May 2022 Minutes

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Notes Carron Valley & District Community Council Wed 4 May 2022 meeting at 7.30pm, via ZOOM

In attendance

Peter Hayward, chair, PH Sara Smith, councillor, SS Margaret Porter, councillor, MP Nicolas Sinclair, Treasurer NS Sara Smith councillor, SS Dorothy Breckenridge, Sec, DB David Petch, councillor, DP Morag Holdsworth, resident, MH

Iain Macfarlane, resident, IM Robert Ferguson, VRG Treasurer, RF Helen Bang, minute clerk, HB

1 Introductions and welcome

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

1.2 Apologies – Police - Pam King, Councillors (election 5 May.)

1.3 Declarations of interest for items on agenda - None

1.4 Items raised by members of the public for inclusion in agenda – AOB

2 Report/ presentation by Rob Ferguson about VRG Investment Fund.

2.1 Attached as Appendix I

Briefing CC on proposal from investment subgroup to manage cash balances which have been increasing progressively through the year now forecasting 30 June to have

£176K £64K in unrestricted £112 in restricted.

Reasons are twofold: Unrestricted: haven't had as many grant applications as anticipated. New schemes just launched, tightly targeted. Will need time to refresh grant schemes, expected outcome of strategy review.

Cash balance this year forecast to continue - by end of 2023 unless something surprising happens may have £200K in cash balances. £62 in unrestricted £108 restricted...

Community Woodland - did work in 2021 originally planned for 2022, also volunteers have done work saving employing contractors. Substantial income from sale of timber

£34,037. Under normal circumstances could live with 2% inflation but as inflation is increasing rapidly, post-Covid and secondly as result of Ukrainian conflict. Investment subgroup DP, Carol Brown, Isaac Tabner RF met David Hourston from Brewin Dolphin met. He explained what was expected to happen going forward with i nflation and in equity markets.

Consumer prices index currently 7% expected to reach at least 8% could go to 10%. That means that cash balances, unlress we can spend them quickly, likely to lose £6K in every

£100K we hold. By end of next financial year could be losing £12K over following 2 years

Consider converting cash balances into investments to manage worst effects of rising inflation. Strategy Brewin is adopting is to go for good quality companies with proven record of controlling costs and prices.

Investment group proposal is to transfer £60K from restricted fund balances, further review at financial end in June. This is from restricted fund because this is where we are building up the largest balance. Also new grant schemes after strategy review may wish to hold some funds in unrestricted to manage this as they come forward. Seems likely we are unlikely to spend significant sums on woodland in next 6 months


Reconfiguring construction for meeting room have to come back with costs, final approval, planning building control, final prices, appointing contractor before any bricks can be laid ooking at a delay in this project having an effect on accumulation of fund balances.

This £60K will remain in fund unless required in case of an emergency or restricted fund project is brought forward. It can be done in 5 working days if required at short notice.

The Chair opened the floor for discussion. DB - sounds sensible approach

PH wearing CC hats - any comments on this proposal? No dissension on this

DECISION CC gave approval to proposal. ACTION RF to arrange transfer. The Chair thanked RF for his presentation. RF left the meeting at this point.

3 Community Police report, Attached as Appendix II

3.1 PC Pam King can’t be present but will take note of comments.

3.2 Poaching - various incidents reported.

4 Minutes of previous meeting on 6 April 2022

4.1 NS query item 7.1 Lucky 2 Be Here defibrillators.

4.2 DP proposed. NS seconded. ACTION HB to DB for Stirling Council.

5 Matters arising


5.1 ACTIONS (from Feb 22)

4.3 Planning and Enforcement site visits / Roads DB see Roads

4.5 School bus DP no news

12.2 C10 water issues DB ongoing

5.2 ACTIONS from 6 April

3.3 Approved March minutes to DB for Stirling Council HB

4.1 Motorway news from BEAR to HB PH ongoing

7.2 List of CC assets for insurance NS

7.3 Defibs insurance MP

MP sent for new quotation. Previous was for partial year, increase because for 4 for a whole year. VRG Treasurer informed and MP believes this has been paid.

Defibs PH happy to get electrician round. IM happy to be second person hosting

7.3 AGM accounts NS in hand

NS asked Stephen Bly - confirmed can do from last verified accounts in December 2021.

5.2.1 AGM 1 June - suggest present accounts from previous session as well ACTION HB

to promote AGM on Facebook and VRG website.

