August 1st 2013 Minutes

Johnstone Community Council

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 1st August 2013 at 7.00pm in Cochrane Castle Community Centre.


Members: Robert Campbell, Elizabeth Cosgrove, Wilma Dean, Linda Flint, Elizabeth Forrest, David Higginson, Pamela Higginson, Malcolm Hill, George Kennedy, Dennis Lavery and Valerie Reilly.

Associate members: Daniel McKay.

Also in attendance:-

Councillors (Ward 7) – John Caldwell, John Hood, Iain MacMillan.

(Ward 8) – Derek Bibby, Andy Doig, Christopher Gilmour.

Tom Stirling of Renfrewshire Council.

2 members of the public were also present.

1. Apologies Robert Bowater, Stewart Clark, Brian Cairns and Evelyn Cairns. Cllr Stephen McGee

2. Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed.

Proposed by George Kennedy

Seconded by Wilma Dean

3. WRC Recycling Plant issues

Tom Stirling, Renfrewshire Council’s Environmental Strategy Manager, addressed JCC on the issue of WRC, as he had done recently with Quarrelton Tenants and Residents Association. He outlined RC’s involvement with the fly infestation issue which had been a matter of concern for a number of years. SEPA had been dealing with most complaints up to the end of 2011 but their powers were limited because the site runs under an exemption. RC has been monitoring since early 2012, trying to get evidence to link the fly infestation to a source at WRC. Eventually they got all the required evidence and served an abatement notice requiring the company to do something to address the situation at that time and to take measures prevent any future occurrence.

The notice was served on 12th July with a 21-day appeal period. WRC removed the infested material and have engaged a pest control company to spray the stockpiles with a product that will not pollute the nearby watercourse. This has made a big difference to the fly infestation.

Dennis Lavery asked if there was any other action RC can take.

TS replied that this was the one area under Environmental Services control. Otherwise they can work with partner agencies to regulate the site and also work with WRC towards finding an alternative site for their operations as it is obvious that Johnstone does not want this operation in its town centre and WRC will eventually outgrow the site anyway.

Elizabeth Forrest asked about the fact that WRC record their own figures of the weights of material passing through.

TS replied that SEPA are now monitoring this.

George Kennedy reported that Margaret Lavery had received information from SEPA in response to her enquiries. This gives figures on the amounts WRC are allowed process at 5500tons/week and material is not to be kept on site for more than 12 months.

ML reported on further enquiries regarding buffer zones and neighbour notification.

Protests at a plant in Grangemouth resulted in a meeting with the Scottish Environment Minister. Johnstone wants a similar meeting

DL added that it was significant that SEPA have intervened 43 times since April at Grangemouth – so why not in Johnstone?

Cllr McMillan noted that at the LAC meeting the Fire Chief had not been able to answer the question on how the fire had started and wondered if there had been any more recent word?

GK noted that if a cause has been identified the information may be with the Procurator Fiscal.

Cllr Bibby asked whether it was known what tonnage of material was in the yard on the night of the fire?

TS replied that SEPA had done an audit during March and May but he had no knowledge of January figures.

DL asked why WRC was operating under an exemption.

TS replied that it was because of the quantities that they dealt with.

DL commented emphasising the fact that they were self-regulating!

ML and DL made comments about the lorries at the yard and Cllr Doig replied that the police are looking at this as well as the reports that work at the site starts as early as 6.30am. Cllr Gilmour added that CCTV was also being checked to see if they were working too early.

TS said that SEPA can deal with noise nuisance.

GK rounded up the discussion saying that we all need to keep on at this to help RC who have now been awakened to the problem.

TS left the meeting at 7.40pm

4. Planning Report

Valerie Reilly reported that the demolition of the shops at Spateston had appeared in the Planning lists and asked whether JCC wanted to make any comment.

Cllr McM reported that most people are in favour of demolition. RC’s preference is to temporarily relocate the shops to portacabins, but the shop owners want to build shops on the site of St Cuthbert’s.

RC wants to develop the site fully and the locals want new shops now but businesses can’t wait for the whole redevelopment.

DL agreed that the shops could be kept there and asked what JCC could do.

Cllr McM said that a letter from JCC backing local views could only be helpful. Copies could go to Mary Creary at Housing and Property Services, Fraser Carlin, and Cllrs Tommy Williams and Terry Kelly of the Planning Board.

