Agenda and draft minutes

North Northumberland Local Area Council - Thursday, 23rd September, 2021 3.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Space - Block 1, Floor 2 - County Hall. View directions

Contact: Rebecca Little 

No. Item




RESOLVED that the information be noted.





Apologies were received from Councillor S Bridgett.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 163 KB

Minutes of the meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council held on Thursday 19 August 2021, as circulated, to be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.



RESOLVED that the minutes of the North Northumberland Local Area Council held on Thursday 19 August 2021, as circulated, be agreed as a true record and signed by the Chair.




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 Conduct) they must not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must leave the room. NB Any member needing clarification must contact the monitoring officer by email at . Please refer to the guidance on disclosures at the rear of this agenda letter.


Councillor Swinbank advised that he had a disclosable pecuniary interest in planning application 21/02608/VARYCO and he would leave the room while the application was being considered.




Inspector?John Swan has been invited to provide an overview and answer questions about policing and any community safety matters in the?North Northumberland area.? 



Inspector John Swan, and Sergeants Les Robson and Paul Sykes from the Neighbourhood Policing Teams were in attendance to provide an update on policing and community safety within the North Northumberland area.  Information was noted as follows:-




·       1314 incidents had been recorded within the Berwick area 852 of which were in relation to Berwick town centre and the night time economy with very low figures in the more rural areas.  Figures had peaked in the summer season which was thought to be due to visitors to the caravan parks in the area.   Violet crime and disorder had reduced compared to the previous year. 

·       Reports of antisocial behaviour (ASB) had increased in March due to the lifting of the lockdown.  Youth and alcohol ASB had increased in the town centre due to youths congregating and Op Inhibit had been created in the area to work with police colleagues in Scotland to target the problem areas especially on a Friday and Saturday night, with ASB reducing during the summer because of the visible presence.

·       With the full reopening of the night time economy within Berwick additional resources had been drafted in to assist with issues and working in partnership with other organisations there had been a significant improvement.

·       Operation Beach Watch had been brought in over the summer months due to the increased number of visitors to the area to provide a visible presence in areas of high foot fall, which had been successful.

·       Op Acorn was an engagement initiative which had also been introduced within the more rural areas.

·       Berwick was a safe place to live with lower crime rates than other areas covered by Northumbria Police.




·       4651 incidents had been reported, 3208 within the Alnwick area and 1443 in the Rothbury area, with 708 in relation to public safety, 269 transport related, 220 crime related and 173 ASB. 

·       Crime levels were comparable with figures from 2019 with a slight increase in July/August which coincided with school holidays, with a spike in ASB incidents within Alnwick.

·       ASB was dealt with by a multi-pronged approach working with Housing, Social Services and diverting youths into sporting groups, ring leaders were identified and parents visited, with some success.  Good quality CCTV had been installed by the Town Council around the bus station.  Incidents related to the night time economy were lower with the pub watch scheme being utilised.

·       Work was undertaken with other forces in relation to rural crime during night time operations.

·       Coastal engagement had been undertaken in partnership with other agencies as the number of visitors had increased in relation to wild camping, walking, litter, parking etc., which had been well received.

·       areas and lots of work and regular contact was undertaken with other partners to ensure this was the case.

·       Operation Hawkeye had also been introduced to tackle rural crime with an Inspector and 5 officers which provided an extra resource.




·       1476 incidents had been reported in the Amble area, which was low in comparison to other areas  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.



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


Please note that printed letters of objection/support are no longer circulated with the agenda but are available on the Council’s website at




RESOLVED that this report was noted.


Councillor Swinbank left the room at this point.



21/02608/VARYCO pdf icon PDF 223 KB

Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) on approved application 20/03155/FUL to allow changes to layout and design. Land North or North Farm, Embleton, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 3DX



Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) on approved application 20/03155/FUL to allow changes to layout and design.

Land North of North Farm, Embleton, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 3DX


An introduction to the application was provided by J Sharp, Planning Officer with the aid of a power point presentation.  For clarification Councillor Pattison advised that a request for the application to be referred to Committee had not been made by her.  In response to questions from Members of Committee the following information was noted:


·       Different policies in the emerging Local Plan attracted different weight.

·       The red line boundary was not changing and as the changes being proposed were not so significant they could be considered under a VARYCO as opposed to requiring a new planning application.


Councillor Thorne proposed acceptance of the recommendation to approve as outlined in the report as the revised layout respected more of the contours of the site, the Parish Council were in favour of these changes and the buildings would be more in keeping with the location more than caravans.  This was seconded by Councillor Castle.  A vote was taken as follows:  FOR 9; AGAINST 1; ABSTENSION 1.


