Johnstone Community Council
Agenda 8th November Johnstone Town Hall 7 pm.
2) Minutes 11th October 2018
3) Matters Arising
4) Police Crime Statistics
5) Presentation: McGills Buses
6) Chairperson s Report
7) Secretary s Report /Liasion Group /Board Reports
8) Treasurers Report
9) Elected Member’s Report: Cllr Bill Binks
Johnstone Community Council
Minutes of the ordinary meeting of Johnstone Community Council held on Thursday 8th November 2018 at 7.00pm in Johnstone Town Hall.
Members: Wilma Dean, Linda Flint, Chris Gilmour, Daniel Graham, Catherine Johnstone, Dennis Lavery, Daniel McKay, Iain McMillan, Geraldine McNealey, Valerie Reilly, Arlene Scarff and Thomas Wallace.
Also in attendance:-
Councillors (Ward 8) – John Hood, Alistair Mackay.
(Ward 9) – Derek Bibby, Bill Binks, Andy Doig.
5 members of the public were also present.
Marie Corbett, Elizabeth Forrest, Councillor Jacqueline Cameron and Mhari Black MSP.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read and agreed.
Proposed by Dennis Lavery
Seconded by Geraldine McNealey
3. Matters Arising
With regard to traffic at the new Paton’s Mill development, Councillor Doig noted that the air quality there is reported to be above the legal limit. The situation needs to be monitored.
Councillor Bibby commented that the time being taken to remove the illegal signs around the town is not acceptable. Thomas Wallace added that they give a bad impression of the town on every entry road. Linda Flint commented that the ‘Mickey Mouse’ beside the A737 slip road also does not give a good impression.
4. Police Crime Statistics Report
The Crime Statistics report was presented by Officers Armstrong and Taylor.
Johnstone Town Centre
A total of 53 crimes were reported including 4 common assaults, 28 thefts and attempted thefts, 6 drug offences, 8 anti-social offences and 5 road traffic offences. 20 of these crimes had been detected.
A total of 16 crimes were reported including 1 robbery, 1 common assault, 2 drug offences, 5 anti-social offences and 4 road traffic offences. 7 of these crimes had been detected.
Spateston and Corseford
A total of 11 crimes were reported including 1 common assault, 3 drug offences and 4 anti-social offences. 7 of these crimes had been detected.
A total of 11 crimes were reported including 3 common assaults, 2 thefts or attempted thefts, 5 anti-social offences and 1 road traffic offence. 2 of these crimes had been detected.
Councillor Hood enquired about a vehicle theft in Johnstone Castle. Apparently a number of Transits have been stolen – thieves are putting something on to vans that blocks the electronic locking. It is thought they are stealing to order.
Catherine Johnstone enquired about the ‘hit and run’ offences – Officer Armstrong replied that these are concerning damage to cars not people.
Councillor Binks noted that on Monday there had been damage to the traffic lights at the Hallhill/Beith Road junction. This was deliberate damage and it was the third time it had happened. Off. A commented that there were mobile CCTV units which could be used to monitor problems such as this.
Officer Taylor commented that the traffic lights at the High Street/Collier Street junction are failing repeatedly. TW reported that he had been told they were to be rewired the next week.
There being no further questions, the officers left at 7.15pm.
5. Presentation: McGills Buses
Colin Napier and Ralph Roberts of McGills Buses addressed the recent changes to bus routes around Johnstone. They noted that the last route changes had been in 2013 when Riverside Buses failed. They explained that this year’s changes had been forced by economy – revenue and footfall were going down while costs were going up. This had led to March’s cancellation of the nos. 19 and 8 services. Bus services are run commercially and only two routes in the Johnstone area make a profit. They added that no further changes are planned for the town.
LF enquired which were the profit-making routes and was told that the 38 makes a profit between Johnstone and Paisley at peak times and between Paisley and Glasgow all day, and the 7 to Linwood is profitable in the daytime.
Cllr H reported that parents have had to hire a single-decker bus for children from Elderslie and Johnstone Castle going to the High School. This is full every day and means lost revenue for the bus company. He added that pensioners now have problems getting to hospital appointments and that the 38A was standing-room only at night. He enquired if there was really no scope to reinstate the service to its former level. He was told that the 38A was a peak-time only service, but they would take a look at the services. They added that they don’t have full information about passenger services - more information is required.
