Minutes of the 256th meeting of the Stainton & Thornton Parish Council
held online via a remote platform (Zoom) on Tuesday, 13 April 2021 at 7pm.

Authority to hold meeting: The Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020

Present: Parish Councillors A. Liddle (Chair), B. Neale, C. Dean, A. Conroy, D. Coupe, A. Cooper, R. Dennison. Clerk the Council - J. Holmes.

Remembrance. Before the commencement of the meeting the Chair called for a minutes silence in respect of the recent passing of HRH Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

14/21. Apologies for absence/Declarations of Interest. None

15/21. Public Participation – Opportunity for members of the public to address the Council - None

16/21. The Minutes of the 255th meeting held on Tuesday 9 February 2021 were approved by the Parish Council, recorded as a true record and signed by the Chair.

17/21. Matters arising from the above Minutes.

  • a) Neighbourhood Plan – Chair reported that the Neighbourhood Plan Group were meeting on a regular basis and have updated the plan taking into account representations following the consultation statements. The NP is currently being proof read and awaiting revised maps from Middlesbrough Council. It is anticipated that the Neighbourhood Plan will be submitted to Middlesbrough Council at the end of April.

  • b) Roadside Speed Display Unit/ Community Speedwatch scheme – Cllr. Coupe reported that the roadside speed display signs temporarily sited on Thornton Road had been removed by Middlesbrough Council for use elsewhere. In the absence of any funding from Middlesbrough Council it was agreed that the Parish Council would use some of its reserves to obtain its own roadside speed display units subject to evaluation and suitability. Cllr. Neale agreed to make the necessary enquiries and recommendations on behalf of the Parish Council. In respect of the Community Speedwatch scheme, Cllr. Neale reported that no further progress had been made with regard to police engagement.

  • c) Right of Way footpath – Wynd to Low Lane – Cllr. Liddle reported that the ROW footpath appears complete however the Footpaths Officer at Middlesbrough Council has yet to lift the restriction order. Cllr. Coupe to contact Middlesbrough Council to progress.

  • d) Potholes/footpaths/maintenance of hedges – Richard Ward from Middlesbrough Council Area Care has been approached regarding hedges and footpaths but has yet to respond. The extremely poor state of the road surface on the main routes through Stainton and Thornton are a matter of concern to all road users. Cllr. Coupe reported that the next allocation of funding for road repairs by Middlesbrough Council is about to be released. Concern was also expressed about the substandard workmanship of recent pothole repairs in the parish council area.

  • e) Cold calling signage – High Rifts – No further progress. Item to be removed from agenda.

  • f) Housing developments – Elderwood Park and Ashfield Park. – These two new housing developments are expanding at a fast rate. Residents there are probably unaware that the developments fall within the Stainton and Thornton Parish Council area. Future circulation of newsletters etc will be distributed to households at both developments.

  • g) Parking issues, Hemlington Road/Re-siting of bus stops 05/21. Following the easing of covid restrictions and the reopening of retail and personal care businesses the parking of vehicles in Hemlington Road will be monitored and the street wardens informed of any vehicles causing unnecessary obstruction. Cllr. Coupe reported that Middlesbrough Council will be consulting with residents before re-siting bus stops in Meldyke Terrace and Hemlington Road.

18/21. The Report of the Clerk to the Parish Council

  1. The following magazines are on circulation to Parish Councillors: Clerk & Councils Direct, The Clerk.

  2. NALC circulars and information received from CLCA have been forwarded to all councillors where appropriate.

  3. Financial Statement 31.3.21.

Balance at 31.3.21. £8,810.24
Income since last meeting: £112.59. (VAT reclaim)
Expenditure since last meeting: £1,120.36 Approval required.

Date: Payee. Reason. Cheque No. Amount.
27.01.21 A.Liddle Printer Inks 480 17.58
23.02.21 WAVE Water KGG DD 49.49
26.02.21 J.Holmes Zoom Subscription 486 115.10
26.02.21 J.Holmes Salary (February) 487 248.61
26.02.21 HMRC PAYE (February) 488 62.00
24.03.21 Northumbria Water Water test KGG 489 200.18
26.03.21 J.Holmes Clerks Expenses 491 34.83
26.03.21 M Holmes Bedding Plants (EC) 492 31.96
26.03.21 J.Holmes Salary (March) 493 248.41
26.03.21 HMRC PAYE (March) 494 62.20

Unpresented cheques

Date: Payee. Reason. Cheque No. Amount.
25.03.21 C.Cutler Website 490 50.00

Balance at 1.4.20. £7,751.08
Total Receipts. 1.4.20. - 1.3.21. £8,727.39
Total Payments. 1.4.20. - 31.3.21. £7,668.23
Excess of Receipts over Payments   £1,059.16
Balance at 31.3.21. £8,810.24

Resolved: All payments aforementioned approved.

19/21. Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2020/21 – Clerk reported that this return (AGAR) had to be completed before 1 July 2021. As the Parish Council was a smaller authority where gross income or gross expenditure did not exceed £25,000 it could certify itself as exempt by submitting a Certificate of Exemption to the external auditor by 30 June 2021. To commence this process an internal auditor had to be appointed in accordance with Part 2 of AGAR 2020/21 and the Accounting Statements prepared and signed by the RFO (Clerk).

