January 12th 2017 Minutes

Johnstone Community Council

Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 12th January 2017 at 7.00pm in Johnstone Town Hall.


Members: Ronnie Carlin, Wilma Dean, Ron Ewing, Linda Flint, Elizabeth Forrest, Catherine Johnstone, Sheila King, Dennis Lavery, Daniel McKay, Valerie Reilly and Thomas Wallace.

Also in attendance:-

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

(Ward 8) –Andy Doig, Christopher Gilmour.

Officers Katherine Walsh and Stephen McKenzie of Police Scotland

1 member of the public was also present.


Carol Ewing, Malcolm Hill, Christina Leon, Mary Tennant and Councillors Bibby and Hood.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed.

Proposed by Elizabeth Forrest

Seconded by Wilma Dean

3. Matters Arising

An inaccuracy in section 7 of the previous minutes was noted. It should have read

“Elizabeth Forrest was Proposed by Sheila King and Seconded by Ron Ewing.

Catherine Johnstone was Proposed by Carol Ewing and Seconded by Christina Leon.”

It was agreed that the minutes would be corrected to reflect this.

With regard to section 9, Thomas Wallace wanted it minuted that Ron Ewing had said at least four times that “Councillor Doig could take this all the way”. He wanted it recorded as he felt it might show coercion.

Councillor Caldwell commented that these are public minutes and should reflect what was said. Councillor Doig added that the essentials of a minute was a record of decisions taken.

In section 8 Councillor McMillan noted that the term ‘Sports Centre’, used in the report of the Friends of Shanks Park, should actually read Johnstone Community Sports Complex.

Cllr McM reported that the Councillors agree that the new street lights are causing issues and that a report will be done by the Environmental Services Department.

WD reported that she had heard from Mark Faichney that the grant to Shanks Park has dropped to £30,000 and will be used for pathway improvements rather than equipment. Cllr McM thought that this may not be accurate but would check up on it. Councillor Gilmour agreed that he thought the sum was £50,000 to include £5,000 for consultants’ fees.

4. Police Crime Statistics Report

Johnstone Town Centre

A total of 35 crimes were reported including 5 common assaults, 5 thefts and attempted thefts, 1 theft of a motor vehicle, 3 breaches of the peace, 1 drug offence, 7 road traffic offences, 1 drink driving offence, 3 drink-related offences and 6 instances of vandalism. 17 of these crimes had been detected.

West Johnstone

A total of 26 crimes were reported including 5 common assaults, 5 thefts and attempted thefts, 6 breaches of the peace, 3 instances of vandalism, 1 drug offences, 1 RTAs, and 1 case of wilful fireraising. 11 of these crimes had been detected.

Johnstone Castle

A total of 12 crimes were reported including 2 common assaults, 1 breach of the peace, 3 instances of vandalism and 3 road traffic offences. 5 of these crimes had been detected.

Spateston and Corseford

A total of 8 crimes were reported including 1 theft, 1 breach of the peace, 1 instance of vandalism and 1 case of wilful fireraising. 3 of these crimes had been detected.

Cllr C commented that he was still getting many complaints about drug offences and that he was disappointed that not many were being detected.

SK reported that she had had it brought to her attention that groups of boys had achieved access to the Portacabin at the old Benston Garage and were using it as a place to plot crimes such as fireraising. The officers said this would be checked out.

Cllr G said the Officers at the recent Lochwinnoch Community Council meeting had reported on upcoming changes in community policing. Officer Walsh replied that they would be going back to the situation of about seven years ago. Larger shift numbers would be deployed to deal with call-outs, plus there would be a small number of officers dedicated to walking the beats for specified areas. Cllr McM commented that the Howwood CC had been told the same. It was generally welcomed as it was felt that communities could once more build up a good rapport with ‘their’ officers.

Linda Flint asked about the instance of underage drinking in the town centre and enquired whether the landlord would lose his licence. Officer Walsh replied that this would not necessarily be the case, but that it would be reviewed by the Licensing Board.

CJ reported that recent instances of drug dealing had been observed in the West Johnstone area. PC Walsh asked that those observing should note times of instances noted as these could be very important in establishing patterns.

Finally PC Walsh said that there had been a query at the previous meeting about an incident occurring on 10th November in Sycamore Avenue which did not seem to figure in the crime statistics. This had been checked on and had been recorded as an instance of vandalism. The two officers then left the meeting.

5. Chairman’s Report

RE wished everyone a Happy New Year, but did not have anything to report.

6. Secretary’s Report

SK commented that she was pleased to see how many members had turned out in the ice and snow.

A report had been received from Cllr D noting that St Margaret’s Hall was to be used in future for polling, instead of the school. Cllr G added that this was still subject to a health and safety assessment. LF commented that this was a good idea and would save children from losing a day’s education every time there was an election.

The JCC suggestion box had received a comment about signage – there was a perceived lack of a town centre sign indicating that Johnstone’s Library could be found within the Town Hall. Cllr D added that within the Town Hall there should be notification of details of the Johnstone Councillors.

SK had received a letter from the “Who Cares” charity with a request to come and address the CC. Dennis Lavery enquired whether their work was within the remit of JCC. LF said that if they have taken the time to contact us we should invite them.

7. Treasurer’s Report

In the absence of the Treasurer the Chairman reported that there was a current balance of £4,025.34, but there was a cheque for £50 still to be deducted from that figure.

DL raised a question about the charity that the auditor’s fee had been allocated to. It was explained that the auditor himself had specified this charity.

8. Public Events

RE explained that this should be a brainstorming session about ways to spend CC funds.

