Monday, 28 December 2009

N'land County Council - Budget Cuts

Most residents will know that following the demise of Tynedale Council and the transfer to a unitary authority (ie Northumberland County Council), NCC is faced with finding cuts to it's budget of £30M.
NCC has recently published details of it's proposals. These proposals are open to public consultation. Click on the following link to find out more. It provides information on NCC's current proposals and also provides information about consultation meetings where you can have your say.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Bees Under Threat - 18 Dec 09

If we have any beekeepers in the area, they may well be interested in this scheme aimed at offering advice and support. In a recent letter from DEFRA, they write:-

"The National Bee Unit (NBU), which is based at the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), manages BeeBase and uses it to identify apiaries at risk in the local area and as a result target inspection measures effectively. We need to know who is keeping bees and where they are kept to ensure any new or existing health problems are identified and to improve our chances of successfully controlling disease and any incursions of new pests. In return, once registered on BeeBase, beekeepers have access to a wealth of information such as; interactive maps of disease outbreaks, access to current legislation, up-to-date disease management leaflets, be alerted to pest and disease outbreaks in their own area and will receive a free advisory apiary visit from their local bee inspector."

Further information can be obtained at or by phoning the NBU on 01904 462510.

Parish Council Notes - 18th December 2009

Unfortunately the Parish Council Meeting was rather restricted - sickness, other commitments and bad weather meant that the Council met but some items on the agenda had to be carried over to the next meeting.

There seems to be many conflicting views concerning where the Interactive Lighting is placed on Castle View. The Council were advised by Northumberland County Council that this was the best place for it, bearing in mind that it is there to stop speeding through the village. Were it to be placed further to the East the Council were informed that cars would slow down on seeing the sign but were likely to speed up again once past. The Council will, however, keep a close eye on the situation.

Councillor Holden was able to report a healthy number of visits to the Council website. Village organisations are reminded that they can advertise their events free on this Blog. Just email the details to A new strimmer is assisting in cutting back foliage and he was able to report that thanks to the services of community workers ground maintenance had proceeded well. Too well if the reappearance of moles is anything to go by!

Councillor Holden is proceeding well with the Play Equipment Project and seekintg funding from many quarters. Ovingham Middle School have submitted more suggestions and these are being examined.

The Council proceeds all the time with endeavouring to make sure that some of the day to day maintenance needs of the village are carried out. However, NCC is cutting back on so many basic areas that it is very difficult at times.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas Services at St.Mary the Virgin

A warm welcome to all at any of these services.

Tues 15th Dec 7:00pm Mothers' Union Carol Service

Sat 19th Dec 6:30pm Choir Concert (Reading Room)

Thurs 24th Dec 6:00pm Carol Service & Blessing of the Crib

Fri 25th Dec 9:30am Christmas Parish Communion

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Parish Council Notes - 25 Nov 2009

There was much discussion at the Council Meeting on what may seem like small items of maintenance - but these are items for which a close watch needs to be kept.   Many were items which fall under the remit of Northumberland County Council but do not seem to be carried out, especially road maintenance. It is not only Ovingham which suffers from the lack of road maintenance but also many other villages and on which NCC have had to cut back because of financial restrictions.

 The Council is still endeavouring to arrange for the blocked culverts at the Packhorse Bridge to be cleared. Thankfully, even with the heavy rain at the moment the Burn has not flooded (though it has risen very high). 

 Councillor Holden gave the meeting an exciting power point demonstration on envisaged improvements to the playing field. As many of the younger residents of Ovingham will know the play equipment is becoming very out-dated and is in need of renewal.   However, Councillor Holden has attended a 'Playbuilder' Scheme presentation for the construction of play areas which encourages imagination and creativity rather than the usual play equipment. Our Middle School have contributed innovative ideas  and now Councillor Holden is seeking funding. He was supported by all the Councillors and now it is a case of "watch this space".

 By the time this account reaches the magazine the New Year will be with us and the Parish Council would wish all members of the Parish a very Happy New Year and the hope that 2010 is trouble free for the village.   Our January Meeting will be held at 7.15 p.m. on  Thursday 18th January in the Reading Room, when all parishioners are welcome.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Parish News - 28 October 2009

Once again the public, and especially a representation from the Green Group, were well represented at the meeting held on 15 October. The Chairman opened the meeting to enable them to inform the Council of their progress. The Council voted to give the group a "one off " donation to help with some initial expenses.

