Community Council News

Peebles Community Council - Minutes April 2018

Minute of the 253rd Monthly Meeting of the Community Council of the Royal Burgh of Peebles and District held in the Old Burgh Chamber, Chambers Institution, Peebles, on Thursday 12th April 2018


Community Council Election 2018

The number of nominations did not exceed the number of vacancies therefore those standing for re-election will be reappointed unopposed.  Caitlin Ramsay has been co-opted on and will take on the role of Secretary.


Presentation: Park Run

G.Mackie spoke about the proposed Park Run project in Peebles. There are over 500 Park Runs in the UK, all taking place at the same time on a Saturday.  Although it is free for people to participate there is an initial set-up cost of £3,000.  Mr Mackie said the organising group in Peebles hope to raise funds from various sources and that they have requested that the Community Council hold those funds in the PCC bank account until required.  Once funding has been achieved, there will be no further call on the CC.  There is precedent for such an arrangement:  the Peebles Mural Project. Community Councillors agreed this arrangement could go ahead.


Presentation: re-CYCLEd signs by Keith Fiskin & Aeger MacIver representing SEStran and Tweeddale Youth Action. The project aims to engage with Primary School children to design and build signs for walking and cycling routes in and around the town. M.Durkin said that signs for cycling paths are needed and that this is a project we should support.  L.Hayworth agreed, and suggested that Peebles Civic Society should also be consulted.  L. Morrison said that Tweedgreen did something similar in the past, and this would be a great development of that.  J.Shearer expressed concern because a pathway sign was recently sawn down by youths.  She was reassured that these new signs would be mounted on metal posts. Cllr Tatler thought the concept was a fantastic idea.  He hoped that the importance of cyclists and walkers respectfully sharing the same space could be addressed by the signage.  Cllr Anderson suggested a panel of judges would be the best way to judge the signs in due course. 


Open Forum

The two Co-Chairs of Kingsland Primary School Council, Judith Ackerman and Kim Rand, raised concerns about cuts in the school cleaning budget.  They have contacted the other Peebles schools, and all report the same detrimental effects.  The cuts have had a significant impact on staffing.  Cleaners are now working split shifts and the school has lost its caretaker.  These staff are trained in cleaning bodily fluids using chemicals, which must be dealt with there and then and can't be carried out by untrained staff.  Standards of cleaning have slipped due to the reduced number of hours, and school staff are logging issues.  SBC has suggested that the school can ask for a deep clean whenever that is required but members of the School Council do not consider that is a viable or cost effective solution to reduced routine cleaning.  Research indicates that cleanliness is in the top 4 factors to maintaining productivity in a learning environment.  Kingsland School Council is looking for support from the Community Council in raising and resolving these issues.  L Hayworth invited the two elected SBC members present at the meeting to look at the issue in more detail.  Cllr Tatler said they would take up the issue with SBC.

Cllr Anderson said it is important to hear how these issues are impacting schools on the ground, as often decisions are taken by SBC without considering the impact.

                                                                                                                             Action: Cllr Tatler and Cllr Anderson


Member of the public Dorothy Crombie compained to SBC about the state of the pavement between the Green Tree Hotel and the bicycle shop.  She copied in the 3 SBC Councillors for Tweeddale West to her letter but the surface of the pavement remains damaged.  Cllr Tatler and Cllr Anderson said they would report her concerns to Jason Hedley at SBC.                               Action: Cllr Tatler and Cllr Anderson


Member of the public Michael Adams complained about the general state of the roads in this area.  He said that although SBC have a system to report potholes online nothing appears to happen.  He is aware that Council funds are limited but members of the public are massively out of pocket due to damage to their cars and bikes, and there is a risk of a fatality.  Cllr Tatler said the Council is obliged to carry out repairs when defects are reported, however they will not do so when the weather is bad because there is no point carrying out a temporary repair that will just get worse.  The works programme has been delayed due to the weather, but will happen. Cllr Anderson added that additional funding for road repairs will come from the Scottish Government under the Bellwin Scheme.  L Morrison said she had come off her bike due to a pothole in Caledonian Road.  The pothole was fixed next day without her having reported it, but she wondered if there a way of alerting people to these potholes until they are repaired?  Cllr Tatler said that is what should happen - either the pothole gets repaired, or warning signs or cones put in place.  He will check with SBC that the online reporting system is working correctly.                                                                Action: Cllr Tatler


Present: L.Hayworth, L.Turnbull, A.Snoddy, G.Mackie, L.Morrison, S.Watson, S.Rae, G.Ramsay, C.Forsyth, M.Durkin, K.Marshall, A.Mackenzie, J.Crawley, J.Shearer. Ex Officio members: Cllr Anderson, Cllr Tatler. 

