JOHNSTONE COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Agenda for the extraordinary meeting in Johnstone Town Hall Marriage Suite
Thursday 28th September 2017 at 7.00 p.m.
1. Chairman’s Introduction and Welcome Sandra Black and Shona McDougall
3. Lack of maintenance and poor condition of Johnstone’s road network
4. Promised reinstatement of worn road markings not delivered
5. Lack of maintenance and poor condition of Johnstone’s pavements and pathways
6. Lack of street and pavement cleaning, litter picking etc
7. Promised implementation of Johnstone Town Centre Strategy not delivered
8. Sunday bin collections
9. Thorn Court – Issues of concern to residents
Johnstone Community Council
Minutes of the extraordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held Thursday 28th September 2017 at 7.00pm in Johnstone Town Hall.
Members – Ron Ewing (Chair), Carol Ewing (JCC Treasurer), Ronnie Carlin, Wilma Dean, Linda Flint, Catherine Johnstone, Dennis Lavery, Daniel Graham and Tom Wallace.
Also in attendance: -
Councillors (Ward 8) – Andy Steel, Alistair Mackay
Renfrewshire Council – Sandra Black, Chief Executive; Shona MacDougall, Director of Community Resources.
4 members of the public were also present.
Daniel McKay, Sheila King, Valerie Reilly, Liz Forrest, Malcolm Hill, Christina Leon, Iain McMillan and Cllr Hood, Cllr Doig and Cllr Cameron.
The chairman (RE) opened the meeting by introducing guests, representing Renfrewshire Council; Sandra Black, Chief Executive and Shona MacDougall, Director of Community Resources and thanked both guests for taking the time to meet with the Community Council. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss community complaints and concerns regarding the quality of services being provided by Renfrewshire Council.
3. Lack of Roads Maintenance
RE reported on the community’s anger over the poor state of Johnstone’s road network, a problem aggravated by a lack of routine maintenance and necessary repair. RE stated that It was generally felt by the people of Johnstone that the town has just been neglected and calls for repairs have just been ignored by the council. RE presented photographs illustrating the extent of the problem, which include large potholes, longstanding in Hagg Crescent near the junction with Graham Street and severe flooding problems at Janefield Avenue/Kilbarchan Road junction, which forces pedestrians onto the main road and which had taken the council 3 weeks and numerous phone calls before any remedial action was taken. Although many other roads throughout Johnstone are badly in need of repair, the main areas raised at the meeting included; North Road, sections of Beith Road, MacDowall Street, High Street to A737 (Morrison’s), John Lang Street, Miller Street, Lilybank, Dee Place, Ness Avenue and the speed bumps throughout Corseford. Also of great concern was the general lack of drain clearing throughout Johnstone.
SB replied that the council were considering new methods of reporting these problems and that one idea being considered, is to draw up a list of council contacts, in leaflet form, that could be distributed throughout the area. DG informed the meeting that Christina Leon had been looking at a new App being introduced by Glasgow City Council, which makes reporting of defects much simpler and allows photos to be sent by phone to the relevant council Department. SB replied that this could be looked into.
4. Worn Road Markings
RE stated that many of Johnstone’s road marking had faded to almost invisible and provided photographs to illustrate the problem. In addition to yellow box junction markings, some existing kerbside yellow lines and many road centre lines had either become severely faded or had been covered over by road works and never restored. RE also pointed out that many junction Give Way markings were so badly worn as to be invisible, which raises serious safety concerns as well as difficulties in prosecuting careless drivers. RE stated that lack of clear road markings is often used as defence in court. RE also stated that the JCC had been assured in January, by elected members, that the road marking problems were acknowledged and work would begin in January and hopefully completed by end of March. However, we are now entering October with no sign of anything happening.
Following debate with members, SB and SMcD agreed that there were issues that needed to be addressed and agreed to look at the possibility of the council carrying out a survey to determine the extent of the problem.
5. Lack of Maintenance on Pavements and Footpaths
RE opened this topic by showing photographs illustrating the poor condition of some pavements in Johnstone. Members expressed concern that the elderly and those with mobility problems find movement more difficult when negotiating uneven and broken surfaces. RE stated that the council had informed the JCC on previous occasions, that pavements generally have a low priority with the roads maintenance programmes. RE stated that the community and the JCC did not consider it to be acceptable that nothing gets done until an elderly or disabled person falls and seriously injures themselves.
