June 4th 2015 Minutes
Johnstone Community Council
Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 4th June 2015 at 7.00pm in Cochrane Castle Community Centre.
Members: Martin Brett, Brian Cairns, Elizabeth Cosgrove, Wilma Dean, Ron Ewing, Carol Ewing, Linda Flint, Elizabeth Forrest, Malcolm Hill, George Kennedy, Dennis Lavery, Daniel McKay, and Valerie Reilly.
Also in attendance:-
Councillors (Ward 7) – John Caldwell, Iain MacMillan.
(Ward 8) – Derek Bibby, Andy Doig, Christopher Gilmour.
Robert Bowater, Evelyn Cairns, Stewart Clark, David Higginson, Pamela Higginson, Callum McMillan and Christina Leon.
Councillors: John Hood, and Stephen McGee.
It was pointed out that Malcolm Hill’s name should have been included amongst the apologies for the previous meeting.
With this proviso the minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed.
Proposed by Elizabeth Cosgrove
Seconded by George Kennedy
3. Police Report
The Community Inspector for Johnstone, Cassie Glass, was in attendance. She reported that there had been no serious assaults in the last two months and three robberies, all of which were cleared. There was a significant increase in house breakings, but the police now have a dedicated team doing protracted forensic enquiries, which will hopefully result in more being cleared as time goes on.
Drug crimes were an area being worked on.
The problem of parking at the station will be addressed by a walkabout with Ron Ewing on 8th July – Linda Flint reported on an incident in which a boy was almost knocked down in John Lang Street.
Cllr Gilmour noted that the ownership of the carpark off Armour Street was still to be resolved.
The station parking problem had been exacerbated by delays in the building work, but hopefully would be resolved with time.
There has been an IT problem that has delayed the police’s move into the new Town Hall – it is now hoped that the entry will be in July – the Johnstone Community Policing team will move first.
A Renfrewshire Rural Watch has been launched – suspicious activity will be reported and there will be a couple of rural officers covering the area on bikes.
Traffic issues were ongoing with parking in the town centre still an issue. Central Garage is extensively using the new area along Parkers Way. A check on this will be added to the walkabout. Ron Ewing will do a report and circulate it to the members.
Cllr McMillan was concerned about staff at the new TH taking up parking spaces too close in to the town centre. He reported that the chief Executive was to hold a meeting with senior managers to reiterate management instructions on parking.
GK said that it was noticeable that the town was buzzing but that the traffic flow was still problematical leading to the pet shop and other businesses suffering – it requires time limits on the time allowed in the town centre carparks and on commercial vehicles parking on Parkers Way.
RE noted that the JCC traffic management proposals included parking restrictions.
Danny McKay spoke about a recent housebreaking where the perpetrator had been caught and the lost items returned, and asked whether these perpetrators are reported to Renfrewshire Council?
Insp. G replied that there is a police officer based within the council who feeds such information to the council and to housing associations who can then look at whether tenancies should be reviewed.
RE asked about the shop robbery on the statistics and asked whether this referred to Kilbarchan Road.
Insp. G answered that that had been earlier than these figures – but that the police were hoping to release CCTV footage soon.
GK queried who we might ask for an update on progress with the new CCTV for the town centre.
Insp. G replied that a hub was under construction next to the Paisley police office. CllrG said that he was happy to obtain information on this to provide JCC with an update.
Brian Cairns asked whether Police Scotland were moving to the adoption of bodycams.
Insp. G replied that some are already in operation but that the cost is huge.
There being no further questions, Insp. G left the meeting at 7.35pm.
The discussion on town centre parking continued with CllrG saying that he wanted face-to-face meetings with the TH staff. He also reported that the barriers at the Old Floors House carpark were to be opened for pedestrian access.
Several JCC members reiterated that parking metres were not wanted in Johnstone.
Dennis Lavery noted that parking restrictions have to be policed and that there need to be sanctions.
GK reported recent sightings of wardens busy in Johnstone.
LF noted that there is need to be careful for residents who may need permits.
CllrG suggested that there needs to be some spaces designated for short-term turnover. RE said that there were problems with parking all over the town and that perhaps JCC should have a special meeting to discuss it.
Cllr Bibby expressed the hope that some of the problems may have lessened by the time of the next JCC meeting, but that it might be helpful for JCC to identify areas for priority attention
Wilma Dean said there was a problem at Spateston Nursery – but that school areas in general had problems.
RE asked when the Library portacabin would be moved.
4. Planning Report
GK reported on signage from house builders Persimmon which has appeared at the site of the old St Cuthbert’s school.
CllrMcM noted that they have not yet secured ownership of this site as a price was still being negotiated.
5. Treasurer’s Report
RE reported on figures supplied in the absence of David Higginson – the balance of JCC funds being £2,841.77.
6. Secretary’s Report
RE reported on the possibility of moving JCC meetings to the new TH. A room large enough for 30 people has been provisionally reserved for future meetings, at a cost of £30 for two hours, for the second Thursday of every second month. DL expressed the opinion that we should go for it as the town centre was the ideal location.
GK thanked EC for accommodating our meetings and pointed out that Cochrane Castle was more flexible – we would be kept strictly to the two hour limit at the TH.
BC worried about committing to a block booking in case it proved unsuitable.
RE proposed a tentative agreement for the next four meetings.
