Minutes May 2020

The third digital NCC meeting The meeting highlighted the impact and successes of Newtongrange Resilience Volunteers (NRV) and NC1, along with improved maintenance of Welfare Park and a report on council service activity from Cllr Jim Muir

7pm-8:45pm Tuesday 26th May 2020 on Zoom unable to meet @ NCEC due to Covid-19

Members Present In Attendance
  • Andrew Marshall (Deputy Chair/Sec)
  • Jeremy Adderley (Chair)
  • June Robertson
  • Jason Ferry
  • Linda Anderson
  • Ross Anderson (Minutes Secretary)
  • John Muir
  • Liz Wilson
  • Fiona Brooks


See Agenda
  1. Welcome and introductions – Apologies from Ann, Lorna, Margaret & Cllr. Muirhead who sent email 25/5/20 May report & documents * .
    1.  JA offered thanks to Julie & Bibi Read for creating the  hand painted We love Newtongrange message on the white hoardings & NC1/NRV for radically improving the area and adding additional content to this important area. 
  2. Police Report 
    1. Between 29th April 2020 and 25th April May in beat area MS03 Newtongrange there were:
      1. 18 recorded crimes reported, of which 7 to date have been solved. This is a detection rate of over 39%.
      2. 90 calls to Police of which 14 calls were linked Covid 19. Police Scotland use the following guidance – Engage, Explain, Encourage & Enforce. JF asked for further definition and PC Iain Anderson (J0797) offered:

        Of the 14 calls received in this period, the breakdown was – 5 – false alarm with good intent (no breach of Covid 19 guidelines), 3 – malicious calls, 5 – person(s) at address, Police engaged and individuals left with no enforcement required and 1 – related to a business, reported to trading standards.

        The initial police response is always to encourage voluntary compliance. JF felt the number of 14 underrepresented where are the calls made by NCC members getting logged? JF to contact PC Anderson regarding matter.

