Community Council News

Minutes of February Meeting

Minute of the 251st Monthly Meeting of the Community Council of the Royal Burgh of Peebles and District held in the County Inn, Peebles, on Thursday 8th February 2018


            1. The Old Burgh Chamber was unavailable

            2. The meeting was chaired by L.Turnbull in the absence of L.Hayworth


Presentation by Lee Young, Operations Manager with Borders Buses.

            Borders Buses have invested £3.5 million since taking over routes from First Bus Ltd. They also recently took over two routes from Barc Travel. They have introduced a bus app and fare deals. L.Turnbull and L.Morrison commended Borders Buses for the improvement in the quality of buses and the service provided.  L.Morrison asked if bike racks could be provided on buses, and if there could be combined bus and train tickets?  Mr Young replied that the company had looked at different ways of incorporating provision for bikes on their buses but there is no easy solution.  He pointed out that the trains in the Borders are operated by a different company but he will ask if a combined ticket could be possible in future.  Cllr Tatler is working with Mr Young to investigate whether there can be a later bus from Galashiels to Peebles.  Mr Young said 480 customers were surveyed some months ago about the buses, timetables, and the new app, and an up-to-date survey of those 480 will be carried out soon.  He noted Cllr Chapman’s request for the survey to be in an easy read format and also timetables in bigger font for people with visual impairment.  J.Crawley asked about the heating on the buses and Mr Young explained that it is outwith the control of the drivers but they have a facility to report any issues at the end of the journey.  He also explained that drivers are encouraged to switch off the bus engine when stationary for any length of time. The Chairman thanked Mr Young for his attendance.     

Open Forum:  C.Shepheard attended but had no specific issues to raise.

Present: A.Snoddy, G.Mackie, J.Crawley, L.Morrison, M.Durkin, E.Smith, S.Rae, K.Marshall, C.Forsyth, G.Ramsay, L.Turnbull, S.Watson; Ex Officio Members: Cllr Chapman, Cllr Tatler,

In attendance:  K.Tatum from the Peeblesshire News, PC Sorrell.

Apologies for absence: L.Hayworth, J.Shearer; Cllr Bell, Cllr Haslam, Cllr Small, Cllr Anderson.


  1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting: Proposed by G.Ramsay and seconded by C.Forsyth 


  1. Police Report: circulated.  PC Sorrell reported that the spate of break-ins a few months ago has tailed off.  As Community Police Officer for Peebles she plans to link in with as many groups as possible.  The Royal Bank and the Bank of Scotland in the High Street have agreed to host drop-ins where she can speak with customers. She asked for suggestions of groups she might visit.  M.Durkin said a list of voluntary organisations is kept at the Bridge Volunteer Centre.  J.Crawley suggested that residents of Venlaw View retirement apartments would appreciate a visit by PC Sorrell, and Cllr Chapman mentioned the Tweeddale Citizens Panel.  The Secretary agreed to circulate PC Sorrell’s email address to Community Councillors so they can email her with any other suggestions.                                                                                               Action: A.Snoddy

There was further discussion about the 101 call system and PC Sorrell reminded us that calls are graded according to priority. L.Turnbull thanked PC Sorrell for attendance despite her being officially off duty.


  1. Matters Arising:
  • Presentation Evening- 6.30pm - 22nd February. The presentation by SBC’s Flood and Coastal Defence Team will be followed by a presentation by Donna Marshall about the project Change Works.  A.Snoddy said she hoped all Community Councillors would attend, and asked that they arrived before 6.30pm in order to help set things up.                                                                                                                 Action:all


  • Bus shelter at Haylodge Health Centre. It is hoped a suitable location will be identified by early Spring after which it will be costed and a source of funding identified. Cllr Tatler will pursue this request with Jason Hedley of SBC.                                                                                                                                        Action: R.Tatler


  • Loading Bay in the Eastgate.  G.Mackie reported support for this initiative from several traders in the Eastgate.  All Community Councillors agreed the loading bay should go ahead and the Secretary will report back to Jim McQuillan of SBC.  L.Turnbull thanked C.Forsyth for conducting the survey of the businesses there. 

                                                                                                             Action: A.Snoddy


  • Neidpath Viaduct. The Peeblesshire News removed their erroneous report from their Facebook page and printed the Secretary’s letter in the next week’s edition which clarified that the Wemyss and March estate are responsible for the upkeep of the viaduct, not SBC.


  • Barrier at south end of Priorsford Footbridge.  Cllr Tatler believes that moving the barrier back might resolve the problems encountered by users of mobility scooters and wheelchairs.
  • Community Safety Awareness Day.  It was agreed that PC Sorrell’s initiative might suffice so we would defer this project in the meantime.


  • Tweeddale Localities Bid Fund – information on the different organisations appealing for funds, and how to vote, has been circulated. Cllr Tatler explained there would be an opportunity in the Burgh Hall on 17th February for all bidding groups to present their case for funding to the public. Short videos will be made of the presentations.  There was a discussion about how voting would be regulated and how parity between the groups – bidding for amounts ranging from £25,000 to a few hundred pounds – could be achieved.  Cllr Tatler responded that this first round is a trial and that lessons will be learned for further allocations of funds.   Closing date for voting is 28th February.


