Minutes – 13th March 2024

Minutes Uploaded on March 19, 2024

Minutes of the meeting of Gosforth Parish Council held on 13th March 2024

Councillors Present: Rachel Unsworth (Chair), Jackie Atkinson, Elizabeth Hutson, David Gray, Tyson Norman, Graham Hutson and John Owens

Others present: Jacqueline Williams (Clerk) and three members of the public

636/24 Apologies for Absence

Apologies were received from Cllr. David Moore (Cumberland).

637/24 Declarations of Interest

Cllr. Norman declared an interest in the Gravel Pit. 

638/24 Minutes of the meeting held on 7th February 2024

RESOLVED that the minutes of the last Parish Council Meeting held on 7th February 2024, pages 206 to 208 be accepted as a true record and signed by the Chair.

639/24 Public Participation

A local business-owner raised a planning application to remove a condition from the original planning application. He was not happy with the wording which had caused confusion and made the case that his business would not be feasible if he had to comply with the condition which required him to make and retain provision for car parking behind his property. He also suggested using the Kellbank as a place of safety during power cuts. Cllr. Owens suggested this could be explored during the consultation on a new Parish Plan.

640/24  Co-option of Councillors

Cllr. Gray proposed that Alex Plent and Jack Hatton be co-opted onto the Parish Council, Cllr. Owens seconded the proposal.

RESOLVED that Alex Plent and Jack Hatton are co-opted onto Gosforth Parish Council.

641/24Cumberland Councillor Report – Cllr. Moore sent apologies

642/24 Planning Applications:


RESOLVED that the following applications have been considered and the Planning Authority be advised of the Council’s observations as follows:

7/2024/4015 Former Gym & Stables, Harcroft Hall, Gosforth  – amend design of internal layout – no objections

7/2024/4006 Lion & Lamb, Gosforth – removal of condition 2 re parking provision. Following the presentation from the applicant, Cllrs. were minded to sympathise with the Landlord and suggested he apply for a change of use and recommended providing at least one disabled parking space, at the front of the building. Cllrs. requested the Clerk to advise the planning authority.

Planning Decisions:

7/2023/4101 Binchester, Ellerslie Park, Gosforth – extensions and alterations – Granted

7/2023/4106 Abbeyfield, Gosforth – replacement windows – Granted

Other planning matters: none

643/24 Financial Reports

The Clerk presented a bank reconciliation and noted receipt of a VAT refund and the second payment of the GDF Playground grant.

RESOLVED that the Bank Reconciliation to 29th February 2024 be received and noted.

RESOLVED that the schedule of payments be approved for payment.

644/24 Geological Disposal Facility

Cllr. Atkinson attended her first GDF meeting and reported that the engineering feasibility surveys are not showing anything negative. There has been further public consultation, and more is planned with events, phone calls and home visits. They are not getting much feedback from working-age women. Cllr. Hatton suggested that could be because the events are held on weekdays. An update on the grants awarded was given and ariel surveys are being carried out until October. U3A have invited the GDF team to a ‘chatty lunch’. Cllr. Norman will be attending a visioning workshop.

645/24 Car Park &Toilets

The cleaning contractor has reported various acts of anti-social behaviour which is causing him distress. Cllr. Unsworth will continue to get the urinal repaired. A quotation for the removal of the moss from the roof and gutters, pressure wash the floors and the urinal once it is fixed was requested. Cllr. Unsworth to post on Fb and the Clerk to contact the Police.

646/24 Playground

Cllr. Unsworth reported Playdale did not arrive on 11th March as scheduled and have informed her that they will start work on Monday 18th March. The work will take four weeks to complete, weather permitting.

The Car Park at the Playing Field is increasingly being used by Sellafield staff and contractors. After a short discussion, Cllrs. requested the Clerk set up a meeting with Howard Rooms to discuss parking. Cllrs. Hutson, Norman, Unsworth and Gray to attend.