    2. (ii) JF to contact PC Anderson regarding the increased instances of speeding road traffic which could be clearly heard in and around Newtongrange. With no mention of speeding in April-May report. JA asked the meeting if they knew more details regarding the helicopter/burnt out car incident? No more information known. 
    3. (iii) JR felt large groups quickly disperse before police arrival. With ease of lockdown (phase one starting 29/5/20) & later introduction of outdoor markets & shops using outdoor space interpretation of the rule will likely be tested.  JF felt the public should keep vigilant & prescriptive by contacting the police with non-compliance. (Items of Note) – Please note that our Community Team email address is not for reporting crime or ongoing incidents. Such incidents should be reported by calling 101 (non-emergency) or 999 (emergency). Any medical issues related to COVID-19 should be reported to NHS 111 and not Police
    4. (iii) AM would have liked to question the drop-off in the police detection rate only 39% this month. Almost double last month.
  3. Minutes of Previous Meeting/ Matters Arising
    1. May minutes approved (proposed JA seconded AM) after RA changes one point: LA proposed planting a tree in the memory of those whose lives were lost due to COVID, not for VE day
  4. Newtongrange resilience – Jeremy asked all NCC to contribute & introduction of JD NRV coordinator zone 3.
    1. JR praised the efforts of bringing cheer to the village with Tod the covid snake around the bandstand in the park and the ‘We love Newtongrange’ mural painted by Bibi Read on the old swimming pool hoardings (market square). JA mentioned Pat Bowie was considering another rock snake in that area.
    2. AM mentioned NRV zone 4 was reasonably quiet. With him personally doing some dog walking, handing around wool and books to approx. 7-8 gardens.
    3. JA informed meeting that the My Story: Life in lockdown (Newtongrange 2020) journal had been printed, arrived and about to be distribution. The journal was made possible thanks to a grant of £970 from the Coalfield Regeneration Trust with the ambition to capture & maintain an archive. The purpose for residents of the village & further afield to express their thoughts over the Covid-19/lockdown period. (he has sent one to his mother in Victoria, Australia). JA also hopes to add software to the NCC website for video/oral transcription for those who would prefer not to write. This could be complimented by having mobile functionable QR codes with oral stories, poetry and prose content available in the old swimming pool (market square) site.
    4. JA Highlighted successes 50 art packs distributed via NC1 for residents to groups including storehouse, drawing club and a range of people of various ages who are in need of the materials. JD/JA to provide a photo of the art pack contents which is currently on NRV WhatsApp group. 
    5. JF pointed out the NRV request traffic is still lower than initially expected. He believes it has worked well but with us slowly coming out of lockdown the village must seize upon the resilience already built up & the volunteers efforts & togetherness does not get forgotten about. 
    6. JA informed us of lots of discussion amongst NRV/NC1 about a focal point for the village (Masterplan old-swimming pool site). The intention to create a “community hub” or “market square” place. Thanks to Bibi & Julie Read’s hoarding sign, community artworks (artworks continually updated please send work to email for  consideration) and general maintenance from NC1 this area has been transformed. the next step is for NRV to source & rent a. storage container which will sit flush with the hoardings which will be filled with community essentials such as journals, books, gardening tools, non perishable food etc. JA consulted Gareth Davies MC  about appropriateness of space to see if the container is seen as appropriate use of grant money. JA asked NCC members whether if MC felt it was not an appropriate spend that the community council would agree to use its funds & after general discussion it was unanimously agreed for short term rent. JM advised that we obvious need permission but NCC has liability insurance. Approx £240 to ship container & 12 weeks rental considered. Fiona proposed & Liz seconded. The idea is for the container to sit on the rubble are with two panels from the hoardings removed to gain access to container. Fiona Horne NC1 had seen a best example of the purpose of the container in a specific Scottish island setting. Where fruit & veg allotments, pop up shops, open markets &children group enterprises could generate approx £20,000 back to the community. AM to advise with regards to levelling & logistics.      
    7. JA asked the members to consider the table below to help analyse and understand what has changed due to crisis, what did we stop doing? What will we keep doing or stop doing post crisis? LW felt we should return to the face to face public meeting in the community centre. With JR expressing that people are feeling excluded online. JA confirmed with regards to constitutional matters no member’s lack of attendance to remote meetings for a prolonged period will be counted against them. AM thought that live streamed community council meetings might be useful for engagement and JA said the Federation were advocating some form of hybrid meeting for improved accessibility and greater public engagement. Action for further discussion next meeting & JA asked members to bring back items for consideration.Table to help analyse and understand what has changed due to crisis, what will we keep doing or stop doing post crisis?
  5.  Local lock down issues Four phases summary
    1. Scotland will start phase 1 of partial easing of lockdown 29/5/20:                              Phase 1: Virus not yet contained but cases are falling.
      From 29 May you should be able to meet another household outside in small numbers. Sunbathing is allowed, along with some outdoor activities like golf and fishing. Garden centres and drive-through takeaways can reopen,some outdoor work can resume, and childminding services can begin.
