



The next meeting of the Cramlington, Bedlington & Seaton Valley Local Area Council is scheduled for 17 August 2022 (planning only).


The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday 17 August 2022 (planning only).