Causewayhead Community Council Minutes of the meeting held on Monday, 7 March, 2022
Val Sinclair, Chair
Fiona Macleod, Vice-Chair Sue White, Associate Member
Thelma Barron (Resident and Minutes Secretary); Councillor Jim Thompson, Ward 4, Stirling North;
for Item 4, Police Report, PC Greig Lowery, PC Stuart Gray, Community Police Officers; Rachel Nunn, Conservative and Unionist candidate for Stirling North in forthcoming Council elections.
Sonja Cameron, Treasurer; Joyce Carberry, Member; Darren Draper, Member; Paul Mcdonald, Secretary; Bill McLellan, Member.
The Chair welcomed all attendees to the meeting, in particular, PC Greig Lowery and PC Stuart Gray, Community Police Officers. Although the meeting was only just quorate, it was noted that the agenda consisted only of reports and no decisions were required.
2. Police Report
The Chair invited PC Lowery and PC Gray to present the Police Report, which had been circulated by e-mail in advance of the meeting/
2.1 The Police Report covered a total of 14 crime reports from 7 th January to 7th March 2022. The 7 detected cases were all vehicle offences, comprising 5 speeding offences, variously combined with vehicle offences and one case of an insecure child, together with one count of drink driving and one insurance offence. The 7 undetected cases comprised two cases of housebreaking; one case of vandalism, in which the enquiry was now closed; one case of extortion; one case of shoplifting; one case of failing to stop/ report an accident; and one case of drink spiking.
2.2 Over the time period, 95 calls were made to police for the Causewayhead area.
2.3 The Community Police Officers’ focus for the past month had been road safety: a combination of static vehicle checks, early morning checks to identify ‘morning after’ offences, and speed checks at a variety of locations throughout the local area. The outcomes were reflected in the crime reports.
2.4 Complaints of speeding on Causewayhead Road continued, particularly during the times when school pupils are going in or coming out of school. In discussion, Community Councillors conceded that it was difficult for drivers to maintain a steady speed of 20mph on Causewayhead Road, but that, with a few exceptions, it appeared most drivers had slowed down. PC Lowery reported that, from his speed checks, much of the speeding occurred when cars came off the
Causewayhead roundabout. Airthrey Road now had a 30mph limit, with some cars taking the Causewayhead Roundabout at 30mph or more, and coming off the roundabout into Causewayhead Road at that speed. In this regard, the highest speed he had recorded was 42 mph, thereafter, 35-30mph, with the majority of drivers doing 32 -25 mph. However, as the speed limit for Causewayhead Road was 20mph, the expectation should be that drivers would remain within 20-25mph. Councillor Thomson noted that overtaking, which had been a significant problem initially, had dropped, although one Community Councillor observed there was still a tendency for drivers to overtake buses. However, it was noted that within the ‘Walk, Cycle, Live’ project, the bus stops would be extended further out into the road, and a pedestrian crossing would be installed at Stephen’s Bakery, both of which would help to restrain traffic speed. Overall, it appeared that the reduced speed limit was working. It would be reviewed after 12 months.
2.5 The Chair highlighted a three-week pilot scheme being implemented at Riverside Primary School, where certain adjacent roads were to be closed off during school hours. She suggested that the Community Police for Stirling North might like to consider a similar pilot scheme in regard to the streets around Wallace High School, where parking and congestion issues at the start and end of the school day were well documented.
2.6 The Community Police Officers were aware that the Dog Warden had received two complaints regarding two dangerous dogs of a mastiff type, residing in Cornton, but being walked regularly in the Bridge of Allan/ Causewayhead area, including the cycle lane from Causewayhead to Bridge of Allan. Following attacks by one or other of these dogs on two other dogs being walked in the area, there were reports that one dog had sustained severe and extensive wounds requiring 40 stitches. The latter attack occurred on the river bank in Cornton, behind the new housing estate there. The Community Police Officers explained that legal action in response to ‘dog on dog’ attacks differed from legal action in response to ‘dog on human’ attacks. Accordingly, the two owners of the dogs had received a dog control notice and had been receptive to the required actions. Only if these conditions were not met, would the Community Police Officers become involved. Meanwhile, Councillor Thomson was seeking to arrange a meeting with two other Councillors for Bridge of Allan to alert them to this very concerning issue.
2.7 Beech Lane residents reported that there had been no recent issues with parties and noise at the AirBnB, but that workmen currently using the accommodation often had large vans, which did pose a problem, given the limitations of the parking area, even moreso, if they brought more than one vehicle.