    2. JA asked NCC to look at the phases & consider timescales i.e phase 4 mass gathering for events such as a typical gala event a long way off in the long term.
    3. JA mentioned that during the latest Federation meeting the competition for internal public space was mentioned with MC likely to need to take over spaces in larger public buildings.
    4. JA reflected on Cllr. Muirhead’s latest report and felt it mainly covered financial projections released by the government, with little MC core business. The report did mention the impact of the re-opening of the Stobhill recycling centre on Monday 1/6/20. JM everything must be bagged but will it be thrown in the correct area. LW queried items like chipboard which would be impossible to bag-up.  JA discussed how a booking system idea was not adopted and massive queues and confusion with the no right turn from A7 likely. JR thinks that it will be initially very busy but it will clam down. Route maps for new pupils to MC primary & secondary schools. With the announcement that schools will go back in a P/T capacity on August 11th in Scotland. August 13th for pupils.   
    5. JR mentioned that the park is looking great & the new machine? shorter cut from contractors has made it look much better. The grass along the Main Road has also been cut and the sports facility area.
    6. JA highlighted the enormous  economic impact on local authorities with £2.6 million already spent by MC over COVID-19 crisis. MC’s position in some regards fixed with set instructions from Scottish Executive on how & what the money can be spent on.
    7. AM to thank Cllr Muirhead for report and all his support to NCC. JA to post message on facebook to inform community regarding imminent recycling centre opening.
    8. MIDLOTHIAN DEATH STATISTICS: As of 26/5/29 102 deaths in Midlothian, over 60% in care homes
  6. Community resilience ideas –
    1. Market square project – NRV request support, and potentially funding, for a project to support the village coming out of lockdown. Storage container, gardening equipment, furniture and equipment to allow swap meets for resources including books. Costings approx £480. (Discussed in 4f)
    2.  Newtongrange Village Voices (June). The NVV facebook page posts regarding VE Day & WWII service personnel photographs of people from the village was well received by the community. Will be adding gala related material for what would have been gala week 7/6/20-13/6/20.
    3. Support for Newtongrange Drawing Club ( update – Jeremy) (Discussed in 4d) JD/JA to provide art pack photo.
    4. Lockdown Journals (update – Jeremy) (Discussed in 4c)
    5.  RA reflected how the village could best participate in the Eden Project Communities ideas. “Now more than ever, we need to make time for each other, so let’s get the nation talking over a cuppa & a bite to eat & have fun with the big virtual lunch. RA to consider options and email NCC members & create facebook post.
  7. 2019-20 Year Aims for NCC– On agenda for reference during wider discussion
  8. Reports
    1. Councillor’s – none in attendance
    2. Treasurer’s NCC account as of 26.5.20 £3,443.30; NRV £7,600 – spent £2,400 of £10,000, (JA made JM aware that MC council would need account receipts imminently;  CRT fund £598 – spent £372 of £970. JD to hand receipt to JM for buying art materials. 
    3. MFCC (Jeremy) – focus on capacity to keep delivering resilience, legality of online meetings (MC advise that virtual meetings could continue), recycling centre, “taking over” of public buildings to allow social distancing e.g. by schools and council services  – competition for space. Focus on capacity to keep delivering resilience. Midlothian Active travel specifically Dalkeith looking at traffic restrictions specifically proposed one way system along Newbattle Road to Dalkeith. JR asked if this would affect Borders x95 bus, would likely slow up journey along that road. This just one of approx. 8 differnet ideas for pop up restrictions. Interested parties can join Midlothian Active travel facebook page. Also looking to widen footpaths between Cockpen Bridge – Hardengreen and improve cycle networks. JA felt it would be beneficial if MTRAP & MAT would collaborate.  
    4. Planning Applications – John. 2 applications. 1 house extension & 1 access ramp for a house.
    5. Funding Applications – JM approached Darren Smith Manager of the Dean Tavern by email with regard to receiving a grant from the trust. He was advised by manager that he needs to fill out application form (letter form) and intends to do this. He also requested a copy of the NCC constitution. JA made application to Scotmid Community fund with the intention to use money for market square ideas eg. gardening tools for planters, library area.
  9. Correspondence
    1. JA informed us of him receiving an introductory letter form Lieutenant Colonel Richard Callander LVO OBE TD, successor to Sir Robert Clerk as Lord-Lieutenant for Midlothian
      1. invitation to hear about initiatives by groups and individuals in the area.
      2. JA would respond to Lord-Lieutenant for Midlothian especially with regards to Volunteers Week beginning 1/7/20. The chair to write an open letter of thanks to the community. This highlighting & thanking the work of  volunteers whose work is known and unknown to NCC. JA mentioned the wonderful  NRV coordinators. LA said there should also be a big thank you to the Storehouse & NC1 for their endeavours.
  10. AOB
    1. JM suggested the purchase of a lawnmower for the park with excess CRT grant money.
    2. LA asked if their had been any developments regarding the Masterplan. AM mentioned that Gareth Davies time is still preoccupied with critical services but still he requires sub-groups meeting up. This nigh impossible now and during phase 1 of the lockdown. AM said he would price up temporary turf to replace rubble beyond the hoardings in the old swimming pool (market square) site.
    3. RA quoted from Scottish Executive document “In the short term we will need to do more locally – use local skills & build local supply chains, use local skills & build local demand” this is something NCC should consider doing always.
  11. Date of Next Meeting – Tuesday 30th June 2020 at 7.00 pm Zoom TBC – register here


