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Wolsingham Parish Council

Minutes July 2015



TUESDAY 14th JULY 2015  

@ 6.30 PM



PRESENT: Chair   D. Sugden, Mrs. A. Savory, Mrs. M. Epsly, Mrs. J. Henderson, G. Price

                                    S. Calvert, M/s L. Richardson,  G. Dixon, D.C. Pattison, M.Bell, J. Wilson

POLICE:         PC  W. Crampsie

PUBLIC:        B. Batson,M. Emerson,D. Pike, H.Pants,A.Nelson



            North East Ambulance Service : Mr. Douglas McDougal, operations officer of the NEAS, South Division, gave a resume on the service, but could not go into detail on the circumstances relating to the death of Mr. David Nelson. The service provided for rural areas was quite different to urban operations in so far as for Barnard Castle, St. Johns Chapel and Crook , have a unique service with two paramedics and one rapid response unit. Various response times were outlined according to the severity of the need, Red 1 categories the response time should be 8 minutes, which is achieved 75% of the time where as in rural areas the response target is 66%. Red 2 target was 19 minutes and the nearest resource is highlighted and despatched. General calls were responded to  in 1 hour to 4 hours. Invariably calls outstrip the availability of the service for a variety of reasons,  ie. Turnaround at the hospitals, availability of paramedics was also an issue with manning levels being eroded through personnel leaving the service. It takes 2.5 years to train a paramedic, the first responder service had also been decimated, initially there were 11 first responders in Weardale , now there is 1 , owing in part to the ongoing training requirements, a two day essential training course every 90 days, before a CQC licence is issued.

Mr. McDougal offered an annual visit to the Parish Council to consider matters, the chair thanked Mr. McDougal for his time.


            Mr. Bernard Batson re planning application for industrial units at Ward’s End , Tow Law.

Mr. Batson addressed the meeting on various issues pertaining to a recent planning application , which had now been withdrawn, to consider more highway matters. The application was deemed to be outside the development plan for Tow Law, but other suitable sites were not available and no industrial units were vacant in the vicinity. Five related companies employing 53 employees needed to be relocated owing to the proposed development for housing on the existing sites. Eleven units have been planned and eight of which would be occupied by existing related firms. As and when the proposed plans would be submitted Mr. Batson asked that he be able to speak with the Parish Council again.


M/s H. Pants addressed the meeting concerning the duck population in the Willows Playground, and expanded on her recent e mail , which had been circulated to members prior to the meeting, her suggestion was to create a wildlife reserve in the park , to protect the ducks. The clerk responded by stating that the park was initially created in the  1950’s with a grant from the National Playing Fields Association, and although  the ownership of the park was held by Durham County Council, the successor organisation of NPFA, Fields in Trust, the park would  remain a playing field in perpetuity. The control of the duck population had been discussed at length several times and a solution to the problem and associated problems, ie feeding and rats, was not easy to resolve. It was pointed out that on a previous occasion M/s Pants had attended a Parish Council meeting her suggestion was to cull some of the drakes, as they were classed as wild birds this could not be done and M/s Pants had reconsidered this idea, and rats should not be confused with water voles, and otters were apparently in the vicinity also. After considerable “murmurings and use of foul language M/s Pants left the meeting, calling those present “scum”.

Further consideration would be given to the problem, and the eventual outcome, may well be for the ducks to live in harmony with the local children in the park.


  2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST : Clr. Anita Savory declared an interest , regarding the planning matter being raised by B. Batson , re; planning application for the building of industrial units at Wards End,Tow Law.
  3. POLICE REPORT: PC W. Crampsie gave the report for the preceding month, There had been 4 3 incidents reported, 12 road related/parking, 3 anti social behaviour, 11 supicious activity, 3 road traffic collisions and 4 domestic disputes.1 animal related, 2 missing from home,( Green Towers)  6 other and 1 firearm incident.

Five crimes had been committed, 1 criminal damage, 3 theft, 1 assault

The PACT priorities was ASB, relating to youth alcohol nuisance at the riverside and recreation ground

A previous request had been made to the police to have statistics relating to Green Towers to be highlighted separately, this was agreed to.

  1. MINUTES OF  MEETING HELD 9TH  JUNE 2015 , Cllr. M. Bell ‘s name had been missed from the attendees list, clerk to rectify .Moved and seconded that the minutes were a true record and signed as such.
  2. MATTERS ARISING : No meeting had been arranged to discuss the mobility scooter user who could not access the gate on the family walk, this to be arranged.

The new website would be live this week and members would be welcome to make remarks and ways of enhancing the website. More hyper links were needed as well as more photographs and illustrations, by using local photographers and maybe the school.

