Oldhamstocks Community Association Meeting
held in the Hall on Tuesday 21st June 2016: Minutes
Present: Neil Richerby, Chair, Barbara Richerby, John Hanvidge, Lizanne Longmuir, Sharon Simpson, Lauryn Simpson, Nathan Simpson, Gordon Simpson, Dave Legge, Chris Bruce, Dougie McCreath, Alex Ainslie, Jacqui Riddell and Lorna Bairden, with Gillie Baird and Sheila Ainslie in attendance for the first part of the meeting.
Apologies: Kaleena Hanvidge, Janice Hanvidge, Mary Legge and Angus MacDonald.
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
No specific matters arising.
Co-option: Lorna Bairden was co-opted and welcomed to the committee.
Treasurer's Report: Gordon Simpson reported thatat 31st May there was £14829 in the bank, of which £4827.30 is not ring-fenced.
Gillie Baird and Sheila Ainslie were present to bring facts to the committee and to discuss the upsetting matter of the note about land purchase purporting to be from Gillie, and Gillie's subsequent brief letter disclaiming all knowledge of this note. The exact extent of delivery of the note (the intention of which, other than to cause upset and mischief, was unclear to those committee members who had received it) is not known, although it appears to have been sent to folk in Oldhamstocks parish, and posted in Edinburgh.
Gillie understandably feels deeply distressed and sleighted, and expressed her lack of faith in the committee and her extreme concern and disappointment that no action had been taken by the Chairman, nor indeed by the committee as a whole or by individual members, to try to discover the source of the note. Gillie believes that it is the OCA committee's responsibility to investigate, and that the reputation of the committee is in question. She said that rumour has it that it originated from a committee member, and asked Neil Richerby if he had questioned committee members about this. He replied that he had not, but asked those present tonight. All are appalled at this suggestion and all denied having had anything to do with the note. Neil said further that if any member of the committee had written the note they should say so now and resign, and that if it was discovered later that a member had written the note, the whole committee should stand down. Dave Legge expressed deep disappointment – members endorsed this sentiment – that this thing had happened, and explained that we are all at a loss as to how we can go about finding out who sent the note.
Lorna Bairden said that the action is repugnant, and amounts to defamation of character, but advised that as this is a matter of civil law a police investigation would not happen.
Sheila Ainslie said there had been many negative comments about the OCA committee's inaction from members of the community, and Gillie talked of 2 years of personal attack, in various ways, because she holds a different viewpoint from most concerning the village hall. Gillie did not accept Gordon Simpson's view that there was no personal attack because of her minority viewpoint, saying that the committee is biased and intimidating, so much so that the community has lost confidence and will not attend meetings.
Sheila asked committee members to imagine how we would feel if this had happened to us, and was clear in her opinion that we should have done and should be doing something to clear the matter up e.g. by asking around for any information. Barbara Richerby expressed apology that it is now too little, too late, and along with Dave and Lorna asked if it would be acceptable to Gillie if the committee wrote to the community, denouncing the action, expressing disappointment, and conveying sympathy to/solidarity with Gillie, and also asking anyone with any information to come forward and share it with any memberof the committee. Jacqui Riddell said we should timetable this tonight.
Chris Bruce asked what we can do to stand alongside Gillie, and Lorna asked what else we can do beyond sending this letter to the community. Gillie replied that the letter must prove to the community that we have taken the matter seriously, and that she wished us to pursue the investigation until the writer is identified – no easy task.
Lizanne Longmuir asked Gillie what course of action she would take if the note-writer is found. Gillie said she would consult her legal adviser, and would make the matter public.
The minute-taker admits that she has not recorded here every detail and comment –suffice to say that there was a very unpleasant, heated and unhappy atmosphere tonight, and some plain speaking, but there were also expressions of regret that such a thing could happen, and efforts were made to keep things in check, calm proceedings and speak reasonably.
To close the matter tonight, we all agreed we are a community and that a letter, as described above, should indeed be written to the community – it will be drafted by Lorna, circulated to the committee for approval, and sent/delivered to Oldhamstocks parish.
Letter for questionnaire results: Barbarahad drafted a letter which was discussed, amended and she will circulate the revised letter to the committee for approval before it is sent out. Delivery probably as previously – this must be discussed by email.
Response from architects: Neil presented a brief summary of information received but there was insufficient time remaining tonight to discuss properly, so we decided to postpone this until the next meeting.
Visits to other halls: Sharon Simpson and Lizanne spoke enthusiastically of the small group's visit to Whitsome Ark, and of how all had been impressed by the building. We agreed to Barbara's suggestion to make a committee group visit, and perhaps to use some of that time to talk about our own plans and consider proposals made. The suggested date is 13th August though no further details were arranged.
Hoprigshiels Wind-farm: the funding agreement is nearly ready for signing.
AOB: Barbara passed on a message from Oldhamstocks Horticultural Society requesting reassurance that even if OCA were over a period in the future awarded large sums of wind-farm funding for the hall project, regular requests for funding for the Flower Show would not be adversely affected. Chris said that changing circumstances (e.g. Hoprigshiels) should mean that there is plenty of funding available.
Next meeting was fixed for Thursday 1st September at 7.30pm in the Hall.