Minutes October 2022
The October NCC hybrid meeting @ The Dean Tavern, The Lamp Room & on zoom captured community concerns and on-going issues. In person police report and discussion with Sgt. Michele Lindsay. Membership, park improvements including petanque and tennis discussed. Councillor reports were offered and further updates given by our Midlothian South, ward councillors.
|Members Present||In Attendance|
- Welcome and introductions –
- Apologies on behalf of Catherine, John and Clr. Kelly Drummond
- JA passed around email communication letter about the NHS Scotland, SHARE Register Healthy Biobank Scheme
- David Bowes Lyon will be in attendance at the Newtongrange Remembrance Dasy on 13/11/22. The parade will start at 10.50am opposite The Dean Tavern. RA informed meeting that JM still wishes to lay the wreath.
- JA mentioned that he had applied for small grant funding for £1,240 for NCC running cots £3,000 for Tennis Pavilion rental, external signage and electricity (lighting). Councillors Bowen, Drummond and Scott have a £10k spend on environmntal budger per councilor.
- JA to query about Information Commission costs – £40 per year.
- Bill Hunter mentioned Bryan Pottinger success in getting two enforcement notices for the removal of two dwellings that are now cleared.
- Previous minutes – September 2022 approved after small changes; proposed by AM and seconded by JR.
- Police report – Sgt Michele Lindsay read out the report which RA circulated by email before meeting.
- Between 28/09 – 25/10 103 calls received to the Newtongrange area.
- Damage to vehicle on 30/09/22
- Failed drug swipe & cannabis found in vehicle 11/10/22
- High value mountain bike stolen near Lady Victoria Colliery. Sgt. L mentioned the DNA tagging spray that was discussed by PC McFarlane last meeting.
- Scammers are on the rise in this area. Be mindful and advise vulnerable neighbours to be extra vigilant. JA told the cautionary tale that his own mother getting embezzled by the ‘Hi Mum’ WhatsApp scam. Sgt. L reiterates that the victims should not consider themselves stupid.
- Action for Sgt. L to provide further information regarding staying vigilant from scammers.
- Protecting and improving services:
- The Pop-up-park – Clr. B confirmed the project cost £40k + VAT. Clr B needs clarification on costs and discussion with Fiona Clandillon before he can give full disclosure. JR reiterates that people ask her “why is it so much money?” and that we “do not want to see public money wasted. It is the area beyond the hoarding that needs addressed too. LA states that the hoardings were not addressed (should have come down), and the surface was not prepared, or equipment galvanized. Action for Clr(s) B and S to ask about removing hoardings. Clr B wished to know the questions to: When it was decided? and What are the rules regarding notification requirements of Midlothian Council for such projects. It is a lot of money and should be considered by both Community Councils and Development Trusts. AM advised that Midlothian Council do not have the expertise in house regarding projects like these and sadly the area beyond hoardings were omitted. JA describes it as a ‘sticking plaster’ solution and ultimately the trees and street furniture will be put over the road & sited. The short-term thinking will lead to difficulty in moving equipment for space to hold forthcoming Halloween event and ensuring the xmas tree is in prime location. JA mentions that this area around Dean Park bus shelter tends to get vandalized.
- Wishlist for Newtongrange – AM reminded meeting that Fiona Clandillon suggested that NCC pull together a wish list. Action to dedicate a sub-meeting with partners to create such a list.
- Paths for all fund – Fiona Horne passed on this fund and was circulated prior to meeting. JR brought up agenda point of Lady Road path. NCC to formulate a plan for Lady Road path (top of Beeches to Newbattle High School). Bill Hunter advised that Landowner has overall responsibility for maintenance, but Midlothian Council has a duty of care. With old Councillor Jim Green ensuring that this was done in the past. It was mentioned that Lady Road path is mentioned in the Morris Road development. Action for AM to contact Planning to see if it can be mentioned to developer as a priority.
- Street ramps for wheelchairs– JA has contacted Derek Oliver about this matter and is waiting on a response.
- Table Tennis promotion – RA promoted via social media and let NDT/WOIN colleagues know to further spread word.
- Newtongrange Park – Cars parking on grass- JR raised matter and has action to contact Justin Venton about the damage it will cause if it is allowed to continue.
- Newtongrange Park – Noticeboard improvement – Halston Engineering still to collect and fix noticeboard to the standard we require. The noticeboard is substandard to what we agreed. Action for JA to ensure this happens and to get a copy of the invoice & warranty.
- Newtongrange Park – Sensory Garden & paths – Clr. B sent an email reminder to Justin Venton who confirmed they are proceeding with the work in November.
- Newtongrange Park – NCC Remembrance Day ‘laying of wreath’ JM still to lay the wreath. AM to do next year. JR to ask Deputy Head, Sarah Burrell about stones at memorial.