  1. CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED :Invitation to Wolsingham School & Community College

“Be Flood Ready” 3.30 pm Monday 13th July 2015, two members had attended the presentation and the students had invented guards for air bricks , which needed to be more robust but all in all was a good idea.

                        R. Hopkinson, Chairman WRECASS  : letter, referred to Finance meeting 21st July

An e mail had ben received from the Head Teacher at Wolsingham School , reference the tree felling and the need for a MUGA. Works had been stopped , on the felling, as reportedly a birds nest had been in one of the trees which was an offence to fell when wild birds are nesting, and ecologist had attended the site and completed a survey. Questions were asked as to how this situation had arisen and what measures had now been taken to resolve the issue. Chairman to prepare a statement  to be forwarded to  Head teacher, Chair of Governors, Durham Police & Crime Commissioner, and Stuart Timmiss Head of Planning Durham C.C.

  1. RECREATION GROUND: Outdoor Gym , monies were available to create an Outdoor Gym, and a suitable location had been identified. More information was required and would be further discussed at the Finance meeting 21st July.

An officer of the Forestry Commission had visited the site and identified trees which needed felling to allow other trees to grow to maturity, planning consent to fell the trees would be applied for.

  1. ST. ANNE’S CENTRE: Although the charity events which had taken place, so far had not been excellent they were still raising much needed funding for a variety of charities.
  2. BOWLING GREEN : Different ways of carrying out the autumn treatment program were being investigated, by purchasing a new machine, with cassettes and a lute to be manufactured, to even out the surface. This would save considerably on the labour charges and final cost.
  3. ALLOTMENTS:  A recent inspection had been made and most allotments were looking good and well maintained.
  4. TOWN HALL: The painting of the facia boards, guttering and down comers had been completed successfully albeit painting when the library was open on the Monday had led to problems.
  5. MARKET PLACE: Market Stalls, a letter had been received from the local bakery expressing their concerns if another baker was to be allowed to have a stall on the Market Place, as this may well jeopardise, the jobs of the current employees. The issue to be discussed further at the Finance meeting 21st July .

Annual Fair : W. H. Clark has applied for road closure , date for meeting to be arranged

.Cllrs. A. Savory  M.Bell, D. Sugden and J. Henderson expressed an interest in attending the meeting.

Cllr. M. Epsly was asked as to the viability of the  installation of  a charging point for electric cars, as this would mean a stand alone car park space for the sole use of electric car users and for the most part would not be utilised, was not supported.

  1.               August STREET TOILETS : The toilets needed painting to cover graffiti etc. an estimate of £264 had been obtained from A. Vipond, for £264 , agreed to have painted.


  1. DEMESNE MILL: Permission had ben sort to position a memorial seat at “Cricket Lane” agreed, Post meeting the applicant had decided on another location.



  1. THORNLEY WOOD: Meeting with Durham Wildlife Trust; Anne  Porter had visited the site along with David Liddle and had offered support  in clearing some trees and hedge planting and also to create some footpaths on the site.
  4. NEWSLETTER ~: Thanks were expressed for the organisers of the Gala Day , which had been well supported
  6. MEMBERS REQUEST:             .

21.1  The following applications have been approved:

DM/15/01251/FPA        50, Front Street, demolition of outbuilding and erection of single storey extension

DM/15/01227/FPA        2, Filter Cottages, retention of shed

DM/15/01095/FPA        Thistlewood Hall Cottage, two storey side extension to cottage, relocate previously approved buildings 3 metres north


21.2The following applications have been notified, to be determined by the Planning Committee.


DM/15/01837/FPA        5 Tower Mews, single storey extension

DM/15/01691/FPA        Site of former Sandy Carr Quarry, erection of industrial shed to be used for HGV operator centre (Sui Generis)

DM/15/01670/FPA        West Park Farm, Tow Law, extension to existing building to provide additional seating and extension to car park

DM/15/01491/PNC       Bowlees Farm, proposed change of use of agricultural building to dwelling house

 ( class 3)and for associated operational development.

DM/15/01287/OUT       Land opposite Ward’s End Cottages Tow Law, outline application with all matters reserved for erection of Industrial Units

DM/15/01963/FPA        D.C.C. Holywood Depot, demolition of vehicle sheds, toilet block & fuel pump housing. Erection of 2.4m high fence

DM/15/02028/LB          4a Rectory Lane, listed building consent to replace windows with double glazed timber units

DM/15/01635/FPA        West End Garage, 84, West End, erection of steel framed building to replace temporary storage containers, members were in favour of this application and it should be supported.

  1. 1.              Finance Reports to End JUNE 2015 , agreed and accepted.