Agenda and draft minutes

North Northumberland Local Area Council - Thursday, 21st January, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Remotely

Contact: Lesley Little 

Items
No. Item

163.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor T Clark.

164.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 152 KB

The minutes of the meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council held on Thursday 19 November 2020, as previously circulated, to be agreed and signed by the Chair.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the North Northumberland Local Area Council held on Thursday 19 November 2020, as circulated, be confirmed as a true record and be signed by the Chair.

165.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

Unless already entered in the Council’s Register of Members’ interests, members are required to disclose any personal interest, (which includes any disclosable pecuniary interest), they may have in any of the items included on the agenda for the meeting in accordance with the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council on 4 July 2012, and are reminded that if they have any  personal interests of a prejudicial nature (as defined under paragraph 17 of the Code of Conduct) they must not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must leave the room.

 

N.B. Any member needing clarification must contact the Legal Services Manager, Liam Henry, on 01670 623324. Please refer to the guidance on disclosures at the rear of this agenda letter.

Minutes:

Councillor Castle advised that he had a personal and prejudicial interest in applications 20/01238/FUL and 20/0139/LBC as his son worked for Northumberland Estates (the applicant) and he would switch his camera and would take no part on these items.

166.

PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED AT A VIRTUAL PLANNING COMMITTEE pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Thorne, Vice-Chair Planning took the Chair at this point and outlined the procedure which would be followed at the virtual meeting and of the changes to the public speaking protocol.  He also advised Members that if their connection was lost during consideration of an application and it was not possible for a short recap to be provided then the Member would not be allowed to vote on the application.

167.

DETERMINATION OF PLANNING APPLICATIONS pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To request the committee to decide the planning applications attached to this report using the powers delegated to it.  (Appendix A)

 

Please note that printed letters of objection/support are no longer circulated with the agenda but are available on the Council’s website at  http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Planning.aspx

Minutes:

The report (attached as Appendix A to the signed minutes) requested the Committee to decide the planning applications attached to the report using the powers delegated to it.  Members were reminded of the principles which should govern their consideration of the applications, the procedure for handling representations, the requirement of conditions and the need for justifiable reasons for the granting of permission or refusal of planning applications.

 

Councillor Castle switched his camera and microphone off at this point and took no part in the following two applications.

168.

20/01238/FUL pdf icon PDF 374 KB

The conversion of no. 2-8 Bailiffgate to hotel (Use Class C1), demolition of rear of no. 2-8 Bailiffgate, construction of new build hotel (Use Class C1), refurbishment works to former gym block (Use Class D2), new vehicular access, landscaping and associated ancillary works.

Duchess High School Annexe, 2 Bailiffgate, Alnwick, Northumberland

NE66 1LZ

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The conversion of no. 2-8 Bailiffgate to hotel (Use Class C1), demolition of rear of no. 2-8 Bailiffgate, construction of new build hotel (Use Class C1), refurbishment works to former gym block (Use Class D2), new vehicular access, landscaping and associated ancillary works.

Duchess High School Annexe, 2 Bailiffgate, Alnwick, Northumberland

NE66 1LZ 

 

J Bellis, Senior Planning Officer provided a joint introduction to this application and the listed building application 20/01239/LBC to the Committee with the aid of a power point presentation advising that a separate decision would still be required for each application. Updates were provided as follows:

 

  • Paragraph 1.1 of the report incorrectly referred to the application being heard by the Strategic Planning Committee this should refer to the North Northumberland Local Area Committee.

 

  • A revised recommendation was proposed for application 20/01238/FUL and would read as follows:-

 

“That this application be GRANTED subject to the conditions as outlined and a S.106 legal agreement for a Coastal Mitigation Scheme contribution of £13,537 and the provision of a Traffic Regulation Order on Walkergate.”

 

A written statement provided by Alnwick Town Council was read out to the Committee by L. Little, Senior Democratic Services Officer and would be filed with the signed minutes and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

A written statement provided by the applicant in support of the application was read out to the Committee by V. Cartmell, Planning Area Manager - Development Management and would be filed with the signed minutes and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

R Murfin, Director of Planning, reminded Members of the Committee should not confuse change with harm to heritage assets and protection of such was not meant to stop all change.  A balance had to be made between the benefits of the proposal against any harm and that hotels within town centres did not always require car parking when sufficient short and long term spaces were provided in the area.  Highways had assessed the application and, subject to conditions to be imposed to any permission granted and the inclusion of the TRO were satisfied.

