June 2021 Minutes

PORT OF MENTEITH COMMUNITY COUNCIL

The usual meeting of the Port of Menteith Community Council in the Port of Menteith Hall scheduled for
Monday, 21st June, 2021 did not take place due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Instead, an E-meeting
involving all members was held and a document summarising the current situation with regard to regular
Agenda items, together with the draft minutes of the April meeting, a list of correspondence received, a
Police Report and a statement of the end of year accounts were circulated to members for information,
discussion and comment in the usual way

Draft Minutes of the meeting of the Port of Menteith Community Council of Monday, 19th April, 2021.

 

 

AGENDA

Members : Peter Stewart, Chair

Sheena Makgill-Crichton, Vice-Chair & Secretary
Penny McCoull, Treasurer

Alison Forrester
Quint Glen

Jim Riach

Valerie Graham, Minutes Secretary

  1. Members Present and Apologies for Absence

    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 E-Meeting of 19th April, 2021

    The adoption of the minutes as a true record was proposed by Alison Forrester and seconded by
    Penny McCoull.

     

  4. Matters Arising from the Minutes:

    1. Port of Menteith Church

      Sheena Makgill-Crichton said that she did not have a lot to report. However, the Church,
      including the gallery, now has its Physical Distance Based Capacity (PDBC) limits set and as
      this is now a legal requirement these figures are now on display in the appropriate areas.
      However, as the Port of Menteith is within the Level 2 area, there can be no singing at
      services but the Church cleaning still has to be done.

       

       

      Reluctantly, it had been decided that the Church will not be able to open on weekdays
      during the summer because the amount of cleaning required to do this is beyond the
      number of people available to undertake it.

       

      She also advised that the Church now has a QR Code which means that anyone with a
      smart phone is able to donate to the Church. This will go out on all the printed materials, will
      be posted on the Church door and it is hoped that in due course, on a notice board.

       

    2. Refuse Collections

       

      Members were advised that there had been reports that because so many people are
      now buying items on line the amount of cardboard being produced for recycling is
      much greater than pre-pandemic but because the green bins are only being emptied
      once a month, some residents are having to resort to burning the excess - not a good
      example for Stirling Council’s recycling policy.

       

      Alison Forrester reported that her green bin had not been emptied on the last appropriate
      day but she thought that it might have been because although the designated collection
      day is a Sunday, it is often done on a Saturday.

    3. Strathard CC Co-op Buy Out Project

      As previously notified to members, the Co-op Community Purchase Project Steering Group
      has reluctantly decided not to move forward with the project based on a number of
      factors which included:

       

      • The poor state of most of the building and the structural engineer’s report that it probably
        only had 3-5 years of useful life;

      • The difficulty in attracting retailers to use part of the building to help with the financing of
        the purchase;

      • The unknown likelihood of eventually getting planning permission to create additional
        floors to accommodate living accommodation because the building is situated on a
        flood plain and fact that the right of way, which could have provided safe egress for
        tenants, had been incorporated into gardens of houses situated adjacent to the
        footpath.

         

    4. Viewforth Link Road Petition

      Members were advised that the proposed Viewforth Road link had been dropped from
      Stirling Council’s 2021-2022 budget but it is not clear if the project has been abandoned or
      just put on hold.

       

  5. Road Issues

    1. Work Schedule

      It was reported that there is nothing included in the current Roads work schedule for this
      area. However, following the Community Council’s letter to Martin Earl requesting an
      on-site survey of the surfaces of the A81 and B8034, it is understood that an officer from
      the Roads Department visited the area. As a result, a substantial pothole-filling exercise
      was carried out on sections of both roads.

       

      In addition to the comments from Penny McCoull, which had been circulated prior to
      the meeting, Sheena Makgill-Crichton also reported that the verges have continued to

      produce the usual problems and that recently she had very nearly been run off the road by
      a coach going from Blairhoyle towards Ruskie where the drop-off means the buses straddle
      the white line and the road runs out with a massive ditch in the verge on the left.

      Jim Riach said that particularly as a cyclist, he had to agree that the road surfaces are

      awful and the massive drops from some of the verges are a real danger especially when two
      large vehicles meet head on.

    2. Cardross Bridge & A811 Warning Sign

      Penny McCoull and Sheena Makgill-Crichton both commented on the fact that there
      had still been no response from the Council’s Bridge Officer to the CC’s requests for
      information about the dive-survey which took place in March, 2020. Members noted
      that the Chair of Arnprior Community Council had also reported that he was having the
      same problem and cited the situation of the Bridge near Fintry, which has recently
      collapsed because of a lack of maintenance by Stirling Council.

       

      Members also noted that the weight-limit warning sign on the A811 at Arnprior has still
      not been replaced and Valerie Graham advised members that she had reported an
      overweight lorry which had crossed the Bridge to the police.

