Minutes from the August 2017 Meeting
Largs Community Council
17 August 2017 at 7pm Largs Library
Present: CCllr D Blair (Chair), CCllr V Lundie, CCllr P Perman, CCllr J Perman, CCllr A Carson, CCllr E Marshall, CCllr J Phillips, CCllr J Stewart, Cllr I Murdoch, Cllr A hill, Cllr T Marshall, Inspector B Skimming
Apologies: CCllr D Cochrane, CCllr M Woods, CCllr A Adair
||Welcome and Apologies
Chair welcomed members, councillors and Inspector Skimming of Police Scotland. Apologies as noted above.
||North Ayrshire Council Report
Cllr Marshall reported that in relation to a previous matter concerning the bins in Seamore Street, the waste team has been out and interviewed most of the residents concerned, and will look at the issues raised with a view to some resolution. Some of the residents at the bottom end of the street are able to place their bins at their back via their close but do not currently do so. The waste team have sent out a questionnaire to all the residents. One solution may be a communal bin in the centre area.
Cllr Marshall also stated that an issue he has been working on for some time is the issue of parking and he has been able to have realised 70-80 spaces south of the Gogo. This is working its way through the system. They are also looking at bringing in the decriminalising of parking. Of Scotland’s 32 authorities only 6 do not have this in place, one of which is North Ayrshire.
CCllr J Perman stated that previously 140 parking spaces had been identified for the whole of Largs and that a consultation was yet to take place. Will the consultation take place to have parking in place for this summer? Cllr Marshall responded that it would likely be next summer (2018). There are two department involved in this and are scheduled to meet this week. They have to come up with a scheme, which will then have to go to the cabinet, and then be consulted on. Ideally by next summer.
CCllr J Perman stated that ideally we would want it by next Easter. Cllr Hill stated that a lot of the spaces were double yellow lines where people already park and so we are just legitimising the parking and therefore not necessarily creating new spaces. It won’t solve the problem but will help.
Cllr Murdoch has been working on this since his election and has vowed not to give up until we get something in place. Cllr Murdoch had a meeting today concerning parking and may have something in place for the Viking Festival. He has suggested parking marshals directing people to the spaces. This is going to be really hard to pull together for Viking Festival. All the attendees of that meeting felt it was a good idea. Other ideas included the creation of new parking, including car parks, removal of double yellow lines, the park and ride idea is not absolutely dead and Cllr Murdoch intends to pursue this along with the parking marshals and enforcement of the 1hour with no return. If we put all these ideas together and all councillors work together we could create a parking strategy that works for Largs. The front of Largs is looking good, the shorefront kiddies rides has been extended, the new Fish Works is busy, Wotherspoons building looking good, boat hirer back out and prom due to be resurfaced. If we can get a parking strategy in place then Largs will do well.
CCllr J Perman asked where the new carparks are being sited. Cllr Murdoch responded that this is still up for debate and sites are to be identified.
CCllr J Perman stated that, with regard to the bins in Gallowgate Square and in previous set of minutes Cllrs Murdoch and Marshall would find out when the enforcement was likely to take place. Cllr Marshall responded that this would happen when it is rebuilt. CCllr J Perman replied that the enforcement would have to take place prior to the rebuilding that is scheduled for October this year. Cllr Murdoch concurred that these will have to be removed prior to the square being stripped back. CCllr P Perman stated that many years ago when the premises was known as Harpoon Harrys there were no bins out front. These were kept at the rear of the building. Cllr Hill responded that this is the proposal being put forward.
||Minutes of meeting 20 July 2017
Approved CCllr J Phillips, 2nd CCllr J Perman
Cllr Murdoch has asked that he receive copy of the minutes. CCllr Lundie, as secretary apologised for this and will ensure in place for future.
||Matters arising from the Minutes
CCllr Blair asked with regard to the residents meeting had there been any follow up concerning the Douglas Park building.
