11th August 2016 Minutes

Johnstone Community Council

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 11th August 2016 at 7.00pm in Johnstone Town Hall.

Present

Members: Wilma Dean, Ron Ewing, Carol Ewing, Daniel Graham, George Kennedy, Dennis Lavery, Christina Leon, Daniel McKay and Valerie Reilly.

Also in attendance:-

Councillors (Ward 7) – John Caldwell and Iain McMillan.

(Ward 8) –Andy Doig.

3 members of the public were also present, as well as Sgt Moir of Police Scotland and Drew McCormack representing Mad Angle Music.

1. Apologies

Linda Flint, Elizabeth Forrest, Malcolm Hill, Sheila King.

Councillors John Hood, Stephen McGee, Derek Bibby and Christopher Gilmour.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed.

Proposed by Christina Leon

Seconded by Carol Ewing

3. Matters Arising

Two new members of JCC were introduced and welcomed to the meeting: Catherine Johnstone and Thomas Wallace.

4. Police Crime Statistics

Brian Ewing introduced Sgt Moir of Police Scotland who has worked in Johnstone for four years. He ran through the crime statistics for the various areas of the town covering the period from 9th June to 11th August.

In the Town Centre there were 154 crimes reported including 2 serious assaults, 10 common assaults, 1 robbery, 18 shopliftings, 48 drug offences, 6 road traffic offences and 12 instances of vandalism. 107 of the crimes had been detected.

In West Johnstone there had been 37 reports including 5 common assaults, 2 breaches of the peace, 4 instances of vandalism, 6 drug offences and 10 road traffic offences. 20 of the crimes had been detected.

In Spateston and Corseford there had been 22 reports including 6 common assaults, 3 breaches of the peace, 3 instances of vandalism, 3 drug offences and 1 wilful fireraising. 11 of the crimes had been detected.

In Johnstone Castle there had been 30 reports including 1 serious assault, 7 common assaults, 1 robbery, 1 theft of a motor vehicle, 2 instances of vandalism, 4 drug offences and 2 road traffic offences. 11 of the crimes had been detected.

Cllr Caldwell commented that he was glad to see that drugs were being cracked down on.

The question was asked as to where the Thorn fitted into the bigger picture. Sgt Moir replied that it was part of the Johnstone Castle beat.

Cllr McMillan commented that it was reassuring to have plain clothes police operating in the town centre, particularly being proactive over drug offences. Sgt Moir replied that there are money constraints but that when there were sufficient officers they would be taking this on.

BE noted that we were now getting a much better overall picture. Sgt Moir added that the police do rely on members of the public reporting their suspicions about premises eg. if there is a smell of cannabis. etc. Catherine Johnstone said that the residents of the Thorn had reported drug offences on many occasions but there was still a huge problem.

Cllr Doig commented that the police were well aware of the hotspots for drug offences but they do need evidence and need community help – suspicions could be reported through him if constituents preferred.

It was questioned whether the 18 instances of shoplifting were the work of a gang. Sgt Moir replied that there was no evidence for gang activity as these were thefts of small value items. Cllr McM noted that this subject had recently been discussed at the Johnstone Business Consortium and that they were good at the informal passing of information amongst themselves.

Sgt Moir then left the meeting.

5. Bandstand

Drew McCormack introduced himself as a teacher who spends time creating community festivals. He had been running a festival in Prestwick for 5 years, which was mostly self-financing. Renfrew Development Trust had contacted him late last year and he had organised a small festival in the town to take place on 19-21st August. The following weekend there was to be a small festival in Johnstone with all indoor events. However, DMcC said that he found the idea of putting something on in Johnstone Bandstand very appealing.

He described how he has been working with the Johnstone Business Consortium and now wants to fundraise in Johnstone to purchase samba equipment. If JCC wants to get involved in this at any stage contact can be made through Wilma Dean.

WD proposed that the keys to the Bandstand should be brought back to Johnstone. BE agreed that he was in favour of JCC taking control of the Bandstand once more and asked that Sheila King should contact the council on the matter.

Cllr D noted that the policy of Renfrewshire Council was to use the Bandstand for events promoting community regeneration. Cllr McM commented that anyone wanting to hire the Bandstand could do so, but that it has never been utilised properly – it can create a buzz in the town centre, adding that what is happening in Paisley could be replicated in Johnstone on a smaller scale. Cllr D mentioned the Lochwinnoch Arts Festival as a format that could be copied for the future.

BE thanked DMcC for his input.

6. Friends of Shanks Park

WD reported that the friends have been awarded £5,000 for a community garden project, but that they are still waiting for the land where the park-keepers house used to stand to be declared surplus and handed over.