2.8 Community Councillors noted that under legislation laid before Scottish Parliament in November 2021, Councils would be given powers to ensure short-term lets are safe and meet the needs of local communities. Under the legislation, all local authorities would be required to establish a short-term lets licensing scheme by October 2022. Existing hosts and operators will have until 1 April 2023 to apply for a licence for each property that they operate as a short-term let. All short-term lets in Scotland will have to be licensed by 1 July 2024.
2.9 Community Police Officers had had reports of anti-social behaviour in a house in Meiklejohn Street, with cars coming and going at frequent intervals and individuals attending for a short time, raising suspicions as to the nature of their business.
2.10 Councillor Thomson reported on traffic management changes on Hillfoots Road. The speed limit had been reduced to 20mph and the vehicle weight limit had been replaced with a vehicle length limit. The Police had asked for a list of bus companies and haulage companies with a view to advising them of the change, and to inform them of any complaints about non-compliance. It was understood, police officers would be conducting checks on Hillfoots Road.
2.11 The University of Stirling had reintroduced parking charges. This would likely result in some University staff and students parking in parts of Causewayhead, giving rise to increased congestion and parking issues. Prior to the pandemic, Councillors had already started a discussion about introducing parking permits in parts of Causewayhead, but plans remained at a preliminary stage at the present time.
2.12 The Chair reminded the meeting of an ongoing issue pertaining to the tarmac area at the bottom of Aboyne Avenue. This area afforded parking for about 10 cars, and was much used. Under the ‘Walk, Cycle, Live’ project, Sustrans wished to remove the tarmac, but the Chair had informed Sustrans that, as a community, we wish to retain it.
2.13 The Police Community Support Division were proposing changes to the format and structure of the Police Reports. The Community Police Officers invited Community Councillors to comment on what they would like to see in the Reports and what, if any changes, they would suggest. It was suggested that it would be helpful to include detail of what operations the Community Police were running at any given time, such as, for example, the speed monitoring on Causewayhead Road.
2.14 The Chair thanked PC Lowery and PC Gray for their attendance. The Officers left the meeting.
3. Adoption of Minutes of Previous Meeting
3.1 The Unconfirmed Minutes of the meeting held on 10 January, 2022 were approved, having been proposed for adoption by Val Sinclair, seconded by Fiona Macleod.
3.2 Matters Arising
Replacement of play equipment, Easter Cornton Road Park (M3.2.3 refers)
3.2.1 The installation of play equipment at Easter Cornton Road Park was complete.
3.2.2 Lack of bins in Wallace Gardens development and dog waste (M3.2.5 refers)
Councillor Thomson reported the view of Stirling Council’s Waste Management Department that the overall provision of bins in Causewayhead was adequate. If there was a litter problem in a specific area, we should address it by moving a bin from elsewhere. The Community Council Coordinator had contacted Councillor Thomson to report a complaint from a couple in Dunster Road that people using the seats at the Barnwell Statue were leaving rubbish behind. Now that the Co-op had relocated from Airthrey Road, it seemed reasonable to move
the smart bin from outside the Wallace to its original position at the Barnwell Statue. However, it was also noted that the technology associated with the smart bins was seen to have failed, and that Stirling Council would be replacing them in the next financial year.
3.2.3 Sustrans – public seating in Easter Cornton Road (M3.2.7 refers)
A steel bench had been installed at the top of Easter Cornton Road, at the intersection with Causewayhead Road. The installation had met with a favourable response from the majority of residents, with the exception of the owner of adjacent house, who expressed concern about litter being left. However, the Chair and Deputy Chair had monitored the bench area for a week, and found no litter. It now appeared that the issue had been resolved.
3.2.4 Cornton level crossing (M6.3 refers)
Network Rail planned to convert the crossing from a diagonal pathway to a straight one.
4. Chair’s Report
The Chair provided an oral report.
4.1 There had been five planning applications:
(i) 32 Lothian Crescent – an application for a two storey rear and single side extension, now approved;
(ii) 18 Renfrew Court – an application for a single storey extension;
(iii) 15 Grant Place – an application for a first floor extension and new roof;
(iv) 33 Lothian Crescent – an application for a single storey extension;
(v) 40 Castle Road – an application for a house to be built on garden ground.
Sustrans, Walk, Cycle Live: WCLS Uni Route Steering Group Notes and Powerpoints
4.2 Community Councillors received for information a copy of the WCLS Uni Route Steering Group notes from the meeting held on 25 January 2022, together with a copy of powerpoints of construction drawings and maps presented at that meeting.
4.3 As noted in 2.12 above, one point of discussion was the proposed removal of the area of tarmac at the bottom of Aboyne Avenue, as part of the plan to create a restricted zone to prevent this part of Dunster Road being used as a pick-up and drop off point. Our representative, Val Sinclair, made the point that the Community wished to retain the tarmac area, which provided much needed parking space, given the existing congestion on Dunster Road.