The culverts at the Packhorse Bridge are still giving much concern to the Parish Council and the work recently carried out has been insufficient to clear the culverts, where only one is open and two blocked. The clerk will write to Northumberland again and point out the danger of the blockage which could contribute towards future flooding.

Planning and Routine Maintenance were discussed, much of which centred around foliage and trees which overhang pathways. The Council would remind residents that it is their responsibility to cut back foliage on their land which overhangs or impedes walkways. The clerk was asked to request that the hedging on the Ovingham/Wylam Road (North side) be cut back.

The Clerk has received a letter from NCC assuring the Council that the standard of grass cutting will be improved next year. They have agreed that the standard has not been satisfactory this year.

A request has been received from the Allotment Association, enquiring whether there was further land which could be let. Unfortunately, whilst sympathising with the Association, the Parish Council owns very little land within the village.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 19 November. The unconfirmed date for the December meeting is 17 December.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Parish News - 26 September 2009

The Parish Council Meeting held on 17 September was well attended and the Council were pleased to welcome members of the new "green" group formed in the village. It is hoped that they will be able to produce advice and suggestions on how Ovingham people may be able to become more focused on a 10% reduction in the carbon footprint.

The clerk has received details of compost bins which can be purchased at a good discount rate. If you are interested in purchasing a bin please contact the clerk (831897) for more details.

Much of the meeting was concerned with maintenance items throughout the village. It was noted that some more pavement repair has been carried out on the Piper Road Estate, though not finished. The Parish Council have been informed by Northumberland that completion of the work will be done in time, but we are having to share the work with other villages.

The Council are much concerned about the poor condition of the grass cutting throughout the village this year. Although it must be acknowledged that the inclement weather this Summer has not helped, it was felt that the grass cutting this year has not been to an acceptable standard. Apparently, Ovingham is not the only village which has complained about the condition.

At the meeting Councillor Kelly (NCC) gave details of the Northumberland deficit which has gone from £25 1/2 million to £33 1/2 million. He explained that this increase in deficit had been caused mainly by the payment in redundancies and equal pay payments which have had to be paid. He also gave details of residential homes closing and the opening of the new home in Prudhoe which will not only serve the residents but also the community.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 22 October at 7.15 p.m. in the Reading Room, All residents of Ovingham will be welcome to attend.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Parish News - 12 Sept 2009

Thank you to all those who have submitted requests for both routine maintenance improvements and items for more long term action. These will be discussed at the next meeting.

Doreen Jordon and her small band have maintained the flower beds throughout the village and it has never looked more colourful. However, the Parish Council is concerned over grass cutting throughout the village and this will be discussed at the next meeting.

The Solagen interactive speed light has been up and working on Horsley Road. Its position, both there and on Castle View will be discussed at the next meeting. If anybody has any comments please let the clerk know.

Our September meeting will be held on 17 September (7:15pm in the Reading Room) and  our October meeting will be held on 22 October.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Parish Council Notes - August 2009

Visitors' Notice Board

This has recently been installed and has attracted favourable comments. The board has various photos taken around Ovingham and a map which should help visitors to find their way around.

Parking Restrictions

Northumberland County Council (Highways Safety) is proposing to extend the double yellow lines round the bend at the south end of Horsley Road. It is hoped that stopping parking here will improve safety and traffic flow on this very busy corner.

Care of Ovingham Village

A lot of maintenance has been carried out throughout the village - mainly the cutting back of hedges. Bewick Lane received a much needed clearing of overgrown hedges and it is hoped that this will help to keep it litter free. Some shrubs are also to be cut back in the churchyard though the branches which overhang the pant will have to remain. A full and varied action plan is being prepared for the village and the council was pleased to receive some very useful (and sometimes quite radical) ideas to make the village more attractive.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

Debbie Reed expressed her concern regarding climate change and how we can all, as residents, make a difference to our carbon footprints. There are many ways in which we can all help, even small ways can make a difference (have you thought of turning off your engine when waiting at the level crossing?). Ovingham Parish Council back and support Debbie in all she is doing and she will, in turn, help the council by keeping it informed of ways it can help.

Ovingham Bridge

East Tynedale Forum met recently and our representative, cllr. Richard Benjamin, reported that once again, Ovingham Bridge had been discussed - and once again we were informed that nothing is likely to be done for the next 30 to 40 years.

Road Transport Plan

Ovingham Parish Council will be meeting informally to discuss our requests for the Road Transport Plan (which Northumberland County Council use to prioritise work on highways). The council is asked to choose three items which it feels are the most important or urgent. As some of our requests have been on the list for several years, rapid action will not necessarily happen!

