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June 9th 2016 Minutes

Johnstone Community Council

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 9th June 2016 at 7.00pm in Johnstone Town Hall.


Members: Ron Ewing, Carol Ewing, Elizabeth Forrest, Daniel Graham, George Kennedy, Sheila King, Christina Leon and Valerie Reilly.

Also in attendance:-

Councillors (Ward 7) –Stephen McGee, Iain McMillan.

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

Renfrewshire Council Amenity Services Manager Karen Anderson and Sergeant Kenny Price of Police Scotland.

2 members of the public were also present.

1. Apologies

Wilma Dean, Linda Flint, Malcolm Hill, Dennis Lavery, Janine McKenna and Councillors John Caldwell and John Hood.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed.

Proposed by Elizabeth Forrest

Seconded by Carole Ewing

3. Matters Arising

Apologies for Karen Anderson had been submitted for Karen Anderson prior to the April meeting.

4. Environmental Matters

Karen Anderson reported that the biggest thing the Council were currently working on was the landfill ban due to come into force in 2021. They had looked at the business case, but RC had decided it wasn’t big enough to run the alternatives alone. Consequently East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire have joined together and will send all non-recyclable waste to an incinerator by 2019/20. RC has signed a charter for household waste to produce exceptionally high quality recycling. The Government is not yet at the stage of forcing recycling but will be restricting the way councils provide grey bin services. The changes will create jobs in Renfrewshire. Changes in the garden waste scheme to an all-year service to include food waste collections will hopefully increase food waste collection amounts currently running at only 30%.

The Miller Street site is also changing and only a restricted variety of items will be able to be deposited there. To compensate, Underwood Road, which will take all larger items, will have extended opening hours from 8am to 8pm all year. The changes will be communicated to all households.

Ron Ewing asked about Special Collections as he noted that the price had risen spectacularly and service was only promised “within ten days”.

KA responded that the service was currently understaffed.

RE said that the price was too high and only encourages fly tipping.

KA said that the service was expensive to run, and is already heavily subsidised.

Cllr Gilmour noted that council tenants get two ‘free’ uplifts per year included in the rent they pay.

Cllr McMillan asked what would be the cost of an unsubsidised service.

KA answered that it would be difficult to quantify – but that disposal of items collected costs £100/ton.

Sheila King asked whether the unmanned amenity sites would attract fly tipping.

KA replied that the CCTV cameras are being upgraded and will cover the area immediately outside the site without invading any privacy.

EF asked whether any dumpers would be pursued.

KA replied that RC can fine for some offences – others have to go to the Procurator Fiscal. But major fly tippers don’t leave evidence.

EF commented that with the present food collection service the operatives don’t stop to pick up any waste that they spill.

EF asked whether there was any movement on a possible change of collection day.

KA responded that Sunday collections are used in areas where the lorries can easily get access.

EF replied that all we ask is a change every two years so that the burden is spread.

KA noted that it was possible that there might be some changes to routes in order to provide a more sustainable service.

Cllr McM commented that KA had done a good job of explaining why the changes were happening – and that they had to be set in the context of budget cuts. He would ask KA to feed back the true cost of a special uplift

CE asked why, if RC can find money for ‘Paisley 2021’, they can’t find it for other services. Cllr McM replied that the monies were from completely different budgets. KA added that events were known to bring in business and drive the local economy.

Cllr Doig commented that the council service was – on the whole – good, but that there was always room for improvement. If 2021 is handled properly it will be good, but that other ‘vanity’ projects such as the £16 million sports village at Ferguslie would not help the economy.

It was asked whether changes to bin routes could be informed to households through the Renfrewshire Magazine which is distributed throughout the area. KA responded that Environmental Services had received less than 20 expressions of concern about the Sunday collections and that as money is tight, the department would not be happy to make changes for the sake of change. RE replied that JCC’s job is to represent local people who raise the matter and that is why it is continually brought up. KA noted that the current routes were originally brought in to make savings and had resulted in savings of about £157,000 in the first year.

Cllr Bibby noted that there have been funding cuts and therefore something has to give. Education and Social Services are being protected and that therefore the Environmental Services budget had been slashed by political choice. He added that all the elected members supported the 2021 bid – with the proviso that the whole of Renfrewshire needs to benefit.

RE thanked KA for her input adding that we were a little clearer on the issues now.

KA left the meeting at 8.05pm

5. Police Report

Sgt Kenny Price apologised for arriving late, but pointed out that our website gave meeting times as 7.30pm.