CCllr P Perman stated that although she had been absent from last month’s meeting she was quite surprised to hear that the Council wanted to demolish the shelter because that does not solve any anti-social behaviour problems, it would only shift it elsewhere. When carrying out beach cleans along at Aubery Park she had spoken to residents there and one reason that they rejected the idea of the planned new shelter was because they felt it would attract anti-social behaviour. North Ayrshire Council has an anti-social behaviour team based in Irvine. Why haven’t we got them involved in the issue? Do we just knock down every building where these youngsters meet? That isn’t the answer. Cllr Murdoch responded that this wasn’t the only issue and if thousands of pounds were to be spent on the repairs, we would just be wasting money from the Common Good Fund if they were to come along and just do the same again. Cllr Murdoch was clear that he very reluctantly agreed because he also felt that this would only move the problem on.
Cllr Marshall stated that the problem with the youths has been a long standing issue, having already demolished a shelter further up Douglas Park. He felt we would empathise with the residents of Bankhouse Avenue if we had experienced the bottles in our gardens, drug paraphernalia, noise etc. The police cannot resolve this and the parks department spend hours each week cleaning up. Comparing this shelter to the one on the shore front is not valid as the youths can be seen from a distance along the shore. The shelter in Douglas Park is hidden and when police appear they scarper. If we were paying the rates (council tax) that the residents of Bankhouse were paying, we wouldn’t put up with it.
CCllr P Perman responded that she is paying comparable rates to these residents and she resides in the area of Douglas Park and has Anderson Park at her back door.
CCllr Blair intervened stating that with reference to the process that has been followed by North Ayrshire Council he was surprised to receive a phone call whilst on holiday to be told that there was an urgent email being sent to him regarding the discussion about demolition of the shelter. He was surprised because we have representatives of Police Scotland attending our meetings every month, we have the reports and discussions and at no point, from North Ayrshire Council or any other source has it been made aware that things are so bad that we have to knock down the building. CCllr Blair continued by stating that he has an issue with the way he felt Largs Community Council were being used. The main council is closed down, however community council continues to operate and suddenly as a matter of urgency proposals were put forward to demolish the shelter. Also, this will be funded from the Common Good Fund and not North Ayrshire Council funds. CCllr Blair acknowledged that we have already voted on this at our last meeting, however, should we wish to revoke this we have to return a two thirds majority or wait for the six month rule to discuss and vote again. Speaking as position of Chair, CCllr Blair does not like that methodology and would like the Councillors and officials to be made aware that it is not acceptable for Largs Community Council to be used in that manner.
Cllr Hill responded that he too was on holiday when we been discussed and voted on it. He did disagree with Councillor Marshall in that the level of council tax paid was irrelevant and doesn’t give them any more say than anyone else about what happens around about them. He also acknowledge that yes there is level of anti-social behaviour among certain groups of young people that needs to be looked at and that knocking down every building that is use by these young people is not a long term solution.
CCllr Carson added that she was part of a group, Fairlie Growers, who were in the process of an asset transfer for that property and who had not been notified of the action that was going to be taken. Fairlie Growers had to go to court as part of this transfer as it was common good land. They had also secured funding to carry out the intended works. She feels that the whole handling of this has been handled very badly.
CCllr Marshall, speaking on behalf of the Bankhouse residents, reiterated that they were really upset by the behaviour.
CCllr Blair confirmed what CCllr P Perman had already stated, that we have an anti-social behaviour team, and that there is process by which all remedies are tried in order before reaching this result. Also at none of our meetings has Police Scotland made or raised a concern that this is such a serious issue. CCllr Blair again stated that his issue was with the speed at which this had to be dealt with and it was almost a ‘fate accompli’ and the fact that the full council was in recess and the decision by officials was that it was to be demolished. Cllr Marshall intervened repeatedly stating that what CCllr Blair was saying was not true. CCllr Blair responded that he would be suspending the meeting as he was not accepting of Cllr Marshall’s claims that he was untruthful in what he was saying. CCllr Blair stated that this statement was based on what he had been informed and that the context, speed it was put forward and the way was it was handled was wrong.
