Minutes 21st January 2015

To be agreed at the meeting on 18/3/15

Strachur District Community Council

Minutes of General Meeting

Held at 19:30 on Wednesday 21st January 2015, Strachur Memorial Hall

Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), John Fleming, (Vice Convener), Isabel McGladdery (Treasurer), Ceci Alderton, Kirstie Reid and Les Earle (Secretary).

Also in attendance: PC. Eddie McGunnigal, and six members of the public.

1. Convener’s opening remarks: None other than a welcome to the first meeting of the year.

2. Apologies and declarations of interest: Jean Donaldson and Cllr Alex McNaughton sent their apologies.

3. Minutes: Minutes for the meeting held on 3rd December 2014 were adopted as accurate.

4. Matters arising:

a. Archie had raised with the Post Office Company the question of the temporary status of our PO’s opening hours (MSP has also been engaged). No firm answer had been forthcoming and he will persist in pressuring them for an answer but note item 12 later in the agenda.

5. Health report: In the absence of Heather Grier there was no report.

6. Police report: PC Eddie McGunnigal covered a number of topics.

a. A reminder was given for people to log on to Rural Watch and receive localised updates. It was thought that only one person had logged on locally but from comments at the meeting it was plain that early adopters might have been “lost in the system”. They were encouraged to log on again.

b. Eddie was not able to give a full report on crime since the last such report as the records were under-going a process of archiving. However, over the seasonal holiday only two people had been reported for drink-driving and there had been one case of theft, making it a quiet Christmas. That said, the weather had put up the workload for the emergency services.

c. Picking up a point from earlier minutes PC McGunnigal expressed surprise that there was a perceived problem with wild camping on Loch Eck as no complaints had been made to the police last year. A brief debate followed as to the size of the problem and the likely consequences of LL&TT’s proposed change of policy on Loch Lomond and it was agreed to monitor the situation.

d. A brief recap of the problem of speeding traffic at the school crossing took place. Les promised to send a copy of the police report he had received to Eddie so that he could be confident as to what was in the public domain. It was generally agreed that a limit of 40mph was too high and Les promised to renew his pressure for a new speed test to be conducted on the anniversary of the first set of promises from A+B, 26/1/15. Eddie expressed his support for the introduction of a 30mph limit at the crossing on the grounds of common sense and enforceability.

7. Secretary’s report:

a. Les reported on the proposed changes to the rubbish collection rota. It appears that from April we will move over to a fortnightly general collection that will alternate with a fortnightly recycled waste collection and that blue bins would be distributed for the latter service. Further detail will be issued by A+B nearer the change-over in April.

b. Representations had been made to LL&TT regarding the perceived problem of wild camping along Loch Eck and the potential for displacement once the new management arrangements were in place (see above).

c. The Memorial Hall Committee had been written to expressing concern at the increase of charges from £6.30ph to £20ph for the CC. and the offer of a compromise £10ph was accepted but might well be revisited at their next AGM (Oct/Nov).

8. Treasurer’s report: The current balance stands at £2405 and no significant expenditure is anticipated. A donation to the Youth and Drama Group of £50 had been made to assist with the expenses in putting on a show at the turning on of the Strachur District’s lights. PC Eddie McGunnigal expressed thanks on behalf of the Y&DG.

9. Transport update: There had been no meeting since our last CC meeting due to the weather, the next meeting is due to take place Friday 23/1/15 and Archie would attend. To be raised at the meeting is the continuing concern that the McGills timetable is such that it is virtually impossible to make an 8.30 appointment at Inverclyde Hospital.

[A member of the public raised the subject of gritting on the Succothmore Road. “Surely the gritting should be extended beyond the cottage and bridge toward Balliemeanoch – at least as far as it was public highway.” Not a transport issue, as such, but a promise was made to pass on the concern to Cllr Alex McNaughton for comment.]

10. Community Benefit (CB) Coire Ealt. At an earlier public meeting two bodies had expressed an interest in administering the CB fund for the benefit of the Strachur District. Only one, the Strachur & District Community Development Co. Ltd. (SDCDC), wished to continue and a report was present to the meeting (attached). The report outlines the grounds on which the SDCDC is “an appropriate community organisation” within the definition of the Forestry Commission. Also detailed are the financial arrangements already in place to maintain a separation of funds for specific charitable purposes and the intention to create an “arms-length” committee to receive applications for the CB funds.

Jeff Wilson, Secretary of the SDCDC, was present and willing to answer questions.

Jeff was thanked for his attendance and the submission and it was agreed, without dissent, that the proposed arms-length committee of the SDCDC should represent the Strachur District in this matter.

11. Memorial Hall Charges: Dealt with in item 7, above.

12. The Post Office: The meeting was fortunate in having present Mr Charlie Welsh, current postmaster, Mr Asher, former PO/shop employee, and Mrs Black, former postmaster, who were able to give first hand explanations as to the history of the PO and relations with PO Counters. At the end of this item they were thanked for the assistance and clarity that they were able to provide.

When the shop and PO changed hands Charlie had been the only person prepared to take on the role of postmaster but he was not able/willing to do this for more than three days a week. Furthermore, he has always made it clear that he is prepared to stand aside for someone prepared to open for five days a week and his contract with PO Counters reflects this position but he will not abandon the position of postmaster until given notice by PO Counters. The fly in the ointment is that PO Counters (it is said but not yet confirmed in writing) intend to convert the PO to a “local PO” from its current “community PO” status. (To repeat earlier notes this would mean the postmaster would not receive a salary but work on a commission, approx. £3,500pa.)

Some disappointment was expressed at the low impact of the petition when compared to Cairndow. It was explained that a general lack of certainty had impeded the promulgation of the petition.

It was agreed that clarity was needed from PO Counters and that if necessary the current owner, Mr Mike Kelly, needs to express formally his wish to become the postmaster with the intention of opening for five days a week and see what the response of PO Counters is. Depending on the results a campaign can be launched because, to put it bluntly, nobody would take the responsibility of running the PO for five days a week for £3,500.

Charlie was thanked for at least ensuring that we had any PO service at all.

13. Any other business:

3rd December 2014a. The issue of speeding at the school crossing was revisited but has been incorporated in item 6 above.

b. The Community Action Plan 2014 – 2019 has now been published and will be available on the Strachur.org web site. Hard copies available from Les.

14. Date of next meeting: 19:30, Wednesday 18th March 2015 at the Strachur Memorial Hall.

Les Earle, Secretary, Strachur District Community Council

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