2014 October Minutes

Blackness Area Community Council

Minutes of Meeting 15 October 2014



Council members: Merv Archibald (MA), Dave Lawson (DL), Nick Paul (NP), Sharman Faulds (SF).

In addition, 5 members of the public were present. 


Apologies: Martin Watt, Martin Knott, Councillor Adrian Mahoney



MA opened the meeting at 7.00pm by welcoming all those attending.


Approval of Previous Minutes September 17 2014

Approved, subject to one amendment: figures in additional printed budget statement should read per the minutes which are correct.

Minutes approval. Proposed SF, seconded DL


Actions from Previous Minutes

• Land at the church, which may assist the wish for a village car park – MA reported discussions are ongoing with various parties

• New community councillors needed – agreed that we would all continue to pass the word round that volunteers are more than welcome to join or otherwise assist the Community Council – Action: ALL 

Suggestion we add information about this to the Community Website – Action MA

• Blackness Primary School liaison – MA to meet with the Head Teacher on 23rd October

• Location of village bike racks – MA has received a large scale map of the village from Falkirk Council.  It is proposed that we agree potential locations for Cycle Parking, ensuring that these locations are co-ordinated in a logical manner with other items such as benches, planters etc. The cycle parking will be U shaped stainless steel. Potential locations would then be plotted on the map, and copies posted up on notice boards and on the website for consultation with residents. Action: MA to email round the map. Blackness is Beautiful meeting (to be held on 2nd November) will also discuss locations.

• Replacement notice board at public toilet: agreed that this particular notice board has now reached the end of its useful life. A replacement would cost £300. There was some discussion about whether, in view of the selection of new notice boards now in situ around the village, whether this level of spend could be justified. Agreed to discuss with local residents, and to put a single notice in that board in the meantime directing people to look at the other boards. Agreed we should also be making use of the new Community website as a further means of communication. Some people reported difficulties logging into the website, suggestion that we invite the webmaster to a future meeting to give everyone a “tour” and answer any questions about it. Action: MA to ask Jonathan to attend when convenient

• Speeding adjacent to school – MA has contacted Cllr Mahoney regarding this

• Hogmanay party – Martins Watt and Knott are looking into this

• Insurance – DL has contacted Falkirk Council to ask about our Public Liability insurance.  Cheryl McCallum at the Council has confirmed that as a Community Council, we have both Public Liability and Personal Accident cover sufficient to cover us for any events we might wish to organise, such as the Family Fun Day etc. Cheryl confirmed that it is Council policy to issue a “covering letter” rather than a Certificate of Insurance. We have received such a letter.

• Admin Grant – DL confirmed he has been in contact with Andrew Cassels at Falkirk Council to confirm that our accounts have been forwarded to McFarlane Gray as a condition of receiving our admin grant from the Council.


Community Police Report

No report provided


Future Events/Fundraising

Christmas Fair is happening on 23rd November. Jill Granger is organising and is looking out for volunteers / helpers / donations of home baking etc. Contact Jill directly. All stall spaces have been taken up. NP advised that although he is working elsewhere that day, if required, he could put up a market stall early in the morning.  Action - NP to contact JG


Community Projects

• John Muir Way celebrations and Blackness – Bo’ness Path, Opening event ideas.

A question was asked about accessibility of the path, in particular the access for wheelchair users or prams. Action MA to speak to Angus Duncan at Falkirk Council

MA reported that if we have any kind of Community opening event, Falkirk Council is eager to participate and include some of the primary sponsors of the project and possibly the Sports Minister. Issue is that path is still not quite finished, so fixing a date is difficult. There is a question mark over whether the school would be able to participate in any event.

A torchlight procession was mooted, however given the nature of the path with steep drops and narrow areas, it was felt that this may be rather dangerous and it was ruled out on the grounds of safety. However, it was agreed that a walk along the path during daylight hours from Carriden ending with a small reception at the Castle would be an appropriate thing to do. Provisional date for the Daylight Ramble agreed Sunday 7th December in the afternoon. Other ideas – possibly a pipe band send off? Arrange for the Castle Warden to pipe in at the Castle? 