CCllr Murdoch stated that he didn’t disagree with what has been said and that he had been ‘put on the spot’ himself, and that he had to make a decision based on the fact that the toilets had been smash, it had been set on fire and basically they have destroyed the building, along with the fact that the residents were having their lives disrupted. He also stated that he had not received one complaint from these residents and was unaware that they would be turning up en mass that night (20 July 2017) and unaware of their petition. He made his decision based on the evidence that was in front of him at that time. CCllr Carson stated that the toilets had been smashed over a year ago, it hasn’t just happened. The graffiti had been long standing. Fairlie Growers had been in consultation with Morrison Construction and secured voluntary man hours and materials for the repair of this building. This asset transfer was officially happening via North Ayrshire Council and had not received and notification of this action. Cllr Murdoch stated that he was unaware that the asset transfer included the shelter, he thought it was for the land only. Cllr Hill stated that with the land cleared it may provide the growers more options, by still they should have been consulted.
CCllr Blair asked if a date has been set for the demolition. Cllr Marshal responded that a date has not been set and that it is not a case that the action has been decided. Director of Place, Craig Hatton has emergency powers, he has made that decision, along with the support of the elected members and it will go to the next cabinet meeting to be ratified. He also stated that within an email elected members had been advise that that Fairlie Growers had been notified but hadn’t objected. Cllr Marshall offered to bring the residents back in with their petition to reargue their case. CCllr Blair responded again that it was the way the process had been handled was wrong.
CCllr J Perman stated that we should let the justice system take care of it. He has been approached by another resident of Bankhouse Avenue who was appalled by this action, that a small group of ‘neds’ can get away with this behaviour that that gives us cause to knock down buildings.
CCllr P Perman correct Cllr Marshall in that she does pay the same council tax that these residents pay, has a business in the town and does experience the anti-social behaviour having had wing mirrors on her car broken and disturbances from Anderson Park.
CCllr Lundie also stated that the amount of council tax you pay is irrelevant, and she too experience anti-social behaviour when youngsters go drinking down the Gogo burn at the top of Bellesdale Avenue.
CCllr Blair offered Inspector Skimming the opportunity to comment. There is clear evidence of anti-social behaviour and has been accumulative. We have to find a solution that is sustainable. Last week Streetscene accompanied the police and engaged with the youngsters in Douglas Park. The youngsters by being there are actually not committing an offence. Majority of kids are from the three towns and Kilwinning. Ages range from 14-19 years. They are able to look at parental/guardian responsibility which could affect their tenancy. Police will write to parents reminding them responsibilities. Police attend every weekend and displacement occurs. This doesn’t just happen in Largs it happens all over Ayrshire. They are collating information, but it’s a slow process.
CCllr Stewart felt that the decision to demolish was based the experiences of the residents. The youngsters will go anywhere they can congregate.
Cllr Marshall stated that removal of the shelter may not necessarily be the best option but that it is an option.
CCllr Carson asked if the shelter is knocked down and the young people still gather there, then what?
||Secretary’s Report and Correspondence
Further to meeting of the Transport sub-committee group, and having communicated with the residents of Alexander Avenue regarding the options for the traffic orders at the new Largs Campus, Largs Community Council responded that it was supportive of option B. It was also stated that we would wish additional considerations to be taken into account. These being parallel parking gained from the council amenity site; some provision made for residents to have dropped kerbs; removal of time limits on ‘keep clear’ school entrance; prominent clear signage and that any implemented orders be re-assessed in 12 months’ time.
E-mail received from BID inviting us to network event on 29 August from 4-6pm to be held in Barrfeilds Theatre to share ideas on the business improvements plans. Cllr Murdoch reiterated that the priority, right from the start of BID, that shopkeepers want resolved was parking issues.
Clydemuirsheil Regional Park joint committee meeting is to be held on 1 September at Cunninghame House in Irvine 11:30-13:00. CCllr P Perman is unable to attend, would any other member be able to attend this? The forestry project will be discussed.
In relation to the forestry project, John Gallacher, from Tilhill has organised a meeting on 5 October in Largs Library, linked to a site visit to discuss access issues. CCllr Blair expressed that this was not the meeting that was to be arranged with ourselves. CCllr Blair stated that the terms of the meeting have changed from discussing the whole project to just discussing access and totally ignores all other issues raised. Also the meeting should be with Forestry Commission Scotland regarding the EIA.
