Oldhamstocks Community Association
Committee Meeting held in the Hall on 3rd May 2017
Present: Neil Richerby, Chair, Barbara Richerby, Gordon Simpson, Lauryn Simpson, David Legge, Alison Mells, Chris Bruce, Jacquie Riddell, John Hanvidge, Janice Hanvidge, Lizanne Longmuir and Angus Macdonald, with John Sanders and Catriona O'Neill (S&B) in attendance.
Apologies: Sharon Simpson, Nathan Simpson, Lorna Bairden.
Welcome: Neil welcomed all present.
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
Treasurer's Report: Gordon reported that at 31st March, the bank balance was £10,198.39 of which £3730.13 is available. Invoices from Simpson & Brown have been paid, also the invoice for the Topographical Survey. From the recent £50,000 awarded by Crystal Rigg, £15,000 has been'drawn down'.
Fundingfor new hall: Gordon commented that while we expect to have a possible £300K available from windfarm income by 2019 (provided there are no other significant funding applications made to the Community Council), we need to secure a further £300K if we don't want to delay the building process. He reported that there has been an offer from a member ofthe community (who wishes to remain anonymous, though known only to Treasurer and Chair) to cover a shortfall in funding, as a loan repayable (from future windfarm incomeshare - outs) over a suggested period of 6 years at 5% interest. It is noted that this offer carries some risk and no particular gain for the person, and that a legal contract/document will be necessary for the benefit of both parties. Committee members expressed appreciation of the generous offer. It was queried as to whether the windfarm companies making payments to ELCC would accept this scheme of borrowing against expectation, and Janice suggested that she would discuss this with them nearer the time.
Chris noted that disbursement recommendations passed from ELCC (of which he is Chair, and Janice is Treasurer) to the windfarms are generally accepted. He further noted that ELCC is in the process of establishing a new, discreet, separate body to handle the income – this should be up and running within a year, and will receive income and decide on disbursement.
We agreed that we must continue to explore other sources of funding in the hope that we will not have to rely on a loan to cover any shortfall. We noted that Stenton had had local donors and had also had some assistance via East Lothian Council. Income from Ferneylea and Hoprigshiels will come directly to OCA; Ferneylea income should be starting to come in now.
Sharon had researched into sources of funding involved in the Whitsome Hall project. She had concluded that we should approach Viridor Credits and that we should look further into “Big Lottery” (Angus agreed to follow up on his intial enquiry), and had identified six charity funders that might be worth investigation:
She and Gordon are keen to look into the Lloyds TSB, and also at East Lothian Council (Tyne Esk Leader). She and Gordon, along with John Sanders, had recently met with Community Windpower Directors at the Be Green office in Dunbar: some information was gleaned about renewable heating engineers and also on grants but it seems that the budget for grants is restricted at present and a maximum of £5K can be applied for through this avenue. John Sanders recommended that we make an application and said that S&B could assist by providing appropriate supporting comment etc. Chris recommended that we apply to Viridor Credits asap for £50 to be used for green technology (heating etc) – Neil and Barbara are to enquire, and Janice volunteered assistance with form-filling.
(As there were no volunteers tonight for investigating the other funders as listed above, would committee members please consider?! It is important to get on with this!)
Land Purchase: Committee members had earlier been informed that the Usher family are prepared to accept our offer to purchase land (subject to us paying VAT on the sale price and contributing towards legal and surveyors costs) and Neil's provisional acceptance of their terms. Tonight we agreed formally, and asked Neil to inform Ewan Harris of OCA's wish to accept purchase on these terms.
(Post meeting note: Neil accepted terms, and noted in his email to Ewan Harris that once planning permission has been granted we would be in a position to proceed with legalities.)
It was noted that as the land is currently leased to a local farmer it will probably not be available for actual purchase until 2019.
Gordon agreed to find out if East Lothian Council might be able to help with refund of VAT and possibly also legal costs.
Community Consultation results: See attached Notes made by Catriona O'Neill for S&B.
Conclusions and main points raised and discussed tonight:
in general, positive responses and constructive suggestions have been received;
comments have also been received from people who do not approve of the hall design, via the architects [these comments should be included in S&B's consultation report (to be made widely available when complete) even though they were not received during the consultation events; ways of responding to these comments were discussed including the possibilty of reducing the footprint, the size of the roof and the position of the building];
the design will change and further consultation should therefore take place (and indeed was requested by 50% of those attending events) before a design is submitted for Planning;
we agreed that the size of the building should be reduced (we discussed and agreed the need for a small meeting room, and agreed to reduce the amount of storage space currently shown);
we agreed to move the playpark to the present hall site, and suggested removing some of the stone wall bordering the Green to provide open access;
we discussed the provision of an evergreen hedge boundary with neighbours' land;
we agreed to omit allotments from the plan;
we chose a pantile roof;
S&B advised against stone cladding, and recommended limewash treatment of render;
we chose timber cladding for the toilet section of the building, for variety of appearance;
we agreed that the accessible parking space should be placed where it will not interfere with Flower Show marquee etc (we will give S&B dimensions of the usual marquee so that it can be plotted onto the plan).
S&B agreed to provide OCA with a maintenance plan;
S&B agreed to advise on green energy (e.g. photovoltaic technology, rooflights etc);
S&B to provide revised design for next consultation;
Quantity Surveyor will provide cost outline based on revised design;
Structural Engineer: Corbett and Tasker are recommended and will be appointed forthwith – C&T will be responsible directly to OCA;
S&B confirmed that fees are in addition to build cost.
Next Community Consultation: John S recommended that we undertake to organise this within the next three to four weeks, before summer holiday season, with a view to making a planning applicationin a couple of months' time; we agreed that this should take the form of a door-to-door visitation, providing a letter including a revised design drawing, and a reply form requesting opinions and an indication of support. We considered the use of an on-line system such as Survey-monkey (via East Lothian Council? - Gordon to investigate), and the provision of stamped and addressed reply envelopes (sent to S&B for confidentiality? Chris volunteered to help with wording, and shortly there will be further discussion of the ways and means by email. (Committee members please note and look out for email!)
It being 10pm, the meeting closed. The date of the next meeting is not yet fixed.