June 2023 Minutes

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Arnprior Community Council

Minutes of the Business Meeting held on
Tuesday 20th June 2023

Present: Iain Breakenridge (Chair), Morag Sheppard (Secretary), Duncan McEwen, Margaret Pitkeathly, Wendy Weir

In Attendance: Esther Lim (Minute Taker)

Apologies: No Apologies were given

Residents: 1 member of the public was present

1. Welcome & Apologies
The Chair welcomed the attendees to the meeting.

Declaration of Interest
The Chair called for any declarations of interest. There were no declarations of interest.

Review of Inaugural Meeting
The Chair confirmed the appointment of office bearers at the Inaugural Meeting:

  • Iain Breakenridge – Chair
  • Morag Sheppard – Secretary
  • Sheena Adam – Treasure

Approval of Agenda
The Chair reviewed the Agenda. Members and residents asked for the following items to be discussed:

  • The septic tank leakage
  • The cycle race
  • Welcoming new residents to the village
  • The development of a community newsletter
  • An update on funding grants

2. Approval of Previous OGM Minutes
The minutes of the February Community Council Meeting were circulated by the Chair during the meeting. The February Minutes had not been approved earlier due to the Inaugural Meeting being held on 18th May. No changes to the minutes were proposed.

3. Minutes Arising

Cardross Bridge
Further tests were carried out on Cardross bridge over a period of 2 weeks in April 2023. The CC expressed concern that no information regarding their findings has yet been communicated to the CC or residents. The Chair is to contact Stirling Council for an update. [Action: Iain Breakenridge]
The Chair informed the attendees that Stirling Council have expressed their commitment to repair the bridge and have applied to the Scottish government for an estimated £1.5 - £2 Million in funding to cover half the cost of repair.
The Chair recapped the events to date:

  • 2019 Arnprior CC reported cracks in the bridge
  • A visual survey identified 3 major cracks
  • An underwater survey was undertaken followed by load testing
  • The tonnage load allowed on the bridge was reduced from 10 to 3 tonnes.

The Chair expressed concern over Stirling Council’s slow progress to action and the lack of communication with the CC. It was noted that Arnprior CC were having to acquire updates through other CCs in the area rather than from Stirling Council.
Members expressed concern that the reduced weight limit on the bridge is not being adhered to, as overweight vehicles, such as range rovers and tourist coaches, are continuing to use the bridge. The CC will inform Stirling Council. [Action: Iain Breakenridge]

Defibrillator: Maintenance
The Community Council has paid £336 for a new battery for the Defibrillator which has yet to be installed. Margaret Pitkeathly is to follow up. [Action: Margaret Pitkeathly]
The CC did not anticipate the need for a new battery and the cost was not included in the budget. So far £252 has been raised towards the cost through fundraising BBQs.
It was suggested that it would be helpful to provide residents with training on how to use the defibrillator.

Planning: Shelloch Windfarm
The planning application for Shelloch Windfarm was approved in 2019, Arnprior CC contributed to the consultation process and suggested changes to the route. Current plans include 16 passing places on the access road. Concern was expressed that the passing places need to be big enough for long, low-loaded, extended HGVs. It was noted that the largest vehicles carrying the turbines will access the site via a temporary road to be constructed across fields farmed by Duncan McEwen.
A resident queried whether the community will receive compensation for disruption caused. The Chair explained that 6 Community Councils will each receive compensation of c. £18K per year for a period of 20 years. These monies will be paid once the site starts generating electricity.
The Chair is investigating the possibility of the CC gaining charitable status to aid them in distributing the monies generated by the windfarm and to enable the
CC to apply for additional funding. The CC will consult with other CCs in the area as to how they manage the process of obtaining charitable status. The importance of laying the correct foundation in the constitution was emphasised. [Action: Iain Breakenridge]
It was explained that charitable status would allow the CC to make applications to run feasibility studies and apply for grants. (This status would have facilitated the purchase for the community of the land where the bus shelter is located, which is in the process of being sold.)
The need for the CC to have its own funding was discussed in light of current events, such as

  • The obstacles to the construction of the Pavilion in the play park
  • The sale of the land housing the bus shelter and the community store
  • The difficulty in booking venues to hold CC meetings and community events

