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Community Council Meeting Minutes 2007

MINUTES OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

HELD ON 5TH OCTOBER 2007 AT 7:30 P.M. IN HOWWOOD VILLAGE HALL

PRESENT

Nick Walker, Chair; Andrew Wilson, Secretary; Bill David, Treasurer; Christine Scarsbrook, Grace Weir, Linda Smith, Norma David, Margie Stewart, Jackie Mackenzie, Robert Scarsbrook

APOLOGIES

Douglas Paxton, Ken Macdonald, Councillor Tracie McGee, Councillor Iain McMillan, Councillor John Hood

IN ATTENDANCE

Craig Crawford, Rosee Macdonald, William Atherton, Joe Waclawski, Agnes Crawford, Jean Peddie.

INTRODUCTION AND WELCOME

Nick Walker, Chair, welcomed Community Council members and members of the public to the 2007 AGM of Howwood Community Council.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING AND MATTERS ARISING

The Minutes of the 10.10.2006 AGM, which were agreed in principle at HCC meeting in Nov 2006, were adopted – Proposed, Linda Smith and Seconded, Rosee Macdonald.   There were no matters arising.

CHAIRMAN’S REVIEW OF THE YEAR

Since last year’s AGM, there have been some important developments for Howwood Community Council and for Community Councils across the country.  The most significant was a major change in the local authority election system.  This created fewer, larger council wards, with multiple Councillors.  Along with many other CCs, we had concerns that the interests of Howwood as a fairly rural village may be lost within a super-ward including Elderslie and Johnstone South.  The changed system means in fact that the four Councillors from Johnstone South, Elderslie and Howwood are all entitled to attend our meetings, and that all have a legitimate role in working with and for us within the Council.  Cllrs John Caldwell, John Hood, Tracy McGee and Iain McMillan have all attended CC meetings.  I have to say that our fears about the new system have proven unfounded thus far, and that we have benefited from the support of all four of our new Councillors already, and I have no doubt we will continue to do so.

The other development for CCs is the Scottish Government’s Working Group on Community Councils.  This was set up by the previous Scottish Executive but has continued since the Scottish Parliamentary election, and its remit has widened.  Six local authorities were invited to participate:  Orkney, Stirling, Dundee, Borders, Highland and Renfrewshire.  Each Council’s CC Liaison Officer is on the Group and each asked a Community Councillor to participate as well.  For Renfrewshire, I am that representative.  The Working Group is to produce national guidance on the governance and roles of community councils.  These were to be compulsory and were intended to standardise CC function and accountability across the country.  The Scottish Government may not be able to enforce the guidance however, so we will have to wait and see how things work out.  The draft documents will be out for consultation early next year.  The second purpose of the Group is to consider ways in which CCs might become more influential, for example having some control over local services, funding and so forth.  The Government has yet to clarify what this might involve. 

In Howwood though, your CC has been up to its usual!  There has been another Fête; there was another Scottish Evening for Pensioners; more bulbs were planted; and we had our fifth annual Howwood Spring Clean.  All were well attended.  Apart from the litter clearing, all were enjoyed.  Mundane business has continued as usual also;  with large numbers of complaints about road safety, road surfaces, traffic speed and so forth;  and with a number of planning applications, such as the proposal for wind farm development in Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park and a Pet Crematorium in Midton Wood.  We were awarded a grant for the installation of Christmas lights to replace the tatty old tree we had previously, and there was a lighting ceremony with a selection of carols.  The Act of Remembrance was again well attended, timed to coincide with coming out time from the village’s churches; and we were impressed by the level of feedback both for and against improving the visibility and upkeep of the Howwood War Memorial.  In case you have not heard, the decision was for it to remain where it is, but the Council has agreed to attend to the graffiti and to improve regular upkeep; and we will have it better signposted so people can use it for informal remembrance and contemplation. 

Sadly, during the year, the First Howwood Guides came to an end.  But the Sports and Hobbies Group continues to do well, and recently received a substantial cash injection from the Johnstone Area Grant Board.

Community Council membership was 13 at last year’s AGM, and is now twelve.  Tom Purse resigned due to increasing work commitments which prevented him contributing to the CC as much as he had hoped.  We therefore have a number of vacancies and would welcome new members, as we also welcome local residents attending our monthly meetings either to raise issues of concern, or simply to hear what is happening and contribute to village life through the CC.  Over the past year, we have averaged 4 or 5 non-CC members at each meeting.  And I was very pleased, and grateful, that many residents who come to the CC from time to time, were able to help at the Fête. 

Lastly, this is my last AGM as Chairman of Howwood CC.  I would like to thank all involved for their commitment to the Community Council, and for the considerable work everyone - CC member or not - has put in. 

In addition I would like to give a special note of thanks to Alex Hewetson (Renfrewshire Council, liaison officer). Alex has been of great assistance over the years.  Alex is moving to a similar role in Glasgow and will be a great loss to RC.

Chair invited questions from the floor:

An expression of appreciation was made from the floor for all the work carried out by the Community Council on behalf of the community especially given the small number of members.  The Triangle refurbishment was singled out as being a particular achievement. 

There was comment on the low attendance at the meeting. 

SECRETARY’S REPORT

Every year, the job gets more familiar therefore easier, on the other hand life can feel as though I am moving a pile of papers from one place to another. I do keep copies of letters and e-mails religiously, which is as well because Renfrewshire Council is not always good at replying; partly I am sure due to pressure of work, but since the last set
of Council elections we seem to have 4 new councillors for the Johnstone South, Elderslie and Howwood ward, who take an active part in our meetings, and are willing to chase up matters on our behalf. That is proving to be a help.

The slowness of response has been the reason for lack of progress in putting any of our plans for the park into action. We badly need paths that are more accessible, and better facilities.