Cllr G said that he had information on grant funding streams that he could pass along – this would allow JCC to access funds to instigate projects such as play parks. This would also point out how getting money from one source can encourage others to contribute.

DL asked should we get such funds, would we be able to control who did the work? Cllr G replied that it would depend on where the project was taking place and it should be remembered that Council departments have access to services that private companies cannot compete with, though very small projects might be done more cheaply by private companies.

DL noted that we want ideas of things that will improve the park that the Council might not be able to do.

Cllr D pointed out that there were additional monies from Paisley 2021 for projects that have a connection to heritage. As an example, a project on Johnstone’s cotton industry could be tied into the Paisley industry. Or The Polson/Shanks connection could be used to perhaps fund heritage lighting for the park.

Cllr C noted that we could get a Council officer to come to a meeting to explain what might be possible.

DL suggested that we should think about events which would bring people together such as a piping championship or a brass band contest. Cllr G commented that Johnston has one of the country’s top 100 brass bands and we could use the bandstand for such a competition.

Cllr G noted there is also an interest in classic cars – we could perhaps have a meet in Shanks Park.

WD reported that the Library is interested in events to encourage children to read, but they have no funding, was there any way we could help with this?

Cllr G said that it was a number of years since work was last done on the bandstand – we could have a project to refurbish it. Cllr D added that it needs upgrading and new lighting which would have it looking spectacular.

Summing up, RE said the three suggestions were

  1. The Park for a pipe band event

  2. The Square for a brass band or classic car event

  3. The Library reading project – we would need to talk to the Library staff to ascertain what this would entail.

RE added that the Johnstone Business Consortium are also thinking along similar lines and we need to get together with them to work towards common goals. Cllr G noted that if people come into the town for events they will spend in the shops and everyone wins.

Several CC members expressed an interest in having the Houston Square fountain brought back to its original state.

RE asked if there was any update on the Town Centre Strategy. Cllr G replied that work is scheduled to begin in January on the roads, followed by the signage and yellow lines. Cllr D added that the refurbishment of Provost Close, also due in January, was part of the Town Centre strategy.

CJ asked whether there would be any money for Thorn Court and Ronnie Carlin asked if there are any street cleaners for Thorn Brae. Cllr G replied that a community can ask for street cleaning from Environmental Services. RC said that there have been complaints, particularly about the run-off from the car wash.

TW asked who runs the History Museum and why was it in such an out of the way place. It was pointed out that the biggest retail outlet in Johnstone was hardly an “out of the way place” and that the Johnstone History Society would not be able to afford to run the Museum anywhere else.

RE asked whether there was anything else we could think of. Cllr G replied that there were a number of musical organisations in the town and that JCC used to facilitate music in the bandstand once a month. This had enlivened the Square and was good for the musicians – it would make the bandstand a focal point once more. Cllr McM said that Drew McCormack who had spoken to us in 2016 would be a good person to help with this and that ‘pop’ music would bring in a younger audience. Cllr D added that DMcC wants to organise a community music festival in Johnstone. DL noted that the other thing we had had before was school choirs in the bandstand and that a publicised programme would stimulate the town centre. Cllr McM commented that Paisley has come alive again with its music events and we need to spill this over into Johnstone. Cllr C added that we also have the Splash Studios in the town.

DL said that Derek Parker used to do historic walks around the town and that we need more of that. RE commented that there was lots of heritage and culture in the town, but no municipal museum. DL said that Johnstone History Society already does this at minimal cost.

WD brought up Paisley’s paisley.org website and asked whether Johnstone could do something similar.

SK commented that co-ordinating a programme for the bandstand would be a huge job. Cllrs McM and D said JCC shouldn’t let bureaucracy put them off as there were two Johnstone Councillors on the Licensing Board which would help and DMcC could be supported in his efforts. On history walks, Les Ferney does this in Paisley we could invite him along to give us ideas – and Johnstone drama groups might want to get involved. Cllr G added that there are a lot of knowledgeable people in Johnstone and that there is huge potential.

WD reported that the Johnstone youth organisations have decided not to run the Gala this year. Cllr McM replied that this was a real pity. Howwood had stopped for a couple of years and then people had complained. HCC had written to all the local organisations and the event is now up and running once more. WD asked if JCC would want to take it on board. RE replied that it would need a lot of people involved. WD noted that the Business Consortium members are all busy running their businesses and don’t have much time to spare. Councillor McGee suggested that we should write to local organisations saying that without help there would be no Gala this year. RE asked whether there should be a Gala Committee with representatives from all Johnstone organisations. WD commented that last year’s committee now has a lack of support and no funds with all the reserves now spent. Cllr G noted that the LAC agrees to fund all the galas with £1,000 each. He also spoke about how the Gala had been organised in the past when work started in the October, but most of the hard work had been done between January to May. A committee would need to involve churches, schools, sports groups, youth organisations, playgroups, charities, DMcC, Splash, drama groups, Tenants and Residents Associations, Scouts, Guides, Boys Brigade, Ait Cadets etc etc. Cllr McM commented that dog shows are always popular and Cllr G added that classic cars would also be worth considering. WD noted that Elderslie Scouts have marquees which are available to other organisations.

9. Sub-Group Reports

Due to the time spent on the public events discussion the Sub-group reports were held over to the next meeting.

10. AOCB

RC wanted to report that the state of the roads around the Thorn was dangerous. Cllrs McM and G agreed to take this up

LF reported that since the Miller Street recycling site had re-opened, the John Lang Street area had never been so dirty. She has had to report blocked drains in North Iverton Road as well as on Campbell Street and at the Paper Mill. Cllr G said he would get on to it.

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 9th February 2017 at 7.00pm.

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