       

      In view of the now serious condition of the Cardross Bridge and the fact that some of the
      vehicles transporting heavy equipment to and from the DTRH event in 2019 are known to
      have regularly ignored the weight limit and driven over it, it was agreed that the Community
      Council should write to Sir Archie and Alastair Orr Ewing requesting that they take steps to
      ensure that this is not repeated at this year’s event. Action : SMC

       

      Jim Riach commented that while Cardross Estate has some responsibility when hosting
      events, and agrees that it needs to build that requirement into any contractors accessing
      the grounds. Other measures should be taken by the roads authority (SC) to advise drivers of

      the state of the bridge and its weight limit and should be asked to take appropriate action to
      mitigate against further damage.

       

    3. Hammersmith Junction

      Members were advised that again there has been no response from Angela McGibbon
      to the CC’s comments about the painted marks on the road at Hammersmith Junction
      and requests for information as to when the proposed signage would be installed.

       

    4. Road Sign & School Lights

      It was noted that the school lights all appear to be working but the damaged road sign
      at the A81/B8034 junction has still neither been repaired nor replaced.

       

  6. Financial

    1. Financial Statement to the end of May, 2021.

      Members noted the financial statement.

    2. Payments to the Port Hall Committee and Port Church

      Members noted the acknowledgement of payments to the Church and Port Hall
      Committee.

       

  7. Correspondence

    1. List of General Correspondence

      This had been circulated prior to the meeting. There were no questions.

       

      • Planning Lists from Stirling Council and the NPA;

      • Copies of the ‘Scotland Funding Search Bulletin’;

      • Copies of the PAS newsletters;

      • Copies of the Community News Sheets;

      • Copies of the Countryside Trust’s E-Bulletins;

      • Copies of the Community Response Bulletins;

      • A range of Covid 19 related & other local information from Martin Earl and
        circulated to the Community;

      • A copy of Scottish Rural Action’s April newsletter;

      • Notification of the Scottish Government’s ‘Local Place Plan (LPP) Regulations’

        consultation;

      • Notification of the return of Stirling Council’s special uplift service;

      • Notification of the NPA’s ‘Strathard Framework Planning Guidance’ consultation;

      • Notifications of range of Covid-19 vaccination and testing opportunities &
        availability of testing kits;

      • New from the NPA;

      • Notification of the Community Development’s fund for Summer activities;

      • Notification of the Countryside Trust’s recruitment for two Visitor Survey Assistants;

      • Notification of the NPA’s £250,000 Green Recovery Fund;

      • Notification of the Scottish Community Council’s review of its National Scheme
        Document;

      • Notification of a survey to shape Stirling Council’s new website;

      • Notification that NHS Forth Valley has a vacancy for two new Board Members;

      • A copy of the 22nd edition of ‘Stirling Matters’ – Alyn Smith, MP’s Parliamentary
        Newsletter;

      • Notification that Stirling Council has helped to plant 6,000 trees during 2021;

      • Notification that Proposals to Transform Rural Stirling Community Care have been
        approved by the Clackmannanshire & Stirling Integration Joint Board following
        consultation in the communities of Gargunnock, Kippen, Fintry, Arnprior, Buchlyvie,
        Balfron, Killearn, Croftamie, Drymen & the communities of East Loch Lomond.

    2. Letter from Sarah Chester

      The Chairman reported that he had received a very nice letter from Sarah Chester
      thanking members of the CC for their letter of condolence at the time of her husband’s
      death.

       

  8. Planning & Licensing Issues

    1. New Planning Applications

      8.1.1 Application - 21/00368/FUL : Ruskie House, Port of Menteith

      Details of this application had been previously circulated to members and as
      there had been no objections, the Planning Officer had been notified
      accordingly. Members were advised that the application had since been
      approved.

       

    2. Planning Update

          1. Shellock Windfarm Development Proposal for the Fintry Hills

            Members were advised that there was no information as to whether this
            application had yet been considered by the Planning Department. However, it
            is known that Arnprior CC had made a very detailed objection to the proposal to
            use the Arnprior – Fintry road for access to the site.

             

          2. Force 9

      There had been no response to the Community Council’s request for Force 9 to
      reconsider its decision not to include Port of Menteith in the list of communities to
      benefit financially from the development.

       

    3. Doune the Rabbit Hole

          1. DTRH Event

            Members were advised that the dates for DTRH are now 12th-16th August. An

            introductory letter from Noreen Devine, the new ‘Community Outreach Manager’ for
            the event had been and in a subsequent letter, it had been announced that there
            was an intention to hold two community information events around the middle/end of
            July if and when restrictions allow but there is no indication as to where these are to be
            held.

             

          2. Temporary Public Entertainment Licence.

      Prior to the meeting, the Community Council had received notification from the

      Stirling Licensing Board of the DTRH’s application for a temporary public entertainment
      licence. In its response to the proposal to increase the numbers of people attending
      from 6,000 to 10,000, members’ concerns that given the unpredictable nature of
      Covid-19 at present whether measures would be in place relating to social distancing,
      flow testing etc., were expressed. The late ending of the Saturday/Sunday night
      programme had also been criticised.