5.2.2 ACTION NS to get IM to sign off.

5.2.3 £40 owed to NS. DB to sign cheque ACTION DB




Woodland - additional quote for paths etc.

DB done



On Agenda item 6.1



Dropbox link for previous minutes for VRG website

HB still in process of uploading historic CC minutes to website.

DB. Done.


6 Chair’s report

6.1 PH spoke to person in Roads who has worked for department for 30 years. She described it as rudderless ship following departure of Kenny Sneddon. If no one is in charge to 'shout' for money this is an issue. She promised to contact Carlyn Fraser, Nikki Wallis and Neil Pirrie.

PH discussed that Hillfoots had had new planning consent without them sorting out road we have raised issues about. ACTION PH will contact again to find out any progress if any.

She said everyone else was working from home. Comments?

DB it's a start.

DP as soon as we get councillors elected can raise it with them. Not acceptable to have departments not functioning.

NS - road markings. In Stirling town centre - almost non-existent. Often difficult to know which lane you should be in.

7 Secretary’s report

7.1 North Third, Carron Valley reservoirs - awaiting Forest Land Scotland to sign off on report. Outcome from access point of view is Scottish Water have sourced funding for full-time ranger to cover reservoirs. In charge of getting things like community engagement, community litter picks etc. Scottish Water in discussion to get litter collection from the roadside in summer months.

7.2 North Third Reservoir dam has been in need of repair for a number of years - water level low which is a main reason for ongoing issue with wild camping, litter etc. Person in charge would like to come to CC to give a report. Passed on date for next meetings, waiting to hear back.

7,3 Spitfire memorial - will find out if it is on Scottish Water land. Murray Cook doesn't think it is on their land. DB has put them in contact with each other.

7.4 Defibrillator at Buckieburn - Scottish Water pump station Spoke about this, whether Scottish Water would consider supplying electricity to this. This is under discussion. DB has sent details will be passed on to relevant team.

PH could we get Ranger to liaise with MH? DB, yes once person in place.

8 Treasurer’s report (NS)

8.1 Balance at £2938.12

less £1500 leaving £1438.12

9 Stirling Councillor report


Election tomorrow. Hopefully newly elected councillors may attend meetings.

Noted that Christine Simpson wasn't standing again. DB sent note thanking her for help and support for our community over the years.

10 Valley Renewables Group report (NS)

Most of the items on agenda under AOB.

10.1 Discussion on investment fund, Open Day, Strategy, Governance meeting to sort out issues which arose last night.

10.2 Grants - get Growing - funds available specifically for horticultural and growing vegetables etc. This will get publicity soon.

10.3 Woodland - noted purchase of wood for the community.

10.4 PH queried whether CC should get VRG Board minutes. There was a discussion: MP VRG Board minutes have been for internal consumption. May be something in Mems and Arts re who can attend Board meetings. Have not made them available before. Whether VRG members should be entitled

DB Issue if VRG minutes are circulated to CC they form part of these minutes, would have to be provided to Stirling Council. Might need to be redacted.

DP minutes of limited companies confidential information, also for registered charities, this is not published information.

NS is CC seeking more information if cannot provide minutes? PH if VRG director attends meeting to update.

DB in the past have had one or two joint meetings giving opportunity to discuss things - probably due one fairly soon.

ACTION NS to check articles, discuss at VRG Board and report back.

11 Woodland Group report – (DB)

11.1 PH meeting with contractor on site to get second quote. Put in application to Stirling Environmental Trust for funding this week. Weekend 9-10 April well attended. More trees were planted. Rest of trees are with Isaac Tabner or at site for the autumn. Foraging event on 14 May. 21 May another volunteer day, everyone welcome for sitka bashing etc.

Last meeting continued discussion re wood fuel. One round of wood fuel in the autumn but looking ahead, a lot of work in Carron Valley for extraction decided to purchase this year for use next year a trailer load of timber to be stacked at the eastern end of the site to provide dry timber.

12 Roads report (PH)

12.1 See Chair's Report, item 6.1

13 Planning report (PH)

13.1 Nothing contentious.

13.2 NS update on Barr Hill - owner looking to sell. Intention of one potential buyer is to put up 4 buildings - premises for themselves, one for their children and two for holiday lets.


14 AOB

14.1. MoU 2017 regarding management of wind farm money by VRG and other relevant documents.

DECISION There was a discussion and it was agreed to hold a joint VRG/CVDCC meeting on Monday 20 June at 7:30pm via Zoom.

