Minutes April 2021
The fourth digital NCC meeting of the year capturing community highlights and on-going issues. The large Springfield development proposal was once again central to discussions, in preparation for the first virtual consultation. Welfare Park and noticeboard improvements discussed. Latest developments for Community Development Trust, rollout of the second issue of the Newtongrange Flyer and Police and Councillor report tabled. There was intermittent issues with the zoom connection throughout the meeting.
- Welcome and introductions –
- Apologies on behalf of Fiona Brooks, Clr. Johstone (circulated report for meeting) and Muirhead
- Jo Dunlop (JD) offered mailchimp advice for future developments.
- JA noted speeding was the main take-out from latest police report.
- JA welcomed the 10+ attendees who all wished to attend primarily due to the Springfield development item. JA asked NCC members to introduce themselves to attendees.
- JA highlighted previous note for a permanent NCC secretary
- JA working with Justin Venton on action to redo signage of NO DOGS IN PLAYPARK
- March minutes formally approved after two corrections (proposed AM; seconded LA)
- Police Report
- RA emailed report to NCC members 27/04/21, total calls below and full report attached.
Total Incidents 120
COVID related – 3
Domestic Disputes/Incidents – 5
Missing person – 5
Concern for/Assistance required– 31
Youth calls – 3
- PC Jason McFarlane is the new Community Police Officer for area (replacing PC Brian McGuff). PC McFarlane unable to participate in zoom calls (must be Teams) at current time. CW mentioned the exorbitant costs of using Teams.
- Regarding Police Report RA felt that due to the continual bike theft an awareness campaign & possible covid compliant Community Police event at ‘The Pool’ should be arranged.
- AM gave attendees an overview of how NCC works with the Community Police officer with ongoing speeding issues, speed trap areas & crossing points. “We get good response”
- RA emailed report to NCC members 27/04/21, total calls below and full report attached.
- Springfield Development
- JA/AM continued action to update page to keep it live. JA to check on firstname.lastname@example.org as main contact email for development correspondence. You can email NCC as AM/JA are to pull a formal response on behalf of the Community Council.
- AM opened the discussion with comment that this is “clearly a large development” but reminded us that there are 4 separate areas earmarked by the council as designated housing in local development plan c.2010. At this stage the developer does not have to disclose total number but this could be a development of 500-1,800 houses. The houses could be built in a 5-7 year plan. AM suggested full planning application with actual numbers by June.
- Springfield had previously looked at developing in 2008 and have now submitted a pre-application notice. This triggers a 12 week consultation & development period where the developer needs to make the community aware and gets meaningful scrutiny for public consultation & comment.
- Due to covid restrictions the public consultation will be on Wednesday 28/04/21 online. AM revisited what is happening on Wednesday 28th April what participants take home and how to register concerns. The two consultations are for the community to make comment which will enable developer to consider and then submit the planning application with full drawings & number of houses etc. Full details here
- AM reiterated that after consultation on 28/04/21 developer is expected to address all comments and take on board what they can do & what they cannot. The developer needs to be held to account throughout consultation and in the end have a bespoke plan, not generic that really understands local communities need.
- AM asked question what sort of things to consider for comments? Need to be technically viable (evidence based & pertinent, not emotive); Coalescence of villages; loss of character; how has development looked at original houses; affordable housing is it 25%; developer contributions; conservation areas; desire lines; local knowledge needs to be considered and addressed; specific to area; pressure on already strained services; new roads required; connection with railway station; will it be intergenerational & mixed living development; public square, retail. Local biodiversity wildlife bats, newts and river Esk. Flooding/drainage risks are all relevant issues.
- Due to the overlap of Community Councils. JA & AM from NCC are working with and having online meetings with representatives from Mayfield & Easthouses and Gorebridge CCs. The CC’s are a consultee and will make full response gathered from the wider community. With the intention to having meaningful discussions to coordinate a collective approach moving forward.
- It has been confirmed Springfield needs to do an environmental impact assessment survey. AM on a private capacity has already written an email regarding the need for another EIA as land, tracks, wildlife and climate change on area needs considered. Angus Whyte asked whether drainage is considered in EIA? AM confirmed it does;
- JA expressed caution with his feeling that we are unlikely to stop the development in its entirety. The previous development objections are no longer tabled. Scottish Government steer and pressure to build with Midlothian Council needing economic stimulation, local workers, businesses etc.. With The public need to also consider how we can positively benefit from any potential development? The best result for Newtongrange with contributions spent effectively, to look at the plans and ensure the precious green spaces and corridors continue.
- Catchment area for Newtongrange Primary School due to change.
- JA has action for the joint Community Council group to write to three Councillors in ward & Council itself.
- JM highlighted a point that was made when attending an online National Planning meeting last October. Point 4 – must have local connections and local architecture i.e mining villages. JM felt new developments tend to destroy green space and public recreation areas, turning them into an urban desert. Another requirement is decent shops within 15-20 minutes walk of development.
- LA questioned whether the view up to the fields and Camp Wood would remain? AM reiterated that as a community we should not come out with less green space, amenities and services. The worry of the continual coalescence and loss of identity of Newtongrange, by no clear green space with neighbouring towns of Mayfield, Easthouses, Gorebridge, Bonnyrigg needs addressed. The building typology for this heritage area needs special consideration.
- The local ecology by-law of areas with badgers, bats and newts needing special consideration.
- AM highlighted road and drainage concerns. The development would need a new road, separate square, address foul water and effluent water run-off into the South Esk. At previous NCC meetings we have highlighted previous developments impact, on drainage and flooding in Welfare Park. This development will only make this worse.