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


Councillor Swinbank returned to the meeting at this point.


21/01840/FUL pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Replacement of timber cladding with new natural cedar boarding. Change of balustrade to glazed and patio size as built. (retrospective)
The Signal Box, Farley Cottage, Ellingham, Chathill, Northumberland, NE67 5HA



Replacement of timber cladding with new natural cedar boarding. Change of balustrade to glazed and patio size as built. (retrospective)

The Signal Box, Farley Cottage, Ellingham, Chathill, Northumberland, NE67 5HA


J Hudson, Planning Officer provided an introduction to the report with the aid of a power point presentation.  In response to questions from Members the following information was provided:


·       The application had been brought to Committee as the result of an objection by the Parish Council and after being considered through the delegation scheme, the Director of Planning and the Vice-Chair had thought it appropriate to refer the application to Committee.

·       The development was not in a conservation area and therefore the Conversation Officer had not been consulted.


Councillor Watson proposed acceptance of the recommendation to approve the application as outlined in the report advising that he did not like retrospective applications.  Councillor Thorne seconded the proposal also advising of his dislike of retrospective applications and although he did not consider this promoted good design he considered that there was insufficient reason to refuse the application.


Councillor Pattison questioned the process as she had wished to proposed refusal of the application as she felt it did not fit in with the rurality of the village.  Councillor Renner-Thompson agreed with this statement and said he would have seconded a proposal to refuse as it looked very much out of place.  Other Members also advised that they did not feel that the use of glass was appropriate in the area.  Councillor Pattison was advised there was a motion before the members which would have to be dealt with.


A vote was taken on the proposal to approve the application as follows: FOR 4; AGAINST 8; ABSTENSIONS 0; and therefore the motion fell.


Councillor Pattison proposed refusal of the application due to the visual impact in or around a rural village which was seconded by Councillor Renner-Thompson.  Clarification was provided on the reason for refusal as follows:


The reason for the proposal to refuse the application was by virtue of its design, would have a harmful effect on the character and appearance of the existing property and surrounding area. The proposal would thus be contrary to Local Plan Policy F4 and paragraphs 126 and 127 of the NPPF. This was accepted by Councillors Pattison and Renner-Thompson. 


A vote was taken on the proposal to refuse the application for the reason above as follows: FOR 8; AGAINST 2; ABSTENSIONS 2.


RESOLVED that the application be REFUSED as the proposal, by virtue of its design, would have a harmful effect on the character and appearance of the existing property and surrounding area. The proposal would thus be contrary to Local Plan Policy F4 and paragraphs 126 and 127 of the NPPF.



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. 



RESOLVED that the information be noted.


SECTION 106 pdf icon PDF 213 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 



RESOLVED that the information be noted.


The meeting was adjourned whilst planning officers left the meeting and Councillor Castle took the Chair.  The meeting recommenced at 4.55 pm.




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.



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. 



Members were advised that an e-petition had been opened entitled Protect our loved ones remove badgers safely - Safely remove badgers from the cemetery and place deterrents around the perimeter to prevent more devastation.  A report would be brought to a future meeting should it meet the required number of signatures.


There were no petition reports to be considered and no updates on petitions previously received.



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. 



G Bucknall - Lead Highways Delivery Manager provided a verbal update on north area highways. The update and subsequent questions included information on the following:


·       Minor surfacing projects coming up were at Lordenshaw Road near Simonside in early November; Blakelaw in Alnwick  October and Albert Road, Spittal.

·       A wide range of traffic schemes including 20mph zones around schools were continuing to be delivered along with work on Bridges and structure schemes.

·       It would be 6 weeks until completion for the access to the Leisure Centre at Berwick, which unfortunately was causing problems.

·       Winter services preparedness was underway and the refilling of grit bins would commence in October. Rotas for gritters were filled by NCC staff and as usual farmers and contractors would be on standby for more challenging weather events.

·       A study was being undertaken and a report prepared which could result in more resources being provided in respect of gully maintenance and clearing.

·       The progress on the chicane and bollards which were still in place on the Rothbury road would be ascertained. 

·       The retaining wall had been built for the bus shelter in Shilbottle and the shelter was now being manufactured.

·       Proposed shrub planting for the Felton exit on the northbound A1 as raised by Councillor Thorne would be looked at.  Disappointment was expressed that the excellent work undertaken on the Newton on the Moor to Longframlington road had not extended to the bank where lorries and buses often had trouble with slipping.

