PORT OF MENTEITH COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Minutes of the meeting of the Port of Menteith Community Council held in the Port Hall on Monday, 6th December, 2021 commencing at 7.30 pm.
Present : Peter Stewart, Chair
Sheena Makgill-Crichton, Vice-Chair & Secretary Penny McCoull, Treasurer
Alison Forrester Jim Riach
In Attendance : Councillor Martin Earl
Willie Nisbet, Deputy Convener, NPA Ian McCoull, Associate Member Valerie Graham, Minutes Secretary
1. Members Present & Apologies
1.1 The Chairman reported that he sadly had received a letter from Quint Glen to say that, due to family difficulties, he would have to resign from the Community Council. In his letter Quint said that he was very reluctant to do so as he had enjoyed being a member and is of the opinion that Community Councils are valuable to local communities. Peter Stewart said that he had responded to Quint’s letter on behalf of members to thank Quint for his valuable contribution.
Members were advised that as a result of Quint Glen’s resignation, the number of Port of Menteith Community Councillors had been reduced to five which is below the minimum requirement. In order to comply with the “Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils” and the Port of Menteith Community Council’s Constitution, it would be necessary for Stirling Council to be advised of the situation in order for an interim election to be arranged.
Action : SM-C
1.2 There were no apologies for absence.
2. Declarations of Interest in Items of Business
There were no declarations of interest.
3. Adoption of the Draft Minutes of the Meeting held on 11th October, 2021
3.1 The adoption of the Minutes as a true record of the meeting held on 11th October, 2021 was proposed by Peter Stewart and seconded by Penny McCoull.
4. Matters Arising from the Minutes:
New Associate Member, Ian McCoull, opened the discussion by introducing himself and explaining how he would act as the Broadband advisor to the Community Council. He proposed that, in order to establish just what the level of service in the Community Council’s area is, he should build on the existing activity undertaken by the Community Council and work carried out by Stirling Council to build a comprehensive picture of the provision available to an individual house location. This was agreed by members who also suggested that he should contact Shaun Marley, Stirling Council’s Broadband Advisor who had done some investigation into potential funding in the past. Action : IMcC
4.2 Port of Menteith Church & Cemetery
Sheena Makgill-Crichton said that she had little to report except that the Church would be having its usual Carol service at 6.00pm on Christmas Eve. Everyone will be very welcome to attend but it would be helpful if people could let her know if they wished to do so to ensure that the requisite regulations – distancing, masks and Track&Trace – are complied with.
Members were also advised that there had been an overwhelming response from the community to the fundraising request for help to pay for the restoration of the Church’s WW2 Roll of Honour. As a result, in addition to the original Roll, the Church now also has two smaller copies and a great deal of additional information about the people named on it.
4.3 Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations
Sheena Makgill-Crichton advised members that there are a couple of Kirk members who would like to be involved in the Jubilee Celebration committee so she suggests that the community should also be asked for some volunteers. It was agreed that Alison Forrester, Penny McCoull and Valerie Graham would represent the Community Council on the Committee and agreed that ideally, the first meeting should be held in January as it will be necessary to plant the proposed commemorative tree by the end of March. Action : SM-C
Jim Riach also proposed that the Carse of Stirling Partnership should be kept informed of the details of any event to be organised. Action : JR
4.4 Inchmahome & Ferry
Members were advised that in response to the Community Council’s letter to Historic Environment Scotland, confirmation that a programme of ground maintenance and a survey of what is required to make the Priory safe is being introduced, had been received. It was also confirmed that the Inchmahome Ferry will be operating as usual in 2022.
4.5 Refuse Collections
Following the introduction of changes to refuse collections, Councillor Earl reported that he had received a number of complaints that refuse collections did not always take place on the scheduled dates or were not done at all. It was also noted that similar complaints had been made to the Community Council from local residents.
There followed a lengthy discussion about the problems which appeared to have emanated from the recently introduced reduction to the schedule for blue and grey/black bin collection from fortnightly to monthly. Members also learnt that Stirling Council has the highest cost per bin for the collection of domestic refuse of any other local authority in Scotland.
5. Road Issues
Members were advised that in response to the Community Council’s enquiry submitted to Stirling Council as to why a section of the B8034, which should have been resurfaced during the summer, had not been completed, notification had been received that the section referred to would be re-assessed as part of the 2022-2023 road works programme.
5.2 Cardross Bridge & A811 Warning Sign
5.2.1 Cardross Bridge
Members were advised that, having initially agreed to the Community Council’s formal request to attend the December meeting, the Bridge Officer had subsequently advised that it was unlikely that she would be able to do so due to being on annual
leave on that date. Instead, she had undertaken to provide the requested information about the Cardross Bridge prior to the meeting but unfortunately, the report had not been received. To enable members to discuss the matter, Councillor Earl had kindly provided a copy, which he had eventually managed to obtain after numerous
and frequent requests for it.