Agreed we would have to think about how to marshal the walk safely and ensure we have first aiders on hand etc. Transport to Carriden for the start - would the church minibuses be available? (Low Port also have minibuses as an alternative)

Action MA to liaise with school, Angus Duncan at Falkirk Council, and Carriden Church for transportation to the Carriden end.

• Improving village appearance/ Fundraising – all

Blackness is Beautiful meeting will be held in the Castle on Sunday 2nd November 1.30m. All welcome.  Discuss: Winter planting arrangements, how to spend the £800 grant just received from Falkirk Environment Trust, Cycle parking locations. Noted that Falkirk Council have cleared away the summer bedding plants, but also seem to have removed some of our perennials. Action: NW would contact the Council to find out why.  Action: HP to arrange a poster about the meeting for the notice boards, an email invite to existing members, and a note on the community website.

• Website update - ensure you are registered and spread the word to family, friends and neighbours – MA to discuss issues with webmaster 



DL reported new activity – received grant of £800 from FET for Blackness is Beautiful projects. Expenditure due of £250 has been sent to Addiewell Prison Workshop as donation for timber planters. 

Bank Balance is £3286.36, of which BACC balance is £1372.23 (includes the FET grant), and remaining £1914.13 is being held on behalf of the Christmas Fair. See attached budget statement. 

DL reported that Chloe Hunter at Falkirk Council has advised that as a Community Council we can arrange for our accounts to be audited free of charge.  Action: DL will deliver a set of accounts to Brian Pirrie at Falkirk Council.


Councillors’ Update

No report received


Planning Update

• Dart Energy, CBM extraction at Airth. Following the Public Enquiry, the next stage would usually be the publication of the Reporter’s findings.  However, due to new government legislation on, inter alia, shale gas extraction, the application has been called in by the Scottish Ministers. The Report will therefore be directed to the Ministers, and is expected by the end of the year. The Ministers are therefore likely to make a decision within 3 months of receipt, ie probably sometime in Spring 2015. 

• Other applications. No other current planning applications in the area last month.


Any other Business

• MA reported that an email had been received from CCoF (Concerned Communities of Falkirk) regarding human waste being used as fertiliser. What comments do we have? Following some discussion, agreed that we would not be in favour of this happening in our area due to the smell and concerns about pollution, and would only support such action if the waste were properly treated and inert prior to being spread. Action – MA to respond to email on behalf of Community.

• Village shop – questions raised about progress, no information available. Action: DL to try and contact the owner to discuss this and the possibility of holding meetings there or in the pub.

• MA reported that there is a Community Council forum being held on 23rd October and he will be attending.


• Carol Service: Provisional date: 10th December 2014 at 7.00pm.

MA reported that he will be discussing the School’s involvement again this year when he meets the Head Teacher on the 23rd October.  In the event that the school does not wish to participate, then he will also approach the Parent Council, as this is a much valued annual Community event that we would like to continue to support. 

• Falkirk Council Website: NP reported that the website is still showing our previous meeting dates, and asked how we can get this updated? Action: DL said he would contact Chloe Hunter and find out who Shona Barton’s successor is and ask for the details to be changed.

• NP asked if in trying to encourage more local folks to read the notice boards, would it be possible to “rotate” the permanent information contained in them?  MA reported that although possible in theory, this is difficult in practice due to the strong adhesive holding the info boards in place.

• NP reported that the wooden shelter in the playpark appears to have been vandalised recently.  Agreed that the sooner this is repaired, the better.  Action - Passed to Blackness is Beautiful via HP to discuss at meeting on 2nd November and agree a plan of action. MA would also mention it to the Parent Council and see if anyone wishes to be involved in the repairs.

• NW reported that there have been personnel changes at Falkirk Council environment dept, and she would find out who the new person in charge there is, as we want to continue to liaise with them re planting, locations of waste bins etc. Action – NW to contact Falkirk Council.


Date of Next Meeting:

Wednesday 19th November, 7pm in the Community Hall

December’s meeting would take place on 17th December at 7pm in the Community Hall.



MA closed the meeting at 8.30pm.