April 10th 2014 Minutes

Johnstone Community Council

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 10th April 2014 at 7.00pm in Cochrane Castle Community Centre.

Present

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

Associate members: Brian Cairns, Evelyn Cairns and Daniel McKay.

Also in attendance:-

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

(Ward 8) – Derek Bibby, Christopher Gilmour.

Renfrewshire Council officials: Rebecca Pietryga, Amanda Ramsay and Karen Anderson.

Police Scotland officers: PC Steven McMinn, PC William Love.

1 members of the public was also present.

1. Apologies

Stewart Clark, Cllr Andy Doig.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed.

Proposed by Elizabeth Cosgrove

Seconded by George Kennedy

3. Matters Arising

A possible amendment to the minutes was discussed, but it was decided that the wording should stand.

Cllr McMillan brought figures to clarify the attendances at the new swimming pool. These showed a dramatic decline (from 29,000 at the old pool to 9,000 at the new pool). However there was a healthy attendance from amongst schoolchildren. It was commented that JCC had fought hard for good public access to the new pool but it now appears that it is being underused. However, other parts of the complex are well used with some classes beginning as early as 7am.

Additionally, it was noted that the majority of users arrive by car meaning that low income customers have less access to the new facility and are suffering as a result.

4. Welcome to the new members

Dennis Lavery extended a welcome to the newly elected members who had been added to JCC –Christina Leon and Callum McMillan.

5. Presentation of local Crime Statistics

The two officers reported that Johnstone Town centre had 64 reported crimes of which 34 had been detected. The crimes had included assaults, housebreakings, vandalism, thefts, drugs and road traffic offences.

Johnstone Castle had 21 reported crimes of which 13 had been detected. Crimes in this area included assaults, vandalism, breach of the peace, road traffic offences and drugs.

6. Presentation on Waste Services

RC official Karen Anderson gave an update on figures for waste recycling which were up by 5% from 40 to 45% but still short of the targets.

In food waste collection the major push was now over, but Renfrewshire has a very high proportion of tenements which cause problems for this service. There is a good yield from those using the food waste bins, but in some areas only 2-3% of households use them. Council staff have been going from door to door to encourage use of the caddies

However, currently the biggest problem is material being put into the grey bins which should have gone into the blue, which is the equivalent of throwing money away. Rubbish disposal costs £100/ton but the Council gets £19.50 back for blue bin waste. Food waste costs only £45/ton to process.

By 2020 no more waste will be allowed to go to landfill. RC is working with N. Lanarkshire, N. Ayrshire, and E. Dunbartonshire to create a new incineration plant.

Environmental Services are working with schools to educate future Council tax payers. There is now a free recycling pick-up service for textiles. Underwood Road has now re-opened with a full recycling centre. Env. Services is working with groups that can use discarded furniture.

Dennis Lavery asked what happened to waste placed in the grey and brown bins. KA replied that grey bin waste goes to landfill and brown bin material is composted and used mostly for big landscaping projects. DL asked whether it mightn’t be better to use the composted material on RC’s own land. KA replied that it was too labour intensive and too expensive for one council to do alone, as the processed materials have to meet high standards. She added that textile waste goes to a company in southern England who recycle the vast majority.

Derek McKay asked why it has to be Johnstone that always has to suffer Sunday collections. KA replied that the system had been carefully worked out for maximum efficiency and that it would cost £70,000 to notify everyone of any changes. However, she added that Env. Services are under pressure to make cuts which may give rise to possible future changes.

Various perceived problems with the waste collection services were shared with the officials. These included the operatives not picking up any material spilled from the blue bins; bigger bins required for some tenemental properties; rubbish being left in the streets after collections and more frequent street sweeping required in areas other than the town centre.

KA answered most of these in terms of the present restrictions in finance though she promised to look into some specific instances.

At the end of the presentation DL thanked KA and her two associates.

7. Treasurer’s Report

David Higginson reported that JCC has a balance of £4021.91, of which £965.59 is allocated to the youth/kids club.

8. Secretary’s Report

GK reported that Ron Ewing had kindly agreed to act as deputy secretary when necessary.

GK noted that JCC had received an invitation to a presentation on 2nd May at 6pm by West Johnstone Youth Council which will inform LAC members of how they intend to spend the grant allocation given to them towards organising the Johnstone Gala Day. Wilma Dean indicated that she may be able to attend. Cllr Gilmour took the opportunity to thank all those involved – the young people had been very enthusiastic.