Property Matters
The Council discussed the difficulty in accessing a venue for CC Meetings and other Community events.
The Chair explained that prior to the conversion of the building now used as Arnprior Nursery, the CC was given an undertaking that they would have access to the building as a community space. However, primary schools and nurseries are currently not being made available to community councils due to a planned reduction in the number of janitorial staff available to open and lock up the buildings. There is no suitable alternative venue in the Arnprior community and the CC have been forced to meet in both the play park and the bus shelter. Iain and Wendy have been in contact with the Director of Education, Bryony Monaghan and councillor Gerry McGarvey but as yet no practicable solution has been proposed. Wendy has also had discussions with Stirling Council Facilities Management, who are not in a position to resolve the staffing issue.
The Chair expressed concern that Stirling Council has not been proactive in communicating with the CC or looking for a solution jointly. The Chair suggested approaching the local councillors in first instance. [Action: Iain Breckenridge]
Margaret Pitkeathly expressed appreciation for Iain and Wendy’s efforts to find a solution and suggested arranging a meeting involving local councillors and residents and inviting local press.

The construction of the pavilion is due to commence in 2 months’ time. It will now be sited close to the nursery who will use it during the day. The Chair stressed the importance of having an official arrangement in place in advance regarding who is responsible for maintenance of the pavilion. Insurance will also be needed. The CC need to discuss this with Stirling council. [Action: Iain Breakenridge and Morag Sheppard]

Arnprior East Bound Bus Shelter and Community Storage
This plot is currently under offer. The Chair has approached Stirling’s Road Department and requested that an officer come to Arnprior to discuss the new site and construction of a new shelter.
Stirling Estate has agreed to lease to the CC a parcel of land on which to site a new community store. Funding has been obtained from Stirling Council’s Community Grants/Community Pride Fund and from the National Lottery.

Walking Routes
Funding has been obtained to put up signposts for 6 walking routes, 3 to the south and 3 to the north of the A811. The work is anticipated to start in Autumn 2023.

The CC arranged for a Traffic Management Officer to come to Arnprior in 2020. The CC will contact Traffic Management to arrange a further visit. [Action: Iain Breakenridge]

4. Police Report
There was no Police Report for this meeting.
The CC noted that as there is now only 1 community policeman for the area, the police are no longer able to provide the CC with an individual report but will produce one for the wider area.

5. Councillor’s Report
There was no Councillor’s Report for this meeting.

6. Financial Report
The Financial Report was presented by the Chair as the Treasurer was not present.
The Balance of No. 1 account is £4,434.23
The Balance of No. 2 account is £4,653.20
The Accounts will be audited as per the current arrangement and provided to CC members for discussion/approval.

7. AOB

Septic tank
It was noted that the septic tank is leaking again. Members agreed this is a public health issue and could potentially affect crops. Workmen have visited on a number of occasions but appear to concentrate on unblocking the pipes rather than looking at the underlying issues.
Members queried whether nursery staff had been trained in the proper use of a septic tank. It was also noted that the roots of surrounding trees may be affecting the tank and pipes.
Wendy Weir has reported the issue and the other members and residents will also report the problem. [Action: All members]

UCI Cycling Championship, August 2023
The CC discussed the upcoming cycle race and its impact on local residents. It was noted that there will be both fixed and rolling road blocks during the race which will impact residents’ ability to acess work, hospital and local facilities.
Concern was expressed that none of the local CC’s were consulted about the race in advance and the CC has still not been provided with information regarding the day. Mr Alan Smith (MSP) has agreed to look into the matter.

Mains Road
Concern was expressed regarding the deteriorating condition of this road due to potholes. Wendy agreed to make a freedom of information enquiry to get some data regarding the speed traps’ findings. [Action: Wendy Weir]

Welcoming New Residents
The CC discussed how they can best welcome new residents to the village. The CC currently deliver a welcome card to new residents. It was suggested that the CC produce an information sheet to give to new residents containing useful local information such as the nearest shops and doctors. Wendy Weir agreed to look into this. [Action: Wendy Weir]

Community Newsletter / Email
The CC discussed rebooting the Community Newsletter. The Chair agreed to contact Ed, the former Chair, to discuss what had been done previously. [Action: Iain Breakenridge]
Members proposed collecting the email addresses of local residents in order to disseminate community information as the community notice board is in bad repair and does not appear to be much used. It was suggested that this would also be a good opportunity to gather ideas and suggestions from community members.

Vote of Thanks
Members gave a vote of thanks to the Chair for the effort he puts in on behalf of the CC.

8. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will take place from 19:45 – 21:15 on 15 August 2023. It is intended to take place at Arnprior Nursery.