He reported that the figures covering the whole of Johnstone from 14th April to 9th June listed 199 reported crimes of which 117 had been detected – a 60% detection rate. Offences included serious and common assaults, robbery, theft, shoplifting, breach of the peace, drugs, vandalism and road traffic offences.

Cllr G noted that he had seen a spate of bus shelter glassbreaking. RE asked whether SPT were responsible for shelters. Cllr B said he would ask SPT if more robust materials could be used.

SK asked about the state of the drug problem in Johnstone.

KP replied that it is something that is continually being worked on and asked that any credible information should be reported to the police or to Crimestoppers.

EF noted that there were not as many young people up and down John Lang Street thanks to an increased police presence. KP replied that they intend to continue the focus on this area for a while.

Christina Leon asked how many CCTV cameras there were and did the police rely on it. KP replied that they are predominantly in the town centre – and that they are checked if a crime is reported. He added that the CCTV is monitored almost 24/7 and that pertinent information about possible crimes was passed to the police. There is one camera situated at the top of the high flats and that it has fantastic resolution.

CL asked why there were no cameras covering the cycle track. She had had a run-in with guys there and the police response to her had been “it happens all the time”. Cllr D noted that Sustrans are responsible for the cycle track and they don’t have the funding. KP noted that community police do patrol the cycle track, but that they can’t be there all the time.

Cllr G commented that it is all about reporting crimes. The Council Wardens meet with the police daily and any reports can identify hot spots for visiting.

RE thanked KP who left the meeting at 8.30pm.

6. Treasurer’s Report

There was little to report since the last meeting the only expenditure being a £46 hall let fee. The current balance was £3562.47

7. Secretary’s Report

SK apologised for any recent lack of attention to JCC business due to personal commitments.

SK commented that we need to get more information out to the public and wondered about the possibility of a JCC notice board in the Town Hall, which might encourage a couple of new members.

SK reported that the Gazette had asked for a JCC stance on suicides at Milliken Park Station. Cllr B added that he had also been contacted and had noted that the only reason seemed to be its accessibility. EF added that this was not an issue that JCC should have to comment on. Cllr McM said that while such events were tragic for the families involved it was right for JCC to refrain from comment. Cllr B noted that reports of children playing ‘chicken’ on the line need to be dealt with.

SK noted that a representative of Renfrewshire Alcohol and Drugs Partnership wants to come along to one of our meetings. Also a Families First Co-ordinator wants to pass on some information. SK will invite them to a meeting. For our next meeting Kenny Marwick of the Roads Department will be attending and has asked if questions can be submitted in advance.

Lochwinnoch CC have asked for our support in ensuring that monies are spread more fairly across the area.

SK had circulated the CC Forum suggestions and asked if we agree with them.

Johnstone Railway has been adopted and may require our assistance in liaising with RC. Cllr D said we should advise them to talk further to Abellio as there may be funding through a 5-year plan. EF reported that she had attended a meeting about this. SK said that it was a great thing to arrive in a good looking station. However, there is a problem with litter. Cllrs McM and G agreed to take this up.

SK reported that a local historian wants to see if there is any interest in organising a clean-up of Abbey Cemetery.

RE noted that there is a new contact at the Gazette and that JCC hopes to have more information published for future meetings. Cllr McM noted that Elderslie CC have a report in the local paper after each meeting.

SK and VR had attended a Community Planning Conference in Johnstone Town Hall.

As it was nearing 9pm and there were many items remaining on the agenda which there would probably not be time for, RE asked about the feelings for having more meetings – perhaps monthly? It was agreed to hold the August meeting to the present schedule and review the situation then.

SK reported that Elderslie CC have had a meeting about the 2021 bid and its impact. We could get a grant of £500 for a similar public meeting.

8. Planning Report

Cllr G reminded the meeting that there would be public consultations on the Patons Mill application on the 15th and 18th June.

9. Roads

RE commented on the yellow box markings at the High Street/McDowall Street junction were so faded as to be almost invisible. Cllr G said that it was on the list for renewal – hopefully sooner rather than later.

Friends of Shanks Park

Cllr McM noted that the Friends had obtained some LAC money and were now looking for money for play equipment. They have been referred to RC.

10. AOCB

EF questioned the closing of four local primaries for polling for the second time in weeks. Cllr D responded that RC does have a policy of a presumption of not using schools wherever possible and that ward members are encouraged to try and identify alternative suitable venues.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.00pm.

The next meeting will be held in the Marriage Suite of Johnstone Town Hall on Thursday 11th August 2016 at 7.00pm.

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