In consideration of the Dive Report, Members had expressed concern at the scale of damage to the Bridge that it had revealed and the potential cost of the repairs that would be required to make it safe.
5.2.2 Week Bridge/Warning Sign on A811
Stirling Council’s response to the Members’ enquiry about the missing “Weak Bridge/Weight Limit” warning” sign on the A811 at Arnprior was that the Community Council would be notified when it had been replaced. However, nothing further had been heard about it.
5.3 Hammersmith Junction
Members were advised that there was a suspicion that their enquiry about the signage at Hammersmith Junction had not been referred to Angela McGibbon as the response received from Stirling Council differed from what the Community Council had understood to have been agreed would be done at its meeting with Ms. McGibbon in February, 2020.
5.4 Road Signs
The response to the enquiry regarding the signs at the B8034/A81 junction was that it would be passed to the Area Officer to arrange for the signs to be re-mounted and to advise when this had been done. However, before this message had been received the signs had already been replaced.
Members also noted that yet again there were problems with the School Warning Lights which were either not working, were operating when the School is closed or were not flashing in the correct sequence.
6.1 Financial Statement
Members noted the financial statement to the end of November which had been previously circulated.
7. Storm Arwen : Future Community Resilience
There was a lengthy discussion about the effects of Storm Arwen on the local Community which had left more than half of residents without any power for long periods, and although Councillor Earl had been issuing regular bulletins with information and advice about where help with food, shelter etc., could be found throughout the period, without connection to the internet, it wasn’t possible to get the information to those that needed it. Stirling Council had posted information on its website which also could not be accessed.
While some members supported a proposal that the Community Council should develop a Resilience Plan to deal with similar incidents in the future, others were of the opinion that neighbours would support each other and ensure that people were safe so a plan was not necessary.
Councillor Earl advised that Stirling Council was considering the difficulties that so many people had experienced and how they could be dealt with in the future.
8.1 General Correspondence Received
Members noted the list of general correspondence received which had been previously circulated.
9. Planning & Licensing Issues
9.1 New Planning Application
There were no new planning applications
9.2 Planning Update
9.2.1 Planning Application : 21/00892/FUL- Erection of a single storey outbuilding for use as home office with decking area along the front of the building at Easter Tarr.
Following consideration by CC members and as agreed, the Community Council’s response had been one of support but with a caveat that a condition should be added to block any future move to change the use of the building to residential use.
9.2.2 Application : 21/00764/FUL – Erection of dwelling house at land N/W of Bonnie Braes, Thornhill
This had been approved with conditions.
9.2.3 Application : 2019/0259/NOT - Erection of agricultural shed and formation of track Nether Glenny, Port Of Menteith, Stirling, FK8 3RD
The NPA Planning Department has disposed of this Planning Application as further information requested from the applicant had not been provided.
9.2.4 Shellock Windfarm Development Report to the Planning & Development Panel circ.)
The SC Planning & Development Panel had been scheduled to meet on Tuesday, 7th December to consider this application. However, notification had been received that the Panel would not now meet on that date due to there being insufficient members available The Community Council will be notified of the future date.
10. Lake & Port of Menteith Visitor Monitoring
There was nothing new to report.
10.2 Water Safety
As agreed at the August meeting, the Head of Visitor Management at the NPA had been contacted in connection with the Members’ request for the Lake of Menteith to be considered in the included in the discussions between the NPA and Stirling Council about Water Safety signage for lochs and rivers in the Park but there had been no response.
Willie Nisbet undertook to investigate why no response had been received. Action : WN
11. Local Place Plans
Valerie Graham reported that as suggested at the October meeting, advice had been sought from Joyce Kelly, Strathard CC’s Planning representative, regarding her possible assistance with the production of a “Local Place Plan” for Port of Menteith and her response had been circulated.
After discussion, it was agreed to accept Joyce’s offer to attend the February meeting.
Action : VG
12. Carron Valley CC’s Zoom Meeting To Consider Changes to the Community Council Support System
Following discussion about the report from the meeting which had been previously circulated, Members were in agreement that the new system introduced by Stirling Council in May to ‘improve engagement and deliver support to Community Councils in a more focused way” and which requires almost all communication between Community Councils and the Council to be channelled through a newly appointed Community Council Enquiries Co-Ordinator (CCEC), is frustrating
The official Stirling Council policy is that all enquiries will receive a response within 10 working days but more often than not, it is necessary to remind the CCEC to chase things up.
