Minutes February 2021

The second digital NCC meeting of the year capturing community highlights and on-going issues. Welfare Park and noticeboard improvements discussed. Latest developments for Community Development Trust, rollout of the second issue of the Newtongrange Flyer and the two attending Councillor reports with details of full council meeting from 23/02/21.

Members Present In Attendance
  • Jeremy Adderley (Chair)
  • June Robertson
  • Andrew Marshall (Vice Chair)
  • Ross Anderson (Minutes Secretary)
  • John Muir (Treasurer)
  • Linda Anderson
  • Fiona Brooks
  • Sheryl Skelton (NCGC)
  • Jo Dunlop (NDT)
  • Clr. Johnstone (MC)
  • Clr. Muirhead (MC)
See Agenda
  1. Welcome and introductions – 
    1.  Apologies on behalf of Liz Wilson, Margaret Evans and Connor Wright.
    2. JA welcomed Cllr. Johnstone and Muirhead and new attendee Sheryl Skelton (SS) for appearing.
    3. SS was interested in finding out about NDT. SS mentioned that the Gala committee has made no firm decision yet regarding the Gala this year. Some have already postponed others have moved the date to later in the year.
  1. January minutes formally approved after one correction (proposed LA; seconded JA)                 
  2. Police Report
    1. JA emailed report to NCC members 23/02/21, total calls below and full report attached.  NEWTONGRANGE COMMUNITY COUNCIL FEB2021