Bert Campbell asked about the old library.

Cllr McM replied that it will ultimately come down too.

5. Treasurer’s Report

David Higginson presented a bank statement which showed a balance of £7,846.66.

6. Secretary’s Report

GK tabled documents on Management rules for War Memorials and for Public Parks. The latter stated that dogs should be kept on a short lead where appropriate. GK wondered whether these rules could be extended to Ludovic Square when it is revamped and will write to RC to ask.

GK also reported that new legislation on public entertainment licences had led to the necessity of cancelling a performance from McCallums and that if the situation doesn’t improve JCC may have to give back money for bandstand entertainments to the LAC.

Cllr Hood noted that the new legislation had come into force in June 2013 but noted that there can be exemptions for events deemed to be ‘historic’.

DL stated that these events are staged for free to raise money for charity.

Cllr D stated that we should try for an exemption.

Cllr H said he would speak to the officers to see what could be done.

7. Sub-Group Reports


Linda Flint reported that she and Danny McKay have been going round taking photos. They had noted that on the whole of Dimity Street there were only three drains that were not blocked. They had submitted pictures in June and had received a reply giving target dates for rectifying the faults. But those dates were already passed at the time of receiving the email. There had been no reply to further questions.

A meeting had been arranged for 7th August with Jim Wright regarding Millar Street flooding.

Cllr G commented that no drains had been cleared anywhere in Renfrewshire in the last five years.

GK noted that he had asked Scott Allen for a schedule of drain clearing, but he was still waiting. LF asked if anyone had particular suggestions of future areas to target, meantime she and DMcK propose to concentrate on Johnstone Castle in August and Cochrane Castle in September.


GK noted that the paintwork in Ludovic Square had really been smartened up due to work done by Community Service.

BC commented that the gardens at Johnstone Station were looking really good and asked if JCC could write and thank Robert and Linda Sinclair for their hard work. GK agreed to do so.

DL raised the topic of Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam.

Cllr H noted that the Forestry Commission were currently dealing with knotweed.

Cllr D reported that RC will deal with knotweed on Council land but that private owners have to deal with it themselves.

Play Park & Youth Issues.

GK tabled concept drawings of development at Shanks Park for discussion saying that JCC wants to expand on the work already done at the park to the benefit of other age groups. Three ideas have been put forward a skateboard park, a parkour course and exercise equipment. A sum of about £224,000 would be required.

DH asked whether we had such money.

GK replied that we could fundraise

DH commented that that sort of sum could fill a lot of Johnstone’s potholes.

Cllr McM said that he felt that Shanks Park’s time has arrived with Johnstone deserving more attention than it currently gets. The newly refurbished McMaster centre has done fantastically well and we have the Gala Day coming up.

All Cllrs agreed that they would do anything they could to help.

ML stated that the area around the Bowling Club also required attention. Cllr h noted that he was to have a meeting with Andy Summers to see what can be done.


LF asked why Renfrewshire no longer observes the full Paisley Fair fortnight.

Cllr McM replied that it still exists on paper but that in real life it is long gone. The fact that the schools go back before the full fortnight has elapsed is decided by the school boards in consultation with the parents.

Cllr B noted that he had been asked about this question and added that the introduction of the St Andrew’s Day holiday has meant that there is less time available at the end of summer.

Pamela Higginson stated that it was her experience that some children will not be back from their family holidays when the new term starts.

Cllr D replied that parents and children want to retain the longer holidays at Easter and Christmas.

LF commented that she was still not happy that Johnstone’s bins were being collected on Sundays. It meant that bins anywhere near routes from public houses were regularly being toppled on a Saturday night. The lorries come along and empty the bins but do not lift any mess on the ground. This issue has been photographed and notified. She has had a reply that crews will be provided with tools to clear spillages.

Cllr McM agreed that it was not fair that one area should always be the one to suffer. DL commented that it would seem sensible for the routes to be changed perhaps on an annual basis.

Cllr G noted that there was a report gong to Community Services and he would push for such a change.

Cllr D agreed that the pain should be shared.

DH raised the issues of a missing bollard on Ludovic Square.

GK noted that this matter had been raised before and that there is no current information on where the missing bollard has gone.

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

The next meeting will be held at Cochrane Castle Community Centre on Thursday 10th.October at 7.00pm.

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