Minutes January 2023
The January NCC hybrid meeting @ The Dean Tavern, The Hall & on zoom captured community concerns and on-going issues. Councillor’s reports were offered and discussion regarding Midlothian Council proposed savings & further updates given by our Midlothian South, ward Councillors.
|Members Present||In Attendance|
- Welcome and introductions –
- No apologies provided.
- Introductions from all in room & online.
- Previous minutes – November 2022 still to be approved at Feb 2023 regular meeting.
- Matters arising – Derek Oliver has approved work (item 3A4) for a drop-kerb on Murderdean Road. Action for Jeremy to find out progress.The cost, sign-off and arrival of decision of the ‘Pop up park’ which June states was “not good value”. For the tidy up of the former swimming pool site Clr(s). action to look again at the area and perhaps consider environmental funding for “grassing area” before April. June note improvement in cars parking on grass verge in the park. C.J B highlighted the large amount of inconsiderate/illegal parking. The bollards on Station Rd. are also a problem hindering wheelchair access along pavement. Sgt. Lindsay advises residents to contact police regarding the matter.June asked C.J B how it was for her to manoeuvre her wheelchair on Murderdean Road The number of stray bins left on the pavement @ A7 are still a hazard on Murderdean Road. Action for Andrew to ensure they are stored correctly in bin store improvement. RA sent a document to members and Clrs. that provides value & highlights the large amount of groups & services provided by the libraries in Midlothian South ward by the staff.
- Police report –
- Sgt Michele Lindsay to re-send police report for RA to circulate.
- Action for Sgt. L to check whether police attending hybrid meeting with Zoom is allowed.
- Protecting and improving services:
- Midlothian Council Savings Proposal the deadline for comments is Wednesday 8/2/23. The Full Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday 21/02/23. The elected Councillors will have to consider all the comments and set the budget for 2023/24. Today 31/01/23 Third Sector and MFCC (Newtongrange CC) wished to support any lobby of the with a protest outside Midlothian Chambers special meeting and a speech representing MFCC by Brian Farrell given. Brian Farrell noted standard replies of emails coming back from MFCC communication regarding savings. Jeremy mentioned that the inputs were great. Councillors will have a Special Meeting on The amount of money from Scottish Government (SG) to COSLA is flat. SG liaise with COSLA & Local Authorities before COSLA decides the allocation. The chief concern of the meeting is the outdated 2011 COSLA formula for funding Midlothian Council. Midlothian Council is the fasting growing council but loses funding to other councils and is facing a drastic cuts. Managing decline is much more expensive than growth. Meeting compared Paisley (Renfrewshire) with Midlothian on this matter with Midlothian losing out on £2million. Clr. S “surely there has to be a review”, noting in the press there will be a £3 billion black hole in English Council finances. LA felt “we are all being penalised”. There is a need for parties to work together. Clr B mentioned the possibility of a cross party delegation of the three Midlothian Council party leaders to go to SG. Concerns raised were getting rid of CAT Officers, Library Staff/New Library, Bus Services, Green Spaces. Clr. B noted current thinking that 12% Council Tax rise would be required to keep current provision, this was questioned by Clr. D. AM sees merit in a council tax rise but a 10%+ rise would be unaffordable for many. Clr. D also mentioned last Labour led MC administration proposal of higher council tax that was rejected. KD also mentioned there had been indications to look at the growth fund two years ago but nothing happened.JM questioned whether home extensions changed council tax bands. Clr. B. thinks the system has now changed. Saving suggestion was that the library staff and library buildings provide more services such as the success of the Post Office provision in Newtongrange. Betty gave an example of walking over to Dalkeith to pay for her brown bin yearly subscription but found the office closed. Wasted journeys are frustrating and bus services are getting worse. Having a local one stop shop would improve matters. C.J B mentioned how the cuts will affect mental health services. JM mentioned threat of isolation with regards to cutting the bus service to and from the Bradbury Day Centre, St David’s.
- Community Garden – RM shared NGG minutes prior to meeting regarding plans to start work in the space next to the Leisure Centre next month. Laura to approach Councillors regarding environmental funding for garden.
- The Pop-up-park – Fiona Clandillon, MC contacted JA over hoarding replacement decision. In discussions it was felt that if the hoardings remained they would need to be lowered. Local firms could advertise on board. With board down there is concern from Council about surveillance and passive supervision. Currently the area is not safe to walk in. Gates are there to stop squatting. How about additional bollards to stop vehicle access. Clr(s). action to look again at the area and perhaps consider environmental funding for grassing area before April. Clr Scott to query the £30k price and contact James Kinch and get a realistic price. John suggested getting in touch with Coalfield Regeneration Trust regarding the matter. Council have previously said they do not have the money to sort rubble area. It has been over four years now since swimming pool came down.
- Noticeboard– Halston Engineering have undertaken remedial works to the back of the noticeboard. Steel backing now in place, no light as yet. Linda contacted Wayne Clark regarding lighting up noticeboard in park. Jeremy and Sheryl have had recent discussions with Halston regarding improvements and a resolution needs to happen. JM requires a copy of the invoice & guarantee and an attempt will be made. The noticeboard is unsatisfactory (unfit for outdoors) and a resolution is required. Clr Bowen mentioned not to get involved with court action. Environmental funding may be a possible option to the situation.
- Feb 28th AGM 7-8PM PROMOTION – JA to design flyer and post which will be circulated around houses, noticeboards, shops/venues and on social media with the help of members. Still a requirement for a Secretary as we need extra hands.
- Street ramps for wheelchairs– Ongoing, JA to contact Derek Oliver to find out when it will be delivered.