       

      Members had also questioned what measures the organisers will have in place to
      deal with an increase in numbers and what assurances will be given that local roads
      will not be blocked by people trying to get to the event as happened on the last
      occasion the event took place. It was suggested that it would be good to see an
      inclusion in the plans for the use of shuttle buses and an encouragement for visitors to
      cycle which would be in keeping with Government and Stirling Council policy.

       

      Members were advised that as of 16th of June, the application was still being
      processed and no decision had been made regarding the issue of a licence for
      the DTRH event this year.

    4. Achray Land Management Plan Consultation

      Members were advised that Forestry and Land Scotland is revising the Land Management
      Plans for Achray and Achray North and to combine them into a single unit. It intends to
      submit the revised plan in late summer 2021, seeking approval for felling and restocking over
      the next 10 years. As part of the scoping process, it is inviting comments from a number of
      stakeholders in order to identify issues and concerns that will inform the preparation of the
      plan. As a small part of the Achray area to be planted is behind Stonefield and therefore
      falls within the Community Council’s area, members were being invited to comment on the
      plan.

       

      Sheena Makgill-Crichton didn’t really see anything to be concerned about regarding the
      Stonefield section of the Plan and Alison Forrester took a similar view. However, Jim Riach
      was of the opinion that it would be preferable for there to be some reassurance that any
      disruptions to footpaths and cycle paths in the area would be minimised and alternatives
      put in place should that be required. This is particularly the case for the Rob Roy Way and
      NCN7 both of which run through the proposed area.

       

  9. Visitor Management Plan Project

Jim Riach reported that the Visitor Management Plan that was prepared made certain
recommendations to mitigate against negative visitor impacts but the land managers on both the
sites outlined did not want to progress any of the measures such as the litter bin trial, a bag it and
bin it human waste trial or interpretative signage.

 

He believed that more could be done to mitigate against these negative behaviours, but it does
however require partnership working between the land managers and the community and visitors.
It can't all be down to the community. The visitor management group had identified funding,
secured service agreements with the local authority and identified proven mitigations that would
minimise visitor impacts. However, as outlined, these were rejected by the land managers of the
relevant areas and as a result no actions have been progressed and the second funding
application was not viable.

 

With regard to the application for funding for the village hall developments, Jim said that he was
surprised at its rejection. His feeling was that the visitor management plan was well received by
the funders and the National Park and it was his understanding that if the plan was appropriately
referenced and the outlined measures were to be put in place, then funding would have been
forthcoming. Other communities with similar plans received funding against their visitor
management plan.

 

Members were also advised that Trossachs Trail interpretive signage has now been located on the
Community notice board in the carpark at Jubilee Wood.

 

  1. Countryside Trust Short-Term Research Project

    A copy of the Countryside Trust’s Visitor Impact Data report – “Harnessing Community Engagementand the

    NPA’s response had been circulated to members prior to the meeting.

     

    Jim Riach was of the view that further dialogue on this report should be encouraged and in
    particular, the role of community engagement and land manager responsibilities along with the
    clarity of roles for the Local Authority and National Park.

  2. Local Place Plans Documents (LPPS)

    The Local Place Plans document in which it explained that (LPPs) provide the opportunity for a
    community-led, but collaborative approach to creating great local places and have been
    introduced into the planning system for the first time by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 had been
    circulated prior to the meeting and the Scottish Government is now consulting on the matter.

    There was general support from members for this document and it was agreed to put it on the
    Agenda for the next meeting. Action : VG

  3. Reports:

    1. Port Hall Report

      With reference to the application for funding for the Hall carpark, Quint Glen said he was not
      surprised that it had been rejected but he had been surprised that the application for
      funding to pay for public use (i.e. non-anglers) of the Fisheries’ toilets had been rejected.

      However, on the plus side, all the information, including quotes, is in place for the next
      funding application.

    2. Port School Report

      Peter Stewart advised members that there was nothing new of note to report from the
      School other than that there is growing concern over the dwindling pupil role. It is understood
      that the Council is going to provide a School sign on the roadside.

       

    3. Police Report

      Members were advised that the standard Police Report had not been received but the
      following information had been emailed by PC Lorna Deans prior to the meeting:

       

      “I have had a look through the calls since the last report on 15/04/21 and there are
      no incidents to report.

      We are aware that a vehicle was observed using the 10T max weight bridge at
      Cardross and we will follow it up next week with the company involved and will
      report back to you.

       

      Local Officers have been involved in visitor management throughout the Trossachs
      and Teith area dealing with campers and parking issues.”

       

  4. Any Other Competent Business

    There was no further business.

     

  5. Date of Next Scheduled Meeting : Monday, 30th August 2021