Blackness Area Community Council
Minutes of Meeting 19 November 2014, Community Hall
Council members: Merv Archibald (MA), Nick Paul (NP), Sharman Faulds (SF).
In addition, 5 members of the public were present.
Apologies: Dave Lawson (DL), Martin Watt, Nan Wylie, Councillor Adrian Mahoney
MA opened the meeting at 7.00pm by welcoming all those attending.
Community Police Report
Sgt Andrea Campbell and PC Stacey Garthwaite attended and gave the up to date crime report for the area. Two reports in last month, one on 31st October of a man in the village carrying a gun, which turned out to be for pest control purposes, and the other on 2nd November – a campfire on public ground. The police advised to call 101 if anyone notes any suspicious activity, and that if anyone wishes to contact them directly about matters, to do so via email.
Approval of Previous Minutes 15 October 2014 Approved, proposed NP, Seconded SF
Actions from Previous Minutes
• New community councillors needed – MA noted that with only having 4 Community Councillors elected, it can sometimes be difficult to achieve a quorum of 3. Martin Knott kindly agreed that he would be happy to be co-opted, and that this could be ratified at the meeting on 18th December which will also be the AGM.
• Blackness Primary School liaison MA reported that the Head and Deputy Head Teacher posts had both been filled with the new staff starting in January. MA will arrange to meet with them asap. MA also reported positively on his on-going discussions with the new chair of the Parents Council (PC), Rhonda Snedden.
• Location of village bike racks – update under item Blackness is Beautiful
• Replacement notice board at public toilet: ongoing.
• Speeding adjacent to school – response received from Falkirk Council. The council has offered to send someone from the Roads Dept to a future meeting of BACC.
• Hogmanay party – Martins Watt and Knott have discussed this and hope to be able to offer tickets at the Christmas Fair on Saturday. A friendly neighbourhood event planned in the village hall with various activities suitable for all ages with any surplus going to charity. MA will also advise the PC about it. It is likely that there will be interest from the Community for such an event.
• Admin Grant –DL confirmed that the accounts have been sent to the auditor.
• Dates of BACC meetings on Falkirk Council website: per written note from DL this has now been updated. Also noted that the previous meetings schedule appears on the “What’s on in Linlithgow” website, MA agreed to send them an email with the correct information. HP agreed to send a note of future meeting dates to the Gazette for publication in the District Diary column.
• Possibility of holding BACC meetings in Village shop or pub DL had contacted the owner and the answer is not at the moment.
• CCoF Human Waste as fertiliser: MA reported that a response in support of the CCoF campaign against the practice has been sent to CCoF on behalf of BACC.
• Community Council Forum meeting on 23rd October: MA reported he had attended this useful meeting with around half of the convenors of CCs in Falkirk area attending. The focus is on sharing best practice and on agreeing areas where CC training would be useful – Data Protection Act matters for Community Councils is likely to be addressed soon. MA also advised that a one-off grant of £500 is available to CCs for the purchase of computer and printing equipment. Free printing is also available for CC business at any of the Falkirk Council One Stop Shops.
• Christmas Fair on Saturday 22nd November – all ready to go.
John Muir Way celebrations and Blackness – Bo’ness Path. Opening event pencilled in for Saturday 25th April. A sub committee can get together from January to plan in more detail. It was noted that a section of the path contains a high drop down to the beach. MA reported that the project team at Falkirk Council is aware of this issue and safety railings will be installed at the appropriate spot, possibly this side of the New Year.
Blackness is Beautiful meeting was held Sunday 2nd November. HP reported the discussions: road signage – issues with road signs being damaged, and one having been replaced three times this year. Agreed to invite Falkirk Council roads dept to a future BACC meeting to explain the issues, and also to view the areas where residents have expressed concerns, particularly in relation to south-bound large vehicles turning too early onto the B903 instead of the A904 and ending up in the village by mistake. Other matters from the meeting: Repairs to the play park, including repairing the shelter and repainting the horse, and repainting the football posts. Agreed these are useful and desirable projects, and that in the first instance Falkirk Council would be contacted to find out the extent of their responsibilities here. Otherwise a residents’ work party could be organised with materials being purchased using the FET grant.
Cycle Parking in the village: the meeting considered the best locations are: 2 racks beside the noticeboard near the Boat Club with another 2 beside the toilets where the historic pumps are located. It was noted that it may be possible for the pumps to be restored and brought back into use, possibly as a welly-wash facility in front of the toilets. This proposal met with a favourable response, and it was agreed to look into this further. Funding sources may be available to help with the cost.
Additional benches around the area – contacting the council to find out what is available and how we can get more benches installed at appropriate locations.
More plants and planters being investigated, using funds from the FET grant.
Noted that there is a new fund of £100m for the restoration of War Memorials in Scotland. Would it be possible to apply to the fund for restoring the working clock on the Blackness memorial? HP agreed to look into this further.
Website update: Action ALL – please encourage as many people as possible to keep using the website. MA will be uploading historical information of interest on an on-going basis.
BACC budget: update has been provided by DL, current balance is £3,286.36 of which £1,372.23 is BACC funds and £1,914.13 Christmas Fair funds. See attached spreadsheet.
Councillors’ Update: No update provided. It was noted that no Councillors have attended any BACC meeting since we changed the timetable. Agreed MA would contact the Councillors and remind them that their attendance at our meetings would be appreciated occasionally.
Planning Update: No applications or approvals noted since the last meeting.
Correspondence: an email received from the Leader of Falkirk Council noting that there are discussions ongoing about building a new Council HQ, as the current building is very costly to run. Concerns were expressed about how appropriate this is in a time of austerity.
Newsletter: A BACC newsletter has been produced and printed – assistance with distribution to all households in the area much appreciated. JS to deliver round the village, with delivery to the holdings being split between MA and NP. HP will also distribute via email.
Coal Gas Extraction: Noted that Cluff Energy has recently applied for licences to drill for coal gas beneath the Forth. Also noted that INEOS has successfully gained licences for Coal Bed gas extraction in the Forth Valley area.
MA thanked everyone for their attendance and closed the meeting at 8.45pm.
Date of Next Meeting:
Thursday 18th December, AGM 7pm followed with routine monthly meeting at 7.3 in the Community Hall