- The need for employment opportunities, new or improved schools and the stresses on medical services of Newbattle and Newbyres medical centre of possibly 2,000-2,500 extra patients. The development could have a zone for new primary, GP or retail.
- AM felt no extraordinary meeting required before next meeting.
- JA informed attendees NCC is looking for a permanent Secretary.
- Newtongrange Development Trust (NDT)
- JD informed other attendees of NDT. The group that originated from Newtongrange Resilience Volunteers as a reaction to the first lockdown, now has charitable status and a Board of Directors. The group has had a number of virtual meetings usually first Tuesday of the month. Next meeting 04/05/21. The trust can apply for funds that benefit the whole community. They can pay for expertise to drive forward the agenda
- JA will get website presence soon.
- Next “The Pool” event Saturday 08/05/21. This monthly table-top session. Helps keep in-touch with vulnerable, addresses poverty issues with surplus food provided by CO-OP, Tesco, Morrisons and Tesco. Meetings ongoing with Apex-Scotland regarding possible use of former Sidings building.
- 2020-21 Year Aims for NCC– On agenda for reference during wider discussion
- Protecting and improving services:
- Noticeboard – JM has action to ask supplier if new noticeboard for entrance of park can have LED light source. JA in discussions with CO-OP with regards to funding the noticeboard & Midlothian Council with regards to installing noticeboard and running power supply to noticeboard for lighting.
- Welfare Park – Concern about prominent position of a proposed new container (football changing room facility) location adjacent to Abbey Lands football pitch. JR mentioned the old Terry Healy container was at least obscured from view. JA has already responded on NCC behalf. Could they not upgrade exsisting pavilions for community use? JA informed meeting of the Town Centre funding for park which Keith Slight MC confirmed was now £79,000 (not £130,000) for new SMART (energy saving) It will still be £25,000 for drainage operations and additional £25,000 for updating playpark RM mentioned that some play equipment already removed. It was also highlighted that the three new metal chairs were getting great use of. JR mentioned thepath at St Anne’s corner is to be tarred (or similar) to help prevent flooding.The new play equipment is to be disability compliant.Other costings upgrade of War Memorial £16,000 and upgrade of harling at entrance of the park. JA asked group if an avenue of cherry trees should be considered and phased cutting back trees around old tennis courts to improve conditions? The ambition is to have neglected Old tennis courts/football astroturf cleaned out and groups who use facility for football/keep fit or tennis have now been approached by RA. Newtongrange PS Head Teacher Vicky Morgan agreed in principle to loaning tennis equipment over School Holidays 2021.
- Newtongrange Park Life group held a litter pick which JR, LA & RA attended. 20+ bags of litter. Clr. Johnstone provided litter pickers and bags. Next one is Saturday 29/05/21 10AM-12PM.
- JR highlighted her safety concerns regarding zebra crossing beside Dean Tavern – Park Gates on the Main Street. Cars are just not stopping (not looking to the right). JD mentioned even Robert the lollipop man with high visibility jacket had near misses. JD to get photos of the spot.
- Connor Wright still has action liaise with Fiona Brooks regarding planters plan. CW mentioned helping with deep clean of slabs at Chapter One.
- AM new defibrillators pads ordered and should arrive soon
- The Newtongrange Masterplan: ensuring community development remains at its heart and engaging business and the village in its progress
- JA informed meeting that Gayle (Transition Minister Newtongrange Church) will be presenting the latest proposals for the church development at the next meeting 25/05/21
- Engaging the community: positive solutions for inclusivity, village pride and achievement.
- Twin town – RA asked NCC whether Newtongrange had twinned previously and garnered opinion regarding Paul Johnson MC sent email regarding COSLA Brussels office twinning query from German/French counterparts to see if Scottish towns/villages were interested. Midlothian Council could not contribute so it would be down to the Community Council, so a lot of work involved. LA mentioned German/Polish mining connections with Musikcorps Würm e.V. and Newtongrange Silver Band, Germany connections. Request get Councillors opinion next meeting.
- Newsletter – JA thanked everybody for the material sent to him for second newsletter and aimed to workup newsletter soon.
- Queens Award for Voluntary Services – RA informed meeting that he had initial meeting with Lord & Vice Lieutenant of Midlothian regarding NC1 and would look to send them first draft of award application. Connor Wright to get in contact with Reverent Muir regarding support letter.
- Protecting and improving services:
- Council Reports: Clr. Johnstone submitted email prior to meeting. JA action to see what is required and how Clr. J & J would utilise Environmental funding?
- Treasurer – *JA action to replace Jason Ferry & become dual authority signatory of the bank account. AM can also be third signatory JM informed he is still the only current NCC member as signatory for the cheque accounts. This was proposed: JA & seconded: CW
- JM Invoiced NC1 for £200.
- Annual Grant by Midlothian Council received but shipping container costs currently still paid by NCC. To be resolved once NDT can make payments.
The current balance is £2,720.59. Although JM informed meeting a number of payments still to come out of account £1,500
- FED grant for noticeboard £512. Cheque will be countersigned and made available soon.
- MFCC AM mentioned meeting was a Presentation from the Police and again reiterated they could not attend Zoom meetings. The large number of planning developments was also highlighted.
- Planning Applications 3 Applications, 3rd, 5th Street and Masterton Place.
- Correspondence – JA – mentioned that the idea of an End of Lockdown Celebration. The consensus from the meeting was to “wait and see”. CW mentioned that the Gala Committee and NC1 are not in a position to commit to anything at present. JD wanted to acknowledge thanks to Justin Venton and team for removing the fly tipping material from (permitted) Butterfield areas. JA agreed to thank JV on NCC’s behalf,
- Date of Next Meeting – Tuesday 25th May 2021 at 7.00 pm Zoom TBC – register here