4.4 All bus stops on Causewayhead Road were to be extended further out into the road, and a pedestrian crossing would be installed at Stephen’s Bakery. It was anticipated these changes would provide further traffic calming to reinforce the current reduced speed limit. Work on Causewayhead Road would be conducted in July and August, during the school holidays.
4.5 Work had been due to start on Airthrey Road in March, but was subject to ongoing negotiations with the University. Sustrans had agreed that the path on the left hand
side going towards Bridge of Allan should be built up with infill to make it more stable.
4.6 The question whether or not to make Dunster Road exit only (no entry from Airthrey Road) was still under consideration.
4.7 Planners aimed to reduce the volume of traffic transporting pupils to Wallace High School, and leading to extreme congestion at peak times in Dunster Road and immediate vicinity. The point was made that very many pupils are dependent on being driven, or driving themselves, to school, in particular those from outlying rural areas, and from the eastern villages. The question arose whether pupils should be dropped off in the school grounds, or whether parking restrictions were required in the school also. It was noted that the proposals for parking permits in the area were still at a very early stage, and, if approved, would not be implemented for many months.
4.8 A public drop-in event would be held in the Albert Hall in March to afford residents an opportunity to view the final plans. A further public drop-in event would be held at the Raploch Community Campus in April.
Re-use Hub, Borrowmeadow Road, Springkerse
4.9 The Re-use Hub on Borrowmeadow Road, Springkerse, had re-opened. This is a retail space with products made by people in Stirling, as well as a large collection of raw materials, spare parts and second hand goods.
Airthrey Kerse Development
4.10 Graham’s Dairies had submitted a traffic and flood risk assessment to the Reporter to which Duncan McDougall had responded on our behalf.
5. Treasurer’s Report
The Treasurer’s Report was deferred to the next meeting.
6. Councillor’s Report
Councillor Thomson provided an oral report.
Wallace Gardens drainage issues and exclusion from CityFibre rollout
6.1 Following construction of the estate by Stuart Milne, the storm sewers had not been adopted by Scottish water, which meant in turn that Stirling Council could not adopt the roads, and could not therefore address the drainage problems, which in turn meant that the estate was excluded thus far from the CityFibre rollout. Scottish Water had directed Stirling Council to approach Stuart Milne, but Stuart Milne had so far failed to respond. It was suggested that house owners in Wallace Park should be encouraged to approach Stuart Milne through their solicitors.
Proposed demolition of former shop, Munro Avenue, and re-build
6.2 As noted at the meeting on 4 November, 2021, the owner had submitted a pre- application, in connection with a proposal for two detached 4-bedroomed houses, but so far Stirling Council had not received a formal application for planning permission.
6.3 Councillor Thomson had raised this issue with the Dog Warden’s group. They confirmed that dog fouling had become an issue across the whole of Stirling, due to the increase in the number of dogs. To try to address the issue, they proposed to run a ‘bag it and bin it’ campaign again.
Stirling Council budget increase for 2022/23
6.4 Stirling Council had approved a 2022/23 budget package that comprises a 3% increase in planned expenditure, including a 1.1% increase in expenditure on Council housing.
Pilot traffic scheme at Riverside Primary School
6.5 A pilot traffic scheme was being run for three weeks at Riverside Primary School to address issues with parking and congestion around the peak times of the school pupils going in and coming out. For a fixed period (eg an hour) ahead of the school start and finish time, the streets around the school would be closed to external traffic. Residents of those streets would be permitted entry and exit, as would any vehicles transporting children with disabilities. Stirling Council had first conducted a survey of Riverside residents; 45% were in favour and 40% were against the scheme, which had then been unanimously approved by Riverside Community Council. Parents had been informed of the scheme’s implementation through letters issued to the school pupils. A notice had also been placed in the Stirling Observer.
Improvement of footpaths
6.6 Some funding had been identified for the improvement of footpaths. In Causewayhead, Buchanan Drive and Brown Avenue had been identified for repair, but Councillor Thomson was seeking to have Dunvegan Drive included also.
7. Any Other Business
Taxes paid by AirBnB properties
7.1 One member enquired whether Stirling Council Tax revenue was negatively impacted by the fact that a large number of properties were given over to AirBnB, and not required to pay Council Tax, when the City also had a large student population, who likewise did not pay Council Tax. In discussion, it was clarified that, currently, if a house was used for AirBnB for more than 140 days in the year, the owner would pay business rates instead of Council Tax. (However, this would change when the new legislation on short-term lets came into law.) In terms of the student population, the point was made that students in Stirling were often paying high rental charges, sometimes for relatively poor or overcrowded accommodation. However, Councillor Thomson anticipated that new legislation on energy efficiency for private landlords would require many rental properties to be upgraded.