Johnstone Community Council
Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 10th November 2016 at 7.00pm in Johnstone Town Hall.
Members: Ronnie Carlin, Ron Ewing (Chairman), Carol Ewing (Treasurer), Linda Flint, Daniel Graham, Malcolm Hill, Catherine Johnstone, Sheila King (Secretary), Dennis Lavery, Daniel McKay, Valerie Reilly and Thomas Wallace.
Also in attendance:-
Councillors (Ward 7) – John Caldwell, John Hood, Iain McMillan.
(Ward 8) – Derek Bibby, Andy Doig.
Officers Robert Mackie and Iain Armstrong of Police Scotland and Drew McNab of Renfrewshire Council were also present.
Wilma Dean, Elizabeth Forrest, Christina Leon and Councillors Stephen McGee and Christopher Gilmour.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed.
Proposed by Thomas Wallace
Seconded by Dennis Lavery
3. Matters Arising
At the start of the meeting, Ron Ewing made a statement from the chair regarding conduct at meetings, saying that he had received complaints from members regarding conduct at the previous meeting in October and asked that everyone adhere to the correct procedures for meetings and that nobody interrupts another speaker. Should they wish to speak or respond to another speaker, they should raise their hand and wait for the chairman to invite them to speak.
Thomas Wallace asked that his comments on transferring air pollution from one area to another should be recorded.
It was noted that Mary Tennant’s presence at both the October meeting and the AGM had not been recorded.
RE noted that comments made at the October meeting regarding drug problems had been put to Inspector Glass who had assured him that the police are aware of the situation and are monitoring it. Catherine Johnstone asked whether tenants displaying this behaviour could be evicted by the Council. Cllr McMillan responded that as tenants they had rights and the Council needed a watertight case before a case can be taken to the Sheriff a procedure which takes time. Cllr Bibby suggested that if the Community Councillors believed that the legislation is too weighted towards the offenders, they should lobby the legislators.
Thanks were recorded for the efforts of Christina Leon and Daniel Graham in obtaining and siting the new JCC noticeboard inside Johnstone Town Hall. Minutes will be posted each month as will relevant notices. There is also a suggestion box with keys held by CL and Sheila King. Cllr Caldwell noted that the noticeboard looks very impressive.
4. Police Crime Statistics Report
The police officers presented the monthly crime statistics.
Johnstone Town Centre
A total of 38 crimes were reported including 1 serious assault, 3 common assaults, 2 thefts, 1 theft of a motor vehicle, 5 breaches of the peace, 6 drug offences, 3 road traffic offences and 5 instances of vandalism. 22 of these crimes had been detected.
A total of 27 crimes were reported including 2 common assaults, 4 thefts (of wheelie bins), 2 breaches of the peace, 5 instances of vandalism, 2 drug offences, 2 RTAs, 6 cases of street drinking and 1 case of wilful fire-raising. 16 of these crimes had been detected.
A total of 11 crimes were reported including 1 serious assault, 2 breaches of the peace, 3 thefts, 2 instances of vandalism and 1 road traffic offence. 2 of these crimes had been detected.
Spateston and Corseford
A total of 10 crimes were reported including 3 common assaults, 1 breach of the peace, 1 road traffic offence and 2 cases of wilful fire raising. 8 of these crimes had been detected.
DL asked about the difference between ‘serious’ and ‘common’ assaults. It was explained that a serious assault would generally include broken bones, serious bleeding or permanent scarring.
Cllr Hood asked about an assault that had occurred in Sycamore Avenue (noted on Facebook) which didn’t seem to appear in the statistics. The officers agreed to check up on it.
The two officers then left the meeting.
Drew McNab of Renfrewshire Roads dept. presented a brief overview of the work of his department in respect of Johnstone.
He outlined proposals for work in Johnstone town centre. Work will be on a phased basis. In the first phase £40,000 from SPT will allow work on the High Street. There is a proposal to take away the ‘pedestrian friendly’ build outs and slightly move the bus stop which will help traffic move more freely. This work may begin soon. Phase two will be a review of parking signage. It is hoped to erect new signs pointing to the town centre at all entrances to the town, with info on parking. This will help the flow through. Traffic signals will then be looked at and timings adjusted if necessary. In the third phase there will be review of the whole town centre, looking at yellow lines to see what restrictions are needed – this will be in consultation with the Business Consortium and JCC. There is not a great deal of money available but funding will be sourced for phases 2 and 3.