      Total Calls 167

      COVID related – 12

      Assistance required / Concern for individual – 45

      Missing person – 1

      Domestic related– 6

      Youth calls – 1

      Road Traffic incidents- 14

      Crimes Recorded – 25

    2. PC Jason McFarlane is the new Community Police Officer for area (replacing PC Brian McGuff). PC McFarlane unable to participate in zoom calls at current time.
    3. Regarding Police Report LA felt it showed lots of misbehavior and this was  a mixture of adult and youths.
  3. Newtongrange resilience – update from Jeremy
    1. JA asked the meeting how they felt the village coped with the latest cold snap. JD reflected that especially in her area, there had been a great community spirit. With examples of gritting and clearing a massive amount of snow, while respecting social distance to help the smooth passing of funeral car. JD now the key contact now for True Grit volunteers/Emergency plan issues going forward. This an initiative and for setting up the community gritting group in Newtongrange. The first one ton bin arrived and is located behind the Leisure Centre  in the car-park. JA/JD unaware of if NCC are to be key holder(s) to follow up for next meeting.
    2. JA mentioned that MC/Red Cross to be the first point of call of requests. JD highlighted that there was a big response to volunteer but few requests.  
    3. JA happy to workup Community Resilence/Emergency Plan documents,  into a single asset register after online meeting with Jane Young. To make the register fit for purpose for village requirements. With information about who can help?, who has equipment, buildings, meeting places and vehicles. Need to know who are the people to call on when in trouble?
    4. There was a consensus that automobile speeding was still an issue during lockdown. PC McFarlane has note of areas of concern via emails prior to meeting.
  4. Newtongrange Development Trust 
    1. JA announced that Newtongrange incorporated its first DT application to OSCR
    2. Pat Bowie announced by email that NDT received a poverty grant of £8,428. 
    3. JD mentioned that she had received her Trustee letter. JD will also be an office bearer as Meeting Secretary.
    4. JM arranged a £250 cheque to NDT Treasurer Janet Donaldson for opening balance for NDT bank account (dual authority account).
    5. CW still looking for new shipping container option. Clr(s) J & M held meeting with Derek Oliver regarding capital funding for ‘The Pool’ container (8.12 in council papers).
    6. JA agreed to help develop website and members list using newtongrange.org which he describes as part of community ecosystem.
    7. Next DT meeting on Zoom Tuesday 2/3/21 7-10pm.
  5. Local lock down issues
    1. JM via RA shared email relating to quote for metal noticeboard in park communication with Gavin Fowlis of Halston Engineering Ltd. JM to share illustration. FB thought it was a very good price and it was agreed that we should proceed:  Price quote: manufacture steel display cabinet with support legs and front hinge angle frame. fitted with clear lexan and chipboard backing for display letters etc. painted black gloss. £760+vat; price for installation £170+vat; 4-5 week turn-a-round
    2.  FB has been in contact with four potential sponsors for planters project. Dental Practice, DDC, Patterson’s and Newbattle Stores. JD suggested Pastel might be another business to contact? FB agreed to work with CW on Planters Project and map with potential to sponsor a tub for a couple of years. FB suggested the need to get bulbs to compliment the perennial plants that NC1 added last year. Dean Tavern already have agreed arrangement for planters. Church also has a Wednesday garden project in their grounds.
    3. Clr J mentioned that new energy efficient sensor lighting had been agreed for Welfare Park. Clr J, JR, LA had a zoom meeting with Justin Venton regarding park maintenance. Clr J will provide NCC list of agreed commitments when available.
    4. JA/JD to meet up regarding Todd the Snake and other possible projects for a contractor Thomas Joyce who helped with ‘The Pool’ last summer.
  6. 2020-21 Year Aims for NCC– On agenda for reference during wider discussion
    1. Protecting and improving services:
      1. Clr J said X95 Bus service was not under threat and will be retained as an hourly service.
      2. Clr J held zoom meeting to address NCC perpetual concerns about Welfare Park with JR, LA and others for long term view improvement plan for centenary in 2026. JR said Justin Venton would look at what type of paint will be required for community payback railings project. JR informed us that  Justin Venton said the work on the drains had not prevented the flooding in the park. JA asked Clr J if there could be joined up thinking to preserve and improve the park rather than all the various projects such as CapEx. How big are the problems in the park and how can the problems been solved.? JD stated that the incessant rain brought about by climate change did not help. LA sad the three new seats in the playpark were beginning to be put in place at time of meeting.
      3. AM checked what defibrillators and new pads are required. CW, JM to help source. AM to also check if batteries need replaced. AM/JM to order new equipment before next meeting.
      4. Community Forum – exploration of new ways for engagement especially with younger age group. JA had meeting with Leslie Kelly, Operation & Development Manager, Volunteer Midlothian to see if we can work with them on future Newtongrange Flyer issues. JA suggested volunteer interviews to see how Covid-19 has affected  Newtongrange Star & The Silver Band. SS also suggested Duke of Edinburgh Awards and will pass other local youth volunteer organisation contacts to JA.
    2. The Newtongrange Masterplan: ensuring community development remains at its heart and engaging business and the village in its progress
      1. NDT to look at who owns the pool site as a priority and Clr J has an action to look into issue. As this is where NCC/NRV/NDT see as the heart of the village. There must be an annual register of MC land.
      2. JD said the CDT survey results provided a central community space was a desired outcome. Survey results/evaluation can be added to next Newtongrange Flyer.
      3. Gayle Taylor (GT) Transition Minister of Newtongrange Parish Church is responsible for the church redevelopment and the project is now moving with appointment of Project Manager. Clr J & M arranged meeting with (GT) to find out more. CW stated 100% going to be church presence but part of the land will be residential. Clr J admitted surprise about how the church were proceeding with little communication from MC. Challenge to get everyone on board.
    3. Engaging the community: positive solutions for inclusivity, village pride and achievement.
      • Newsletter – JA mentioned Coalfield Regeneration Trust had seen the first issue and liked it. In principle they have agreed to to fund the next two Newtongrange Flyer newsletters. It will need to cost less to produce than glossy first issue.  RA sent NCC two articles from Newtongrange Star and Newtongrange Church of Christ. JR will look to provide Newtongrange Village Voices latest. Survey results/evaluation can also be added.
      • Litter-pick – JA mentioned that his family picked up 40 bags of dog waste discarded in the library grounds. There is an educational process required,  for this along with the amount of litter dropped and growing amount of fly-tipping but needs to be a joined up approach to improve the village.
      • Weedkiller – LA highlighted the state of the village last year (park, streets, schools and the Main Street: knee-deep in weeds). JA felt it would be good to try & find an environmentally friendly alternative to widescale use of weedkiller. Clr M. stated they do not currently have the manpower to have widescale weeding. JA suggested for the park more natural plantings, native plants instead of pesticides. 
  7. Council Reports
    1. Councillor’s – Clr. Muirhead apologised for late report point xvi (due to wishing to include this morning’s full council meeting 23/02/21 details) sent to JA which was shared in zoom chat.
      1. Lots of cross-party discussions on how to stimulate local economy moving forward: build back better. Need local businesses to be involved with the work going forward.
      2. Capital spend in 2021/22 of 567m + 263m pipeline projects. Includes council house building programme. JR said it was good to hear about the council houses.
      3. 70 Council houses at old Newbattle  High School along with new Easthouses Primary School (not figure on report)
      4. In pipeline new High School for Gorebridge and replacement of Mayfield Primary Campus. With review of High Schools in Shawfair, Penicuik and along A701.
      5. Near end of Danderhall Primary School project.
      6. Expand on international success of digital excellence hub at Newbattle High School. All school pupils to be supplied with an age appropriate device Chrome Books or ipad. Proper devices for teachers and support staff/infrastructure
      7. New Care Home/ Elderly supported facilities at Bonnyrigg and Dalkeith High School site.
      8. Improving roads and infastructure especially Easter Bush Campus.
      9. Clr(s) J & M on interview process for two new Heads of Service MC. One in particular interested in philosophy of everything you need is 20 minutes within reach. Local squares a move away from big centres. JA felt the priority was the prize to regenerate  and revitalise Newtongrange (e.g Main Street shop offer and facades) to make it a place to be.
      10. Cross-party agreement on freeze of council tax & rent levels for 2021/22 as note of pressure on household incomes.
      11. JA asked about the source of money available to MC: Clr. M mentioned reserves beyond the 3.4million can be earmarked for projects. Clr M also mentioned positive meeting with Government Finance Minister Kate Forbes regarding Midlothian council having the largest increase in population but still using 2014 population figures to reflect budget. Agreement from MC to work with government officials to look further into this issue.
      12. Additional one ton grit bin(s) planned for Newtongrange. Ideal location for bins needs to be confirmed at a later date.
      13. Developer contributions – very few situations for community projects. The vast majority goes to educational estate.
      14. Gorebridge Leisure Centre to be a vaccine hub by Mid March.
      15. Clr. J stated MC is looking  at how they can improve public transport inter-connecting of towns and villages in Midlothian.
      16. Cllr J Total funding package for Welfare park £130K
      17. Report to Newtongrange Community Council
  8. Reports
      1. Treasurer –  NCC draft Annual Figures 2019/2020 JM still to get the independent review finalised. JA/JM to discuss matter next meeting 

      2. The current balance is £2,967.92, with agreed money to be given to CDT Treasurer JD to open dual authority bank account with £250. (JA proposed AM seconded).
      3. MFCC (N/A) –
        1. Andrew to forward February minutes when available.
  9.  Date of Next Meeting – Tuesday 30th March 2021 at 7.00 pm Zoom TBC – register here



Ross Anderson

Ross Anderson

I'm involved with the Newtongrange Community Council because I want to help preserve the unique heritage, character & facilities of the village.

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