Oldhamstocks Community Association Meeting 

held in the Hall on Thursday 21st April 2016: Minutes

Present: Neil Richerby, Chair, Barbara Richerby, Janice Hanvidge, John Hanvidge, Lizanne Longmuir, Angus MacDonald, Lauryn Simpson, Nathan Simpson, Gordon Simpson, Mary Legge, Dave Legge, Chris Bruce, Donna Conroy, Dougie McCreath, Alex Ainslie.

Apologies: Kaleena Hanvidge, Sharon Simpson.

The Village Hall:

Questionnaire results: 52 returned, with a clear indication of the community's preference for Option 3 – building a new village hall - but, due to an accidental oversight (apology made), 4 households in the village did not receive letters/questionnaires until a few days before the deadline for return. We agreed therefore to delay publication of the exact result for a couple of weeks to give these folk a fair chance to respond.

There has been some strong criticism of the letter content – e.g not enough detail/information – and also of the make-up of the committee, and Alex wondered if this might in the future cause a stumbling block when it comes to applying for funds for any major work in connection with the Hall. Chris reassured us that such matters have not, in his past experience, been questioned by bodies granting money.

From comments made on the forms returned, there is an indication that some 1 in 4 people are keen to see a hall with a frontage/dimensions similar in appearance to the present building.

We agreed that the community should be informed of the final result – Angus volunteered to deliver letters to this effect in due course, and we agreed that this letter should include a summing-up of the comments made on the forms, reassure folk that a new hall would be of moderate scale and design, nothing outlandish, suitable for a well-used building which responds to community needs, and ask for email addresses to be sent to the Chairman so that we can keep everyone as well-informed as possible. There will be another open meeting at a later stage, when all in the community can comment on a proposed design or designs, and make suggestions.

Alex also expressed concern over the need to know now that enough funds will be available to us before we proceed. Chris reassured us that there are certainly large amounts of money coming p.a. to East Lammermuir Community Council over the next 25 years (£91K from Crystal Rig, £35K from Ferneylea, and at least £50K from Community Windpower), of which Oldhamstocks will receive a quartershare. He recalled Elaine Fell (at the last open meeting) saying that Spott had been able to ask for funds from ELCC 'as and when', for plans, feasibility studies etc. Gordon said that OCA has funds which can be used to start with, and the general feeling was that we should be confident to move plans forward.

Alex suggested that we should take our time and go easy for a while. He also said it was important to consider the views of the neighbours at all stages.

We spent some considerable time discussing how to proceed, with the following suggestions/comments made:

it may cost something like £2-3K for an architect's advice/feasibility study;

invite e.g. Richard Atkins to an informal meeting/discussion before entering any formal contract;

consult the architect for East Saltoun's new hall;

if we don't want to be project managers, we should perhaps go for a 'turn-key' arrangement, where all responsibility is with a single contractor e.g. ask Flemings, consider Peter Ainslie and team, invite a selection of architects/companies to make presentations/advise us of their services – all to be given the same brief/asked the same questions... there was a general feeling in favour of this approach;

Dougie suggested that Sustaining Dunbar is good at sourcing funds and we should ask for their advice – perhaps there is a way of borrowing money up-front from the government or wind-farms and paying back by instalments?

We then agreed to the following order:

a) to invite selected architects to visit to give advice/presentations on a chosen date to a panel (of committee members), based on a basic brief giving outline of our proposed footprint size, storage requirements, facilities, etc;

b) to investigate/visit other new halls and gather advice/information/ideas – to be done in time for architects' presentation day;

c) once we have a more accurate idea of the required footprint, to approach the land-owner concerning purchase/lease options;

d) then, with a great deal more information to hand, to be able to discuss in more detail the funds required and consider beginning the application process.

The sub-group dealing with  a): Neil, Dougie, John, Dave, Chris, Lizanne.

The sub-group dealing with b): Gordon, Donna, Sharon, Neil, Janice, Lauryn.

Both groups to proceed with their remits as soon as possible, with a view to arranging the architects' presentation day to be within six weeks or so (prior to next meeting).

Story-telling Coffee Morning on 14th May, 10-12: support wanted! Some baking was volunteered by Barbara; Mary volunteered to make a poster; Angus to contact, via Morag Thompson, and invite Mr Foggo (in Lammermuir House) who was in charge of erecting the current Hall.

Hoprigshiels Wind-farm: Chris and Neil, and Pauline from Co-path Community Association, had met with the management company and all the Community Associations' suggestions concerning the contract had been agreed. There is to be one contract between the company and both Co'path and Oldhamstocks Community Associations, which will put us all in a safer position, should the company ever sell their interest. It is hoped that agreements with Ferneylea and East Neuk wind-farms could follow this principle in due course. Regular income will start in a year's time.

Next Meeting will be held on Tuesday 21st June 2016 at 7.30pm.

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