Next Meeting

Thursday 17 September 2009 in the Reading Room. All members of the parish are invited to attend.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Tynedale Hospice at Home

The Parish Council has received a DVD, together with contact information, from Tynedale Hospice at Home.
If anyone would like to borrow this DVD please contact Georgina Harper (Tel:831897).

Sunday, 26 July 2009

NHS Swine Flu Advice

Click on the image for larger print. Use your 'Back' button to get back here.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Summer Play Scheme

The SureStart mobile play van is making two visits to Ovingham Playing Field again this summer.

They have made several visits and the last one attracted over 30 youngsters. These free sessions are open to youngsters aged from 5 to 19. Children under 8 must be dropped off and picked up by an adult.

Make a note in your diary if you have youngsters.

Dates: 3rd and 24th August

Venue: Ovingham Playing Field

Time: 1:15pm to 2:45pm

For further details, look at the posters on the parish council notice boards or phone the Play Project Worker, Chris Affleck on either 01434 652388 or 07515 993852. Alternatively, you can email him at

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Parish Council Notes - June 2009

Because of the Goose Fair and no alternative date being found, the Parish Council Meeting for June was cancelled. However, the work of the Parish Council goes on.

Councillor Jordon must be congratulated on the flower planting which she and her helpers have carried out. The village is looking very “Summery”. Some routine maintenance has been carried out to the vegetation in the village. Cutting back of the hedges has been carried out on Bewick Lane and also on Horsley Road. Residents are reminded that they are responsible for the cutting back of their hedges and trees growing in their own property if they overhang the public highway.

Unfortunately, there have been cases of graffiti in the village which is not very pleasant. It is a costly exercise having them removed, but this has now been done.

Many people have asked where the notice board containing the village map has gone. It is a mystery, but Councillor Holden, with a lot of artistic work on this part, has had a new display made and this is to be mounted on a new board. It should not be too long before this is in place.

Once again, there has been a delay with the moving of the interactive speed sign. However, it is hoped before not too long, the sign will be re-sited on Horsley Road.

The next Parish Council Meeting will be held on Thursday 16 July at 7.15 p.m. in the Reading Room. All residents of Ovingham Parish are very welcome to attend.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Parish Council Notes - May 2009

The Annual Parish Meeting was held 21 May 2009. Councillor Margaret Turnbull was re-elected Chairman and Councillor Jordon was re-elected vice chairman. Councillor Jordon was re-elected as the Council Representative on the Reading Room Committee, Councillors Mennear and Macdonald to the Burial Committee and Councillor Holden elected as Council Representative to the Governors of Prudhoe Community High School (Community sub-committee). 

The Chairman in her report thanked all the Councillors for their hard work during the year and recorded much which has been carried out by the Council. She also spoke of things that still required carrying out in order that the village will remain beautiful and good to live in - mainly the eradication of litter and dog fouling. Reports were also received from the various representatives to village committees. These can be read by contacting the Parish Clerk.

The Interactive Light is to be moved soon to Horsley Road. In future it will be moved more regularly but some work to overhanging tree branches may have to be carried out before it can be located to Castle View.

There are several places throughout the village which are suffering from graffiti. It is hoped to get these cleaned as soon as possible.  

As you may have noticed, our map disappeared a while back. However, thankfully a new map, with pictures has been finished and a new board is being made. It is hoped to have it back on display very soon. 

By now all residents will have received from Northumberland County Council letters regarding the garden waste collection. The Parish Council expressed their regret that this step is being taken

A new Village Action Plan is to be produced. If you have any items which you think should be added for the future, please would you let the clerk know.

The next Parish Council Meeting will be held on Thursday 16 July at 7.15 p.m. in the Reading Room. All members of the Parish are invited to attend.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

10 May 2009 - Garden Waste Collection Service

The newly installed unitary authority - Northumberland County Council - are scrapping the free garden waste collection service set up by the now defunct Tynedale Council.

In a letter dated 7 May 2009 from NCC, they explain that households in Tynedale will have up to 8th June 2009 to decide ( ... ' to give you some time to decide to consider whether you wish to subscribe to the service... ') whether to pay £20 (incl VAT) a year for the service or choose to have their green waste bin removed. Residents choosing to have their bin removed will revert to having to take their garden waste to the tip themselves.

The letter points out that prior to 1 April 2009, some District Councils charged more that £30 a year and that only Tynedale provided a free service. NCC are introducing this in order that 'this service can be provided in a consistent manner and to a uniform standard across the County.'

