Largs Community Council
18 October 2018 at 7pm at Largs Library
Present: CCllr A Adair (Chair), CCllr A Carson, CCllr J Stewart, CCllr K Murray, CCllr P Perman, CCllr J Perman, Cllr I Murdoch, Sgt Sharon Kerr representing Police Scotland.
Apologies: CCllr Lundie, CCllr Phillips, CCllr D Cochrane, CCllr Wood, Cllr Hill
CCllr Adair as chair welcomed members, Sgt Kerr and members of the public.
As noted above
||Residents of John Clark St, George St and Seamore St.
Residents wished to discuss the decision by NAC to remove the trees from the above mentioned streets. Chair asked that one or two speak on behalf of the residents. Anita Kelly spoke and advised that an online petition has gained over 400 signatures, and whilst there have been a few complaints the majority wish the trees to be retained. They are upset at the lack of consultation. CCllr Carson has been in contact with Thomas Reaney of NAC. NAC has agreed to postpone at this time. He is currently on holiday and advises that he is happy to meet with the residents. Further information will be issued to residents next week. He clarified points covered by policy and reasons for trees being removed. Details of complaints can be provided under FOI. He also confirm that trees in ‘the coffin’ (Seamore Street) are not being removed. Last year someone required hospital treatment in relation to a tree roots issue. There are issues in relation disability access with tree roots and low hanging branches.
Cllr Murdoch advised that NAC reported that they have had complaints as far back as 2011 (20 complaints) from different people for different reasons. MOP queries why NAC had neglected to maintain the trees over these years and then they wouldn’t have the complaints or current situations. All four elected members had met last week with Thomas Reaney and tree surgeons, these trees have been pollarded in the past this has now led to the current problems. Cllr Murdoch referred to NAC Tree and Woodlands Policy and clarified reasons for felling. MOP agreed that there are perhaps 5 dead trees that should be removed but not ALL the trees. MOP showed picture of crater left by previous tree removal, which is considered more dangerous. Cllr Murdoch agreed and that is why he has managed to get works postponed. MOP advised that she has a disabled son who uses a wheelchair without issue in these streets and so this negates NAC reason of disable access. It’s the potholes she has problems with.
Cllr Murdoch advised that he and Cllr Hill had queried this decision and asked for reports, and had managed to postpone works to allow residents time to commission their own report. MOP asked about policy of replanting 2 for 1. This would be clarified with Thomas Reaney.
CCllr Perman agreed with the residents and referred back to inaccuracies that NAC have presented to us before, in particular Douglas Park where it was stated that the shelter was unsafe as per a survey, and they were unable to provide copy of any said survey.
MOP advised that he is a Tree Officer with another authority, the duty of care lies with NAC. What we should be looking for is a Tree Health and Condition Survey. That then allows us to look at each tree and whether it has to be removed now, later or not at all, with monitoring in the future. Also the council is entitled to remove any tree is considers a risk under it’s duty of care. However, what they can’t do is just go in and remove without appropriate reference to guidelines set by Forestry Commission Scotland. On a quick visual inspection he estimated that there are 5 trees that should be removed at the moment. In relation to complaints that the trees are considered a nuisance, this covers damage caused or likely to be caused. It is a point in law and doesn’t cover e.g. poor tv signal, leaves, I don’t like the trees etc.
CCllr Perman asked that if the trees had been properly trimmed in the past would this have prevented the state they are in now. The tree officer advised that the pollarding work that had been carried out was a poor decision and is not something that is supported by the current British standard and his view is that this has resulted in the safe life expectancy being reduced. They should have been allowed to grow naturally. The point where regrowth is, is at a lower height, at head height or thereabouts. He also feels that trees should not be replanted. He advised that root heave is not a reason in itself for removal of an otherwise healthy tree and in some situations the road departments would become involved to carry out ‘ramping’ around the area so leaving a fully useable footpath. CCllr Carson spoke about the cost of survey and perhaps we could assist with this. This was unanimously agreed.