- 5-11 Murderdean Road, Newtongrange derelict building and speeding issues update – Building is on the Risk Register. Derek Oliver has made attempts to contact owner and threat of compulsory purchase. Action for Sgt. L to ask CAT Team to monitor building. C.J B informed meeting that ladders have been used to gain entrance to derelict building. AM believes speed monitor wire has been put across road.
- Newtongrange Park – Cars parking on grass- JR noted improvement.
- Newtongrange Park – Sensory Garden & paths – Clr. B sent an email reminder to Justin Venton last month. This remains outstanding. CJ stated that it was meant to start in November. Action for LA & JR to discuss matter with Justin Venton.
- Gardiners Place – CJ think it is in a terrible state with blocked drains and rubbish. Muck is up to the gunnels George Hunter sent correspondence regarding the state of garages on private property at Morris Road, opposite the old Police Station. Council had approached owners before. Bill Hunter stated this is Lothian Estates land. SS mentioned litter picks around Bryans Wood/Wester Suttislea producing 100+ bags of litter. Litter is an ongoing issue in the village need to have joint priority agreed between NCC/NDT/NPS/Newbattle HS. JR also asked about Midlothian Council current situation regarding street, park cleaning and gritting in the village. Action for CJ & Clr. B to look into getting clear action to this perennial problem.
- Midlothian Council Joint Priorities – Action for John Muir to pull together list of road/pathways improvements. Members to think about what are “WHERE IS THE AREA MOST IN NEED”. (*Vennels & Coal-lines are not adopted by the council). Pot holes at Bryan’s Road, Lady Road and Reid Drive were discussed. Laura mentioned dangerous area on Dalhousie Road near Tesco. Action for Laura to add a three word tag and Jeremy will send to Derek Oliver.
- Newtongrange Library development – Clr. B stated the current position is that the churches planning application is being considered. The Church is anxious to get on and do the work. There is still no date for the library building proposal to go to full council. JA reminded the meeting that our library is important and an emotive issue and will bring the community out in mass once again if threatened with closure..
- Dalkeith Library microfiche machine – Village Voices unable to look at heritage material due to issue with machine. Action for Clr D to follow up with Clr Margo Russell.
- The Jubilee beacon – JA collected beacon from Ron Campbell. Mining Museum will take it for future use.
- Community Tourism Roadshow – JA highlighted the next Community Tourism Roadshow @ NMMS. Good opportunity to build relationship between NCC & NMMS. Enhance connection with museum & village. On Monday 13th Feb 9:30am-13:30pm. Action for Sheryl Skelton for NDT to attend.
- Role of Community Councillor document – JA thanks Clr S regarding sharing what Community Councillors can & cannot do.
Councillor’s Report –
- Pool site – potential funding.
- Visits to primary school as part of Learning estate strategy. Councillors visited Newtongrange PS which is Currently Category C. If the school gets classified to category D immediate action is required. Refurbishment would need to be fit for purpose. Clr. Scott asked what improvements were required? This can be added to agenda & discussed at later meeting. RM asked if this was internal or external improvements as Guerilla Gardeners are already working on brightening up the exteriors.
- Gorebridge 100th Gala Day to receive funding from MC, just like Newtongrange back in 2013.
- Gap site next to leisure centre – go ahead for community garden. Likely an NDT initiative, environmental funding is available potentially.
- Costs of Pop-up park – Street furniture £50k, installation, design and tidy up circa £33k. All external funding to MC, within procurement rules.
- Trying to address lighting issues between Midlothian Council and Scottish Power (required email address of Scottish Power key contact) in the ward. Morris Road still to be resolved.
- Looking to improve ‘hard of hearing’ provision in Midlothian. Shawfair School to have B.S.I provision.
- Clr. Scott has visited all the schools and seek improving situations.
- Re-iterated that she’ll pursue MC on the main pool site and whether something can done about the rubble, either turfed over or tidied up. All three ward Councillors trying to address The Pool area.
- Treasurer – Financial statement is £2,002.60 in bank. JA & JM to work on two sets of accounts for 2020/21 & 2021/22 for February AGM.
- MFCC – Thanks to Brian Farrell who represented MFCC at Midlothian Council 31/01/22 Special Meeting.
- Planning Applications – note that Betty received a new letter regarding Hamilton Crescent planning application. Action for AM to look into matter. Bill Hunter mentioned plan for planning query charges. JM notified meeting of application for new Air B&B on Main Road, Newtongrange. Confirmation of exact location required for next meeting.
- AGM 28th February 2023 at 7pm, Dean Tavern Lamp Room. Jeremy to post on website and design flyer to get printed and circulated by members before date. Discussion on bringing a new face to increase office bearers – noted that NCC has a good number of members, but secretary role remains unfilled. Current office bearers need additional support.
Sandy – Asked about any new Springfield developments. Andrew has checked and there is no current developments. Commented on how much the library staff do for the community.
Laura – Newtongrange Primary School mail sent to No.43 5th Street which is a residential property. The school is listed as No.43 on Google. This needs addressed. Laura also asked about who to contatc regarding environmental funding for community garden. JA pointed her in the direction of the three Councillors. Laura also concerned about Dalhousie Rd, near Tesco after multiple crashes. JA asked for three word tag which will be passed to Derek Oliver.
- Catherine – expressed concern regarding child safety with the potential removal of school crossing patrols over Midlothian.
Jeremy – RA to ensure all new members forms are scanned and sent to email@example.com
- N.B – The Minute Secretary might have missed crucial information in the room and online due to the noisy environment this meeting. Please get in touch with necessary changes.
- Date of Next Meeting – AGM Tuesday 28th February 2023 at 7.00 pm, Dean Tavern Hall and Zoom – register here