A letter is due to be sent to all residents from NCC outlining these plans in more detail.
Watch out for more like this.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Parish Council News - 27 April 2009

These notes are based on our most recent meeting (April 09).

Parking on Verges.
The Council is concerned because there seem to be many cars parked on the greens and verges. One of the main areas is the verges on Horsley Road. It may be that people who park their cars on these verges do not realise that it is an offence to do so. The grass becomes churned up in wet weather and the Council who cut these verges are sometimes unable to do so. Double yellow lines are to be continued round the bend entering Horsley Road and it is hoped that this will help access for residents in this area.

Interactive Speed Light.
Arrangements are in hand to move the speed lighting to another area. The Council are just waiting to make sure that the light will not be obscured by trees.

Keeping the village clean and tidy.
It was good to have the village swept by Northumberland recently. They did do a good job though there were some areas which were missed! There is a real problem with Bewick Lane, especially the South end where the contractors are doing work. It is hoped that when they have finished they will clear their rubbish, but they can’t be expected to clear the rubbish which is being left by residents. Please do take a pride in our lovely village and make sure you are not one of the people to spoil it.

Ovingham/Wylam Road. 
Some time back the Council was asked to approve a safety scheme for erecting safety barriers. The Council were not really happy about losing some of the footpaths. Wylam, who were also consulted, agreed that retention of the footpaths was essential. However, since then there have been further accidents and the police are now requesting the work to be done. Ovingham Parish Council have replied that they can only support the erection of a safety barrier if it does not involve the loss of  any of the footpath along this stretch. The Wylam/Ovingham road is well used by pedestrians and there are many stretches which are very hazardous to them.

Boundary Commission.
Under the new Unitary Authority the Boundary Commission has submitted new electoral division proposals and Ovingham, together with Ovington are to be included with Prudhoe West. The decision has been made on purely numerical grounds (to be as close as possible to 3,799 electors). The Council have protested on this division, pointing out that the two other criteria for the new boundary should be considered – that the River Tyne forms a natural boundary and that there is a strong community identity with the other Tyne Valley villages, such as Wylam and Heddon.

The next meeting to be held on 21 May in the Reading Room will be the Annual General Meeting at 8.00 p.m. and all residents are urged to attend. The Council meeting will commence as usual at 7.15 p.m.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Mothers' Union - Table Top Sale

Date: 25 April 2009

Venue: The Reading Room

Time: 10am - 1pm

Proceeds: to Diocesan Relief Fund

Entry: Free

Raffles, Bric-a-Brac, Hardly Used, Fancy Goods, Crafts, Chutneys, Cakes, Bacon Butties. A date not to be missed. Please come and join us.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Parish Council News - 3 April 2009

These notes relate to our March meeting and are based [edited by PH] on our notes in the Parish Magazine of April 2009.

OPC Meetings.
Unfortunately, owing to the bad weather, the parish council meeting scheduled for 12 February had to be cancelled. However, the parish council continued to be busy during February and outstanding items were brought forward to the March meeting. Councillors emphasised that all residents are welcome to attend any of our meetings whether or not they may have issues to raise. Meetings are normally held on the third Thursday of every month except August.

Freedom of Information Act.
From the beginning of the year, central government required parish councils to make available all information of public interest. We feel that we already satisfied this requirement but by adding links to the 'What We Do' page, we hope to exceed this requirement. However, if there is any information inadvertently omitted, or if you have questions not answered, please contact the parish clerk.
Ovingham Parish Council has always been committed to open, inclusive and transparent government and look forward to when this principle is applied ever wider.

Flood Repairs.
As most will know, the pavilion suffered very badly through flooding in September 2009 and major repairs had to take place. These are now all but finished and it is hoped that soon the pavilion will be used to its full extent.

Unitary Authority.
Meetings have been held throughout Northumberland to explain how the new authority will operate. Amongst other things there will be changes to election procedures and parish councils' views are being sought. The remit of parish councils will change but at the present time it is not known what these changes will mean in practice.

Ovingham Bridge.
Much concern has been felt concerning cyclists using the pedestrian footpath of the bridge. Sometimes it may be that cyclists have not realised they should dismount on the pedestrian bridge. The Council had hoped to persuade Northumberland Highways to improve the signage but it looks as though, in the short run, the signage will not be changed and we must continue to rely on the good sense of cyclists and the police to ensure compliance.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Food Hygiene Course

If you are involved in preparing food for the public, you may need to have completed a food hygiene course which is certificated.

Certificates are valid for three years. So if you completed the last course held in the Reading Room, you may need to repeat it.