MOP advised that about 2 years ago she had asked for one particular tree to receive attention and was past from NAC to Amey to other departments and was told there were no funds. Eventually she enlisted the help of a locally elected member who manage to get one half of the tree attended to. She wants to know if there is now funding to maintain the remaining trees. The streets also require regular cleaning of the leaves.
Cllr Murdoch has received complaints from some residents in George St in May or June of this year and at that time he asked for them to be pollarded, not cut down. He was assured that they would not be pollarded as this will only increase the problems.
MOP public states that if the tree outside her house falls on her property or car the she holds NAC responsible. Cllr Murdoch advises that NAC has a duty of care to ensure that does not happen. He also advises that upon asking for a report from NAC, there was no written report, and so requested the works be postponed.
MOP asked for explanation as to difference between pollarding and pruning. The tree officer explained that pollarding is the most extreme form of pruning; basically bring it all down to a single point. This causes the tree to live on its reserves and the longer this happens the tree starts to dye. Heavy pruning leaves scarring and potential for fungal infections to take hold.
||North Ayrshire Council Report
Reported by Cllr Murdoch.
Regarding the work being done behind former St Marys School, it was confirm that this was exploratory survey work.
He received an email from CCllr P Perman regarding the ‘jetty’ and relevant survey, asking who proposed this. Cllr Murdoch confirmed that this was Cllr Marshall.
The issue about locality partnership was also raised via social media and Cllr Murdoch had answered these comments and encouraging the local people to attend these meetings and take an interest in the local area instead of just commenting on Facebook which doesn’t get anything done.
CCllr P Perman asked what the point was in encouraging people to attend when they are not permitted to speak or participate. Cllr Murdoch advised that he is trying the get this changed. Members can speak if advance notice of questions is provided. He enquired about what happens at other locality partnership meetings and was advised that the public can raise issues as long as it is via the chair and is relevant. So he is going to raise this point with the new Chief Executive (Craig Hatton). CCllr J Perman asked who gets to vote on any matters at the locality partnership meetings. Cllr Murdoch responded that the aim of the terms of reference is that all 7 elected Cllrs reach a consensus and at that particular meeting a vote was not required.
The no right turn sign at front car park. It is not a proper traffic sign and still ongoing issue. There will be an on sight meeting with NAC Roads and Tran Serve.
The Poppy display opposite the Queens Hotel, two of the display poppies were missing. One had been removed to provide a template for the missing one.
Largs events are not involved in the illuminations, these have been purchased over the years and there is a budget set aside for this. It was decided that there would not be a Christmas tree in the square as there are no anchor points to secure it and would likely blow over. Instead lights are to be strung from the four lamp posts. These are being purchased from the car park fund.
Largs events are hoping to get a bigger, better Christmas tree for Tron Place. Regarding Yuletide night, this year they have been able to source a proper sleight and are trying to arrange some street entertainment. The night has been changed for from Thursday to Wednesday due to it clashing with the local pantomime.
The councillors continue to work on the locality partnership priorities. He is working on Stress and Anxiety in young people. Strathclyde University is currently running a scheme working with kids in care, providing them with a mentor which is working well.
CCllr Stewart asked what work was carried out on the Helter Skelter building. Cllr Murdoch confirmed is was some external works to get it wind and water tight. Cllr Hill would the best person to speak to regarding this.
CCllr P Perman queried the use of car park fund to commission the feasibility study for a jetty (£22000). Cllr Murdoch responded that the whole idea was to encourage yachts to come into the bay and use the town. It’s not slip but a jetty to tie up at. CCllr Perman replied that if the cost of the study is £22000 then what will be the actual build cost? Cllr Murdoch continued that there is a standard landing fee for using the Largs Pier which is now enforced by Calmac. The general feeling amongst members present is that this is a waste of ‘our’ money and there would be no benefit to the town. CCllr J Perman referred back to the survey regarding the Prom proposal, costing in the region of £30000 being wasted. CCllr Stewart asked that if the survey produced a positive outcome then where the money would come from to build it. Cllr Murdoch advised that perhaps we should raise questions with Cllr Marshall, as it was his proposal.