 

In response to questions from Members of the Committee the following information was provided:-

 

                 Highways safety had been looked into in detail with the volume and speed of vehicles taken into consideration.  The conditions set out in the report secured the design and the provision of the TRO on Walkergate would prevent any on-street parking. Any additional car parking on the site over that being proposed would impact on the quality of the design of the scheme and it was considered that a balance had been achieved. The provision of additional car parking within the town centre had already been secured.  If Members required an informative could be added to any permission granted to request that patrons using the restaurant or gym be given information on alternative car parking within the town.

                 The TRO would prevent householders from parking directly outside their properties to improve highways safety.

                 In relation to concerns regarding the massing and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 168.

169.

20/01239/LBC pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Listed Building Consent: The conversion of no. 2-8 Bailiffgate to hotel (Use Class C1), demolition of rear of no. 2-8 Bailiffgate, construction of new build hotel (Use Class C1), refurbishment works to former gym block (Use Class D2), new vehicular access, landscaping and associated ancillary works.

Duchess High School Annexe, 2 Bailiffgate, Alnwick, Northumberland

NE66 1LZ

Minutes:

The conversion of no. 2-8 Bailiffgate to hotel (Use Class C1), demolition of rear of no. 2-8 Bailiffgate, construction of new build hotel (Use Class C1), refurbishment works to former gym block (Use Class D2), new vehicular access, landscaping and associated ancillary works.

Duchess High School Annexe, 2 Bailiffgate, Alnwick, Northumberland

NE66 1LZ 

 

Paragraph 1.1 of the report incorrectly referred to the application being heard by the Strategic Planning Committee this should refer to the North Northumberland Local Area Committee.

 

Councillor Renner-Thompson proposed acceptance of the recommendation to grant permission as outlined in the report which was seconded by Councillor Pattison.   A vote was taken as follows:- FOR 6; AGAINST 2; ABSTENTION 1.

 

RESOLVED that the application be GRANTED for the reasons and with the conditions as outlined in the report.

 

Councillor Castle re-joined the meeting at this point.

170.

20/02159/COU pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Change of use to storage facility to be used for container, boat and caravan storage

Land North East Of Chathill Station, Chathill, Northumberland

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Change of use to storage facility to be used for container, boat and caravan storage.

 

J Sharp, Planning Officer, introduced the application to the Committee with the aid of a power point presentation.  The following updates were provided:

 

             Two additional letters of support had been received from potential users of the site and therefore there had now been 6 letters of support.

             Reference had been made to Chathill Parish Council in the introduction of the report and this should have actually stated Ellingham.

 

A written statement provided by Ellingham Parish Council was read out to the Committee by L. Little, Senior Democratic Services Officer and would be filed with the signed minutes and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

A written statement provided by the applicant in support of the application was read out to the Committee by V. Cartmell, Planning Area Manager - Development Management and would be filed with the signed minutes and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

The Director of Planning provided clarification on a number of issues such as a condition could be included to restrict the height on the compound to prevent the stacking of containers; a condition related to landscaping of the site would ensure that indigenous species be included; and whilst development of the site for open storage would have some impact on the listed buildings, the previous use of the building and site had been for commercial uses in connection with the railway. 

 

In response to questions from Members of the Committee the following information was noted:-

 

             No restriction in the hours of use had been proposed.  Officers would have looked to propose a restriction if Public Protection had requested. There were many businesses throughout the County operating with no restriction in working hours. It would be reasonable to assume that if the storage was being used by small businesses they may on occasions need to access these out of the usual business hours and unless Public Protection had requested a restriction then it would be very difficult to justify the need.  Councillor Pattison stressed that this was a site in the centre of a very quiet rural village and would require a restriction.

             The informatives would be attached to any permission granted.

             Network Rail had requested lighting as outlined in condition 5 in order to ensure that it did not impact on the running of the railway.

             If Members felt it necessary then all the suggestions made by the Parish Council could be included as conditions attached to any permissions.

             Whilst the concerns raised by the Parish Council were valid, as there had been no objections to the application by the Council’s Highways, Public Protection or Ecology or Network Rail, subject to conditions being imposed, then to refuse the application on those grounds would be difficult.