Issues were also discussed regarding lack of garden maintenance and overhanging branches on many trees. It is felt by the community that the gardens, parks, flowerbeds and tree maintenance is neglected by council’s gardening section.
SB and SMcD agreed to look into this.
6. Street Cleaning and Litter Picking
RE stated that considerable dissatisfaction was felt by the people of Johnstone, in relation to what is generally perceived as “the disgusting, filthy state” of Johnstone’s streets. This topic has been raised at several previous JCC meetings and often resulted in some heated debates. Previously the JCC had been informed that the council’s policy was to clean the streets in Johnstone every 31 days. This was never considered satisfactory by most members, but in reality, the streets have not been cleaned in months. Up until 5-6 years ago, men with brushes and barrows were seen on a weekly basis sweeping Johnstone streets and picking up litter. Since then, the streets have become progressively dirtier.
Former Cllr Gilmour informed a previous JCC meeting that street cleaning has slipped down the list of priorities with Renfrewshire Council.
RE said that tree debris between the flower beds and on the pavements in Kilbarchan Road had been left uncleared since last October and that long standing street litter now makes the area grossly unsightly.
LF asked why Renfrewshire Council could not follow East Ayrshire’s example where litter pickers and road sweeping machines follow the bin lorries to uplift anything dropped during the bin emptying process.
LF commented that other councils should be looked at to see if they are doing better and added that if lorries were dropping material behind them we should be looking at ways of improving the way of working.
M. Lavery (MoP) and CJ also requested that additional gritting bins be provided in North Road, Linn Brae, Park Road and Thorn Court. This will be looked into.
SB replied that the council had recently taken on more staff to deal with street cleaning and it was hoped that this would help alleviate some of the problems.
7. Johnstone Town Centre Strategy
RE asked SB and SMcD what was happening with the Johnstone Town Centre Strategy, which JCC had contributed to in 2015 and which had been finalised in 2016. The JCC had been informed in December 2016, that the plans contained within the final strategy document would begin to be implemented in January 2017. Included in the document were plans for new street/road signage as well as many of the issues discussed during this meeting, particularly road markings. To date, not very much has actually been done, other than the repositioning of a couple of bus stops and the removal of the traffic calming islands on the High Street.
SMcD replied that this was still a live strategy, with some aspects having been carried out and that the remainder would be implemented in due course.
8. Waste Bin Collection
RE stated that many members of the community were extremely unhappy with the practice of waste bins being emptied on Sundays.
LF questioned the lack of consultation before the decision was taken to change the collection day to Sunday and asked if Sunday collections could be staggered throughout the region on say, a 2 yearly cycle.
SB replied that rescheduling of routes would have serious financial repercussions, but would look at the situation to see what could be done.
WD stated that many people had complained about the large recycling bins at Corseford not being emptied and about the mess left behind by bin lorries, as spillages are just left by the bin crews and not dealt with.
RE complained that when food waste bags were required, the brown bin vehicle driver simply throws the bags out of the vehicle cab window, not caring where they land. The bags often land in neighbouring gardens or in the roadside flowerbeds, but mostly they land in a puddle. RE asked if this was the approved working practice. SB said that it most certainly was not.
SB and SMcD both said that these problems would be looked into.
9. Thorn Court – Issues of Concern to Residents
Members stated that many complaints had been received, over a long period of time, from residents of Thorn Court, regarding drug dealing and anti-social behaviour by some people living in, and some visiting the complex. Complaints were also received regarding the general lack of maintenance and cleaning in the complex.
SB was handed several letters and petitions, copies of which had previously been sent to the council but no action had been taken. SB informed the meeting that the issues contained in the letters will be looked into.
In summary, SB said that the council would like to work closer with JCC and asked RE to organise a sub group to liaise directly with nominated senior council officers. Others interested in forming a liaison sub group were; Linda Flint, Wilma Dean and Margaret Lavery (Quarrelton Tenants and Residents Association.) SB said that officers would be in touch with RE to arrange a meeting to initiate the sub group.
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 21:00