The members of Whithorn Community Coucil met for their monthly meeting in the town’s community centre last Thursday night.
Here are the minutes of the meeting, taken by secretary Julia Muir Watt:
Police Report : Police reported a break in at Glasserton Mains Lodge. They also reported that fake £20 were in circulation and shopkeepers were asked to be on the alert.
Declarations of Interest : Bhupendra Amin declared an interest in item 10 : Post Office and Library
Repairs report : There had been a new report of missing / cracked toby covers and the wall at the carpark on King’s Road was being repaired currently. Mrs Hawthorn reported the poor state of the road in the Park from no. 16 to 13. It was noted that disabled access and car access was being created on the St Ninian’s Grove pavements. A member of the public reported a streetlight out at no. 6 St John Street, and George Pattison reported a large pothole between Castlewigg and Brighouse, which was dangerous.
Derelict properties in Conservation Area : Councillor Geddes reported on the recent EEI meeting at which two posts had been created for officers to deal with derelict buildings. At present a Section 179 Notice was not deemed appropriate in the case of no. 9 High Street, but a meeting was planned with Planners, Community Council representatives and Councillors. The owner would be encouraged either to renovate, or to dispose of the property, perhaps for social housing. Concern from neighbours was noted, but the Council would not get involved in civil actions between neighbours.
Day of the Region : this had been successful and Mary Nicholson proposed congratulations to the organisers. Press coverage had been very extensive and positive. A debrief meeting for organisers was set for Monday 29th and a meeting of all communities organised by the Day of the Region staff for October. It would be discussed at this point whether there would be another Day of the Region in 2015.
Community Resilience – a training meeting was planned for October.
First World War Commemoration – John Wilson had inaugurated the memorial in the Whithorn Trust window, commemorating each fallen soldier on the anniversary.
Federation of Broader Machars Community Councils – a meeting to be held in October to discuss the new Scheme for Community Councils
Machars Action- George Pattison reported that they could offer facilities for signing off accounts for community groups.
Whithorn Library / Post Office : Bhupendra Amin left the room. It was confirmed that the Community Council had received the link for applying for the Post Office to be located within the Library, which continued to receive popular support. The Post Office had agreed that past accounts for a new community group would not be necessary. Two guarantors would be necessary, as well as criminal record checks. The whole business plan was to be completed within the next 28 days. There was discussion of the inadequate provision by RBS of the mobile bank, which had long queues, inadequate wi-fi signal, and limited services, as well as poor access for the disabled. Mary Nicholson would write again to RBS expressing disappointment with the new arrangements.
Expenditure of funds : Julia Muir Watt noted that there would be £1800 in the current account shortly, after receipt of the year’s grant and after paying out the Day of the Region expenses. She suggested purchasing a defibrillator for the town, to be installed in an external mount, as at the Isle of Whithorn hall; however, on looking into this, she had discovered that there was an existing defibrillator, requiring refurbishment, belonging to the former First Response Team. There were also considerable funds belonging to the former Whithorn First Response team. A meeting had now been arranged to discuss the disbursement of funds, to be shared with Garlieston. There was discussion of the need to form a First Response team again and of the possibility of purchasing a defibrillator and of instituting a training regime for First Responders, using the money. Councillor Geddes felt that the Community Resilience team should be involved. There was some interest from the audience in volunteering to be part of the team or offering training. There was a defibrillator at the surgery, so that a partnership with the NHS might be a possibility. Donna Hoodless to be invited to the next meeting to discuss Resilience involvement. The Chair asked for other ideas for expenditure of the £1800 balance. Mrs. Hawthorn commented on the state of the curtains in the New Town Hall.
Treasurer’s Report : Bhupendra Amin presented the most recent statements from RBS.
Christmas sub-committee : Bhupendra Amin, Julia Muir Watt, Kirsty Currie, John Wilson ( who had already asked for help with cherry pickers for high fixings for lights), Bethany Dodds and Finlay Torbet all volunteered to join the committee.
Public Forum :
Billy Dodds spoke about the Vodafone signal and the possibility of boosting the quality of the signal to 3G, if application were made to Vodafone. Community Council support was required to kickstart the process. The Junior Members of the Community Council offered to take this forward, including door to door petitioning of householders to gauge support, to be presented in evidence to Vodafone. The Community Council agreed to support this.
Isobel Torbet commented on the lack of benches for the public who wished to picnic. Kirsty Currie noted that there were picnic benches at the Whithorn Trust field and Julia Muir Watt said there was a dedicated cast iron sign which had not been erected. It was agreed that better signage to the Park and to the Dig site would help the situation, and a town map showing location of green spaces; the location of previous benches at the War Memorial had caused distress.
M. Hawthorn commented on the amount of boxing equipment causing issues for other lets at the New Town Hall. It was agreed that a new facility for the boxers, or refurbishment of the existing facilities, would be desirable, but that it would be a long process. A previous bid for lottery funding had failed. A feasibility study, looking at the current facilities in the town, would be the way forward. It was agreed that a wider group would have to take on responsibility for applications, to assist those already involved in All Roads Lead to Whithorn and the Post Office application.
George Pattison raised the question of the lack of lavatories at Newton Stewart bus hub. It was agreed that there had not been an integrated approach to the development of the Square as a transport hub. George Pattison to contact Harry Thomson to enquire about the next SWESTRANS meeting, so that this could be brought up during the public forum.
Forsyth Galloway asked for help on Fireworks night on 8th November. Schools had been involved this time, with a competition for the best Guy, from Garlieston, Kirkinner, Port William, and Whithorn. The Secretary had applied for insurance, at a cost of £50, which was agreed. The Secretary suggested putting out an appeal for assistance on the Whithorn and District Community Noticeboard Facebook page. The Fire Service Facebook page also contained a plea to householders to join organised displays and they asked that this appeal be shared on the Community Council page.
Date of Next Meeting ; 30th October 2014.