             The NPPF required the Local Planning Authority to balance harm against public benefit and in Officers’ opinion the new business which will in turn support other small businesses  ...  view the full minutes text for item 170.

171.

PLANNING APPEALS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 179 KB

For Members’ information to report the progress of planning appeals.  This is a monthly report and relates to appeals throughout all 5 Local Area Council Planning Committee areas and covers appeals of Strategic Planning Committee.   

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the information be noted.

172.

S106 AGREEMENTS UPDATE REPORT pdf icon PDF 137 KB

For Members’ information to report the agreement monitoring and collection of s106 contributions in the planning process.  This is a monthly report and relates to agreements throughout Northumberland during the previous monthly period.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the information be noted.

 

 

Councillor Castle returned to the Chair at this point and advised that a 10 minute break would be held.

 

The meeting recommenced at 4.30 pm.

173.

PUBLIC QUESTION TIME

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;

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.

 

And/or:

 

?        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.

Minutes:

Councillor Hill advised that she had been advised that a question had been submitted in respect of grants to taxi drivers.  The Senior Democratic Officer advised that this would be investigated.

174.

PETITIONS

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.

Minutes:

No new petitions had been submitted and there were no updates in relation to previous petitions.

175.

LOCAL SERVICES ISSUES

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.

Minutes:

G Bucknall, Highways Area Delivery Managed advised of the progress made in respect of the very challenging Capital Programme, working non-stop since April despite Covid.  Of the 205 carriageway and footpath schemes in the County, 110 had been completed, of which 59 were in the northern area with 34 completed. He outlined the schemes in the Northern area which had been competed since the previous meeting and the schemes which were to be delivered within the next few weeks.   He advised that tenders had just been received for several footpath schemes and a major structural patching scheme programmed on the B6342 Rothbury to Coldrife.  The maintenance crews were very busy repairing pot holes and clearing gullies on a daily basis.  Winter services were in full swing following a quiet start to the season with 49 full gritting runs undertaken with 28 front line gritters along with additional runs and secondary routes where snow and ice persist and in excess of 10,000 tonnes of salt used.

 

He advised that work on the footpaths would be commenced before the end of March.  Councillor Bridgett advised that the residents of both Glanton and Tossen had been appreciative of the work undertaken in those areas.  He highlighted that work was also to be undertaken on the B6342 Rothbury to Coldrife in connection with the new development and suggested that the schemes should be coordinated if possible.   He also requested that the road at Alwinton before the bridge was inspected, as he suspected that whilst patching might be fine in the short term it would require a more permanent fix. 

 

Councillor Hill advised that the work at Billingdene had received lots of compliments by residents for both the quality of the road and the help which had been provided by the workmen.  In response to her question regarding the hard standings to be provided on Main Street in Spittal within the next two weeks, it was confirmed that the work would be undertaken before the end of March and he would clarify the timescale.

 

Councillor Renner-Thompson advised that the work undertaken on St. Aidans at Seahouses had been very well received although a dropped kerb was still required. He had advised the Town Council that this could be provided through his Small Schemes budget.  In respect of the progress of the rumble strips in Bamburgh which had broken up Mr Bucknall advised that he would visit the location as work was ongoing with the design of a safety scheme and it would be unlikely that resurfacing work would be undertaken at the current time.

 

Councillor Thorne advised he was delighted at the road improvement schemes which had been undertaken across the County.   Clarification would be sought on any proposed traffic calming measures on the newly resurfaced Rothbury Road.

 

In response to Councillor Seymour’s question regarding the resurfacing and flooding of the North Road, Members were advised that no resurfacing could be undertaken until the flood alleviation scheme had been implemented and it was expected  ...  view the full minutes text for item 175.

176.

BUDGET 2021-22 AND MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL PLAN

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.

Minutes:

Councillors N Oliver, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and G Sanderson, Leader,  provided 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, with the following information noted.

 

Members were advised that the budget was being presented in a different way this year and there had been an on-line question and answer session and a “have your say” consultation undertaken between 10 December 2020 and 20 January 2021 which had been open to residents to have their say and this would be fed into the budget process.  2020 Had been a very difficult year for everyone and the Council’s budget would reflect what had happened and the lessons learned on what could be done differently whilst still providing all the services which residents relied upon.  The Administration were very proud of the staff for the work undertaken for the residents of the County during this time and thanked them all for their efforts.