Other aspects of the Friends’ work included taking 13 young volunteers to a ‘Youth Beats’ event run by Police Scotland to teach them about safe choices.

Research is being done to feed into the Paisley 2021 bid.

The LAC has awarded £1,000 towards the Gala Day, and so far 50 stalls have been booked. The event will be tied in with Wallace Day celebrations.

7. Treasurer’s Report

CE noted that there was little to report. The last meeting had reported a balance of £3562.47. Since then two cheques issued in the last financial year have appeared on the bank statement – £75 for hall lets at Cochran Castle and £100 for the costs of the audit of our accounts. This leaves a bank balance of £3387.47

8. Secretary’s Report

In the absence of the Secretary, the report was given by BE.

Kenny Marwick was supposed to visit this meeting; instead he will either address the September meeting or send a Roads Dept. representative.

There has been an email from Cllr D regarding plan to replace the damaged flagpoles in Houston Square with three, smaller repositioned poles. Cllr McM noted that the new placing will enable the poles to be seen better by the new CCTV system. Thomas Wallace asked whether there had been any cognisance of the fact that there may only be a requirement for two poles in the future and was told that the plans had been put in place before the Brexit vote. BE will pass on the information that JCC had no objections to the plans.

BE reported that JCC had received a letter of complaint from Elderslie CC who felt they had been unfairly treated in the matter of disbursement of LAC grants. Cllr McM commented that this was not really a matter for JCC to get involved with. TW added that he thought it would be better dealt with at the CC Forum meeting. Cllr D pointed out that if JCC received correspondence it was correct to bring it before the meeting. BE agreed, but said that he felt it was not an issue that JCC should get involved with. TW suggested that the Secretary should just be asked to acknowledge the correspondence.

9. Sub-Group Reports

Environmental Issues

It was reported that fly-tipping was being noted more often now that the service at Miller Street had been reduced. Cllr McM said this may be a question of people dumping rubbish to ‘make a point’. The Council has said that there is no increase in instances. BE commented that JCC needs to keep a watch on the matter to see how it develops. Cllr D said that persistent problems have been noted in MacDowall Street, and he felt that the Council may need to revisit this issue.

Roads

Danny McKay reported that the roads sub-group has not been doing much recently but that he and Linda Flint would try to bring information to the next meeting.

BE noted that JCC had discussed the question of the repainting of box junctions at length with RC. Cllr D reported that he was pushing to get the remarking done.

It was queried whether there was any improvement in Ellerslie Street. DMcK replied that the situation changes throughout the day – and that wardens need to patrol the area.

BE asked whether there was any update on the Town Centre Strategy. Cllr McM agreed to ask his Town Centre colleagues for an update.

CL asked for clarification as to whether staff at the new Town Hall had been told to use specific car parking areas because they seem to be using the spaces closest to the building. Cllr D replied that they have been told in no uncertain terms that this is a disciplinary issue. Cllr McM added that some council employees do respect the restrictions, but that others don’t seem to care.

Parking at corners was also discussed. BE felt that the Council should be painting yellow lines at the corners.

The issue of parking at Thorn Court by railway station users was discussed. TW asked whether the land at the opposite side of the road could be purchased for parking. Cllr McM replied that this was a good idea, but that the problem was finding the money. BE asked whether there was a case for issuing residents’ parking permits. Cllr D commented that he was helping a Kilbarchan Street fight for such a parking zone, but that RC said it does not do this outside Paisley. Could JCC take this up and write on behalf of Thorn Court? BE said we should wait until we have had the visit from the Roads Dept. representative.

Planning

It was noted that the presentation about the Paton’s Mill plans had not given very much detail. BE had been to a Johnstone Business Consortium meeting which had been similarly unimpressed with what the developers had said. Johnstone Business Consortium had decided to invite the developers along to speak to them in more detail – JCC could also go along and quiz them.

There are downsides with respect to traffic management.

Dennis Lavery said JCC should resist the proposition for demolishing the tower. BE replied that the tower had been surveyed and was reported to be unsafe – it had reached the end of its life as the stone was crumbling. Cllr D said the developers need to outline what heritage aspects of the site they proposed to keep.

10. AOCB

Cllr McM reported that JCC should know that Wean’s World was closing at very short notice due to financial problems. Parents faced the prospect of the new school term beginning with no after-school care in place. RC is trying to help but has only limited resources. St Anthony’s is going to put on an after-school club as a short term measure.

There were concerns for both the children and the Wean’s World staff. Cllr McM reported that there was some hope of a take-over by a private company.

WD reported that she was searching for alternative premises to continue running the Kid’s Club.

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 8th September 2016 at 7.00pm.


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