May 28th 2009 Minutes

Johnstone Community Council

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 28th May 2009 at 6.30pm in Cochrane Castle Community Hall.


Robert Campbell, Elizabeth Cosgrove, Wilma Dean, Chris Gilmour, David Higginson, Pamela Higginson, George Kennedy, Dennis Lavery, Carol McKenzie, Valerie Reilly, and Gladys Marchbank.

Also in attendance:-

Councillors Arthur, Caldwell and McFee.

1. Apologies

Stewart Clark, Ewan Finlay, Rosalyn Gilmour, John Waters, Isabella Wishart and Councillors Bibby, Hood, McGee and MacMillan.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

Proposed by David Higginson

Seconded by Elizabeth Cosgrove

3. New Member

Chris Gilmour introduced and welcomed Gladys Marchbank, a newly co-opted member of Johnstone Community Council.

4. Talk on Environmental service issues.

Andy Summers, Renfrewshire Council Street Scene Manager, gave a short talk about changes being made in the way open-space maintenance and street cleaning services are being delivered. By combining tasks and assigning them to mobile squads covering larger areas it should be possible to improve cleanliness and quality of life. These are big changes and will require a little patience from the public during the transmission period.

For Johnstone, Houston Square is being improved to give less cover for anti-social activities and summer bedding plants are about to go out. The effort is being put into making the town centre a better place to conduct business and therefore improve the economy.

Carol McKenzie asked whether areas of deprivation were being targeted?

AS replied that resources would go where they are most needed in order to give everyone the same level of service.

Gladys Marchbank asked dog mess as she was fed up of complaining about her area not being cleaned.

AS pointed out that dog fouling was the biggest source of complaints.

George Kennedy said that JCC hoped to be able to bring all the various services together to tackle problems such as these.

Elizabeth Cosgrove reported that a rat had been seen in William Street just that morning.

AS promised to look into it.

Dennis Lavery added that vermin were living in overgrown areas of Ludovic Square and that the shrubbery needed to be cleared at ground level to alleviate the problem. He also reported that machine cleaning had just spread dog dirt across the pavements and that graffiti on Virgin street boxes was not being cleaned - even after being reported to Virgin.

AS replied that graffiti was being tackled in Paisley at the moment, but the programme would soon be rolled out to other areas.

GK outlined some of the improvements that had already been achieved.

DL asked whether it was possible to change people’s behaviour in order to resolve the problems?

AS reported that the ‘Cleaner Renfrewshire’ campaign was beginning to work on this with educational activities in schools and with community groups. He added that enforcement was also an option.

The problem of flower beds in Kilbarchan Road was raised back in 2007 with action promised by 2008, but problem remains. A suggestion was made that local residents should take on the flower beds themselves.

EC brought up issue of overhanging trees along Beith Road.

AS replied that safety issues such as this can be attended to even if the problem is occurring on private land.

CG recorded thanks to Environmental Services for the improvements already made in Johnstone and thanked AS for his time and input at the meeting.

5. Talk on the CCTV system.

Amanda Moulson spoke on behalf of the Paisley Johnstone and Renfrew CCTV scheme which is run by a Trust. It is funded by Renfrewshire Council and Strathclyde Police together with some other smaller funding amounts. There are 5 employees working a shift pattern covering 10am through to 3 or 4am. Currently the trust is looking for other funding sources, perhaps sharing with another authority or contracting the scheme out to a larger scheme like Glasgow’s.

Cameras in Johnstone have been placed according to police evidence of crime hot spots. Extra coverage is now provided by the CCTV vans.

CH asked if the community can ask for particular areas to be targeted at particular times?

AM replied that it would depend the operators can look at such requests but the focus has to be on anti-social behaviour on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Clr McFee asked if pictures of those caught on camera can be published?

AM replied that under certain circumstances such pictures can be made public. She added that it was hoped to improve the camera system and that the public should be urged to report even low level crimes regularly.

CG stated that we will support the CCTV Trust in any way we can and thanked AM for attending the meeting.

6. Matters Arising.

6.1 Interim Review Environmental Wardens Scheme.

GK reported that problems with the body cams should be resolved shortly. The Senior Warden will come along to the August CC meeting.