Observing: C.Ramsay, F.Durkin 

In attendance: H.Scott of the Peeblesshire News 

Apologies: E.Smith, Cllr Small, Cllr Bell, Cllr Chapman.

A.Snoddy asked if apologies from SBC Cllrs could be notified prior to the meeting? For example a member of the public had come along to speak to a specific SBC Cllr whom Mrs Snoddy had said would be in attendance but in fact was not.


1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting: Proposed by C.Forsyth, seconded by L Morrison


2. Police Report: circulated. 

The Chairman noted that this report was written in a different tone: some effort had been made to address our past concerns.  It also contained a request to the Community Council for guidance as to what information we would like regarding 101 calls. L Turnbull is going to meet Inspector Bennett next week to discuss several issues mentioned in the Police Report including whether drug abuse is a problem in the town and concern about youths and alcohol. Cllr Anderson wondered how Peebles will benefit from the new Sergeant and 6 Constables assigned to the area? Cllr Tatler said SBC Councillors have not yet been told what the community action team will be doing.  Cllr Anderson said it would be useful to understand how its activities will be recorded.  J Crawley said PC Sorrell had recently visited the residents at Venlaw View and had a very useful session with them. 


3. Matters Arising

Bus shelter:  the Secretary is still awaiting an update following her site meeting with Jason Hedley and John McQillan of SBC. 

Barrier at Priorsford Bridge:  the barrier has not yet been moved but Cllr Tatler said it would happen very soon.


4. Chairman's Report

L.Hayworth was pleased to attend the recent Tweeddale Area Partnership forum.  It has a much more effective format than the previous one.    He is looking forward to seeing how the output is incorporated in strategic documents going forward.  All elected members want to listen to what the community have to say, which is encouraging.  

                The other item covered at the forum was the outcome of the Localities Bid Fund for first third of the money which had been allocated to Tweeddale.  The one bid that asked for the most money got the most votes and took up most of the budget.  One of the areas being looked at will be changes to the voting system - perhaps in the next round, everyone who votes must vote for 3 projects.  If you don't vote for 3 projects, your vote would be void.  This would avoid votes being spread too thinly, and avoid single votes.  It is also important to note that people in the community seeking funding need to work to encourage people to get out and vote!  Lessons will be learned on how the bid fund is managed, and on how communities respond to it.  L Morrison commented that another possibility would be to encourage bids to be linked to agreed threads of strategy.  This would not be to discourage bids that are less relevant, but would encourage bids that tie in with strategy themes.  Cllr Tatler said Councillors are yet to discuss the outcome of the Localities Bid Fund, but ideas like this may be incorporated in the next round. L Hayworth noted that a local benefactor has purchased a rickshaw due to the profile of the group being raised through the Localities Bid process. 

                The Chairman spent a lot of time last month working on the partnership between Peebles Community Trust and Peebles Community Council, and how we want to take the opportunities that the PCT represents (being formed in a different way to the CC) and how we can better work together.  PCT is formally inviting a CC member to sit on the board of the PCT.  L.Morrison, the Vice Chair, has agreed to fill this role, and L.Hayworth sought approval from the Community Council which was given.  PCT will continue to make a monthly contribution to the CC.  It is planned that there will be a paid coordinator position in the PCT to facilitate its work.


5. Councillors Reports

Cllr Tatler: The operation of the Localities Bid Fund will be reviewed and lessons learned.  The second round will be much more equitable.  It was a good idea that the first tranche of funding was just £30,000. The Area Partnership noted that Tweeddale had the highest proportion of people voting.  

