Oldhamstocks Community Association

Committee Meeting held in the Hall on 16th November 2017


Present: Neil Richerby (Chair), Barbara Richerby, Jacquie Riddell, John Hanvidge, Janice Hanvidge, Sharon Simpson, Gordon Simpson, Lauryn Simpson, Angus Macdonald, Chris Bruce,and Elaine Baillie, with John Sanders and Catriona O'Neill (S&B) in attendance.

Apologies: Nathan Simpson, Lorna Bairden, Alison Mells and David Legge.

Welcome: Neil welcomed all present.

Minutes of the previous meeting were amended and approved.

Matters Arising: Phonebox – still no response about our purchase. Chris to ask Sue Kempson. CB

                              Rubbish in field, and Noticeboard – discussion deferred to the next meeting.

Treasurer's Report: As at 30th October the bank balance is £15974.09, with £3548.29 available. The separate account for windfarm benefits shows a balance of £7560. Simpson & Brown's latest invoice will be paid as soon as books are returned from the auditors.

Results of recent consultation: John S presented the results (as at close of day on 31st October 2017) detailed in a report (where all comments are recorded) which will accompany the planning application, which can be read along with these Minutes, and which will also be posted on the website in due course.

55 responses were received – 54 forms by post, and 1 email – representing 148 people and indicating a 72% response rate. Of those who responded, 87 individuals were found to be in favour of the OCA proposals – an overall majority of 59%. 61 individuals disapproved– 41% of the responses. There were no response forms submitted that displayed any division in opinion between members of each household – i.e. each household had a clear YES or NO opinion.

When the results are reviewed per household, 64% of households are in favour, 36% disapprove.

YES forms received numbered 35, with positive comments and encouragement, though with some concern about cost.

Of the 20 objection forms received, 6 did not provide additional comments in support of their response, and the remaining 14 cited cost, aesthetics or preference for the 'AlternativePlan'  (referring to a leaflet from another group of individuals which had been distributed in the community after half of the OCA consultation info and questionnaires had gone out) as reasons for their NO response. 9 made reference to project costs or lack of info on  funding (and 4 of these 9 gave cost as their primary reason for objection); 7disapproved on grounds of the scale of the building (2 of these 7 giving this as their primary reason for objection); 6 noted a preference for the 'Alternative Plan' – this represents the opinion of 11% of individuals and 11% of the households who responded to the consultation. (It was noted that negative responses only appeared following the distribution of the 'Alternative Plan'.)

Thus we can conclude that there is a majority of 59% of individuals (64% of households) in support of the proposals, indicating that there is overall support for further development of the design for planning.

We agreed that we must address the questions raised by the 'Alternative Plan' (AP).

So far, from research already carried out by S&B into the three companies cited in the AP leaflet, it appears that the costs suggested there could be misleading. For example, Cat O'Neill established that the Fleming Homes cost is not a complete cost, and is one that, for the elements included, would be 3 or 4 times more expensive than those elements as costed by our QS for the S&B design. At present we do not have enough to be able to make accurate comparisons - it would be helpful to have square metreage rates and site plans (and generally more detail e.g. of insulation etc) for the three alternatives in order to be able to compare them properly with the OCA proposal. There is a suggestion that the AP building may be envisaged for a different site in the village, which could incur much higher building costs. John S expressed the view that we should not change the size of the hall as proposed, and advised of the need for ELC planners to be convinced of the quality of any new building. OCA consulted Fleming Homes many months ago, and although we were initially encouraged by the sketch plan obtained by Angus, we were given no further information when Sharon and Gordon followed up with a request for more details some time later. We agreed that Fleming Homes can be contacted again in due course and invited to quote for the kit frame/relevant elements of construction.

John S advised that OCA should consider carefully whether we are now ready and able to proceed with an application.

In discussion of the NO responses, the following comments were made:

Windfarm benefits from Ferneylea and Hoprigshiels are not restricted, but others are.

We did not explain properly that in funding of the hall project we do not intend to ask individuals to contribute – we intend to fund through windfarm benefits and other grants.

Our aim, in providing a new hall, is to bring people together, to provide a place for people to interact in a whole range of ways, all of which contributes to the general health and well-being of all in the community.

The community seems now to agree that we should have a new hall.

7% of those who do not like the S&B design have expressed objections to the materials to be used – if the building were to be clad in timber and/or the roof were to be of profiled sheeting, costs would be lower but these materials would require replacing after 30-40 years (as opposed to 70+ years as per the present proposal).

The results seem to show confusion and misunderstanding. We feel we have considered all things very carefully throughout the process so far, and have taken professional advice, but there is a need to explain our reasoning/'journey' more clearly, and we hope to be able to do this at the AGM. It was also suggested that we should emphasise the availability of Minutes, and send out an updating newsletter-type communication after the pre-planning meeting.

AGM: points to make:

Minutes are available in the hall and online – folk can be invited to sign a list to say if they would like Minutes emailed to them in future;

S&B will be thanked for being a postbox for questionnaires and for collating the results;

the S&B consultation report findings will be summarised, and folk will be told that results/comments have been discussed, that the full report will be available online, and that further investigation of the AP suggestions will be made (costings per sq m etc – and the committee would like to keep to the proposed size of new hall, and use this as the basis for investigation);

the AGM is for reporting on the year, rather than discussion of project details. Further discussion can take place at a future meeting.

Usual elections will take place.

Land: Angus asked who would own the land on which the new hall would be built, and indeed the building itself. Chris and Gordon explained that the OCA committee members would be Trustees. The OCA is a charity, registered with OSCR, but is not a SCIO with limited liability, so it would be advisable for us to have insurance to enable us to avoid personal liability. Chris suggested that, in due course, committee members should attend a training course for Trustees. Gordon reported that Paris Steele have been in touch with Dunglass solicitors but that there has been no particular progress.

Funding: Neil and Gordon have prepared a letter for submission to East Lammermuir Community Council.

Broadband: Neil had obtained information from Lothian Broadband about obtaining faster broadband using a system that would entail installing a mast nearby. A current government grant scheme which would pay for mast installation is about to end, but may be renewed next year. Individual households would still require to pay initial fees and then pay by usual form of contract. Chris observed that the fibre-optic system is being rolled out gradually closer and closer to the village, so that perhaps we do not have so long to wait for that? We would need someone (outside the committee perhaps?) to properly investigate options – a matter for next year? There was mention of action on obtaining improved broadband at Stenton, with some form of funding through BT – Angus volunteered to ask questions of a Mr Masson, known to him.

Defibrillator: the battery requires replacing which will cost some £140 – Gordon has this in hand, but noted that the model we have is soon to be obsolete (it will be unsupportedfrom Dec 2018) and that we will need to update this in due course (at an estimated cost of £1000). Elaine (who has trained as a First Responder) mentioned a charity called Heartstart and will research the possibility that we may be able to obtain a new defibrillator through them. She also asked if anyone might be interested in First Aid Training – it was thought to be a sensible idea, to be taken further.

AOB: Smoke Detector – Andrea had emailed to say that the smoke detector had been activated several times during use of the kitchen at her son's birthday party recently, and she queried it's position. As there has been no similar comment from anyone else using the kitchen, we agreed to monitor the situation for now.

Next meeting is the AGM on 23rd November at 7.30pm in the Hall.

Using Format