6.2 Sub-group reports.


GK reported that Walkabouts are still taking place and that points are being attended to or are scheduled.

Bandstand and War Memorial.

There is an opportunity to get funding from the Town Centre regeneration funds. A bid is being worked on - the deadline for applications is the end of June.


CMcK reported that she has spoken to Ruth Cooper and sent her the document submitted to the April CC meeting, amended to take into account the discussions at that meeting

BMcF reported that seed money to help with preparation of funding applications may be available from the LAC. He advised that we would need to prioritise the approach and decide which parks to concentrate on. Trying to apply for all at once would probably be a negative influence.

The question of the Cochrane Castle playpark was raised – the housing group are now saying that there is not enough land or money to replace the playpark.

BMcF advised that any Section 75 agreement in the planning permission is legally enforceable.

It was agreed that the CC would assist the Tenants and Residents Association with any campaign they wished to mount on this matter.

6.3 Town Centre Walkabout progress report.

GK reported on a recent walkabout and improvements that had been made – e.g. a new dog bin has been installed in Boat Road and the lights in Houston Court rear car park are now working. However there are still issues to target.

6.4 Town Centre Youth Projects

The Centre Youth Club had 17 children last Friday and seems to be successfully attracting a clientele that wouldn’t normally attend a club.

There had been problems with the late arrival of the football pitch in Houston Square. These have now been resolved. Last Saturday 20 children attended.

The West Johnstone Campus Club is also well attended, and may even be expanded to target a younger age group next winter.

6.5 Graffiti.

GK reported that there have been problems with the breakdown of machinery and the chemicals used which are now being sorted out.

BMcF came up with a suggestion of the CC purchasing basic equipment to allow Community Service squads to apply a low tech approach to cleaning graffiti – a sort of poetic justice.

It was agreed that the CC would get some indications from Shona McDougal as to the costs involved in such a scheme.

7. Planning Report.

Though not able to be present Ewan Finlay had reported that there were no items of planning that were currently of concern.

8. Treasurer’s Report

David Higginson reported that current funds amounted to £5,764.74 and that £128.58 in expenses had been paid to GK. Funds look healthy but payments are still owed to the Youth Centre and there were also some outstanding bills.

9. Secretary’s Report

Letters from Clrs Bibby and MacMillan were circulated.

Future jobs Fund Scotland – details were emailed out. Ian McNaught will work out how to take this forward.

Representatives to ASCC – CMcK volunteered to attend.

Volunteering Special Event – GK to attend.

ABI team – leaflet circulated.

10. AOCB

CG reported on the LAC meeting. It was a long meeting with lots of grants given out. New members have joined and a Health Improvement for Johnstone was set out.

Renfrewshire Community Council Forum Meeting held on 11/05/09. GK reported that the new Police Commander had attended. An increase in the CC admin allowance (currently £908) to be discussed at next meeting. There are possible changes to the area covered by JCC – if so this may delay the CC elections scheduled for October.

General Practitioners Consultation document. DL reported that the timescale for reporting on this were too tight (deadline 12/06/09). The issues need time for discussion. The document should be circulated for discussion at the next meeting.

Wikipedia. The CC had received a report that the Wikipedia page for Johnstone had been corrupted. This has now been rectified by Stewart Clark.

Johnstone Festival. CC members including IMcN and his wife, Pamela Higginson, GK and EC had volunteered to assist on the stalls.

Summer Music in Houston Square. GK reported that slots for 6/6 and 13/6 have now been filled will provisional bookings for further dates.

Move to Town Hall. GK reported that he had a verbal agreement that the CC will have a meeting room in Johnstone Town Hall from the August meeting onwards.

Septic tanks. DH reported that he had learned from a newspaper that all septic tanks had now to be registered. Anyone failing to do so by 31st May would incur costs in excess of £130. Why had he had to learn this from a newspaper? Why hadn’t any official body notified residents of this new regulation? Is this a stealth tax?

Fair Trade. BMcF asked if there was any interest amongst the CC in promoting Johnstone as a Fair Trade Town. It was decided that it would be worthwhile inviting a Fair Trade representative to a future meeting to speak to us about it.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.50pm.

The next meeting will be held at Cochrane Castle Community Hall on Thursday 25th June 2009.

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