Oldhamstocks Community Association Meeting

held in the Hall on Thursday 25th February 2016


Present: Neil Richerby, Chair, Barbara Richerby, John Hanvidge, Lizanne Longmuir, Angus MacDonald, Lauryn Simpson, Nathan Simpson, Gordon Simpson, Sharon Simpson, Mary Legge, Chris Bruce, Alex Ainslie.

Apologies: Kaleena Hanvidge, Janice Hanvidge, Dave Legge, Jacquie Riddell.

Minutes of the previous meeting on 21st January were approved.

Matters Arising: none.

Treasurer's Report: Current balance in bank: £13967.94, of which £3965.68 is not ring-fenced. Gordon has re-applied for exemption from water charges for 2016-7.

We agreed to the necessary expense of £616 to upgrade electrics now, and a further £60 (approx) for fire blankets in order to upgrade fire precautions. GS

Land: Graeme Munro's suggestion that we should ask Dunglass Estate if a long (99 year?) lease, at a modest rate, might be considered? This might be seen as continuing in the spirit of the way in which the land was originally gifted, and it was also noted that having a long lease would be regarded by Planning authorities as equivalent to ownership. Chris noted that if we chose ground source heat system, rather than solar panels on the building, we would need land in addition to the building's footprint. Alex has already made a preliminary enquiry for an informal meeting with Simon Usher and/or the Factor, but is awaiting a firm response and date – he will chase this up, and add the suggestion of a long lease. AA

ELC enquiry into space-per-person and other 'Building Standards' requirements: Sharon reported as follows:

Planning permission is required for demolition/removal of the Hall if its capacity is more than 115 cubic metres.

Fire regulations are a primary dictating point – in Fire Safety terms, the Hall will be an Assembly Building with an 'occupancy load factor'.

In terms of 'future-proofing', if 160 people reside within the village environs at present, it is recommended that we should consider 200 as a minimum number for future use. Fire regulations state that each person within a main hall should have 0.5 sq mtr space.

The Hall would require two exits.

We may be OK with one unisex disabled toilet, but for approx 100 males we need to supply 1 WC, 2 urinals and 3 wash hand basins. For 100 females we need 5 toilets and 5 wash hand basins, although we may be able to reduce to 4 toilets and wash hand basins if the disabled toilet is in the same area.

The kitchen would need a 2-door approach with an intervening ventilated space.

Parking: if parking provision is on the drawing, 1 disabled bay per 20 spaces is required to be shown, with hard-standing from there into the Hall.

Conservation Consent would be required.

Change of use from Agricultural land will also be required if the build encroaches onto such.

Other village hall building examples: Sharon said that a single-storey community hall in Dornoch had cost £2000 per sq mtr; the new hall at Whitsome had cost approx £400,000 in total (incl green energy provision) and is worth a visit; the new hall at Arrochar cost £300,000 (and serves a very wide area); East Saltoun's new hall is in process at present– also would be worth asking advice from their steering committee.

Add-on facilities such as PO, shop, cafe attract a greater variety of funding sources, but may not be applicable in our case.

Sharon volunteered to further investigate 3 other hall projects to glean as many helpful suggestions as possible which might be useful for our future consideration. SS

Funding: would come principally from wind-farm grants. Chris noted that the 4 community councils directly affected by Aikengall 2 have agreed to apply pressure on Community Wind-farms, who are 2 months overdue with their promised benefits consultation response, by intimating their intention to 'go public' through MSPs in a week's time. Crystal Rig acts responsibly. Torness may be approachable for help with funding renewable energy solutions.

Draft letter: generally approved, though further detail required on funding options (Chris to draft this part and send to Neil/Barbara by 10th March) etc. Angus asked if there was too much detail; Barbara asked if there was not enough! But we agreed with Chris that there must be sufficient detail for those recipients who have not attended any of the open meetings. CB

We agreed that we must have a community mandate before we can go any further ahead with discussing details of funding, designs, outline planning, and lease/land purchase. (Members of the community will have further opportunity to put forward ideas at a later stage.)

We agreed that:

the letter should be made ready by Neil/Barbara asap after Chris's input has been received, and emailed to committee members for approval; NR/BR

the letter will have spaces for multiple responses from the household, and optional space(s) for entering name(s);

there will be no age restriction;

John will arrange printing of 120 copies (allowing for some spares); JH

Sharon will get up-to-date parish list; SS

Neil/Barbara will supply envelopes; NR/BR

Angus will stamp all envelopes with his address; AMacD

SAEs will be supplied for all deliveries out-with the village;

distribution will take place in the week beginning 21st March, or earlier if possible;

replies are requested to be posted/handed in to Angus's house by Monday 18th April;

Ferneylea and Woollands – CB

Birnieknowes, Bilsdean and Dunglass – Simpsons

Cocklaw, village – AMacD

Springfield, Lawfield and Oldhamstocks Mains – AA

Hoprigshiels Wind-farm : Chris explained that these 3 turbines will be in Cockburnspath/Cove Community Council area and are run by Berwickshire Housing Association.

The 3 turbines (to be up and running by October 2016) are of course not in East Lothian, but benefits (after the first year of running) will come to both Co'path/Cove and Oldhamstocks (via East Lammermuir Community Council).

(The 2 Ferneylea turbines have been operational for just over a year – benefits should soon be forthcoming.)

Co'path/Cove's representative has (generously?) suggested a 50/50 split of benefits which would mean £22,500 per annum for 25 years would come to Oldhamstocks.

Berwickshire Housing Association is putting no restrictions on how benefits should be used.

(It is just possible that 6 further turbines may come to Ferneylea, but at present it looks unlikely that the planning application will be lodged in time. Chris wanted us to be aware that in agreeing to the above 50/50 split, we might find that this would apply here also.)

Question: do we wish the benefits to be paid directly to Oldhamstocks Community Association (more work/responsibility for the Treasurer) or to East Lammermuir Community Council whose Treasurer would arrange for distribution to Oldhamstocks Community Association? Gordon replied that he would be happy to deal with any extra administration work, but expressed minor concerns about the need to distribute money fairly, and about some folk being against use of wind-farm money. We discussed the possibility of having trustees and of copying ELCC's awarding criteria. At the appropriate meeting on 8th March, Chris will pass on our decision that we would prefer benefits to come directly to the Community Association. CB

Millennium tree seat: it is necessary to re-apply for Planning Permission. Forms and plans were passed to Barbara who will speak to Jacquie. BR, JR

Date of next meeting: Thursday 21st April at 7.30pm

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