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Wolsingham Parish Council

Minutes AGM May 2015



TUESDAY 12th MAY 2015



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

                              G. Price,  S. Calvert, M/s L. Richardson,  G. Dixon, J. Wilson

POLICE:        PCSO G. Burton


PUBLIC:       P.& L. Martin,  M/s C. Moffatt ,Eric Bloomfield, J. Stephenson




Election of Chairman: David Sugden  was proposed and seconded and duly accepted the appointment of Chairperson, and signed the Declaration of  Acceptance of Office. Mrs. Epsly had stood down as Chair after two years in the role and was thanked for all her hard work.

Election of Vice Chair: Geoff. Price was proposed and seconded and duly accepted the appointment of vice chairman.

Minutes of Last Annual Meeting held 13th May 2014 had been circulated and agreed to accept as read, were moved and seconded as a true record.


Matters Arising: Corrections to the minutes J. Wilson did attend the meeting and to strike apologies, Eric Bloomfield did attend the meeting, agreed to include as attended

Annual Report:  Mrs. M. Epsly gave the report:


The year just gone has proved to be another year of change, long serving Councillor Ken Charlton decided to retire and an election was held in February , and Mrs. Jane Henderson was the successful candidate of four. I would like to take this opportunity in thanking Ken for his past service and wish him well in retirement. Jane Henderson has come forward with exuberance and gusto, to fill the vacancy and has been instrumental over the past months in fund raising for the Family Gala Day to be held 4th July in the recreation field and St. Anne’s Centre, we wish her every success and fine weather. Another long serving contractor, Barbara Wallace has also retired, having worked for the Parish Council in various roles over the past 10 – 15 years.

            The Parish Council have completed the planned additions and Disability Access pathways before Easter and to date have proved to be very popular additions. It would be remiss of me not to mention the grants that have been awarded for this project from Weardale Area Action Partnership £20K, Sir James Knott Trust £2K, and  County Durham Community Foundation £5K. 

These grants were obtained via WRECASS, Wolsingham Recreation Assoc. which was established as a registered charity in 1997 by the then Parish Council, so it has been with the diligence and hard work of Ken Charlton & Gordon which has enabled these facilities to be added to a playground owned and run by the Parish Council, when other authorities are not investing in playgrounds and outdoor activities.

Demesne Mill another leisure park owned and run by the Parish Council has seen quite a varied amount of activity over the year, not least the addition of 100 or more new trees, given by the Woodland Trust. This has been a catalyst for further intervention by enthusiasts, ( Wolsingham Wayfarers) and others to help tidy up the Demesne Mill site by litter picking and the maintenance of bushes and under growth, and I believe a future management plan for the area.

Wolsingham Wayfarers have also been busy over the last few months developing new leaflets on various walks in the area and are to be commended on their continuing enthusiasm and promotion of the walks in and around Wolsingham, which keeps the walks clear and attracts visitors to the area.

            Wolsingham Market Place is a very attractive area and the Parish Council are hoping to attract more traders to the area , and advertisements have been placed  to hopefully have a vibrant Market once again. What really attracts visitors to Wolsingham has been the ever popular Christmas Market which has run over the last few years and the main organiser is of course Anita, who we also congratulate on being awarded an MBE, which was awarded by The Princess Royal in February.

            Additional housing has been put forward by Persimmon Homes and PlanArchDesign for development at the East end of town, in total 224 houses and industrial units.

The Parish Council have held meetings with both developers, raising various topics of concern, effect on schools, doctors, on site parking , highway ,water and drainage issues, and how the developers can address and help with these issues through the planning rules and requirements, of the planning system.


To date only one proposal has been submitted to the local planning authority from PlanArchDesign

The Old Wolsingham Grammar School building is in the process of major expansion works, which will be finalised and ready for the 2016 school year. A MUGA  ( Multi Use Games Area) will be built alongside the Community Sports Hall and along with the swimming baths , Wolsingham is well served for the sporting , active fraternity

The upper site will be levelled and we await development proposals for this site.               



Public Remarks:

1.The new parking restrictions seem to result in better access to parking spaces in the Market area, though there are still some problems of inappropriate parking.

2.Speed of traffic, especially in the Upper Town area is seen as a problem, although no speeding vehicles have been found by detectors in the road. Even 20 mph may be too fast at school times, when parents dropping-off or collecting children create additional traffic hazards.

3.It was requested that we fly the flag from our flagpole at the Town Hall on appropriate occasions. A list of suitable dates was accepted and the appropriate flag will be used in the next year.

4.Complaint was made that the election for a casual vacancy on the Parish Council was expensive and  has caused a rise in Council Tax Precept of 24%. It was noted that this is the legal democratic process, caused by the number of electors (over 10) who requested elections be held. It is normally easier and cheaper to co-opt members, but this creates concerns that Councillors only

 co-opt their friends. Elections avoid any such doubts.

5.Market Stalls; the council has invited bids from interested parties to run stalls in the market place, recently vacated. This possibility is still being explored but some interest has been shown.

6.Housing developments; there are three current outline plans for significant housing development, but none are yet in the final planning stage. It was noted that additional homes will need additional services in schools, health and shopping. We were reminded of times when Wolsingham had three chip-shops and four butchers but accept that such times will not return!

7.There was some suggestion that a “Community Centre” would be useful. Wolsingham has several community buildings which are currently underused and more use is being encouraged, for example using the St Anne's Centre for a 'tea-room' service by local fund-raisers.

8.Parking at St Anne's Centre; a concern was raised that some people had been fined for not displaying a parking ticket. Car parking is a significant source of income for the centre. Local residents can obtain a permanent pass for that location for only £2 from the Town Hall.


Financial Statement for year Ended 31st March 2015

The clerk gave the figures for 2014/2015 which showed an underspend  of funds, of £5426

The major variance to the annual accounts was the spend on new play equipment and footpaths, in the play area, costing £28121. This had been funded through grants awarded from Sir James Knott Trust, County Durham Community Foundation and Weardale Area Action Partnership.

A member asked where the rent from Thornley Wood was recorded, Clerk replied that it was included in the income heading Parks & Open Spaces.

Moved and seconded and agreed to accept the Statement of Accounts for 2014/15.

The meeting closed at 6.55 pm.