Tarves Community Council Meeting 20th February 2001
Innes Stephen (Chairman); John Thomson (Vice Chairman); Linda Mackie (Secretary); Ros Deane (Treasurer); Sam Andrew; Donny Chisholm; Bob Davidson; Ian Massie; Dick Reville; Colin Taylor; Muriel Thomson.
Councillor Paul Johnston; Sarah Pumfrett (minutes).
Minutes of the meeting on 16 January 2001
The minutes were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting and were commended by Bob Davidson for their completeness
Matters Arising not covered elsewhere on the Agenda
Innes had received a letter from Keith Newton of Aberdeenshire Council in response to the various points raised by the Community Council following the last meeting.
Community Safety Awards
Bob Davidson proposed that a joint nomination be made for the Community Safety Awards being George Hall for his work on Zone 98 and the Zone 98 Committee. Paul Johnston stated that several nominations on that theme had been proposed. The Committee unanimously agreed to the nomination on that basis. Completion of the nomination papers was designated to Bob Davidson and Linda Mackie.
Reports – Chairman, Vice Chairman, Councillor
All-weather Court Condition
A letter of complaint had been received regarding the condition of the all-weather court. Mud, Algae and glass had been stated as contaminating the court and the fencing was stated as vandalised. A request had also been submitted regarding the feasibility of laying tarmacadam over an area adjacent to the court. The feasibility of obtaining indoor facilities or a roof for the court was also raised. A letter had also been sent to the TRDA on the subject. Innes Stephen had suggested that those raising the complaint should put themselves forward for the Committee of the TRDA in order to better represent the needs of the users.
A fund-raiser was usually held by the TRDA in March/April although to date nothing had been organised this year.
Paul Johnston stated that Aberdeenshire Council has no interest in the court, it having been donated to the Community by Gordon District Council prior to reorganisation. The council had invested in repair of the court and electrics in the past but no budget was available currently or for future repairs.
Muriel Thomson suggested that as the school utilised the facilities they should be asked to contribute to the upkeep costs. Paul Johnston stated that whilst the school could be approached in that connection, it would be for the Community Council to reach an agreement with the PTA as he understood that equipment for use on the court was stored within the school in return for the school being allowed use of the court.
A question arose over whether the surface of the court required renewal. Repair had been self-funded in the past with donations from the Amenity Group and Community Club. Innes Stephen requested that a meeting of the TRDA be convened to address the matters raised. He also stated that information on accessing Lottery Funding with regard to the provision of indoor facilities had been passed to the users of the court.
Aberdeen Traffic Situation
The letter from Keith Newton referred to the proposal by the Community Council that a moratorium on planning applications and development in Formartine be instigated until such time as the infrastructure of Aberdeen was improved to cope with the anticipated increase in traffic resulting there-from. A statement that Aberdeenshire Council had a legal obligation to ensure a 5-year supply of housing land meant that it would be impossible for the suggestion to be implemented. The Scottish Executive have the ability to over-rule any decisions taken at Council level. Paul Johnston stated that it would be illegal for the Council to turn down planning applications on this basis.
Linda Mackie stated that the Council had an obligation to strengthen the infrastructure to at least maintain amenity in line with development. Paul Johnston stated that whilst the Council asked developers to contribute to the improvement and strengthening of the infrastructure, few were prepared to incur the necessary costs and the Council could not legally oblige them to do so. Furthermore, if the Council put undue pressure on the developers, an appeal would be likely to be raised in court and traditionally the courts tended to favour the developers over the Council.
The fact that there was no peripheral route caused problems not only accessing the City Centre but also in relation to commuters to Kincardine who were currently forced to travel through the city. The implementation of a park and ride scheme did not address issues for these commuters. It was further stated as detrimental to local industry whose produce and production could be delayed due to the increasing time-scale and costs of transporting raw materials and finished products through the City. Paul Johnston suggested that reference to the Transport Strategy would be relevant in the letter to the Scottish Executive, and that obtaining a commitment from other Community Councils to similarly make representations could strengthen the overall position.
Udny Community Council had suggested improved bus timetabling and the introduction of car sharing schemes in order to relieve the short-term difficulties. The Community Council agreed to liase with Udny Community Council on these matters.
Paul Johnston stated that long term plans included a new bus lane from the intersection of the A90 with the B999 (B&Q Bridge of Don Roundabout) to the existing bus lane at the Exhibition centre to assist the Park and Ride (Ellon) Scheme; a proposal for funding had been submitted to the Scottish Executive in relation to the introduction of a Park & Ride Scheme from Newmachar into Aberdeen on the A947; a further proposal had been submitted to the Scottish Executive in relation to the upgrading of the rail structure between Inverurie and Laurencekirk and thereafter the introduction of a commuter service every half hour. The Scottish Executive had already turned down a proposal for the reintroduction of station facilities at Kintore.