GK had received a letter from a Mrs McKenzie asking if a bus shelter could be installed on the Beith Road at Tower Road, where it appears that preparatory work has been done. Cllr Hood replied that it is SPT that installs bus shelters, not the Council. However, in light of the work already done it appears that one will be provided.

GK reported that he had attended at Braehead where a Trading Standards stand was supporting a ‘Trusted Traders Scheme’ and also warning against rogue traders and cold corners. He added that it was worth noting that ‘No Cold Callers’ signs or zones are only advisory, not statutory.

GK noted that many areas of Johnstone had suffered a drop in water pressure in early April. This had been quite dangerous with bathroom showers appearing to be defective and hard to regulate, leading to a real possibility of scalding. Scottish Water had initially been slow to react to reports of the problem, but now seemed to have resolved a faulty valve problem.

GK reported that a story on this episode was to appear in ‘The Gazette’. He noted that such a water pressure drop would have been catastrophic at the time of the WRC fire.

GK, WD and Cllr G had attended a Funders Fayre. It is a complicated and confusing business attracting funding, with no easy answers. You have to have the right language to appeal to the right people.

GK announced a Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership event to be held on 24th April at the McMaster Centre, its purpose being to bring together public bodies, community groups and residents together to plan local improvement up to 2023. Registration is required for any CCs wanting to attend.

9. Sub-Group Reports

Planning

GK reported on the large number of complaints against the Co-op’s planning application for change of use to include a public house premises. The application has now been resubmitted without the licensed premises aspect and will now go to the Planning Board. Cllr McM pointed out that such applications have to be considered on proper planning grounds, and cannot be rejected just because local people don’t want the development.

Safety

A safety sub-committee has been established by Ron Ewing and Brian Cairns. They have had an initial meeting with police and have agreed a schedule of monthly meetings as a way of communicating and improving community safety. Police have said that they will regard anything reported by JCC as credible and will act on it. Ideas and problems should be communicated to Ron or Brian.

A problem immediately flagged up was that of speeding with accidents being caused on Johnstone’s wide straight roads by excessive speed. Suggestions included the installing of roundabouts on Beith Road at Rannoch Road and Quarrelton Road or the installing of speed cameras (but it was pointed out that the latter would require Scottish Government money).

On town centre congestion, it was noted that the police will be submitting a scheme which will hopefully put pressure on the Council.

Roads

Linda Flint had nothing to report - other than that it appeared that nothing had been done with the reports and photos JCC had submitted.

Elizabeth Forrest reported that the road at the McMaster Centre has not been resurfaced; just a few potholes have been filled. Cllr McM replied that this section of road is actually the responsibility of the centre’s management not the Council.

Environmental

GK tabled a letter from the Unite union warning of dramatic cuts to grounds maintenance and Streetscene staff levels.

Cllr G said that JCC should also receive a counter letter from the Convenor of Environmental Services, and that despite cuts in the block grant RC was still trying to avoid losing jobs. There will be service reductions, but what can be done will be done to the best standard possible. Cllr Bibby warned that further cuts can be expected next year and that the Council will be happy to hear from constituents on thoughts of where the cuts should fall.

DL asked why RC couldn’t just put the Council Tax up to pay for better services.

Cllr B replied that if RC ignored the Government freeze, they would lose another £2.8 million in an effective fine.

Play Park & Youth Issues.

WD and GK reported that they are awaiting a meeting with Cllr McM to talk about proposals for Shanks Park.

WD has been working hard on a funding bid of about £6,000 for the youth clubs. Money is needed to replace equipment, replenish arts and crafts stocks and to pay for hall lets.

The children have expressed a desire for state of the art electronics and a drop-in style club/internet café.

Town Hall Focus Group

Valerie Reilly made a brief report on a meeting outlining the art works that are being planned for the new town hall. These will include a wall sculpture above the reception desk which will feature stylised versions of the martlets from the Johnstone coat of arms, a triptych of paintings hung in the ‘street’ featuring a line of Burns’ text, granite slabs inserted into the ‘street’ floor with engraved images based on the town’s industrial heritage and a hanging at the far end of the street which will have movement and light.

10. AOCB

Margaret Lavery, from the floor, asked to thank the sub-groups for all the work they do on behalf of the people of Johnstone.

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

The next meeting will be held at Cochrane Castle Community Centre on Thursday 5th June 2014 at 7.00pm.


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