·       Councillor Hill expressed appreciation for the swift response to issues by G Bucknall, B Hodgson and T Kirsop.  In response to a query regarding scheduling of works, Members were advised that there was a Streetworks Team who co-ordinated works however there were occasions when emergency work clashed with programmed work.

·       An issue with signage left after works had been completed within Berwick was highlighted this would be looked into.

·       Councillor Castle highlighted a dangerous fissure in the road on the Eglingham to Chatton road close to Harehope Hall and asked for this to be looked at.  Councillor Mather advised that he had reported this earlier that day and that the road had been marked up on 3 separate occasions.

·       Councillor Mather asked that thanks be passed on to staff for the work undertaken at High Humbleton and on the road between Wooler to Chatton. In respect of an impact on the bridge between Chillingham New Town and Chillingham Castle this had been reported by Tillside Parish Council, but no response had been received. Sandbags were required for the low kerb at Doddington and he would like to see improved gritting provided in the Kirknewton Valley (route 2).  G Bucknall would investigate these issues.

·       Councillor Renner-Thompson advised that he was grateful that road closures had been delayed in order to avoid harvest time and also advised that the square of tarmac outside Coastal Grains at Belford needed to be replaced again.

·       The issue of a fence erected in Alnwick was in the hands of the Legal Department.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.



This report provides an update on the Local Transport Plan (LTP) programme 21/22 and the preparation for the 22/23 programme. 


Additional documents:


D Laux, Head of Technical Services was in attendance and provided an introduction to the report which provided an update on the Local Transport Plan (LTP) programme for 2021 and the preparation for the 2022/23 programme.


Within the North Northumberland area there were 71 projects on the integrated transport side, of which 21 were complete, although some were design projects and included the following:

·       Togston North gateway signs and markings

·       Safety schemes at Thrum Mill and Debden Mill on the B6344

·       Fenwick to West Kyloe horse warning signs

·       Ingram and Branton gateway signage

A further 10 schemes had works orders issued and were either just about or had started these included:

·       Lucker footway and streetlighting scheme

·       Pedestrian crossing at the Leisure Centre in Berwick

·       Victoria Terrace, Alnwick pedestrian crossing

34 were in the design process and included:

·       Berwick Road in Wooler

·       St James Roundabout, West Street in Berwick

·       20 mph schemes in schools

·       Rural road safety schemes in Elingham and Rothbury

6 schemes were still waiting to go to the design team.


In relation to the maintenance programme there were 49 in the North Northumberland area, with 30 completed, 10 of which were surface dressing schemes and 15 resurfacing schemes, with the Berwick Old Bridge scheme also completed.  Another 10 had works orders issued and included:-

·       High Trewick to Netherton C176

·       Bamburgh to Glororum B1341

·       Swarland Mill to Longframlington on the B6345

·       Rockmidsteads U3089

There were a further 6 schemes still in the design phase.

Preparation was underway for the 2022/23 LTP however the funding would not be known until after the Government’s spending review.  Letters had been issued in July for County Councillors and Town and Parish Councils to put forward priorities for the LTP programme with a deadline of 8 October.  It was hoped that each area would have their own LTP workshop which would possibly be held virtually.


The following information was noted in response to questions from Members:-


·       Percy Drive, Amble a check would be made to see if funding had been allocated for this.

·       Any schemes which required additional phases should be included in the priorities for the forthcoming year.

·       Rumble strips would need to be included as a priority if they were desired.

·       Expensive schemes should still be included in priorities.

·       In respect of the Bamburgh to Glororum road improvements, if it had been picked up through the asset management information that there was a need for the scheme to carry on to a further phase then this would be picked up at some point but it would depend on other priorities within the County.

·        Supporting information would be looked at when considering priorities, however it was likely that there would be a reason why a footpath was overgrown and it was possible that it would be broken up even if uncovered.

·       Members advised that local knowledge was really important in the process and ensuring that Town and Parish Councils were well informed of what could be put forward and understood the process would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.




As the meeting approached the 3 hour limit Members were asked if they wished to suspend standing orders in order to continue the meeting.  Upon being put to the vote it was: 


RESOLVED that in accordance with the Council's constitution, standing orders be suspended and the meeting continue over the 3 hour limit. 




To receive a presentation on the Youth Service within North Northumberland.


S Pearson, Senior Manager - Specialist Services and G Younger, Accommodation Lead, were in attendance to provide Members with information on the Youth Service. A copy of the power point presentation would be filed with the signed minutes and circulated to Members after the meeting. 