Various members stated that the new bus lane would not address the current situation due to the fact that traffic currently queued back to Tipperty and therefore the Park & Ride Bus would be stuck in traffic long before it reached the city limits. In relation to the A947 route there was no advantage to a Park and Ride scheme at Newmachar as the traffic was frequently queued back beyond Newmachar and there was no feasible route for the bus to take that did not involve the stretch of road currently gridlocked. Alternative solutions included the former railway routes being opened to single direction vehicular traffic towards Aberdeen in the morning and away from Aberdeen at night to relieve pressure on the existing highways.
The Community Council decided that it would be appropriate to write to the Scottish Executive and Aberdeenshire Council representing the particular difficulties experienced by residents of Formartine, the worst affected area within Aberdeenshire
Innes Stephen had received verbal information that the Millennium Licensing Committee were satisfied with the manner in which matters had been handled by the Licensing Committee and the Police and that they did not wish to submit further information to the Community Council. It was stated that the Committee had decided to let the matter rest. This was considered by several members of the Community Council to be at odds with their understanding of the situation and it was decided that the matter would be taken back to the Millennium Licensing Committee for clarification. The Community Council would close the matter unless it received information to the contrary at the next meeting.
Community Council Scheme
The new Community Council Scheme comes into effect on 1 April 2001. Aberdeenshire Council have accepted all of the recommendations proposed by the Community Council with the exception of a funding commitment. Paul Johnston pointed out that the Council’s budget structure was such that funding for Community Councils was recorded in the budget for the next 3 years at the same or a slightly higher level.
The issue of a single vote transfer has been accepted that it can be utilised but this is not a requirement.
Innes Stephen stated that the Constitution of the Community Council was now well out of date and that as a model constitution was available from Aberdeenshire Council this should be amended as required and adopted by the Community Council at the earliest opportunity. It was decided that the office bearers should progress this issue and report back to the next meeting.
Snow Clearing Complaint
A complaint had been received from a resident of Stuart Crescent that the snow had not been properly cleared from the cul-de-sac. It was suggested that this probably resulted from the fact that the volume of snow coupled with the limited ability to manoeuvre a snowplough in the conditions had resulted in the cul-de-sacs receiving inadequate treatment. Paul Johnston confirmed that Aberdeenshire Council had received no complaints on the subject. Overall the Community Council felt that Aberdeenshire Council staff had done an excellent job in very difficult circumstances and should be commended for their efforts.
Keith Newton, in his letter, had stated that the Salt bins in Barthol Chapel were for public use and that residents were welcome to utilise the contents as necessary. Ros Deane wanted the efforts of Gordon Allan to be recognised. She stated that he worked all hours to maintain access to the village and had also been available by telephone to advise on the best access routes at different times. Her only complaint was that the oil tanker had been unable to negotiate the road between the post office and the firs due to the slippery surface. She stated that a single salt bin was inadequate to properly treat this stretch of road and requested that an additional bin be sited in the vicinity. She also noted that the existing bin was empty and had been since the last snowfall. Paul Johnston stated that neither of these points should prove problematic and that a request should be submitted through the main switchboard of Aberdeenshire Council.
Udny Community Council has the Management Agreement and is currently looking into the feasibility of installing the security cabinet in the upstairs Committee Room. Innes Stephen is to follow this up with Ali Powell. Jim Bruce has volunteered to assist in installation but if he is unavailable at the necessary time volunteers would be required. Bob Davidson and Sam Andrew both stated a willingness to assist if necessary.
Two applications had been received relating to the area covered by Tarves Community Council. Difficulty had been experienced in obtaining copies of the plans as, despite information on the cover sheet of the weekly notification of Planning Applications stating that plans could be inspected in Inverurie, Ellon or Turriff during normal working hours, Ellon did not evidence copies of the plans and were shut during the lunch hour. Paul Johnston stated that the plans were only available at Ellon when the Planning Officer was giving a surgery there - currently twice a week. This information was not stated on the bulletin. Paul Johnston further stated that Community Councils could borrow plans overnight if collected late in the afternoon and returned early the following morning. Linda Mackie stated that photocopies of the plans were available over the counter at Inverurie. The Community Council agreed that a letter should be sent to Aberdeenshire Council requesting that copies of plans be posted to Community Council on request as a statutory consultee and that opening hours and sites at which plans could be viewed should be accurately stated on the bulletin in future.