DL suggested random sampling of customers to get a better picture of passenger journeys.
McGills replied that they do about 100,000 surveys/year.
Councillor MacKay said he has sat at Johnstone Railway Station and wondered why the buses do not tie in with the railway timetable. He saw this as a missed opportunity. McGill’s said they had looked at this – but the problem was which train service to tie into. Some of these buses were contracted services for which they do not control the timetable – it is set by SPT.
Cllr MacK added that he has watched two or three 38s travelling between Paisley and Johnstone at the same time and sometimes missing passengers because they are leap-frogging each other.
McGills replied that congestion causes the bunching, but the buses should still stop for people.
McGills stated that there was more competition in Johnstone than on many other routes and added that if Key Coaches were to stop running McGills probably wouldn’t be able to replace their service. It costs about £165,000/year to run one bus.
CJ said she believed that bus journeys are subsidised by the Scottish Government. McGills replied that they receive 25p/passenger. CJ wondered why a small charge could not be made to pensioners and was told it was because the Scottish Government would not do it.
McGills believes the Government will break the bus industry through unintended consequences and that things will probably get worse.
McGills are introducing more smaller buses – these are more environmentally friendly and will save routes being cancelled.
One big problem is lack of infrastructure causing a huge rise in the costs of operating. Money allocated to bus services in this area is £5/head of population which contrasts with the amount of £100/head in London.
LF asked about snarl-ups and who was in charge of the yellow lines at bus stops, which cars often park on. McGill’s answered that Renfrewshire Council was in charge of yellow line obstructions, although the police would be in charge if the parking was dangerous. McGills added that they report parking offences to the Council, but they do nothing.
LF asked who decides changes to routes – for example the change of use to Church Street from McDowall Street. McGill’s replied that they make the decisions on non-contracted routes.
Cllr D commented that we need to get our MSPs to work harder for the interests of Renfrewshire. He added that he knew times were difficult for the bus companies with more cars taking to the roads – and the proposed 20mph speed limit will only make things worse. He went on to say that some months ago RC had passed a motion that they would like to see buses re-regulated. McGill’s said that competition hadn’t been the game plan of deregulation – it had been an economic decision. The current situation sees the bus companies able to do what they like. Now the bus companies are so efficient that they are probably past the point of improvement and beginning to decline. People are travelling less due to online retailing and the fear of Brexit. If the High streets struggle so do the bus companies. The regulation of buses in Lothian was mentioned, but McGills pointed out the difference is that Lothian has a huge tourism footfall which stimulates public transport.
Arlene Scarff spoke about an afterschool group that uses the 38 when the weather is bad. Drivers have complained about the printing of tickets. She was advised that smart tickets were the answer to the problem and the organisers should come and talk to the company. Wilma Dean asked if youth groups could also access this. McGills replied that they could as the company wanted to raise footfall and were happy to do deals.
WD commented that some of the services pulled had been peak time, leading to some workers having to get cars. She enquired whether there could be more peak time only services. McGills replied categorically no – the costs were too high.
GMcN stated that the change of route into Church Street is causing congestion because of the cars and taxis waiting outside Iceland meaning that buses can’t get through. She had rung McGills who had said they would send out an inspector. However, this was likely to be an ongoing problem and couldn’t they go back to using MacDowall Street. McGills replied that the buses had no more priority than an individual car. They work with RC but Johnstone High Street is horrendous.
Councillor Bibby commented that there were 22 times more bus than train journeys but much more money is invested in train infrastructure. We need more investment on behalf of bus users. Re-regulation is the way forward – but will in itself cost billions. We need to make our protests louder and demand better bus services.
TW thanked Colin Napier and Ralph Roberts for the informative discussion. The McGills representatives then left the meeting.
6. Chairman’s Report
TW reported that he and Iain McMillan had attended a meeting about the new Local Partnerships. The first full meeting is to be held on 22nd November. We will have to work within the new system to get the best we can for Johnstone.