Northumberland Adolescent Services (NAS) was made up of services to meet the needs of all adolescents across Northumberland and included:


·       Youth Service Participation & Advocacy and Prevention/Detached

·       Sorted Substance Misuse Service

·       Youth Justice Service, Missing & Exploitation

·       14+/18+ Teams One & Two

·       Accommodation Team

·       Business Administration Team


An explanation was provided on the role and function of each of the services and how they supported young people in Northumberland around three distinct strands:


·       Prevention

·       Participation and Advocacy

·       Early Help/Missing


The provision of universal youth services were developed and delivered across Northumberland working in partnership with the Voluntary Sector and it was through data analysis and feedback from partners it was decided in which area to deploy resources.


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


·       In the press it had been reported that NCC had over the last four years suffered cuts to budgets, however the Youth Service joined with Northumberland Adolescent Service (NAS) four years ago, which gave an opportunity to broaden/extend the resource to look at all different aspects of services.  Northumberland were very fortunate and proud that we still have a youth service provision as no other County Council in the region had this service.

·       In respect of sexual health and promotion of information, there had been a dip during the pandemic with a lack of training being undertaken during this time.   This was now back and online training was available for all the adolescent service workers within Northumberland this also was available for the voluntary sector.

·       In relation to homelessness there was an excellent joint housing protocol (JHP) in place which was signed up to by a large number of organisations who supported the provision and for all young people who were referred there was a multi-agency team in place to help.  More would be done to ensure that the voluntary sector were aware of the protocol.

·       An offer was available for volunteer organisations to receive  face to face training  and there was also some training provided to voluntary organisations but this would be at their request.  There was no offer to assess any external person for the Assessors Award at the current time.


Councillor Renner-Thompson advised that youth services was not a statutory function and the Council provided this service voluntarily and confirmed we were the only local authority to do so.   S Pearson advised that there were 35 staff with an office base in Cramlington and detached youth workers were deployed to identified targeted areas.   A meeting between all third sector parties was being developed  to discuss how we could support them rather than duplicate service delivery and work was also ongoing on how local communities could grow their own provision.


Officers were thanked for their attendance and presentation.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.



To receive an update on Borderlands from T. Kirsopp



T Kirsop, Community Regeneration Manager was in attendance to provide an update and a presentation to Members on the Borderlands Programme. A copy of the presentation would be forwarded to Members of the Committee and a copy filed with the signed minutes of the meeting.  Details provided included information on the Growth Deal Commitment, the Place Programme Process, the Town prioritisation process and how the qualitative analysis for Northumberland was undertaken.  The towns prioritised to prepare a place plan were as follows:


o  Wave 1? - Alnwick?, Bedlington / Bedlington Station? and Newbiggin-by-the-Sea?

o  Wave 2?- Bellingham, Haltwhistle, Prudhoe and Rothbury


Members were advised that there were no timescales at the current time as this was a 10 year programme and that place plans would probably take at least a year to complete. 


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


·       Alnwick had been prioritised as there was a disconnect between the town centre and the visitor attractions of Alnwick Castle and Gardens with very little investment having been made within the town centre. 

·       As part of the prioritisation process it had been necessary to discount towns which had previously received Government funding such as Amble, as Government had been keen to see funding used in towns which had not previously benefited.  There were other funding streams coming forward which Amble could possibly bid for if there was a suitable scheme.

·       There had not been any open rounds for bidding, all analysis had been undertaken internally with filters being used.  In respect of Wooler and the Ad Gefran Brewery, being in a similar situation to Alnwick in the future, Members were advised that work was being undertaken now with the Rural Growth Team and others to ensure connectivity between the town centre and the Brewery to ensure that the town also benefitted from visitors to the Brewery.

·       The Government had specified that there must be an Independent Board in each area with a private sector chair, however as some towns were unlikely to have an appropriate private sector representation it was likely that T Kirsop would chair the Boards in each area.  There was no opportunity for increased representation from Town or Parish Councils and in Alnwick there would be four places on the Board, two for County Councillors and two for Town Councillors.

·       In respect of concerns raised regarding Berwick town centre and the number of shops closing and development of shops at the Morrisons end of town, T Kirsop advised that early discussions were being undertaken in respect of Marygate and what could be done.

·       Seahouses had not been included due to the level of population and had previously received some small funding from Coastal Communities funding.


T. Kirsop was thanked for his attendance and presentation.




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 Local Area Council Chairs’ Briefing had been cancelled due to the current review of Local Area Councils which was being undertaken.


Any items Members wished to have included on future agendas should be emailed to the Chair.


RESOLVED that the information was noted.




The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday 21 October 2021.


The next meeting was scheduled for Thursday 21 October 2021 and this was a planning only meeting.


In response to a question related to meetings being held in County Hall, the Chair advised that this was being discussed as part of the Review.