March Minutes – 2019

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Largs Community Council
Approved Minutes
Thursday 21 March 2019 at 7pm at Largs Library

Present: CCllr A Carson (Chair), CCllr V Lundie (Secretary), CCllr L Smith, CCllr A Kelly, CCllr J Phillips, CCllr A Adair, CCllr M Wood, Cllr T Marshall, Cllr I Murdoch, Cllr A Hill, PC Murphy (Police Scotland)

Apologies: CCllr K Murray, CCllr J Stewart, CCllr J Perman, CCllr P Perman (Treasurer)

Item Business
1 Welcome

CCllr Carson as Chair opened the meeting and welcomed members, Police Scotland and members of the public.

2 Apologises

As noted above

3 North Ayrshire Council Report
CCllr Carson advised that she had attended the North Coast PP funding, where many groups presented in order to obtain funding.  All applicants were awarded some funding.  NAC are working hard with many groups.
Cllr Hill mentioned that another topic that was touched on was the roll out of consultation on the future role of public halls, libraries and public buildings.  Public meetings will be held throughout North Coast to discuss these services and how they are and can be delivered more efficiently.  Public meeting for Largs is to be held on 28 March at 6.30pmCCllr Marshall advised that NAC had tried hard to keep the council tax rise to 3% when other councils had raised it by up to 4.75%   There is also concern, not so much with Calmac’s Cumbrae crossing but with the Arran crossing. The ferry was damaged last weekend when it hit the quay and had to be taken out of service. There is a new ferry due for this crossing.  The average age of the Calmac fleet is 23years.
Cllr Murdoch touched on the public meeting (Friends of The Firth of Clyde) that was held immediately after our last CC meeting (21 Feb 2019), he felt it was very well attended and organised. He is all for more public meetings to get the public involved in local issues.
CCllr Wood asked if we are any further forward regarding discussion on public car parks. Cllr Murdoch advised that yes there have been discussions and Cllr Marshall concurred that there are two carpark locations under active consideration, which are being costed.
4 Minutes of Meeting of  21 February 2019

Approved CCllr Smith, 2nd CCllr Carson

5 Matters Arising from Minutes

CCllr Carson asked CCllr Kelly for update on the ‘tree’ issue and whether she was satisfied following correspondence from NAC. CCllr Kelly reported that residents from the area concerned seemed fairly satisfied, although she had been disappointed in the uptake of replacement trees.  The general consensus was that the residents would have wanted to keep the existing trees and not necessarily have a tree in their own garden. CCllr Carson expressed thanks to Thomas Reeney of NAC for his interaction and help regarding this.  Cllr Murdoch reported that although he had been informed that the existing trees would be removed by 31 March, this has been delayed slightly and will be over the next couple of weeks.

6 Secretary’s Report and Correspondence and Social Media

No specific correspondence, we do however receive many surveys and consultations etc.  These are forwarded to members with appropriate links and members can decide if they wish to participate and make their thoughts known.
NAC are encouraging Community Council to join Facebook, twitter, etc. and communicate with other Community Councils throughout Scotland.   We already have these facilities and our own Social Media group.

8 Treasurer’s Report

No report (treasurer absent). Update to be reported April.

9 Sub Committee Reports

a.    Police – report by PC Murphy (see attached). Pleasing to see that there has been no reports of serious and violent crimes over the last month.
CCllr Carson advised of the vandalism of the public toilets at The Pencil. This now means 3 public toilets blocks out of use. Cllr Murdoch responded he had been made aware of this the morning after it happened, whereupon he contacted the police and NAC building Services in order for them to be made safe.  The vandalism was substantial and repairs are currently being costed, which may well have to be funded from the carpark fund.  The maintenance and cleaning of this block is funded by the carpark fund, otherwise they would be closed.
CCllr Carson also reported that there has been issued at Morrison where youths have been throwing shopping trollies over the wall onto Scotrail property.  Morrisons have CCTV of these incidents. ScotRail ticket office Staff would like the Community Policing Team to meet with them to identify a group of teenagers they have evidence sometimes causing damage in the station. PC Murphy confirmed that he will take this on and if need be could speak to parents/carers.
CCllr Carson reported an incident of doorstep ‘cold calling’ at Bowen Craig whereby a young lady purporting to be from the Red Cross, clearly displaying their ID, concealed her APPCO.UK ID. This is concerning because they are a commission, incentivised business who target the lonely and elderly. PC Murphy confirmed that this was dealt with; the canvasser being genuine however was spoken to regarding their forcefulness.
CCllr Wood also asked for members of the public to remain vigilant regarding ‘scam’ calls from TV License, DVLA and the Banks.
Cllr Marshall asked PC Murphy if it is correct that we only have one Community Police Officer in the town centre. PC Murphy responded that this is correct however a second officer will be starting soon. He also confirmed that parking tickets can be issued by just one officer.

b.    Licensing – none to report.

c.    Planning- none to report.