  • Parking at the Tennis Courts – S.Watson noted that the parking has improved (but it is winter!)


  • LED bulbs.  The Secretary has circulated the email from Cllr Haslam to Community Councillors in which it is explained why the particular LED bulbs have been chosen for street lighting in Peebles.  She agreed to send it out to SBC Councillors as well.                                                                                                        Action: A.Snoddy


  1. Chairman's Report.  There was no Chairman’s Report in the absence of L.Hayworth


  1. Councillors Reports 


Councillor Chapman has been working on SBC’s Budget which will be announced next week. He has attended all five SBC Citizens Panels, groups which support the most vulnerable people in the Borders.  Cllr Chapman joined PC Sorrell on patrol recently to speak with young people in the town and find out what their issues are.  As a Youth Worker he wanted to see if he could assist in any way. They found that there  is a sense among young people that there is ‘nothing to do’ in the evenings - a Borders wide attitude.  In Galashiels young folk congregate around the entrance to Tesco where they have access to wifi, food and toilets.  L.Morrison wondered if empty premises in our High Street, e.g. the Tatler Café, could be turned into a venue for young people to use?   


Councillor Tatler reported on the Tweeddale Area Partnership meeting in January which was very well attended.  The next meeting will be held in West Linton on 7th March and will focus on health.  He has received some correspondence from Eildon Housing about the development at the Tweedbridge Court site which he will forward on to A.Snoddy (because of her involvement with the Dukehaugh Residents Association).                                                                                                                                    Action: Cllr Tatler 

He thanked Peebles Resilient Group for clearing snow in Kingsland Square following the recent heavy snowfall, and for being ready to help when the snow melt caused the Tweed to rise afterwards.  (Fortunately no properties were flooded this time.) 


  1. Treasurers Report: circulated.  


  1. Bonnie Peebles: no report


  1. Planning Report:  There has been very little movement and therefore this month’s Planning Meeting was cancelled.  Developers have submitted an appeal regarding the site at Venlaw and the Reporter visited the site last week.  The plans which accompanied the application to demolish and rebuild the filling station on the Innerleithen Road were lacking in detail but have since been revised and re-submitted.  S.Watson and L.Turnbull commented that it that it sits in a conservation area and must blend in with neighbouring properties.  The plans for the March Street Mill site will come before SBC’s Planning Committee shortly.  Cllr Anderson has agreed to speak at it on behalf of the community.


  1. Peebles Community Trust: no report.  The Secretary reminded the Community Council that the PCT AGM is on 13th Feb at 7.30pm in the Rugby Club.


  1. Peebles Resilient Community: It was noted that there will be a Resilience Day at Peebles High School on 28th February.                  


  1. Consultations:
  • Fuel Poverty Strategy: circulated. L.Turnbull thanked L.Morrison for submitting the response on behalf of the Community Council.


  • Flight Paths: S.Rae attended a meeting on 24th January at the Scottish Parliament where proposed changes to flight paths over Edinburgh and the surrounding area were discussed.  He reported that the discussions focussed more on communities in Edinburgh which would be affected, e.g. Cramond, than the more outlying areas.   Although the plans are currently on hold because of technical difficulties it is expected that they will be implemented in the first quarter of 2019.  Edinburgh Airport does not have a good reputation for engaging with communities.  L.Turnbull thanked Mr Rae for going along to the meeting and for his feedback.


  • Police Plan 2018/2019: L.Turnbull has read the Plan and found it to be aspirational but vague in its plans to tackle violence, disorder and antisocial behaviour.  Cllr Chapman said that the police force in the Borders has been restructured to reflect the localities structure:  Each locality has its own Inspector and team. Our local Police Inspector is Michael Bennet and he will cover from West Linton to Clovenfords. 


  1. Any Other Business
  • Report from Community Councillor E.Smith .  Mr Smith reported that the light on Priorsford Bridge is working once again.
  • Secretary: despite adverts on the Peebles Facebook pages, and a prominent article in the Peeblesshire News, no-one has come forward to take over the role of Secretary.  Graham Mackie, the Treasurer, said the current honorarium is £600 per annum and wondered if that amount is set by SBC?  The SBC Cllrs explained that the amount paid is a decision for each Community Council.
  • Mr Mackie is unable to attend the Presentation of SBC’s Budget on 13th February and asked if anyone else could go?  No-one put their name forward.
  • S.Watson commented on the report in the Peeblesshire News which said that claims for damage to vehicles caused by potholes were down by 50% - this despite the fact our roads are in a worse state than ever. Cllr Chapman confirmed that SBC Councillors were advised that there is indeed a drop in the number of claims being submitted.  He would encourage everyone to reports potholes to SBC.
  • K.Marshall has asked SBC to put up posters around the town to deter dog fouling.
  • C.Forsyth was pleased to report that Victoria Park Day Centre is now ready to be used.
  • J.Crawley complained about the state of the pavement outside Osso in the Eastgate.  Cllr Chapman advised him to report it to SBC.                                    Action: J.Crawley
  • E.Smith said there is a large pothole in Witchwood Crescent.


The next meeting is on Thursday 8th March at the earlier time of 7pm to allow for a presentation by members of the newly formed Peebles and District Men’s Shed Group, and also a final report from Douglas Wright about the Scottish Borders Walking Festival 2017.