20/21. Committee Reports

PLANNING. Recent planning applications received.
21/0210/FUL. 15 Fawcett Avenue – Single storey extension to side (demolition of existing garage) – No objection by Parish Council.

21/0209/DEXIN – 41 Buttercup Grove – Erection of non-exempt detached building excluding electrical work. – Building regulations approved by MBC on 18.2.21. however, size of building means that planning permission required. MBC investigating. Debris/waste from the building appears to be deposited in Maelor’s Wood. MBC Area Care investigating.

Stainton Beck – Pollution at Kell Gate Green. – Following the latest sampling of water from the beck in Kell Gate Green the Environment Agency and Middlesbrough Council had indicated that KGG could be reopened to the public provided appropriate signage was in place. However, the latest analysis shows there has been no improvement at all in the scientifically proven and continued presence of pathogens and toxic substances being discharged from a package sewage treatment plant into the beck, despite maintenance work being recently undertaken. The volume of discharge will increase significantly once the currently empty property is sold. The Pollution Sub Committee reported that as water levels in the beck fall due to seasonal reductions in rainfall, with the existing discharges continuing, concentrations of these substances in the beck around KGG will increase and could represent a significant risk to public health.

Recent discussions with MBC and the EA have not brought about any material change in the conditions causing this problem. Absence of planning detail approval and vagueness about meeting discharge conditions has not been helpful.

Taking all the above points into consideration councillors were asked if the Parish Council should open up Kell Gate Green to the public.

3 Councillors voted to open Kell Gate Green. 4 Councillors voted to keep KGG closed.
There were no abstentions.

By locking the gates to KGG the Parish Council, having a duty of care to uphold, believes it is the best way to keep residents and pets safe. Disappointingly locked gates simply present a hurdle to some people, with warning notices being ignored.

It was agreed that a fuller explanation of the efforts by the Parish Council to resolve the issue including specific details of the content of this pollution, should be shared widely with all residents and others who may be able to help to resolve the problem. It was also agreed that the KGG Pollution Sub Committee would meet as soon as possible to discuss and report back to full Council at their next meeting on the following points.

  • MBC reaction on the decision to keep KGG closed

  • How the PC can increase pressure to get MBC and EA to take responsibility to resolve the issue.

  • Carry out a risk assessment of the current situation – public still going into KGG even though gates are locked.

Boot scrapers – Cllr. Dennison had previously circulated details of various types of boot scrapers available. This matter will be progressed in future meetings.

Volunteer helpers – Cllr Coupe reported that some residents had come forward and volunteered their services to tend and maintain various planters and floral display areas in both Stainton and Thornton. Additional planters had been requested for the Rose Cottage developments. To be discussed at the next Environment Committee meeting.

CRIME & DISORDER – The crime statistics for the month of March showed a marked increase (32 offences) against the previous month (11). Public order offences (14) and vehicle crime (11) were where the biggest increases occurred. Anti-Social Behaviour incidents remains low (4). Cllr. Neale reported that he has been recently been appointed to the Middlesbrough Independent Advisory Group (IAG) and their first meeting will be held on 13.5.21.

20/21. Village Newsletter – Chair reminded councillors that the quarterly village newsletter had not been published for over a year owing to COVID restrictions. Now that restrictions were being eased consideration should be given to restart publications. After discussion it was agreed that the Village Newsletter would restart from June and in the meantime a leaflet would be produced and circulated to all households with information about the KGG pollution problem and advice regarding unnecessary obstruction by vehicles on Hemlington Road.

21/21. Friends of Stainton & Thornton Green Spaces. – Cllr. Liddle reported following the easing of COVID restrictions the group had its first working day last week in Kell Gate Green. Tees Valley Wild Life has 3 new Project Officers who will be assisting and advising on various projects. Chair will also be attending a Green Spaces Forum (via Zoom) on Wednesday 14.4.21.

22/21. Risk Assessments – The annual risk assessments on Parish Council assets are due. Cllr Conroy (Noticeboards) Cllr Liddle (Seats, planters and troughs) to complete necessary forms.

23/21. Cleveland Local Councils Association – No meetings programmed. Weekly circulations are continuing to be forwarded on to all councillors. The local office is readily available for advice if necessary.

24/21. Defibrillator – Clerk reported to councillors that as ‘guardian’ of the defibrillator, fixed on the outside wall of the Memorial Hall, the equipment was regularly checked to ensure it was available for public use. It was evident that on 4 occasions this year the defibrillator had been removed from its cabinet but fortunately later returned unused. The NE Ambulance Service has not been informing the guardian that the defibrillator has been deployed and has not responded to emails requesting clarification on the process.

25/21. Date and Time of Next Meeting: The legislation permitting remote meetings of the Parish Council expires on 6.5.21. after which face-to-face meetings have to resume. However, the Rule of 6, indoors still applies until at least 21 June. Unless the current legislation is extended it was agreed the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council will be Tuesday 4 May at 7pm via Zoom.

The Chair formally closed the meeting at 9.30pm

Minutes taken by: J. Holmes, Clerk to the Council, 13 Strait Lane, Stainton, TS8 9BB.
clerk@staintonandthorntonparishcouncil.org.uk Tel: 01642 296060. 07980 572115.

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