                Tweeddale Area Partnership: this is an opportunity for the community to fully contribute. The next meeting is on 23rd May and the theme will be Quality of Life. 

                The parking working group have had a second meeting.  Their remit is to look at parking across the whole of the Borders, and they will report before October.  They are looking again at the possibility of decriminalising parking.  Parking regulations across the Border towns are all different, so they are considering  standardisation.  Council Officers will come out to each area and talk to the Community Councils about what the particular local issues are.  Cllr Tatler has put together an online survey, and would like to get our thoughts about the questions contained in it.  He will pass it to the Secretary for circulation.                                                                                 Action: Cllr Tatler and A.Snoddy

L.Hayworth suggested that once the survey has been finalised it can be publicised on the Community Council’s Facebook page and website.

                Cllr Tatler reported that the new day service has commenced in Victoria Park Centre. It will be known as Green Gardens, and will be officially opened by a Councillor and one other person.  He invited proposals on who that person might be and M.Durkin suggested a long term user of the Centre.  J.Crawley wondered why the Centre name is being changed? L.Hayworth thought the new name was more welcoming.  C.Forsyth said the gardens around the Centre are lovely, and also that food is grown there for use in the kitchens. 

                The Schools Consultation was well attended, though Cllr Tatler was disappointed at the negative comments and presentation given by the PTA. 

Cllr Anderson had a happy afternoon at the launch of the newly restored Great Polish Map of Scotland at Barony Castle.  There were many Scottish and Polish dignitaries in attendance.  17000 Polish troops were sent to defend Scotland during the war with many stationed in this area.  A lot of them did not return to Poland after the war.  One, Jan Tomasik, bought Barony Castle in 1968, and had the world's only 3D Relief map of a country created.   Cllr Anderson recommended that everyone should visit the attraction, and read about it online.


6. Reports for Approval

Treasurer’s Report: Circulated. 

The main item of expenditure was £135 for the advertisement in the Peeblesshire News for nominations for Community Councillors. There is a surplus of £35 for year.  Reserves are just over £1000.  L.Hayworth asked if there will be a transaction from the Scottish Borders Walking Festival 2017 in the Project fund? The Treasurer responded that it will be kept separate in the same way Bonnie Peebles funds are kept separately from the main funds.  

Bonnie Peebles: their meeting was last night, so there are no Minutes yet.  They raised the wonderful sum of £1120 at their recent Coffee Morning.  L.Hayworth said consideration might have to be given to sponsorship of public flowerbeds in future if SBC decide to reduce the funds spent on annuals. 


7. Planning: report circulated.

Eastgate filling station: The Community Council objected, as agreed some time ago, to the white metal cladding proposed for the outside of the building.  Planning approval was granted by SBC with conditions, the principle one of which was that materials used had to be ratified by the planning officer.  The Community Council feel that an opportunity has been lost to enhance that corner of the town which is a conservation area.  The elected Councillors present were asked how we can establish the best way forward to influence planning officers about the materials used.  L.Hayworth noted that this is a gateway site in Peebles and asked why are we abrogating the decision of its appearance to a council officer?  What's the point of consulting?  We have no objection to a modern design, just the poor materials used.  The SBC Councillors suggested writing a letter and Cllr Anderson asked to be copied in to it.  She said she would raise the matter herself with the Planning Department and L.Turnbull asked to be present at that meeting.     

                                                                                                                            Action: Cllr Anderson and L.Turnbull 

March St Mill:  Peebles Community Council, Peebles Civic Society and Peebles Community Trust have written a joint letter to the Linden group who own Millbrook Textiles – and therefore the site – to ask them to reconsider selling the site to a housing developer. 

Castle Venlaw Hotel: 2 planning applications have been submitted to convert this hotel to residential accommodation - one to convert the internal building and one to build a large extension.  Peebles Community Council has objected to the conversion to flats because of the loss of employment on that site.  Concern has also been expressed by Scottish Heritage about the large extension and external detail proposed in the design.  Individuals can send in objections too.  If there are less than 5 objections the proposed changes will be decided by SBC Officers and not by Councillors. 

Tweedbridge Court: demolition will start on 27 April.  The date has been delayed because electrical power to the building had not been turned off.