- Petanque and tennis – SH informed meeting that Newtongrange Petanque Club is biggest in Midlothian with 50+ members. Idea started with discussions about possible piste in Dalkeith with ex Councillor John Hackett and Jake Herriot. This linked to the twinning anniversary between Dalkeith and Jarnac. With such a membership there is a real need for toilet facilities. This ties in well with the tennis pavilion project and the need for the community access to keys/numbered lock for access. This will be added to the wish list and Ross will continue to contact Mark Kenmure, Midlothian Council regarding £1,800 lease. Clr. S suggested a community asset transfer, but it was felt we should take it one step at a time. The club plays on Tuesday/, Thursday 2-5PM and Sunday 11AM-2PM. SH suggested a charity game for park centenary funding with NCC representation. RA mentoned it could tie in with Gala Week and 2026 park centenary. RM suggested the pTA and a ‘School Week’. RA mentioned the tennis session with Michael Robson is on Sunday 23rd of October was cancelled due to the weather forecast and wet surface. Michael Robson (MR) discussed his vision and scope for developing tennis in Midlothian. MR has connections with LTA, Tennis Scotland and is determined to get better public facilities for area. Need to get more tennis coaches with a Level 2 training course held on Saturday. The example in Midlothian has been the drive and determination of the group behind the community asset transfer, smart gate and wi-fi enabled and resurfaced Rosewell outdoor courts. It cost Midlothian Council £6k to send old court to land. The company Sportex now has a machine that recyles old lawn courts. The Newtongrange courts are getting damaged from the surrounding trees and although in a better nick than Kings Park are on their last legs and drainage is still an issue. Andy Thomson did work over the Spring to improve but nowhere near the amount of time spent in Kings Park. Other option might be the old bowling green which could be transformed into new tennis courts. This combined with the David Llyod tennis centre planned for Shawfair and Grant Shearer’s Penicuik YMCA tennis plans means that we need something in the Midlothain South ward. He has discussed Newtongrange and Kings Park courts with Justin Venton and Grant Shearer. MR mentioned the growing demand for padel and pickleball and tennis should be open to all. LA felt what was essential is the visibility of seeing people play tennis in the village. Harry Ralston and Jim McNeill played in the Newtongrange tennis courses. The old swimming pool site could be a great centre of excellence. MR suggests What about asking Springfield, Sandy Adam who is spearheading Moray Sports Centre, in Elgin about contributions to do something similar in the old pool site? Action for JA/RA to have further meeting to get cohesive tennis plan together moving forward. JR stated that the park should have any indoor centre/industrial unit due to its Field In Trust status.
- Todd the snake – JA is following up with the council regarding the existing money for the project.
- The Jubilee beacon – JA still to collect beacon from Ron Campbell. It was suggested JA contact Nicola Moss/Mhairi Cross from NMMS to see if they we could donate it to them for their collection.
- Councillor’s – Clr B TRANSPORT: Consultation on 20 m.p.h speed limits in Midlothian starts 01/11/22. Report will go to full council in December. If all approved will start in March 2023. PLANNING: Last planning meeting approval for 95 houses in Gorebridge was denied and will only be granted if the desperate need for educational facilities are fully considered. COST OF LIVING/COMMUNITY GARDEN: The site next to the Leisure Centre is to be cleared. An environmental grant application could be considered. Mayfield are leading the way. RM notes that the community garden proposal was mentioned at the last NDT meeting and there is public will. MR mentioned the West Lothian Foodbank as an example. Could it not be in the old bowling green? – Clr. S highlighted Midlothian Councils response to the cost of living crisis and the need to alleviate the pressure. The increased cost to local business has to be acknowledged. EDUCATION: Clr. S mentions that Newtongrange Primary School will breach (too many children) capacity in 2023. The same situation is all over the ward. Clr. S asks what would you like to happen with NPS, How can the current school increase in size – Clr. S asks about perhaps a four classroom annex extending into the playground/playpark. RM mentioned that at last PTA meeting people were not at all happy with the playground. With the ration for covered play about 0% in NPS. JR noted that it is NPS centenary year in 2025. is constantly advocating the need for a new High School in Gorebridge (like old Greenbank) and is providing statistical information to convince them we do not have the numbers. Even new build schools such as SKANSKA are very expensive. DEVELOPERS CONTRIBUTION: Clr. S made meeting aware that Mayfield/Newtongrange contributions have historically been lumped together. Clr. S looks to separate them and acknowledged that the councils record keeping of Developer contribution distribution leaves a lot to be desired. AM & Clr. S have action to meet up regarding Developer Contributions for projects.
- Treasurer – Financial statement is £1,999.22 in bank. No money returned from COOP. JA, AM and JM are all now confirmed signatories.
- MFCC – N/A.
- Planning Applications – Betty Wilson brought to our attention the planning application for three dwellings above a shop on Hamilton Crescent. After NCC vote it was agreed that AM would lodge an objection on behalf of NCC due to the size and obtrusion for residents among other things. Bill Hunter wanted to know whether NCC are notified of all planning applications from the council. JA confirmed that NCC gets the applications in a regular list. JM/JA have looked over the list on NCC’s behalf. Betty had written an objection letter and not used the portal. There was a worry about the status of her letter.AM checked and noticed that the letter had been photocopied and added to the portal. JA suggested for people unfamiliar with the planning portal online that local libraries could help with completing the form online.
- Correspondence – A resident filled out a suggestion form mentioned various concerns regarding dogs/owners in the park, Newbattle Medical Practice amongst other things. RA will email the enquirer back.
- Correspondence – Laura, NDT Volunteer liaised with Pat Bowie and has been researching stores like B&Q looking to access free or cheap plants for Community Garden proposal. Laura had an allotment and aware that the Vogrie Beekeeper Society need to move from Vogrie Country Park. Could the owl bowling green be the ideal place?
- Correspondence @ Village Voices – JR informed there is concern about not getting face-to-face appointments. Action to take it to the Integrated Joint Board of Midlothian Council, K. Parry and C. Cassidy. Bill Hunter mentioned satisfaction with the online portal but what about the most vulnerable reliant on telephone service?. JA suggested that maybe the library could join up the triage system.
- Loss of hearing due to Covid – JA advised that if you have any hearing loss go to the Doctor.
- AGM – AGM 29th November 2022 at 7pm, Dean Tavern Lamp Room. RA to publicize with printed posters and online Facebook post.
- Date of Next Meeting – AGM Tuesday 29th November 2022 at 7.00 pm, Dean Tavern Lamp Room and Zoom – register here