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Gartmore Community Council
Minutes of Meeting Wednesday, 2 February 2022
Gartmore Village Hall, Gartmore
Present: Janet Billet (Chair), Wayne Glasse-Davies, Ian Dinwoodie, Katie Goldie, Colin Scrimgeour
Apologies: Gerry McGarvey
In attendance: Willie Nisbet (LLTNP), Donald King (Police Scotland), Fiona McLean (Stirling Council – Economic Development and Communities Manager)
Press: No members of the press were present at meeting
Residents: No residents were present at meeting.
1. Declarations of Interest- No declarations
2. Adoption of previous meeting minutes- Minutes agreed by the members Proposer – Katie Goldie
Seconder – Colin Scrimgeour
3. Matters Arising
Gartmore Community Council have been asked to publish the minutes of the meetings on the Facebook page. It was decided that this would be fine to do so, once the minutes have been adopted. Janet or Gerry to publish minutes of December’s meeting.
4. Reports- External Police Scotland Police Report
Donald King, Police Scotland, was in attendance. He noted that no incidents had been reported by Gartmore residents since the last meeting took place in December.
Police Scotland had been contacted by GCC to discuss offering support in the form of a drop in session or similar to discuss concerns raised regarding women’s
safety. This is following on from there having been two incidents reported in Aberfoyle in recent months and similar session/s being delivered there. It was decided that it might be a good idea to arrange for a larger event inviting other relevant partners, such as Women’s Aid, as well as Police Scotland that can provide information and advice on women’s safety. GCC would meet the cost of using the village hall.
Donald wanted to make everyone aware that extra measures had been taken in Aberfoyle including use of the helicopter and additional patrols. Police Scotland are encouraging people to report any unusual behaviour or matters of concern.
In recent months there has been an increase in fraud committed by individuals impersonating police officers. The individuals have duped people into believing that they are part of a police operation and convince them to transfer or move money into another account that they have provided the details of and will coach them through the phone call with the bank teller. Police Scotland will never ask for bank details, card details or ask you to move money to any account. Please be alert and vigilant.
A concern was raised over reports of people being able to take money from bank accounts using contactless with individuals being unaware. Donald stated that, although this was possible, it was not something that Police Scotland have come across as a trend.
If there are any issues to discuss, please contact Callander Police Office on 101 or email TrossachsTeithCPT@scotland.pnn.police.uk
City of Culture Bid
Fiona McLean, Manager of Economic Development and Communities at Stirling Council, attended the meeting in order to discuss the current bid for Stirling and surrounding area to be named as City of Culture 2025.
The bid had been submitted by Stirling Council’s cultural partners and Stirling was currently long listed along with another seven cities/areas. The bid process involves demonstrating how the programme will bring about strong social and economic outcomes, strengthen communities and attract tourism. The cultural programme has to appeal to a wide range audiences opening and will hopefully provide opportunities to access the arts, volunteering, appeal and offer opportunities for young people, including apprenticeships, be accessible to all and dementia friendly.
Fiona and partners were now in the process of engaging with communities and schools and wanted to know the best way to engage with Gartmore community. There will be a number of high profile events taking place throughout the year, it
would be possible to tie in to or include events that already take place in Gartmore and other communities.
The shortlist will be announced on 21 March 2022 and, if successful, the panel would come to Stirling for the final stage.
Fiona wanted to stress that the bid includes the whole Stirling area, not just Stirling itself and will keep in touch with Gartmore Community Council to progress engagement.
Finlarich House – Removal of two internal walls to create open plan living/dining room.
2 Archway Cottage – Removal of conservatory and erection of single storey extension to the rear.
Gilbert Park – Change of use from residential to equestrian including the erection of stables, hay shed, tack room and wet room. It had been raised by community members that this would cause a safety issue on the same grounds as were raised previously when planning was being sought for a residential building on this plot of land. If it was deemed to be too dangerous for cars then it would also be dangerous for cars and trailers as well as any larger vehicles making deliveries.
Community Council will submit objections on behalf of the community.
5. Reports- Internal Sub Groups Community Trust:
The Community Trust are about to update the community on the results of the Community Right to Buy survey.
The Trust are also hoping to find a willing community volunteer to organise the Gala Day.
6. Community Council Business – Treasurer’s Report
The 2021-2022 Community Council Administration Grant and Minute Taker Funding of £465.60 was received on 8 October 2021.
Expenditure since then has been on the Minute Taker service, a donation to Lady Haig’s Poppy Fund and a Village Hall rental charge paid to the Community Trust. The bank balance on 2 February 2022 was £954.34.
There are no outstanding invoices.
Item 1 – Archway Woods – Meeting 28 January 2022
A meeting took place at 12 noon with Cameron Maxwell and Mike Strachen (Scottish Forestry); Douglas Hyslop (Scottish Woodlands - contractor) and Peter Sunderland (Gartmore House Manager). Also in attendance were three members of Gartmore Community Council (Katie Goldie, Gerry McGarvey and Ian Dinwoodie) and about 15 local residents.
Cameron Maxwell started with an apology as he accepted that the handling of concerns in response of your concerns to the commencement of the felling by my team fell far below the professional standards. He also accepted that a meeting with local community members should have taken place in August 2021 before the felling to address the concerns of the local residents.