Car parks at the Town Hall and Houston Court now have signs with time limits on some spaces as a pilot project.
SK asked who would be monitoring the parking times. DMcN replied that the wardens could be sent to check, but that it was hoped people would respond to the signs themselves.
RE noted that the wardens are critical to control parking – even just the presence of the wardens would help.
DMcN agreed to liaise with the wardens’ supervisor to see what could be done.
Linda Flint had some queries. She asked if the CCTV could monitor the parking at half hourly intervals. DMcN replied that it was the same manager as the wardens and he would speak to them. LF also asked why the pavements at the build outs had recently been repaired if they are to be removed. DMcN replied that it was not certain how quickly the removal would take place and the repairs were necessary to safeguard public safety in the meantime.
LF noted that 80% of the time cars are parked on the High Street down to the traffic lights at Collier Street, narrowing the traffic down to one lane. RE added that the yellow lines at this point are never enforced. Cllr Doig agreed saying that he sees this frequently when coming into Johnstone. DMcN agreed to look at this situation.
LF’s final query referred to traffic connected with the railway station – cars are parked on the surrounding streets in preference to the expanded carpark, mainly because of the bottleneck of the carpark entrance. At the bend in John Lang Street there are cars parked on both sides, narrowing the road and also parking up on the pavement. This is dangerous and the police have said they would look at it, but it is still happening. DMcN replied that the process of putting in double yellow lines takes a long time and can be blocked by a single objector.
LF asked if arrangements could be made for JCC members to see the operation of the CCTV system to give us an idea of what it can and can’t do. This was seen as a good idea.
Mary Tennant also had some points. She said that the pavements at Woolworths have not been maintained and are in a bad state, dangerous for the pensioners who live all around. DMcN said this could be looked at as part of phase 1. MT then pointed out that the zebra crossing at the entrance to Morrison’s top car park had never been renewed after the removal of the temporary library. DMcN replied that the Council was not keen on unofficial zebra crossings, but he believed that this was due to be repainted. Cllr D noted that he had asked about this months ago. DMcN added that white lining on the main roads took priority, but it will be done as soon as possible. Finally, MT pointed out that where the number 20 bus turns from Quarry Street into McDowall Street, parking by the central traffic island is causing difficulties. DMcN replied that this would be looked at as part of the whole town centre review.
SK also raised a point about the junction between South William Street and Quarry Street where people are parking too close to the corners. DMcN said that it needs re-lining.
To cut the discussion short, RE suggested arranging a walkabout with DMcN and asked that JCC members send points to him about places that should be included. LF asked that she and DMcK, as the roads sub-group, be included in the walkabout.
Daniel McKay asked if the JCC could be provided of a note what roads are programmed over the next two years so that the roads sub-group know to concentrate on other areas. DMcN replied that the information could be supplied in February once the budget for 2017-18 has been finalised.
DMcN left the meeting at 8pm.
6. Chairman’s Report
RE reported that the objection to the Paton’s Mill development had been submitted. We are now waiting to see what transpires.
7. Secretary’s Report
SK reported that all emails received by the secretary are being circulated.
SK also noted that JCC were pleased with the turnout of around 70 members of the public for the first of the local information events held in the Town Hall. Feedback from the public had been very good and indicated that more such would be welcomed.
The next event was scheduled for November 17th and would focus on what the Paisley 2021 bid could do for the community of Johnstone. The speaker will be Alan McNiven, leaflets have been distributed and the press notified. Cllr H tendered his apologies for the meeting because of a clash with the LAC meeting.
The Business Consortium are running a Christmas Market in the town centre on 2nd December.
Cllr D congratulated JCC on its efforts to involve the Johnstone community in its events.
8. Treasurer’s Report
Carol Ewing reported that the administration grant of £1105 had been received from Renfrewshire Council. Recent expenditure included £31.50 for the poppy wreath, £92 for hall lets, £50 for the inspection of accounts and £251.63 for the notice board. This left a current balance of £3975.34.
As previously discussed it was intended to move our account from the Clydesdale to the TSB due to poor service from the Clydesdale. Our new account will have the ability to be managed online thus streamlining our transactions. The account signatories will remain as present i.e. Carol Ewing (Treasurer) and Sheila King (Secretary.)
9. Renfrewshire Community Council Forum
Thomas Wallace reported on the special meeting at which issues mainly related to basic services had been discussed.
Cllr Mark MacMillan had explained how restricted the Council’s finances currently are.