13. Countryside Trust
13.1 Valerie Graham reported that as part of its Active Travel programme, the Countryside Trust has just launched a survey of Businesses in the NPA called “Welcoming Cyclists to the
National Park” in an effort to understand what businesses are already doing to welcome cyclists and what more can be done.
13.2 It was agreed that copies of the Countryside Trust’s newsletters and other information would be circulated to members in future.
14. Forestry & Land Scotland
14.1 Update of activities in the CC Area
Members were advised that F&LS had just issued a list of the paths within the Queen Elizabeth Park which are not accessible due to the storm damage. This had been circulated.
14.2 Launch of Visitor Service Strategy Consultation
It was also reported that F&LS had launched a consultation draft ‘Visitor Strategy’ that will shape its visitor and tourism offering in years to come. It is aiming to increase accessibility and to encourage and welcome a broader spectrum of local, national and international visitors and make the best use of its resources and the land that it manages as visitor attractions.
15. Strathard and Trossachs Place Based Visitor Management Group
Jim Riach reported that at the recent meeting, there had been a lot of discussion about the “Achray Accelerator”. This is a feasibility study for a shuttle-bus transport hub and temporary seasonal carpark at Loch Achray west. It is expected that a functional site would be in place for the start of the season but wider connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists would not happen until after the visitor season. A business case for the shuttle-bus is to be put out to tender.
£50,000 of funding is coming from NPA and £50,000 from the ‘Smarter Choices’ fund to help fund the project, but car park charging will be required to help offset the cost of the shuttle-bus. The trial of a shuttle bus is expected to take place on a route between Aberfoyle and Callander via the Duke’s Pass, with stops along the way but it is expected that this could eventually form part of a wider bus service within the NPA.
The funding initially made available for 2021 as part of the Covid-recovery is expected to be available again in 2022. The NPA hopes that the introduction of Infrastructure & Service plans will assist community funding applications in the future.
During a reflection of the 2021 season, Jim had been reported that - Port of Menteith had seen an uplift in motorhomes and campervans this year, and visitors undertaking water-based activities.
However, as there are no tearooms or equivalent in the area, the community doesn’t often see any benefit from visitors in the same way as other places in the group do, and there is a limited bus service or a wider path network.
16.1 Councillor’s Report
Councillor Earl had nothing further to report that hadn’t been covered previously in the meeting.
16.2 NPA Report
Willie Nisbet had nothing further to report that hadn’t been covered previously in the meeting.
16.3 Carse of Stirling Project Group Report
Jim Riach reported that the Group was involved with the new long distance walk, “The King’s Highway” and other local walks. It is also interested in collecting stories about the local area.
16.4 Port Hall Report
Quint Glen reported that in the last financial year, the Port Hall made a loss of £2.5k cash leaving £13.9k in the Bank. No New Year dance is planned.
16.5 Port School Report
Peter Stewart reported that the Head Teacher at the Port School, Fiona Buchanan, had left at the end of the previous week to take on the role of Acting Head at Bridge of Allan School.
The current Principle Teacher, Stewart Fleming, will be filling her role as Acting Head Teacher for the Port and Gartmore schools.
16.6 Police Report
16.6.1 Police Report
Members expressed concern at the lack of useful information contained within the recent Police Report which had been circulated prior to the meeting.
16.6.2 Letter to Evelyn Tweed
In response to the Community Council’s letter to Evelyn Tweed, MSP expressing its concern at the number of vehicles ignoring the weight-limit restrictions on the Cardross Bridge, Ms. Tweed had written to Chief Inspector Gill Marshall to highlight the situation. However, by way of a response, the Chief Inspector had commented that “the Bridge is in fact rarely used”.
Members’ reaction was that the Chief Inspector’s comment is indicative of just how poor the level of monitoring by the Police has been.
17. Any Other Competent Business
Members discussed the report from Irene Riach regarding the current situation regarding the Defibrillator which is mounted on the wall of the Port Hall. This had been provided following Irene’s personal fund-raising efforts which covered both the purchase and installation of the machine in 2014 together with some excess for consumables, e.g. extra batteries and adhesive pads.
At the beginning of November, it had been discovered that the defibrillator was no longer functioning as the battery had expired and that there are no remaining funds to purchase replacement ones. As a result, it has been removed from the Trossachs Search & Rescue Group’s app. and while TSAR would be willing to run monthly checks on the machine and replace it on their app., it will be necessary to raise funds for replacement batteries and consumables.
Following discussion of the situation, during which members were advised that it would not be permissible for the Community Council to use money from its Administration Grant, the offer from Irene Riach to investigate possible fundraising activities was welcomed.
18. There being no further business, the meeting closed. The date of the next scheduled meeting is Monday, 21 st February, 2022