*(see Clr Johnstone report sent by email 25/5/20):

Report for Newtongrange Community Council

Councillor Jim Muirhead 25/05/2020

Following the Scottish Governments publication on Thursday of “Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis” and “ A Strategic Framework for Reopening Schools, Early Learning and Childcare Provision in Scotland”, Council officers have been working hard to plan what this actually means for the delivery of services here in Midlothian.

Schools across Scotland will open again on 11th August on the basis of a blended model of education which will be delivered partly in school and partly at home. It is not yet clear exactly how this will be managed, but as local plans are developed I will share these with you as soon as possible.

Social distancing and constant cleaning of the schools will be the order of the day. Due to the rapidly growing population in Midlothian and the fact that much of the planned school building and refurbishement work has not taken place will mean that providing the space required for this will be extremely difficult and may result in the use of buildings other than schools for the out of home element of young people’s education.

Our education hubs catering for the children of key workers and vulnerable families are catering at the moment for around 200 pupils. It is intended that these will continue in some form over the Summer holidays to continue to provide this vital service.

There may be some provision made for pupils going into P1 or S1 to attend their school in the second half of June to assist them with preparing for the transition from Nursery to Primary or from Primary to High School.

For more information on the Framework for re-opening schools please see the attached document. (A Strategic Framework for Reopening Schools, Early Learning and Childcare Provision in Scotland) For more general information on coming out of the lock-down please see the attached document (Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis)

On the more general council services the situation is as described below. This may change as some of the guidance in the above frameworks are developed and implemented.

Residual Waste (Grey Bin) Standard services have been maintained as an essential service

Glass collection Glass collection resumed 27 April, 2020. The glass collection will follow the blue bin collection as both are completed on the same day.

Recycling Centres Following the initial lockdown direction from the Scottish Government in mid- March all Council recycling centres across Scotland have been closed. Stobhill Recycling Centre will re-open on Monday 1 June.

Penicuik Recycling Centre will remain closed at this time for safety reasons.

We want the Recycling Centre to work as efficiently as it can, whilst at the same time prioritising the health and safety of both our staff and residents. Strict measures will be in place to enforce social distancing rules. Until Monday 15 June, there will be no access for vans, trailers or other large vehicles (over 2 tonnes in GVW).

Land & Countryside Land services resumed over the past few weeks with suitable PPE and social distancing measures in place, with no vehicle sharing. Staff have been flexible and have had staggered starts, on site starts at different locations etc.

All of the Walkways have been cut and had a tidy up to allow social distancing.. Roads services and Waste services have also been tasked on this project.

Most of the Tractor grass cutting has been completed and a few parks have also had some cutting and lifting of grass. We have utilised some agricultural contractors to assist with the grass cutting.

Open space grass cuttings first full cut is over 70% complete and the pedestrian grass areas are 50% complete. (As at Wednesday last week)

Financial Impact It is too early to tell what the financial impact of the Covid19 crisis on Midlothian will be. The Scottish Government has finally relented to pressure and indicated that the £155m provided by the UK Government specifically for Local Authorities would indeed be given to Council’s. While we have some concerns about the way this is to be divided up, it looks like Midlothian should receive around £2.6m. What is certain is that even taking into account additional funding already provided it will be way short of the amount spent to date on the current crisis.

Council Meetings Since 20th March 2020, the Council has been working on the following agreed basis. That any necessary decisions are being taken by the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, in terms of Standing Order 19.2, whilst operational matters are being reported to the Leader and Depute Leader every Friday, the Administration every Monday, Group Leaders (or their substitutes) every Tuesday and the Community Planning Board which now meets every second Wednesday. Each Political group also have the opportunity of a weekly briefing. (ALL THE ABOVE ARE CARRIED OUT ON-LINE)

We are currently working towards having a meeting of the Planning Committee in early to mid June to deal with urgent applications and are hoping to have a full council meeting mid to late June. These also will be on-line meetings.

 Documents available:





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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