647/24 Public Hall

The Clerk reported that two applications were made for the detailed design phase of the project; 80% costs from GDF and 20% from the South Cumberland Community Panel. The GDF have changed their policy regarding ‘feasibility’ work, limiting grants to £25K and as we had already had £13K for phase 1 they were only able to award £12K for phase 2. The application to the South Cumberland panel will be decided this evening but this will still leave a large shortfall. The Clerk requested approval to apply for the shortfall from the Heart of the Communities Fund. Cllr. Owens said this was a priority project and this phase was vital as it will provide full costings for the work involved and the project cannot progress without these.

RESOLVED that the Clerk apply for the shortfall of funds to complete the detailed design phase from the Heart of the Communities Fund proposed by Cllr. Owens, seconded by Cllr. Hutson and agreed by all.                                                                                                

648/24 NDA Properties

Cllr. Norman attended a meeting at Calderbridge with representatives from Drigg, Beckermet, Ponsonby parish councils. A list of properties had been obtained through a Freedom of Information request and a letter on behalf of all the Chairs of the Parish Councils has been sent. Cllr. Gray explained that it was a policy of the Parish Council to object to properties being left empty or demolished. Cllr. Norman will continue to monitor and report back.

649/24 Connecting Communities

Cllr. Norman said this is still ongoing but there is some debate over whether it is the responsibility of the NDA or Sustrans. Cllr. Norman will continue to monitor progress and Cllr. Owens suggested this was something to bring up at the GDF visioning workshop.

650/24 Parish Plan

Cllr. Owens had met with the Social Value team from Mott MacDonalds. They will help with an initial workshop to produce a skeleton plan, then we can start public consultation with a questionnaire and Mott MacDonald will bring in experts to assist.

651/24 Correspondence & Communications

  • The Chair of the school governors had written to notify that the school will be applying for planning permission for work at the school.
  • A resident had raised the potholes at the Playing Field car park. Cllr. Unsworth had obtained a quotation some time ago for work to improve the surface and drainage but had put this on hold whilst a project on the Pavilion was being discussed. Cllrs. decided to go ahead with filling the potholes but leave the drainage until later. Cllr. Hatton may be able to arrange a temporary fix until the work can be completed.
  • It has been heard that the large ‘Levelling-Up’ sign which had been installed and then removed from Calderbridge, is to be installed in the Boonwood area. Cllrs. strongly object to this as the sign is not a traffic sign and was so large it would obscure other signs. Clerk to write to Cumberland and copy in Michael Gove.
  • A quotation for grass-cutting has been received and the Clerk has written to Cumberland to ask about the grassed areas usually cut by Copeland. Cllr. Gray said he had put white pegs around the crocuses which should be left alone.

RESOLVED that the quotation be accepted and the contractor informed.

  • Councillors decided not to acquire a flag for D-Day.
  • Clerk requested to complete Nature Survey. 

652/24 Meetings – no meetings other than those included earlier in these minutes. 

653/24 Parish Council Meetings

Cllr. Unsworth proposed that time of Parish Council Meetings be changed. Cllr. Atkinson seconded the proposal and all agreed.

RESOLVED that regular meetings of the Parish Council be changed from 7pm to 6.30pm apart from the Annual Parish Meeting and AGM which will remain at 7pm. 

654/24 Councillor Administration

The Clerk confirmed the Annual Meeting can be on any day in May as it is not an election year for the Parish Council.

655/24 Councillor Matters

Cllr. Atkinson has been approached by a local resident who requested permission to extend her garden into a grassed area behind it.  Cllr. Hutson agreed to visit.

Cllr. Elizabeth Hutson had contacted the Council regarding an unmade footpath but they had declined to act. 

656/24 Items in Camera

Items in camera are dealt with in private in accordance with The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960.

Car Park

Cllrs. agreed that consultation on the management of the Car Park could be included in the Parish Plan update.

Gravel Pit

The Clerk had been approached by a company wishing to rent land for staff accommodation. After a short discussion, Cllrs. agreed not to rent the land. Clerk to inform.                           

657/24 Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of Gosforth Parish Council is scheduled for 10th April 2024 at 6.30pm at Gosforth Library.

The meeting closed at 9pm.