Oldhamstocks Community Association Meeting

held in the Hall on Thursday 26th November 2015


Present: Neil Richerby, Chair, Barbara Richerby, Chris Bruce, Jacquie Riddell, Gordon Simpson, Sharon Simpson, Nathan Simpson, Lauryn Simpson, Donna Conroy, Janice Hanvidge, John Hanvidge, Kaleena Hanvidge, Lizanne Longmuir, Angus MacDonald, Alex Ainslie and Dougie McCreath.

Apologies: none given.

Minutes of the previous meeting on 29th September were approved by Gordon Simpson and seconded by Jacquie Riddell.

Treasurer's Report: Gordon S provided and explained details of finances for 30/9/15 up to the date of this meeting.

Bank balance in hand is £13999.25, of which £3996.99 is un-restricted.

Electricity supply has been moved from Scottish Power to Opus, and a refund from Sc Power of some £200 is being negotiated.

Bridge Fund: after completion of the project, £7247 remains from money granted – Janice H negotiated from Crystal Rig an agreement that this amount no longer requires to be ring-fenced, and may be used to assist with “costs associated with taking forward proposals for the design of a new hall”. Invoices from Richard Amos and George Sutherland have now been paid, leaving £5152.26 now available. Gordon S suggested that other necessary special reports to come might also be paid for from this money – eg Bat Report and Asbestos Report, both possibly lengthy and expensive procedures) – and further that it would be useful to have a 'Hall-users' File' containing details of reports, and responsibilities of hall-users. There was general approval of this.

There followed discussion relating to new hall possibilities with points raised as follows:

Asbestos – a report from ELC some 2 years ago suggested there may be asbestos in the building, unseen but cannot be discounted; OK if left well alone, but any major refurbishing work could disturb.

Land – Chris B had emailed Dunglass Factor concerning possible purchase of land around the hall, and had been asked to keep the Factor informed of any plans. Land on which the hall stands was given by Dunglass but there is no paperwork. If plans for a new hall go ahead it is surely inevitable that extra land will be needed. Previously the sum of £5K had been talked of, but as there has been another bid since then (not yet withdrawn), the amount would now be expected to be at least the same as that sum (undisclosed). For a new hall, ground would be needed to the east and northsides (and including shed area to the west), but tractor-turning space in the field would require consideration – because of land designation regulations, any planning application may fall into more than one category. There were suggestions that the land between the hall and the front wall could also be used, that the swing-park area may need to be moved if disabled parking access is required/considered.

Angus MacD had informally obtained a ballpark figure from Flemings, for a new timber-framed building, of £1K per square metre. A steel structure by Thorburns is a possibility (as Berwick Rugby Club).

There may be ELC planning regulations about the size of a new hall in relation to population ('community resilience in time of emergency') – the planning dept should be consulted before we can confirm how much land we could need.

Electrics Report: Gordon S said that G Sutherland's report on hall electrics had highlighted a good deal of urgent work, but that he had been unable to get clarification. A second electrician has now seen this report and visited the hall – his verbal report (written report and estimated costs not yet received) did not classify any work as urgent.

Further information from Richard Amos: in his reporton the hall, Mr Amos had described the current building as not financially/economically viable – when asked by Gordon S to clarify, his response was that, for example, we would need a structural engineer to help us deal with the spreading roof, which would cost more to sort than to demolish the hall; repairing the floor would take twice as long as building a hall from scratch. Thus great expense without even considering the state of the walls and lack of insulation.

Refurbishment and new-build options: after some discussion, and bearing in mind the feelings and opinions expressed at the recent AGM (via table discussions and advice from Michael Veitch) that our research should indeed include all options (ie no action, refurbishment, or new-build – with more than one design proposal), we agreed that, in order that we should have plenty to talk about and present,

Angus MacD will ask Flemings for a design for a new hall on the existing footprint (including shed storage area);

Angus MacD will ask Flemings for a design for a new hall that is slightly larger, perhaps 2 metres wider, and taking whatever advice they might have;

Alex Ainslie will ask Thorburns, similarly, for designs for a new hall;

Neil R will investigate wooden structure options (pre-fab beam structure in laminated wood);

it could be important to have a solid structure so that future refurbishment is more straight forward;

we (who?) should ask Richard Atkins (who said on his visit to the hall that he thought there would be little difference between the cost of refurbishment and that of a new-build) to put in writing some more detail concerning costs of refurbishment. (We bear in mind that Spott spent £223K upgrading their stone-built, leased hall, and Stenton estimate spending £275K on their hall refurbishment);

Sharon S will contact the Scottish Council for Volunteer Organisations to obtain information from their wide-ranging database about other hall-building solutions (Graeme Munro has a contact).

Fire regulations: Gordon S noted that any building rented out to other people for events etc should carry out a fire risk assessment, make a fire emergency plan. Chubb, who maintain the fire extinguishers, would charge £375 for a risk assessment. Gordon S is qualified to carry out an assessment, but we agreed that an independent assessment would remove much of the liability from the Association. We agreed that there is doubtless work to be done concerning fire alarm procedure, emergency lighting, fire exits, provision of 'no smoking' signs, a fire-blanket, smoke alarms etc. It was suggested that it may cost less to ask a Fire Safety Officer to carry out the assessment. First action - Janice H will check with Co'path Bowling Club who we believe followed this route.

Invitation to architects to speak at future meetings?- we agreed to do our own homework first.


Social events: we agreed that with such a large committee at present, there is no need for everyone to be involved in organising the details of every event, although support is of course encouraged!

We agreed to ask Steve F to organise a village walk event for Dec 27th (as he said he is happy to do), perhaps taking in the new bridge, and with soup and sandwiches in the hall afterwards – there were plenty of offers of baking etc, Janice H and Sharon S co-ordinating.

New Year – we agreed to open the hall for lunchtime as usual on Jan 1st, and not to have a Hogmanay event this year.

We agreed that to plan an event to raise money for aspecific stage of any work we undertake would help to raise awareness and keep communication channels open.

Other social events will be discussed at the next meeting.

Millennium Bench: planning permission (obtained by Flower Show committee) for this has expired.

Neil R has a drawing and Alex A has the timber set aside. Jacquie R will investigate renewing the planning permission.

Christmas Lights: Alex A will look for a tree; John H will deal with lights.

Decorating the hall for Christmas: there is a private party booked for 19th Dec, the day before the children's Christmas party. Janice H is trying to find out whether Christmas decorations can be put up before 19th or must be done on the morning of 20th.

Signage: progress to be discussed at next meeting.

Dunbar Community Bakery 'village hub' possibility: this is being dealt with by the Community Council.

Andrea D has confirmed that she is happy to continue to circulate Minutes on the website and Facebook.

Refreshments: we gratefully accepted Sharon S's suggestion/offer of having coffee available during committee meetings!

Next meeting: fixed for Thursday 21st January 2016 at 7.30pm in the Hall.

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