CCllr Murdoch asked LCC what we would like to see in that area as an alternative.
CCllr P Perman queried the lack of use of the new square for markets, etc. Cllr Murdoch states the Largs Events is working on getting more acts etc.
Craig Hatton will replace Elma Murray as chief Executive of NAC. Yvonne Baulk now takes his position.
Regarding the toilet block on Largs shore front, Cllr Murdoch proposed that the whole block requires to be refurbished. CCllr Carson expressed her shock at the state the toilets remain in, with bare wires exposed.
CCllr Adair has had complaints about toilets at Markerston and Broomfield both being closed. Cllr Murdoch will check to timings etc for these.
||Minutes of Meeting of 16 August 2018
Proposed CCllr Carson, 2nd CCllr J Perman
||Matters Arising from Minutes
Dealt with under appropriate headings
||Secretary’s Report and Correspondence
Reported by CCllr Carson on behalf of Secretary. Reminder for Community Council Conference 10 November.
Remembrance Sunday – CCllr Adair and CCllr Wood will attend and lay wreath on behalf of LCC.
Project Account balance currently £1624. With one outstanding cheque from the micro grants issued, which will leave a resulting balance of £1424.07.
Current Account has balance of £117.19
Treasurer has contacted NAC Auditors as we are in need of funds to cover cost of insurance.
Accounts approved- Proposed CCllr P Perman, 2nd CCllr J Perman
||Sub Committee Reports
a. Police – reported by Sgt Sharon Kerr. See attached report.
CCllr J Perman asked about plans for local station being moved to Brooksby given there is a planning application in for police access. This is moving positively but as yet there is not a definitive date.
Cllr Murdoch has had lots of complaints regarding the parking issue at the school campus. He is pleased to see the Police attending. The issue has arisen due to the fact that the entrance was never intended to be the main entrance. All traffic was encouraged to enter the school and use the drop off and pick up points, which are being misused. A particular complaint is the parking at the corner of Glenacre Drive and Alexander Avenue which falls within the working area of the crossing patrol, causing safety issues. Sgt Kerr advised that they been in contact with NAC about what they are able to do and they have some plans to put in place.
b. Licensing – No reported applications
c. Planning – Application received on behalf of Brooksby Medical Centre, to create access in wall from Brooksby into Moorburn to create an entrance for Police vehicles.
Apparently the current Police building is not owned by Police Scotland but by NAC. Cllr Murdoch confirmed that the police building is not to be taken into account when building the new sheltered housing complex.
LCC has no issues with this application.
d. Environment – CCllr P Perman has been contacted by Street Scene with invitation to attend a meeting on Monday 22 October at Largs Library 11am-3pm about ideas on what we would like to see from Street Scene. CCllr Murray will attend.
e. Transportation – Nothing specific to report.
f. Social Media – CCllr Stewart had previously mentioned about visiting Largs Academy, but never managed to get up, what with all the schools moving etc. She would still like to do this. Ros Fallon of NAC has forwarded some useful information for us to share on our page.
||A.O.C.B. – Iain Dippie gave an update on the Forestry project. They are still working on meeting all the conditions as laid down by FCS. They are at the moment working on re-wetting the peat areas. This is done by blocking up all the drainage that was created some 40-50 years ago in order for the water to collect and run off at a much reduced rate. He was out walking about a week ago and met Mr Stakis. The local paper had recently misreported or misquoted Save The Gretas which made it appear that they now support the forest, which is not the case.
Iain is a member of Clyde Muirsheil Regional Park Forum, who also opposed the forestry. Some of the members see the park as being eroded from all sides. The Park needs more support from councils and community councils and urged us to attend the forum.CCllr P Perman proposed that we write to NAC to see the report for the local tree removal work. CCllr Adair agreed.CCllr P Perman raised the issue of us not having a permanent chairperson. This is something to discuss when all members present.
||Date of Next Meeting – 15 November 2018