Cllr Murdoch questioned why they would want a meeting on a project that has yet to be finalised. CCllr Blair stated that had it been finalised then all consultees or complainants should have been contacted with the outcome of the points raised, and this hasn’t yet happened.
It is agreed that CCllr P Perman contact Forestry Commission to obtain an update.
No spending this month. Current account balance remains at £390.22 and the Project account remains at £2806.03 Two cheques issued as micro grants yet to be presented for payment. Upon presentation this will result in Project account being £2408.03
Monies granted to us by way of Community Council Conference have a time limit to be used of 12 months.
Cllr Marshall pointed out that North Ayrshire Council surplus funds has resulted in £3.5m available, subject to cabinet approval, for community grants, although they have yet to decide how these funds are to be split.
Treasurer’s report proposed CCllr J Phillips, 2nd CCllr P Perman
Police – as reported by Inspector Skimming – see attached report.
Another good month for Largs. Month on month compared to last year, offences reported are down from 50 to 34.
Extra officers planned for the weekend of the Viking Festival and also for the Millport Country and Western Festival. These officers will be billeted on the island for the weekend. Also Calmac will be running extra ferries. Police also covered the Classic Car event last weekend in Largs. Regarding the festivals, CCllr Blair stated it was his understanding that there would not be extra trains to dovetail the extra ferries.
Parking will be mayhem and Cllr Murdoch is hoping to have marshals in place. He was also hoping to have the support of Largs Resilience team but this has not materialised.
Cllr Murdoch raised concern about the coach drop off point at the pier due to inconsiderate car parking.
Enforcement is the key.
Licensing – none to report
Planning – application for part change of use from retail to corporate class 3 use for 56 Gallowgate Street, Largs. The Post Office is relocating to Gallowgate Square and will incorporate a café.
LCC unanimous response – no objections.
Application received to replace weather cladding and external works to Hunterston ‘A’. From photographic evidence supporting Millport Community Council’s objection suggests that the colour should blend in with surroundings.
LCC response – objection based on visual appearance and colour should be more sympathetic to its surroundings.
CCllr Blair touched on the planning issue regarding the wind turbines being tested at Hunterston. The volume of emails has calmed down slightly but he has refrained from copying all to members as some he considered to be harassing and included personal attacks on members of Largs Community Council.
CCllr J Perman advised that the enforcement notice for the removal of the vehicle on top of the ex-vapour frog shop has now expired. Cllr Marshall stated that the owner, his architect and planning department are still in discussion as to whether the notice is enforceable.
Environment – CCllr P Perman had planned a beach clean-up prior to Viking Festival. However, as local SNP carried out one last week CCllr P Perman feels that it would no long be worthwhile at this time. Also concern raised about overflowing bins on prom, the bins are under capacity. North Ayrshire Council is resolving this by introducing a twilight shift as and when required. We feel a most cost effective resolution would be to provide a bin with appropriate capacity. CCllr Blair asked that the elected councillors raise this at the next North Coast Committee meeting. CCllr Marshall suggested we shoot the seagulls as was done by Dundee Council.
CCllr Blair had experienced issues with cancellation of Scotrail services and they were unable to provide details on replacement bus services. Also the local bus service does not tie in with train times.
CCllr Lundie asked that could we arrange to have the one way markings at the entrance of Bellman’s Close repainted as numerous incidences of traffic going wrong way. Also the ‘no entry’ signs at the other end are set too high.
Calum Coral of Largs & Millport Weekly News advised us that following a visit to Gourock seafront, he observed a fabulous one way, parking system in place and local business were busy on a damp Tuesday evening. He felt Largs could adopt something similar.
In relation to the empty Aubery Pond, it is closed for survey, re-caulking and is due to open again end of October.
Also the Fairlie cycle path has still not been built and feels that completion of this may assist in some way to help elevate some of the parking issues in Largs.
CCllr Blair has responded that we have not yet received a response on the recent survey carried out by Sustrans and will chase this up.
||Date of Next Meeting – 21 September 2017