Katie Goldie discussed their own Governance Document that they appeared to have paid little attention to in relation to Archway Woods i.e. regarding avoiding clear fell where possible and taking note of the impact on the local landscape.
The issues of safety was discussed. It was accepted that tree thinning may have been an option, but for a small patch it was not worth it .The risk of windblown was again cited as the reason the trees had to come down.
An ecology report had been carried out by Douglas Hyslop of Scottish Woodland. We noted a clear conflict of interest. We have yet to see the ecology report.
It was reported that the trees with the red squirrels were marked and felled last, giving the squirrels time to leave. The location of the nine squirrel boxes is known only by Peter Sunderland so Katie requested that Cameron Maxwell obtain photo evidence of these boxes and forward them to the Community Council.
The Minister for the Environment does not have the power to stop felling from going ahead. The only person with that power is Scottish Forestry but they did not feel that they had the legal grounds to issue one.
The area is to be deer fenced and the replanted with Oak. Scots pine, and Norway spruce. There was public acknowledgement by Mr Maxwell that there is a legal obligation to replant within a two year period, and Mr Hyslop advised Mr Sunderland that the best time to progress this action was on or around March 2023. Legally this has to be done and the land cannot be used for anything else.
Regarding the rest of the Gartmore Woods, the felling maps have been sent to the Community Council. The permissions are pending so any comments need to be sent in the next two weeks
Maps of this felling have been published on Gartmore Banter. Any comments need to be made to GCC or can be made by individuals themselves to Scottish Forestry. Katie has written a letter to Scottish Forestry on behalf of GCC. The letter, set out below, was approved and will be sent.
Katie would also like to submit a formal complaint to Nature Scotland. The letter, set out below, was read out and amendments were suggested. Katie will amend the letter and send the letter copying in local councillors and a named individual at Nature Scotland.
Letter to Scottish Forestry Gartmore Community Council Dear Cameron
The Community Council has looked at the current proposed felling application for Sow Park and the rest of Gartmore Woods.
Thinning and replanting is necessary. No one disputes that some felling needs to take place.
As with Archway Woods and following on from the poor due diligence that took place regarding the ecology report/red squirrel survey we would expect that this process is not repeated with regard to this felling application.
If Nature Scotland provide a license then it should contain an expert ecology report (not the contractor) and if squirrel boxes are deployed these should be evidenced. Any other conditions of license placed by Nature Scotland should be checked by Scottish Forestry to ensure they have been undertaken before felling commences.
The core paths through Wester Cow Park and Sow Park should be maintained and only restrict access for the shortest possible time. Any damage done during felling immediately be rectified to minimise disruption to pedestrian access
Letter to Nature Scotland
Regarding the recent ‘ License application form - works affecting red squirrels ‘ Gartmore Community Council on behalf of the residents wish to put in a formal complaint regarding this process.
By Nature Scotland’s own admission they carry out no checks to ensure that the information submitted to them is correct and has been carried out. They also issues conditions with the licence and again admit that there are no checks to ensure these conditions are undertaken. If there is no due diligence then the
granting a license is a meaningless exercise and means that no one is protection red squirrels or the local ecology.
On the Archway Woods application a red squirrel survey report was required and not supplied and a species protection plan was required and not supplied. I do not think that contractor stating that he has 36 years felling trees necessarily makes him an ecologist. We have records of the squirrels living in these woods over a number of years and also have a photograph of a red squirrel in the woods during felling. The contractor had stated no red squirrels were present. Nine squirrel boxes are reported to have been placed in nearby woods but no evidence has been produced even though photographs were requested.
The contractor should not be allowed to self-certify the red squirrel report or the ecology survey, as is currently the case.
Mitigation should be evidence by location plan and photographs of the squirrel boxes not just assumed to have been undertaken without evidence. Any other evidence provided should be verified.
This is the minimum expected of a licensing body.
Nature Scotland needs to review its procedures and policies as its current practice is failing the local wildlife and local residents who assume they are carrying out due diligence.
The Community Council hopes that improved standards are implemented with respect to the rest of Gartmore Woods and other forests and woodlands where licensing is required.
Action – Katie to send out letters.
Item 2 – Electric Car Chargers – Katie would like to ascertain Stirling Council’s view is on helping Gartmore on electrical car charging points going forward.
Action – Katie will email Cllr Martin Earl to enquire.
Item 3 – Gartmore News – It was raised that Gartmore News were not publishing stories and quotations as they were deemed to be ‘political’. This was concerning because some issues, such as bins, in Gartmore were whole community issues. The publication is used as a source of information throughout Gartmore which is essential to those that do not have access to social media.
It was pointed out that Gartmore News are a monthly publication run by community volunteers. This means that if people object or complain about a published article,
they need to wait a month to rectify or publish a rebuttal. They are in a difficult situation.
Gartmore News in the past have requested they be sent the minutes of GCC meetings to be published.
Action – Gartmore News will be asked if, in the future, they would still wish for the approved minutes to be published.
7. Next meeting - Wednesday, 6 April 2022 – 7.30pm, Gartmore Village Hall.