ACTION DB to circulate relevant documents

14.2. CC involvement in Open Day (IM)

We have not had one since 2019. Agreed to go ahead on 27 August. Wish to refresh things, has been the same model for a number of years.

Outcome is that Open Day will not have speakers, there will be an emphasis on advice, demonstrations and stalls overall theme is Grow Our Own. Want to make it clear it is not a VRG Open Day it is a community Open Day.

Moving in direction of sustainability. Wants crafts, children's entertainments - if anyone can give advice please contact Evelyn Crawford.

CC needs staffed stall - deals with defibrillators - locations, introduces people to new elected representatives, Demand Response Transport, should remind people that it is available.

There should also be information on the Woodland Group.

New residents e.g. Cauldbarns, may not know about VRG and CC. Need commitment to make it a success.

14.3. Strategy (NS)

VRG Board Recommended appointment of LVN Sustainability to do this work. Subgroup checked daily rate and competitiveness. Board had majority 5:3. Asked that it comes to CC as intended to come out of restricted funds. Additional £1500 more than second bid.

There was a discussion on this decision, followed by a vote.

NS Re LVN Strategy consultaiton contract - it it okay to use restricted funds? There was dissent from one councillor unless there is a cap on expenses One abstention.

DECISION - agreed by majority vote.

14.4. Newsletter - copy to Margaret Porter for next edition by 18 May

Last newsletter proved challenging to complete as copy dried up. Smallest idea of what could go in is helpful.

ACTION MP to contact MH. North Third volunteering and hedgehogs.

14.5 Query from resident re the Spring at Carronbridge between crossroads and huts on Tak-me-Doon road – is it safe to use?

Advised to contact Scottish Water - or get it tested. Farmland, may be hazardous chemicals etc. ACTION HB advise resident.

15 Date of AGM – 1 June at 7.30pm via Zoom prior to the ordinary meeting



Date of next CC meeting – 1 June 2022 following AGM


The Meeting ended at 21:40




VRG Treasurer to arrange transfer of £60K



Promote AGM on Facebook and VRG website



IM to sign off accounts



Cheque for NS






VRG minutes - check articles



MoU and other documents to be circulated



Newsletter copy



Advise resident re spring






Transfer of funds approved



Joint CVDCC/VRG meeting to be held Monday 20 June



Appointment of LVN Sustainability for Strategy Review



Text Box: Appendix I

Valley Renewables Group - Carron Valley and District Community Council Report by the VRG Investment Subgroup




At the April Board meeting our increasing cash balances were reported. As agreed, the Investment Subgroup - David Petch, Carol Simpson, Isaac Tabner and Rob Ferguson - has since met with our Investment Manager, David Hourston of Brewin Dolphin, and now present our recommendations to the Board and the Community Council for decision.

Cash Balances

Due to an underspend in a number of areas - grants, PDQ and Community Woodland, together with the income from the timber sale, the anticipated cash balance at the FY close (30/06) is £176,000 - £64,000 in the Unrestricted Funds and £112,000 in the Restricted Funds.

This trend is set to continue next FY (2022/23) where the budgeted spend is currently £122,400 - £72,800 in Unrestricted Funds and £66,000 in Restricted Funds. For the Unrestricted funds the Household Grant Scheme has been reducing in uptake and the new grant schemes - NewSteps, Residents' Groups and New Venture are tightly targeted. Further grant schemes will take time to set up and promote, and their format may be influenced by the forthcoming VRG Strategy review. There is no immediate intention to appoint a replacement PDQ.

Restricted fund expenditure on the Meeting Room is delayed by the extended lead in time and final approvals required for the project. Spending on upgrading the community woodland paths will be delayed and potentially reduced in cost by seeking external match funding.

The current best estimate is that spend next FY will be £112,000 - £62,800 in Unrestricted Funds and £49,100 in Restricted Funds. Our cash balances at the 2022/23 FY end (30/06/23) will increase to £190,000 - £62,000 in Unrestricted Funds and £128,000 in Restricted Funds. Our income of £120,000 is index linked and certain, meaning we can fund future projects from income rather than savings.


Set against these cash balances is the current and projected rate of inflation, with the CPI (Consumer Prices Index) currently running at 7%, expected to reach +8%, and is unlikely to fall back to the BoE 2% target for some time. This means a loss of

£6,000 each year on every £100,000 held in cash or £12,000 over two years. We should therefore act promptly if we wish to safeguard our funds.



Text Box: Appendix II Police Report