There are still a few places left for the next course which is being held in the Reading Room on 4 April 2009. Starts 9:00am and finishes at 3:30pm.

Ring 01661 832695 to book your place.

Ceilidh - 27 March 2008

There will be a ceilidh in the Reading Room on 27 March 2009 at 7:30pm. A licensed bar including soft drinks is available.

Ticket price includes a supper of soup and stotties.

The event is in aid of roof repairs to the Reading Room and tickets are available from the Londis shop or Hazel on 836692.

Parish Council News - 20 March 2009

The Parish Council are still very concerned over the amount of litter which is dropped throughout the village. There are very few areas which are litter-free and every person is asked to be vigilant, not only to ensure they do not drop litter but also to stop others doing so. The three main problem areas in the village – the rear lane to Castle View, Bewick Lane and the area at the top of Horsley Road. Please let us all do our best to make sure our village stays beautiful.

Several people have asked when the speed light will be moved. It is the Council’s plan to move the light after April. There are three positions and the light will be moved approximately every 4 months.

At the present time it is not clear what difference to small Parish Councils the new Unitary Authority will make. Ovingham Parish Councillors are all aware that there will be some differences taking place and Councillors are involved in the local Forum which has been formed.

For some time it has been obvious that the “no cycling” signs are ambiguous and it could be that cyclists do not realise they should be using the road bridge. Unfortunately, it seems that only signs used within the Highway Code can be erected. It is hoped that new clearer signs will be placed in a more prominent position in the near future.

Since the beginning of the year it has become law that everybody must be able to access information of all official bodies. To this end Ovingham Parish Council has put on their Web Site the means of access to all information

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Parish Council News - March 2009

Flooding in Ovingham

Mr Ian Hodge, Environmental Agency and Ian Douglas, Director Environmental Services Tynedale were welcomed to the Parish Council Meeting which was opened for questions. Mr Hodge explained that flooding was caused by culverts not being able to cope with the heavy rainfall, water draining from fields and Whittle Burn. He stated that there were no powers which could be used to prevent any of these happening again and householders would need to make their own provisions for dealing with future flood risks. However, although he had no powers to act, because the build-up of water in The Tyne may have been a contributory factor, two engineers are to produce a report which when completed will be passed to Ovingham Parish Council.
Mr Douglas urged everybody to remember that any flood water must always be treated as contaminated.

Interactive Speed Lights

These are now in place and the first sign is positioned at the West entry to the village. It will be circulated periodically on Horsley Road and Castle View.

Land Registration

Legislation is to come into place ensuring that all land throughout the country is registered. Some time ago Councillor Holden offered to undertake the registration of Council land (little knowing how time consuming it would prove). However, the task is now completed and the land owned by Ovingham Parish Council is registered. Councillor Holden must not only be congratulated but thanked for completing such a time-consuming exercise.

Churchyard Wall

The Council has for some time had concerns regarding the Churchyard Wall to the East which seemed to be slipping. When finally inspected it was found that there was not only a large void under the wall but also a gas leak. Re-filling the hole was delayed by sub-zero temperatures and caused considerable problems to traffic flow. Thankfully, the repair is now complete though it’s not yet known what plans are in hand to repair the sagging wall.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Reading Room Film Club

Friday 30th January.

Doors open 7:00pm. Film starts 7:30pm.


Monday, 12 January 2009

Parish Council News

Dog Fouling.

This continues to be a problem in the village. The main areas reported by residents are – the back of Castle View, particularly next to 37 Castle View, the foot bridge across the river, the paths in front of the shop and West Road . The Tynedale Council dog warden has been informed and he is to visit the village and find out where the reported areas are. Hopefully he will then patrol the area to catch the dog owners concerned.

Laurel Bushes at Reading Room.

These were planted many years ago by the Reading Room . They have become overgrown and will eventually be a problem to traffic at the bridge entrance if they are not cut back. This is not Parish Council land therefore they are reluctant to pay for the pruning of the bushes. Tynedale Council have been asked to cut the bushes back as it is Highways land .

Church Yard Wall.

The clerk received a letter and photographs pointing out the poor state of the church yard wall where the old bus stop used to be. A large hole has formed at the base of the wall. This information has been passed on to Tynedale Council.


This was discussed in detail at the last meeting and Councillors present decided the Precept would stay the same as last year at £15 000.


Ian Hodge from the Environment Agency will attend the January Parish Council Meeting . Residents will be informed of this meeting. He will talk about how the environment agency deals with the problem of flooding and will then try to answer questions and concerns from the general public.