TW commented that by the next JCC meeting we should all have the new refuse uplift schedules, so we will discuss the situation next month.
7. Secretary’s Report
IMcM reported that most mail recently had been about uncontroversial processions.
There had been a reminder about nominations for the Provost’s Community Awards which have to be submitted by 12th December. TW commented that Scott Russell goes to many local events with his ‘Batmobile’ and raises a lot of money for cancer charities. He should be nominated for the Provost’s Awards
At a meeting of the liaison group there had been satisfactory answers to most of JCC’s queries.
There were few board reports as several of the Boards have had no recent meetings.
Community and Planning – It was noted that the shop on the High Street had been sold to the Italian restaurant next door. The income from the sale goes to the Council.
Education and Children’s Services – This report contained a number of important plans particularly with regard to Spateston Nursery. A new site close to The Osprey has been tested, as the previously selected site was reportedly too expensive to build on.
Infrastructure Board – there was an interim report on chewing gum removal reporting that officials are looking at options. Also noted were the Winter Maintenance plans, bird fouling under railway bridges and the disposal of grass cutting (lifting them would cost £1.3million/year)
Chris Gilmour asked whether there had been drilling to test the original Spateston Nursery site. Daniel Graham replied that he had been on the crew doing it.
Cllr H reported that he had been told that the land was prone to flooding which was why the costs would be so high. He added that the Council wanted to see the chewing gum removal service improved but that they didn’t want to go to court to challenge Network rail on the bridges issue.
Cllr D mentioned that the item about a possible 100 houses being built on the Johnstone ID Hospital site would see further congestion at the A737 junction.
8. Treasurer’s Report
LF reported that the balance of funds stood at £7,419.86.
The remainder of the LAC money had been taken to Anne McNaughton.
Remaining monies for Gala programme adverts have now been received from two of the advertisers – only the scouts were still outstanding.
TW asked that balance sheets due at the AGM should be presented at the next meeting.
9. Elected Member’s Report
Councillor Binks had presented his report in advance touching on the new Local Partnerships, the Education Improvement Plan 2018-9, a RC initiative for digital participation among its tenants, large planning applications for houses at the ID hospital and North Bar Inchinnan and their impact on transport links and the Glasgow Airport Flightpath Funds annual get together.
Cllr Binks spoke to his report in particular mentioning the high standards achieved in local schools leading to several local schools winning awards this year. IMcM commented on the education successes and TW said that much good work was being done. Cllr D suggested that JCC should write to St Anthony’s expressing congratulations on their national success.
Cllr Binks reiterated the impact of new housing on transport. GMcN commented that she had heard that the ID hospital plan had been withdrawn. Clr Binks replied that it had been resubmitted.
10. Event and Funding Sub Group Report
TW highlighted the Model Railway Exhibition due to take place at the weekend.
Cllr D enquired whether there was any update on bringing the vintage buses to Johnstone. TW said it was still being worked on and said he would hope to discuss it at the upcoming Business Consortium meeting the following week.
Councillor Bibby reported that there had been a suggestion that Johnstone should become a dementia-friendly town. He added that Lochwinnoch had developed a number of initiatives. It was noted that the Business Consortium were thinking about this.
TW commented that if JCC is involved in any events in Houston Square, we should ensure that there is music in the bandstand, adding that if it is not seen to be being used it will strengthen the case for overlooking it when refurbishment funds are being allocated.
Cllr MacK commented that to mitigate the costs of lifting grass cuttings, perhaps communities might be interested in communal compost heaps.
LF asked whether it was not the case that domestic grass in our brown bins is recycled.
Cllr MacK replied that it was not and that it costs the Council money to dispose of it.
WD asked where the bin contents are disposed of currently.
Cllr MacK responded that a commercial company takes it.
Cllr H added that when composting grass cuttings alone it takes years to break down – it needs to be mixed with other kinds of compostable material.
TW announced that the next JCC meeting will be held on the same day as the last Council meeting of 2018. He suggested that should no major issues be thrown up, we should cancel our scheduled January meeting and resume in February.
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 13th December 2018 at 7.00pm.
12) Dare of Next Meeting 13th December