CllrB said that there would be a degree of puzzlement in the town if we didn’t move.
Cllr Doig agreed, saying any teething problems were being ironed out.
GK said JCC should meet in the TH and that we could afford a bigger room if required.
A vote was held with the members agreeing to a move.
WD pointed out that, as yet, there were no facilities to advertise community events via poster – they can only be noted in a book.
CllrG said he would raise the issue.
RE raised the issue of the plans to change the Council wards which were to go to consultation from July to September.
DL questioned who was putting this forward and queried whether we need more councillors. He also asked whether ordinary people would be able to have any influence in the matter.
CllrD replied that the Boundary Commission is independent of the Scottish Government and that if a good enough case is put forward their proposals can be challenged and changed.
CllrB expressed the opinion that the public would think the money could be better spent than on more councillors. He also pointed out that, as yet, the current system had not been evaluated.
CllrD pointed out that the proposals wanted to combine Foxbar with Elderslie and questioned how that could be considered a ‘community’.
CllrD noted that we were unlikely to revert to single meber wards and that multi-member wards add choice.
BC suggested that we should discuss this matter more fully at the next meeting.
7. Sub-Group Reports
LF reported that she had had to phone the Council about rats in the Russell Street/Mary Street area.
The hedges were overgrown at Miller Street and the Council had organised for them to be cut down.
DMcK reported that most pubs and shops have cigarette boxes outside, but that the Globe Bar doesn’t – should they therefore be responsible for clearing up the mess?
CllrD agreed to take this up.
The MacDowall Street/High Street corner has been flooding badly.
CllrG agreed to look into this.
WD reported ongoing issues at Dee Place which have been ignored for six months including a dangerous wall and blocked drains.
CllrMcM replied that there is a dispute between the Council and Linstone Housing as the area concerned seems to fall between the two areas of responsibility. He has contacted Linstone about this as it needs to be sorted.
DL reported that walls are falling on Linn Brae at the back of the Bowling Club.
Cllr Hood was said to be addressing this matter.
RE reported that the new proposed site for Tracey’s was not currently proceeding.
The group has been looking at the drains between Ladeside and Stirling Drive and the pavements between Stirling Drive and Hagg Road where there are deep holes that have almost caused falls.
CllrD will attend to this.
It was noted that the road surface at the Morrisons traffic lights is really bad.
CllrG replied that he had been on to the Head of Roads about this.
GK noted that signage pointing out public toilets in the town needs to reflect the Town Hall.
CllrG replied that the roads dept. was looking into signage throughout the town.
CllrD wondered whether Johnstone could have ‘heritage’ signs, similar to those in Paisley.
CllrG pointed out that the carparking areas also need to be signposted.
GK asked that it be checked that the Tasty Café was no longer being paid for providing public toilets.
WD wondered what was happening about Rosemount, and whether anything official being done. Dl noted that Rosemount have made many promises and that, so far, nothing has been done.
CllrG replied that Rosemount and the Co-op have a very long lease. The Council is trying to get them to take the top storey off the building to tidy it up. In addition the Council has committed to re-laying the slabs in the arcade and to get the overhangs taken down.
CllrD suggested that it needed public pressure to get something done. He added that the co-op could also apply pressure and that it was disappointing that they haven’t.
CllrG said it needs the Council to put an order on it.
RE reported that comments had been made, that the JCC members could not agree on the town centre traffic proposals and that as a result, all JCC members had been consulted and that everyone (with the exception of DL) had agreed. But the Councillors had not made any opinions clear at any JCC meeting. RE asked each Cllr for his individual view on the general principle of the proposals.
CllrMcM said that he would not comment as the town centre was not in his ward.
CllrG replied that everyone knows that Johnstone has traffic problems and that huge developments in the coming years will have impacts on the changes that have been proposed, but he believed that the business community had made their views clear.
RE replied that the moving of bus stops had been McGill’s idea. The Business Consortium had been for the proposals initially, but had now apparently come to the conclusion that a one-way system was a step too far.
RE expressed disappointment that no administration councillors have given any opinions before now, even though the recommendations had been proposed some 2 years previously and updates given at every JCC meeting since then.
CllrB said that as there had been no public consultation on the matter he could only give a personal opinion.
BC replied that JCC couldn’t do a public consultation – that would be for the Council to do. But the proposed system needs to be computer-modelled first.
CllrC did not offer any views.
CllrD said that he fully supported the proposals and called for the administration Cllrs to arrange a formal modelling of the ideas contained.
DL said he had reservations – the costs and benefits would need to be carefully weighed. He also said that the system as proposed could actually cause more problems – particularly at the William Street/Quarry Street/Campbell Street junction.
RE replied that we have put the proposals to the Council and that they have the equipment to model it – but that at the moment the whole proposal seems to be being dismissed out of hand.
GK said that we need an answer back from the Council.
CllrD noted that he had an email asking for the modelling dated 15/5/15. We need the scientific evidence to push this.
CllrG noted that while managing traffic in Johnstone is a good idea, in light of future developments such as possible development of the Patons Mill site, he didn’t want to see money being put into a scheme that might need to be changed in a year or two.
BC proposed that JCC continue this discussion at the next meeting.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.10pm.
The next meeting will be held in the Marriage Suite of Johnstone Town Hall on Thursday 6th August 2015 at 7.00pm.