d.    Environment – Cllr Carson reported following a successful meeting regarding the Hunterston decommissioning site, a stakeholder’s liaison group has now been set up. CCllr Carson attended an initial meeting, as LCC representative, where it was agreed that no chair would be appointed until an operator had been selected. Terms of Reference were also agreed and that they would meet twice each year until an operator was appointed then the group would meet quarterly.
Cllr Murdoch expressed his concern that he felt planning conditions had been breached as this group was to be set up within 3 months of consent being granted.  He still has concerns that no EIA has been instructed nor conducted.  Marine Scotland are still to submit their application and they can still insist on an EIA be done.  Ross Grier had raised concerns in Scottish Parliament and there has been a significant change in the answer that he was first given that EIA was not required.
CCllr Carson also reported that regarding our plan for an outdoor gym this is still in progress and that we have been working with NAC in identifying two suitable locations.
Confirmation of beach clean dates being 13 April, 22 June, 24 August 2019.
CCllr Carson confirmed that there had been a meeting of the Hunterston power station stakeholders group on 7 March.  CCllr Carson confirmed that although CCllr Cochrane is our representative on this group, she would also attend. Cllr Murdoch advised that at the meeting in December Cllr Marshall proposed to issue a press statement that the group had every confidence in EDF and ONR. CCllr Cochrane 2nd that. Cllr Murdoch asked that as CCllr Cochrane is there as our representation, is that the view of LCC or is that his personal view? CCllr Carson confirmed that as CCllr Cochrane is our representative he is to obtain the majority view of LCC before voting on our behalf. The CC appreciates that this may not always be easy as items pop up at the time. This is one of the reasons CCllr Carson would like to also attend.
CCllr Carson summarised the presentation of the cracks, banding and offsite testing (to 7.2 Richter scale). Cllr Murdoch has concerns about it being safe to restart the reactor concerned given the length of time it has been dormant and feels there should be more public consultation.
Cllr Marshall advised that there are loads of safety factors and backups in place should the bricks move, the first action being to close it down.  EDF have applied to ONR to start reactor 4.  CCllr Wood asked if members of the public have the opportunity to ask for clarity on any concerns. Cllr Marshall responded that a lot of the information is very technical and perhaps public wouldn’t understand it. It is down to the ONR to regulate.  CCllr Carson also noted that when the site is eventually closed down it will not return to ‘green field’ status as originally stated but will be ‘brownfield’. This is due to the very, very low level contamination.

e.    Transportation – Cllr Adair advised that no new issues, however, as already reported last month numerous complaints about the forthcoming road closure of the A78 for resurfacing works. There is never a good time for these works and CCllr Carson assured members of the public that several options/dates had been explored.
CCllr Adair has also received complaints regarding uneven paving slabs outside Co-Op.  Both Cllrs Hill and Murdoch have already forwarded this to Transerve, who have already visited the site for inspection.

10 A.O.C.B. – CCllr Carson introduced member of the public, John McCracken who wished to discuss the issue of the derelict cottage in Gallowgate Lane. Mr McCracken has had a flat in Gallowgate since 1987 and is frustrated at the state of the cottage and lack of activity or interaction from NAC with regards to improvement of the site, especially since the recent upgrade of Gallowgate Square. He now expresses concern about fly-tipping and rubbish within the site and feels that this is now an environmental issue. Neighbouring shops have claimed to have seen rats, and action needs to be taken.  He asks what action NAC can take e.g. compulsory purchase.  Cllr Marshall confirmed that there is a live planning application in place and in order to make a compulsory purchase it would be for the value of the land. Cllr Murdoch responds that NAC is limited in what they are able to do given the live application and compulsory purchases are very rare. Mr McCracken asked then if some form of screening could be erected. Cllr Hill advised that this then becomes an issue of taxpayers money being spent on private property, and would require owners consent.  Another avenue to look at a scheme called ‘Stalled Spaces’. Something similar was in West Kilbride, and perhaps the façade could be removed with area cleaned out with a garden area in the meantime.  Cllr Marshall agreed to check for us the current position with regard to the planning application.

CCllr Wood advises that Douglas Park is 100 years old this year and expresses dismay at the state of the park including the Burns Garden. It’s a disgrace and an embarrassment. Nobody seems to take any ideas forward. Could we organise to tidy it up, at very least?  Cllr Murdoch advised that Fairlie Organic Growers have adopted the area in front of former shelter and possibly the area of former aviary.  Members of the public can adopt flowerbeds etc. Cllr Marshall stated that the council are intending to tidy it up by filling in the unused flowerbeds and allowing grass area at the tennis courts to become a wild area. This will allow the maintenance charged to our Common Good fund to be cut from £30K to closer to £7K region. Largs Tennis Club no longer uses the courts as they have moved to Inverclyde, but the public still have the use of the courts.
General consensus is that the way forward with local planted areas is to design year round low maintenance focal points, rather than a burst of colour for a couple of weeks a year which requires more maintenance.

CCllr Kelly expressed disappointment at rubbish discarded between local shop Bake n Bite and school. Credit to shop who do have bins outside premises and agreed that CCllr Wood would speak to police as this is out with school boundaries.

11 Date of Next Meeting – 18 April 2019

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