As before Roads takes up the Lions share of correspondence: we are fortunate to have direct access to one of the senior officers from that department Scott Allan, who attends meetings every 3 months. A major improvement has been the "Slow Down 30 mph" signs which we now have in both directions on Beith Road. We will still campaign for other traffic calming/safety measures, but these signs are having a significant impact. Other correspondence has been on things as diverse as bus routes, gas leaks, ownership of land and overgrown access roads belonging to Scottish Water.  Planning, occupies the next biggest category of correspondence. We have the threat of destruction of part Midton Wood to make way for a Pet Crematorium hanging over us, as does plans for a Windfarm in the Clyde Muirshiel Park. This Community Council has been strongly opposed to both. The application for a new house in the Hotel car park, was withdrawn, but the application for demolition of Thorntree cottage was successful, so unfortunately we will lose that landmark soon. We were supportive of more nursery provision in the village at Dreadnought building, but unfortunately the Council did not think it was an appropriate site. Robert Scarsbrook and I attended a useful seminar run by Friends of the Earth, it was on the changes to the whole planning process, and how we as a community should be more widely consulted before planning applications go in, in the future. The down side will be even less opportunity to object, afterwards. So vigilance as soon as we get notice, and attention to the Council's "Participation Statement", are going to be essential. We all know how easy it is to complain once something is being done, in this case we will have lost our chance, if we don't act pronto!

We have been involved in responding to consultations: principally the Draft Core Path Plan for Renfrewshire, and Community Planning, and been asked to provide representatives on various public bodies.

The best thing about the last year has been the number of community events. The Remembrance Sunday service was very well attended, we had a St Andrew's night Ceilidh for families; a service to turn on the Christmas Lights (the lights we purchased last year were really splendid, and we hope to have a brass band present this year). The Scottish Evening went well ( we have invited Largs & District Fiddle Orchestra to play at next year's), and of course the Fete. It is a good sign to have so much going on; these events bring people together and strengthen the strong community spirit that already exists in Howwood. I know that other people and groups do their bit too, but I am pleased that the Community Council plays such an active role in the life of the village.  Our most recent purchase, a Public Address System that can be used out of doors as well as inside, will make a big improvement to these occasions. Thanks are due to Cllrs McGee, McMillan, Caldwell and Hood, for the grant awarded to us to buy the PA system. It would be of great assistance should we have any public meetings in the coming year. The one in May, called over the "Homeless Unit" in Hallside Street saw senior Council officials come out to address the meeting. The end result was the closure of the unit. Some residents especially those with young families, were understandably not happy that secrecy allowed the situation to develop in the first place. It remains a most important function of our Community Council to provide a platform for concerns to be aired.

If you add to the above the annual Village Spring clean, and Bulb planting in the autumn, it’s a wonder those on the CC have any time left for a social life. On that subject we should not forget the central role the village hall plays in community life, lobby Renfrewshire Council for better maintenance, and do our best to support the facility and those who work here.

The Secretary invited questions from the floor:

An expression of appreciation was made from the floor to the Community Council and in particular to the Secretary for pursuing so many issues on behalf of the community.

TREASURER’S REPORT

Audited accounts for the year ended 31 August 2007, showing a balance of £5,073.48 credit, were presented to the meeting. A small deficit for the year of £535.87 was noted.

Treasurer invited questions from the floor:

Questions were raised from the floor regarding the Rights of Way Society subscription and cost of bulbs.  Treasurer clarified the position with Rights of Way subscription payment and advised that the bulbs were invoices for two years.

The accounts were accepted; Proposed by Grace Weir and Seconded by Craig Crawford.

MEMBERSHIP & OFFICE BEARERS

Villagers were invited to come along to regular meetings and to apply for membership.

It was agreed to defer the election of office bearers to the next regular meeting of the HCC in November 2007.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Bulb planting will again take place this year.  Dates are weekend of 27/28 October 2007.  Meet at the Triangle at 2PM each day.  All welcome.

Remembrance Day will take place on Sunday 11 November 2007.  Villagers are invited to attend this special day of remembrance.  Meet at the war memorial at 12:30 PM.  Arrangements for Standard Bearers and music will need to be addressed.

Christmas Lights switch on and carols event has been tentatively arranged for Friday 7 December at 7:00PM at the Triangle.  Details will be confirmed as soon as possible.

OTHER BUSINESS

A737 Junction – it was suggested that as there is now a speed restriction on this road between Beith and Lochwinnoch the HCC could again raise the issue of the problem junction with AMEY.

X33 Bus Route – it was noted that the bus terminates at Paisley and therefore no longer goes to Braehead.  This information to be passed to the local paper.

NEXT MEETING

Regular Community Council meetings are second Tuesday each month.  Next meeting Tuesday 13 November 2007,  11 December 2007 etc at 7:30pm in Howwood Village Hall.

Next AGM October 2008.

Contact Details
  • Aircraft Noise Telephone line
    :
    0141 848 4644 (answer machine)
  • Antisocial Behaviour Help Line
    :
    0800 169 1283
  • Dog Warden, Michelle Knox
    :
    0141 840 3164
  • Glasgow Wind Band, R & C Scarsbrook
    :
    01505 704083 [email protected]
  • Fly Tipping
    :
    0845 230 4090
  • Minicoach Tours
    :
  • Police
    :
    01505 404000
  • Renfrewshire Council
    :
  • R.C. Roads email address
    :
  • Roads & Lighting Faults
    :
    0141 842 4466 (M-F), 0141 889 2314
  • Scottish Water Contact
    :
    0141 355 5187
  • Secretary, Andrew Wilson
    :
    01505 702392 [email protected]
  • Village Web Site
    :
  • Youth Nuisance Help Line
    :
    01505 325030

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