8. Peebles Community Trust

L.Hayworth reported that PCT is moving ahead.  They have received funding for a paid project coordinator and operating costs and they have strengthened the board of the PCT.  The asset transfer for Eshiels Wood is in hand, and they are maintaining interest in March St Mill and allotments.  There will be lots to report going forward.


9. Resilient Community

The Resilient Community day at the High School was cancelled due to severe weather and has been rescheduled for the end of May.

Cllr Anderson spoke about the blocking of the mounting channel for the flood gates at Tweed Green Vennel.  SBC’s legal department have said this is an enforcement issue, and the owner of the nursing home cannot obstruct the flood gate barriers.  Action will be taken if the mounting channel continues to be blocked.  

10. Consultations

Consultations will be undertaken on behalf of the Community Council as follows: 

                Scottish Water – L.Turnbull

                 Alcohol Licensing – G.Mackie 

The Chairman expressed concern about some of the wording in the Live Borders Library Rules consultation.  There are references to ‘damage or loss of property belonging to Live Borders’. 

However Live Borders do not own these assets. Live Borders provide a management service to operate assets on behalf of the council and community.  The property and assets remain in public ownership.   Cllr Anderson agreed that there is a real issue here about the relationship between Live Borders and the management & ownership of public assets.   Cllr Anderson and Cllr Tatler will raise the issue at SBC; A.Snoddy will write a letter to Live Borders on behalf of the Community Council.                                                                                                               Action: Cllrs Tatler and Anderson; A.Snoddy


11. Any Other Business

L.Hayworth reported that concern has been expressed to him about the wooden fencing next to Fotheringham Bridge which is in a poor state of repair.  Allan Mackenzie of Peebles Callants and Cllr Tatler (as Chair of Peebles Common Good Fund) will liaise to establish ownership and how best to proceed.                                                                                                                                                                                                   Action: A.Mackenzie and Cllr Tatler 

A Mackenzie asked where a new Peebles graveyard is going to go?  This question was asked 9 years ago, and the response from SBC then was that there was sufficient capacity for 10 years.  We are almost at that point now so what is the plan?  Action: A.Snoddy will write to Martin Joyce of SBC Assets and Infrastructure Department

J.Crawley said his daughter recently made an observation about the new LED lighting in the town.  It is not providing the same degree of lighting as the previous lighting. 

G.Mackie attended a recent presentation about the re-meandering of the Eddleston Water. This is a groundbreaking project led by Professor Christopher Spray which endeavours to reduce flooding by natural methods.  It is not quite the first such project in the world, but it is in the vanguard.  Mr Mackie commended SBC for being well ahead of the game in this regard. 

C.Forsyth suggested installing lights by the paths in Victoria Park.  Cllr Tatler said he is in talks with Jason Hedley of SBC about the installation of low level solar powered lighting in Victoria Park and at Tweed Green. 

J.Shearer wanted to make folk aware of recent scam letters.  She had received one suggesting she had won "Peebles Postcode Lottery".


School Brae toilets: These continue to be vandalised.  The Secretary has been in touch again with Jason Hedley at SBC who has indicated he has a plan to resolve the issue

New enterprise agency for South of Scotland: Peebles Community Trust will engage with this project.  There will be a consultation on Wednesday 9th May (evening) and 10th May (morning) May at the Eastgate Theatre. 

Bin the litter: G.Ramsay said he had not received a great response yet.  He is aware that Peebles March Riders ride-out is on the same day.  

Peebles in Bloom: M.Durkin has spoken with Peebles CAN who are keen to run Peebles in Bloom.  She will meet with them next week.  One of the Peebles CAN group may be co-opted on to the Community Council to co-ordinate the project. 

Gypsy Glen Hill Race:  volunteers are sought to marshall this race in May.  The Secretary will confirm the date. C.Forsyth volunteered to once again be the marshall at the top of the hill.                                                                                                                                                                                                    Action: A.Snoddy 

Eastgate Loading Bay: C.Forsyth asked when we could expect to see the loading bay created in the Eastgate? The latest information is that a Traffic Regulation Order needs to be in place first.  The loading bay will appear around July. 


The next monthly meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday 10th May 2018,

preceded by the Annual General Meeting at 7pm.