December 10th 2015 Minutes
Johnstone Community Council
Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 10th December 2015 at 7.00pm in Johnstone Town Hall.
Members: Wilma Dean, Ron Ewing, Elizabeth Forrest, Daniel Graham, Malcolm Hill, Sheila King, Dennis Lavery, Christina Leon and Valerie Reilly.
Also in attendance:-
Councillors (Ward 7) – Stephen McGee, Iain MacMillan.
(Ward 8) – Derek Bibby
Linda Flint, George Kennedy, Janine McKenna and Councillors John Caldwell, Andy Doig and Christopher Gilmour.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed.
Proposed by Christina Leon
Seconded by Dennis Lavery
3. Matters Arising
The minutes of the October AGM were drawn to the attention of the meeting. Taken by Renfrewshire Council’s Anne Mc Naughton, they mistakenly refer to the presence of “Councillor Audrey Doig”. They should, in fact, name Councillor Andy Doig.
At the November Remembrance Ceremony, the wreath on behalf of Johnstone Community Council was laid by Janine McKenna.
4. Police Report
The meeting was attended by Chief Inspector Simon Wright who reported on the crime statistics. There had been 3 serious and 13 common assaults, but none had been particularly serious and none were committed in public spaces. Johnstone is felt to be as safe as it has ever been for the general residents.
There had been a number of thefts: some from vehicles, some house-breakings and some shoplifting offences. The force has dedicated officers trying to sort these out – some individuals known for such offences are specifically targeted and the backshift officers are out stopping and checking people out late at night.
There had been 24 drugs offences. The force continues to be proactive in tackling these with good help from the community.
There had been a few minor offences – but these are consistently reducing across Renfrewshire, including in Johnstone – local authority services targeting anti-social behaviours are excellent.
The Town Centre is currently being patrolled every day from 7am until the streets clear – this will be reviewed in January. The patrols work in the areas of highest footfall – a limited area. This has resulted in a reduction in crimes, particularly at pub closing times. For the last week in December there will be extra patrolling officers.
Having completed his report, C.Insp. Wright left the meeting at 7.25pm
5. Planning Report
No particular concerns have been raised since the last meeting.
It was reported that Persimmon Homes have been granted planning permission for the site of the former St.Cuthbert’s School. They now have three years in which to commence building. The sales at the Dawn Homes site across the road have gone well, which has given Persimmon a boost.
DL questioned whether there was any update regarding Barbush Farm. Councillor Bibby replied that there was no progress, but he would make checks in time for the next JCC meeting.
Councillor MacMillan stated that the only council homes being built in Johnstone were in the Castle scheme.
It was noted that the site of the former Merchiston Hospital is the subject of a planning enquiry – any development there may impact on the roads at the entrance to Johnstone. The Ward 9 councillors will be monitoring this.
6. Treasurer’s Report
It was reported that there had been no change in the JCC finances since the last meeting, with the exception of the receipt of the Council’s annual grant.
The bank accounts are currently being updated after the change of office bearers.
7. Secretary’s Report
Sheila King noted that she was finding her feet as Secretary and sending on emails to the members – subject to a judgement call of what is relevant.
Morrisons supermarket are keen for endorsement of their application for late hours catering.
After an enquiry about the Benston mining disaster cairn, SK has done research and passed on the results.
8. Sub-Group Reports
Valerie Reilly asked the Councillors to clarify recent reports regarding the ending of the green food waste bin scheme and cuts at the civic amenity sites. It was replied that the green compostable bags will continue to be issued but that the food waste will now go into the brown bins along with garden waste.
The green bin scheme was set up with external funding which will cease on 31st March 2016.
As regards the civic amenity sites – the council has to make cuts and there may yet be worse to come. On a specific enquiry about what will happen to energy-saving light bulbs, which should not be put into general waste, Cllr MacM agreed to check on whether any provisions will be made.
Ron Ewing suggested that in the absence of the green bins, most people will revert to using the black bins.
Cllr B hoped that people would just use the brown bins as they had used the green ones.
CL asked if the council would still be able to generate income from food waste when everything was going into the brown bins.
Cllr B agreed to check on this point.
Cllr B suggested asking for someone from Environmental Services to attend the February meeting to brief us – and agreed to email to this effect.
Linda Flint and Danny McKay were not present to brief the meeting.
DL asked about the programme for road repairs.
Cllr B replies that each Councillor was usually asked to nominate three roads and footways as the priorities for their area. In practice this means that Wards 7 & 8 combined will have a potential 21 priorities for repairs. However there is a need for a strategy to cover the whole of Johnstone.
£5.7 million was spent in the past year on roads and footpaths – there is no guarantee that the next budget will provide the same amount.
The Roads dept. officers will also have their own priorities which will be dependent on traffic amounts, complaints and compensation claims.
The Council’s budget is not yet decided – it should come early in the New Year.
CL reported that she had sent snaps of the parking problems in the Floors Street area which LF had forwarded to the Council. The problems are becoming more acute and yellow lines are needed – especially at the corners.
Cllr B added that this was a safety concern which needs to be addressed.
Parking at the station is still problematical – the added spaces seem to have attracted new users.
Dan Graham asked about the state of Johnstone’s drains – particularly in light of recent rainfall.
Cllr B replied that not all areas get done at the same time as there are not sufficient machines – arterial roads, bus routes and the areas around care complexes are the priority – other roads are done when possible. Councillors will take up specific problems as and when they occur – but can make no promises.
Cllr MacM added that the winter maintenance programme is on the Council website so that anyone can check what is being done.
Wilma Dean noted the fact that emails had been sent to the council in 2014 concerning the roads in Spateston which ice over because of the poor drainage.
DL commented that a regular programme of street cleaning would mean drains would cope better.
Cllr B agreed but said that the Council was always playing catch-up. He added that an officer should come along to a JCC meeting before next autumn to listen to the concerns.
Cllr McGhee commented that a blower is supposed to put the leaves onto the road, to be followed by the big machine to sweep them away.
RE commented that the whole system needs to be joined up – it is no good blowing the leaves off the pavements if there is no follow-up.
RE noted that he is the safety committee now.
He added that traffic management has been the biggest job and we should find out what is happening in January.
Friends of Shanks Park
WD said there was not much to report – apart from an issue with Andy Summers. There had been a £3000 grant from the LAC to use community payback to establish gardens around the McMaster Centre. At a meeting Andy Summers offered to help, but since then has never replied to emails meaning that eventually the grant money had had to be handed back.
Cllr MacM commented that there was no excuse for not replying – especially when a good idea hangs on it – and agreed to take this up with Andy Summers.
The piece of land is still available as far as anyone is aware – so there was a possibility of reapplying to the LAC.
RE noted that he attends a cross party group on road safety at the Scottish Parliament. He reported that the Government is looking at recommending phased driving licences, imposing restrictions on those who have newly passed their driving tests along lines similar to successful schemes in Australia and Canada.
SK asked about Fairtrade in Johnstone.
Cllr MacM replied that Johnstone does have a Fairtrade Committee, but it only has two members. He added that Johnstone has a poor record on Fairtrade and that perhaps the business consortium might consider taking up the issue.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.55pm.
The next meeting will be held in the Marriage Suite of Johnstone Town Hall on Thursday 11th February 2016 at 7.00pm.