Minutes of a meeting of Hamsterley Parish Council
at 7pm on Monday 12th July 2010 in The Village Hall, Hamsterley.
1. Present: Jane Bee (Chairman), Mike Edmonds, Sue Heslop, Julia Hunter, Delycia Quinn, Jonathan Peacock, Caroline Peacock (Clerk)
Having paid a tribute of deep gratitude and appreciation for the service of the late Councillor Bernie Heslop, warmly endorsed by all present, Jane Bee opened the Meeting with a minute’s silence in his memory.
2. Apologies: Stephen Hugill
3. A presentation to the Parish Council by HJ Banks Developments Ltd in respect of the revised proposal for a Wind Farm at Windy Bank, between Woodland Village and Hamsterley Forest
Stewart Provan and Martyn Earle of HJ Banks Developments Ltd attended to update the Parish Council about the revised proposal for turbines at Windy Bank, between Woodland Village and Hamsterley Forest. They indicated that the plan is now for six turbines rather than the original nine, though this could again be altered at a later date. The Councillors asked questions relating to concerns about noise, the possible effect on tourism, and the impact on wildlife and on landscape, with relevance to the nearby North Pennines AONB and the EU-designated Special Protection Area. They also asked for an indication of where poles to carry the electricity from the turbines to the Grid would be sited but no information about this was available. When it was pointed out that the turbines at Tow Law are only 27% efficient, Mr Provan said this figure was too low, claiming that all published statistics including the Government’s own are wrong, but did not supply an alternative figure. An assurance was given that an exhibition will be held in Hamsterley at a future date, if requested. Questions from the floor indicated that there is a considerable level of local concern about the project. The Parish Council was appreciative of Banks’ attendance.
(Please note that a more comprehensive account of this part of the meeting is now on the website – see the blog posted on 9th August 2010. The account is also available on request from the Parish Clerk.)
4. Approval of previous Minutes: ME, JP
5. Matters arising:
a) Replacement trees on green in front of Vicarage still under discussion (JP). Planting will be appropriate in the autumn.
b) Village notice board for repair, reminder (JP). Chris Miller has been reminded.
c) Damage to Village Green (SH) – JP and ME would arrange to get the barrels into position on the Green. Plants were on order. Other tree-pruning work on the Green had been carried out by Robin Smith, to whom thanks should be paid (ME, JH). Grass cuttings should not be dumped on the Green (SH), so a reminder would be put in the Parish Magazine. Removal of the diseased cherry would be arranged between JH and Colin Walton. JP would ask for the grass to be mown regularly to the wall, as there are no stones that would cause problems. In particular this should be done at the time of the Hoppings.
d) Report on the meeting of Teesdale Councils Forum (CP) – nothing of major import for the Parish Council.
e) Update on Teesdale Action Partnership (CP) – CP had been unable to attend the last meeting, from which Minutes were not yet available.
f) Connection of sinks in main street to drain system (JH, CP). No further action has yet been taken by DCC. CP would put in another reminder.
g) Litter through the village and on surrounding roads (JP). CP reported a very variable picture in terms of PCs gaining support from DCC to help them employ litter pickers. She would now put in an application on Hamsterley PC’s behalf to employ a litter-picker once a week, but was not optimistic that such payments would continue since the formation of the Unitary Council.
a) Application 6/2010/0177/DM for conversion of outbuilding to summerhouse at Rydale for Mr Simon Raine – site visit pending.
b) Application 6/2010/0172/DM/OP for one dwelling at Peartree House for Mr A and Mrs J Bee – site visit pending.
c) Application 6/2010/0169/DM for UPVC cladding to Village Hall, retrospective – site visit pending.
d) Application 6/2010/0092/DM for two micro generation wind turbines at High Crane Lodge, for Mr Peter Murray – under officer determination.
e) Application 6/2010/0189/DM/LB for listed building consent to raise ceiling at The Lodge for Mr David Gray.
Note: No objections to any of the above have been raised by the Parish Council.
f) New proposal for the Depot site from Mr Tim Bonavia, 17.06.10 – The same proposal as before in terms of design has now been submitted for the site, with the entire ex-garage forecourt area marked as access. There was considerable concern that such a large access area across the Green could not be historically correct, so JP would seek to consult an original map of the Village Green and the access routes across it, including pedestrian. The Councillors’ preference would anyway be for parking to be included within the curtilage of the proposed development, rather than making use of the access across the Green, though this is complicated by the current parking by other residents in adjacent houses.
g) Application 6/2010/0197/DM for a first floor rear extension to 1-2 Rosslyn Terrace for Mr Nick Lamont.
a) The new signatories to the account will be JB, JP and SH. It was agreed that E Bainbridge, J Brown-Humes, G Hunter, J Jewitt, F Thirling and J West should be removed from the bank mandate. Three living signatories will be asked to sign the minutes.
b) HP3 payment due to Parish Paths Partnership – agreement to pay the exact sum available from the Parish Council account.
8. New Business
a) Appointment of a new Parish Councillor – Cllr Quinn submitted her resignation due to her imminent departure from the Village. With the recent sad death of Cllr Bernie Heslop, this creates two vacancies on the Council. CP would inform DCC accordingly. ME proposed a vote of thanks to Cllr Quinn for her service to the Council, and this was universally shared.
b) ‘Planning the Future of County Durham’ – response required by 06/08/10 – JB will respond.
c) Letter from Mr P Routledge about the condition of the Village Pond 16/05/10 – SH pointed out that 2010 has been the driest year since 1929 and produced figures from earlier years confirming the reducing amounts of annual rainfall. JH suggested consulting Northumbria Water; ME had already consulted the Water Habitats Trust. Advice was to study the level of the remaining water, especially in any apparently damaged areas of the bank, and monitor inflow. Solutions for lining the pond would be costly. JP had checked with Chris Spray, former resident at that time working for Northumbria Water, who had confirmed that there is no puddled clay lining to the pond at present although, as in most of the area, natural clay lies beneath the topsoil anyway. There are also no springs feeding the pond, but it was agreed that some of the sinks or culverts contributing non-foul drain water from around the Green may be blocked, and these should be checked. JP would ask DCC to check the locations of all such sinks against their map. Meanwhile SH would ask Robin Peart to address the trimming of the pond edges, which have grown neglected.
d) Emailed request to lobby Government to endorse the Sustainable Communities Act July 2010 – no action proposed.
e) Parish and Town Councils Conference reminder, 19/07/10 – no attendee proposed.
f) PACT meeting Toft Hill Community Centre, 13/07/10 at 7pm – confusion about dates for PACT meetings, as two conflicting dates had been notified. SH would seek to attend.
9. Correspondence for Information (in date order):
a) North Pennines AONB Annual Forum invitation for 09/07/10 – JP and CP had attended and been very impressed by the presentation and all the work that the AONB is doing.
Date of next meeting: Monday 13th September 2010