 

Budget 2021-22 Approach

 

·       Maintain the frontline services important to residents and businesses

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

·       Leading economic recovery following Covid and investment in a green recovery.

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

 

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. Hospitals were extremely busy and it was important that everyone followed the current Government guidelines to prevent infections.

·       Economy – Covid had created a major shock to the economy, however there was a need to create an environment to allow the economy to recover quickly.  A lot of workers had been furloughed during the pandemic and there had been an increase of 62% in unemployment figures since March 2020, with retail, leisure and hospitality sectors hit. It was hoped the sectors would be able to recover quickly following the lifting of restrictions with work being undertaken to  development the tourism sector.

·       Council Services - Throughout Covid the Council maintained the services most important to residents and successfully adapted to news ways of working, embracing more use of digital solutions and by continuing to improve and innovate services. Children’s Services were rated by Ofsted as ‘Good’ in 2020. Local democracy was maintained by successfully switching to virtual meetings and, critically, preparing for the coming local elections.

 

Budget 2021-22: Financial Context

 

·       Next year savings target circa £8.3 million.

·       Improving frontline services.

·       Increasing demand for services.

·       Covid-19 pandemic.

·       Ambitious capital programme.

·       Still investing in infrastructure and services whilst delivering savings.

 

Details were provided of the funding analysis from 2014 – 2024 along with the overall funding arrangements, including the decision to increase the Adult Social Care by the minimum of 3% over two years. Details were also provided on the savings to be made by each  ...  view the full minutes text for item 176.

177.

iNORTHUMBERLAND UPDATE pdf icon PDF 194 KB

The report attached at Appendix B provides an update to the Committee on iNorthumberland as  requested at the meeting in November 2020.

Minutes:

An update report had been circulated and would be attached to the signed minutes.  J Cooper, Strategic Programmes Manager was in attendance to answer any queries Members had.

 

Councillor Bridgett outlined his concern that whilst the Government had stated a commitment to investing £5b into the provision of broadband, it had only allocated £1b so far over the next 5 years.   He highlighted the work being carried out to build telecoms masts in the area as part of the new emergency service network which could also be useful for broadband provision.  He advised that there had been three masts built within his area at a cost of £1.5m which had no means of getting power or transmission to provide signal.  He had been in contact with the Home Officer regarding these, and may need to contact Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP in respect of this also as they have no idea of where they have built the masts or how they are going to get them online.  The masts could prove crucial to delivering 4G within the area and help would be needed to resolve this.

 

J  Cooper advised that Councillor Oliver had been engaging with the Government and this could be picked up as part of those discussions.  Councillor Bridgett advised that the masts where in areas where there was no mains electricity.  It was confirmed that mobile connections were being looked at through Borderlands and the provision of 5G, however power and infrastructure would still be required to serve the masts. The Chair advised that Councillor Sanderson had already given a commitment to look at the provision of mains electricity. The provision of a reliable service was desperately needed especially now people were having to work from home and children were being home schooled.

 

RESOLVED that the information be noted

178.

BERWICK REGENERATION COMMISSION

This is a standing item on the agenda for verbal updates, if any

 

Minutes:

T Kirsopp, Community Regeneration Manager advised Members that the Commission had started to meet again following Covid and whilst there had been a delay with some projects the development of the new hospital had commenced.  Work on the leisure centre had continued with a reduced workforce and the timescale for completion was not yet known.  The swimming pool tanks had been filled and were being checked for any leaks and the 3G football pitches were ready for use after lockdown.  Other projects were also progressing, albeit a bit slower than expected.  Members had requested information on the future activities of the Commission and lessons learned within Northumberland and what others did across the Country were being investigated and a report would be prepared for the next full meeting of the LAC.

 

RESOLVED that the information be noted.

179.

LOCAL AREA COUNCIL WORK PROGRAMME

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 C).

Minutes:

The work programme had been circulated for information and any items may wish to have included on future agendas should be forwarded to the Chair to take to the Local Area Chairs’ Briefing for agreement.

 

RESOLVED that the information be noted.

180.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting will be held at 2.00 pm on Thursday 18 February 2021.

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for 2.00 pm on Thursday 18 February 2021.