TW noted that it had been discussed that we should contact all our representatives, not just the councillors. Each CC should be encouraged to write to the relevant MPs and MSPs asking that finances be increased – or at least not squeezed any further.
Additionally, legislation should be sought to exclude mobile catering units from operating outside as currently the council has no power to refuse operating licences on health grounds. TW asked for a vote on whether JCC supported these requests. RE replied that, before any vote took place, the matter would first be fully discussed by the members, who would then decide if a vote was appropriate.
Cllr D commented that asking the CC to take a position on this takes them into the realm of politics and asked whether it was appropriate for CCs to lobby on behalf of a political leader which might be construed as the CC actively supporting a political party viewpoint. He added that the settlement for Renfrewshire is based on a formula set some 15 years ago.
TW replied saying that it was not Cllr MacMillan who had raised it but him and that JCC can’t tell the Council how to spend money all we can do is ask for more money to spend.
DL commented that on these two issues JCC represents the community and that issues of funding and health are significant.
Cllr B noted that CCs were being asked to lobby all Holyrood representatives coming from the various parties.
At this point RE pointed out that the discussion was in danger of dropping into a political argument, but that the first issue was the amount of money coming in – not how it is spent. A vote was taken and the CC members voted 9 in favour and 3 against writing to MPs and MSPs asking that funding cuts to Renfrewshire Council be halted.
Malcom Hill suggested that a letter should be drafted and circulated before being sent.
On the second point re. the banning of burger vans the JCC members voted unanimously in favour.
10. Sub-Group Reports
Friends of Shanks Park
Wilma Dean had not been able to attend the meeting.
Cllr McM brought the meetings attention to the Paisley Daily Express article on damage to the playpark by fireraising.
It was reported that the garden project has now moved forward as the Friends have now traced the current trustee, Lord Rowallan, and progress should follow.
RE suggested that it would be a good idea for Lord Rowallan to be invited to open the garden when the project is complete.
Money is to be allocated to Shanks Park. The Council will consult with the Friends, the McMaster Centre, JCC and the Quarrelton Tenants’ and Residents Association.
RE reported that he had written to the Transport Minister about the poor attitude of the representative sent to the meeting re. the A737. An apologetic reply had been received and a further meeting with a better prepared representative is to be arranged with Scott Allan organising from the Renfrewshire end.
Cllr McM reported that the Howwood CC have also discussed the matter and put together some action points.
DL asked who else was on the Safety Committee, and indicated his willingness to take part.
LF expressed surprise at the recent application to demolish the old janitor’s house at Auchenlodment School and asked why it couldn’t be allocated to a homeless family.
Cllr H replied that this house had lain empty for 6 years and as a prefab with a cast iron frame. The previous tenant had always complained about roof leaks and it has now been condemned by surveyors as unmortgage able.
Cllr D added that some ex-janitors’ houses have been sold off to community groups and individuals and that the Council tried not to demolish them if it could be avoided.
Cllr D drew attention to the Council’s Town Centre Strategy document which contained a lot of positive points. He asked that the community of Johnstone should consider working towards Purple Flag status to create a viable night time economy in the town.
LF commented that the re-opening of the local amenity site in Miller Street at the end of the month will be detrimental to the local residents who will once more have to put up with the noise of the lorries.
This subject was deemed to have been covered in earlier discussions.
Internet and Social Media
Daniel Graham reported that JCC has both a closed Facebook page and a public page.
There had been a comment from a scout leader at the Campbell Street scout hut complaining that the street lighting there is poor.
Cllr H noted that a lamp standard there has been knocked down and is scheduled to be replaced in January. It has been put out to a contractor who will be urged to try and bring this forward.
TW raised questioned the appropriateness of our Twitter feed having 25 followers including ‘The National’ which describes itself as the “paper for an Independent Scotland” and stated that this should be removed.
RE responded that all other papers also have political agendas and we would have to remove them all, adding that The National does not support any one particular political party but rather, a philosophy i.e. Scotland as an independent country. RE also commented that it is a fact that a significant proportion of our community subscribe to the idea of independence and as a Community Council, we represent the whole community, regardless of political view. It is not the role of the Community Council to act as public censor or to try and influence political opinion or views on independence.
DG noted that there had been one other enquiry from the public concerning the flats at the top of Maple drive. It was noted that they are boarded up and ready for demolition which was being held up by one owner.
RE reminded JCC members of the upcoming Remembrance Day commemorations and of the event on 17th November.
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 December 2016 at 7.00pm.