The existing buildings are to be demolished prior to development of the site. Not all buildings on the site are derelict and Linda Mackie felt that those buildings in reasonable condition should be converted and incorporated into the plan rather than demolished. Several dissenting opinions were expressed on the basis that the development was substantially larger than the existing building and the incorporation and conversion would look worse than a new building as it would appear a "hotchpotch" of building rather than a consolidated mass. Linda further stated objections on the basis of prominence within the countryside. Concern was expressed over the access to the property and it was noted that the development was not required on Agricultural grounds. The site is recorded as 6/10 of an acre and will be almost completely consumed by the proposed development. The Council decided to retain the policy stated for the Ythsie development that if retention of the original buildings is not feasible, the stonework should be incorporated into the new building as a feature, and that the property should be adequately screened by trees to ensure that prominence is not an issue.
Outline Planning Permission has already been granted for a new manse within the existing grounds. The current proposal is for a 1½ storey house with pitch per the existing manse. Access will be from the Youth Hall. A large Sycamore has been identified for removal, to which Innes Stephen objected, Dick Reville dissented and stated that the tree should be removed. The property would be stone to the damp course with wet grey harling above. The Community Council agreed to object on the grounds that the Manse was the first building visible on entering the village and that it was important that nothing detracted from the view which was within the conservation area. Concern was to be expressed on the finish of the building as it would not be in keeping with any of the properties in that area, the loss of amenity in that the open aspect of the Manse grounds would no longer exist. It was felt that reiteration of the original objections should be made and that the Committee should be asked to visit the site in order that due consideration could be given to the materials, design and siting of the new property in relation to the Conservation area. It was suggested that the front should be faced with stone in keeping with the existing Manse. The proposed beech hedging and timber fence was also seen to be detrimental to the current amenity. Concern was expressed as to the proximity of the building to the graveyard wall, which is sited on higher ground.
Concern was also expressed over the future use of the existing Manse and a request that restriction on future use should be a requirement of consent.
A Ceilidh is to be held on behalf of Zone 98 on the 5th May 2001 from 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £7.50.
Joint Community Care Plan
Muriel Thomson had read the plan and requested that in future such voluminous documents be copied twice in order that a spare copy would be available in the box for anyone who wanted it. She was pleased with the theory and her only concerns revolved around whether there was funding available to implement the plan and if so how it would be prioritised in the event of inadequacy.
Any Other Competent Business
The Development at Ythsie had been turned down and was now going to appeal, probably within the next month. It was suggested that new objections should be very carefully worded as any suggestion that development could go elsewhere would be seized by developers as a sign that it was required and the area would then be targeted. Objections should include the history of the development including the original number of houses and the inclusion of an Equestrian Centre and Golf Course which had since been dropped in favour of additional housing. A sub group was suggested to canvass and collate the views of the community as a whole. No Council members volunteered to form a sub group. Innes Stephen agreed to collate views submitted to him.
Car Parking Charges are to be introduced at Haddo Country Park as reported in the Press recently. This will be submitted to an Aberdeenshire Council Committee meeting before the end of February. The charges will apply between 8 am and 8 pm and are set at various rates depending on the size of vehicle and length of stay. Annual tickets will be available. The National Trust will benefit from the introduction of charges as part of a deal with the Council, none of the other groups based at Haddo will benefit. Objections to the proposal should be submitted to Paul before 23 February 2001 if they are to be circulated to all Committee members or the Community Council could nominate a representative to speak at the meeting on 27th February. Points raised include the detrimental effect on the elderly and those who use the park for fitness purposes, the local residents that walk dogs at the park twice daily would be unfairly penalised, and the fact that Aberdeenshire residents are already contributing to the upkeep of the park through Council Tax and therefore exemption for local residents in the Methlick, Tarves and Ellon areas should be considered if charging could not be restricted to tourists from out-with Aberdeenshire.
Several Community Councillors stated that the operational timescale for raising and responding to this was too short, but Paul Johnston indicated that the time-scale was not open to debate as it was the nature of the Council that these things be administered in the way evidenced.
Dick Reville stated that he might be available to represent the Community Council at the meeting but that he couldn’t confirm at this stage. Linda Mackie wanted to read the agenda papers before commenting, these had only been posted out by Aberdeenshire Council that morning and therefore had not yet been received. Ros Deane is to pursue the National Trust to object in her capacity as a member of the Trust.
Innes Stephen is to write to the Barthol Chapel Community Council regarding the bus shelter at Barthol Chapel .
The issue of the Braikley Cross-roads is now with Andy Duff within Transportation and Infrastructure for consideration.
Details of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on 20 March 2001 at 7.30 p.m. in Tarves Primary School. Community Council meetings are always open to the public