Oldhamstocks Community Association
Committee Meeting held in the Hall on 7th September 2017
Present: Neil Richerby (Chair), Barbara Richerby, Alison Mells, Sharon Simpson, Gordon Simpson, Chris Bruce. (Quorum is 6, as per Constitution.)
Apologies: Jacquie Riddell, John Hanvidge, Janice Hanvidge, Nathan Simpson, Lauryn Simpson, Angus Macdonald, Lorna Bairden.
Welcome: Neil welcomed all present.
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
Treasurer's Report: Gordon reported that the bank balance is £19 633.88, of which £4 082.08 is available. (Ringfenced - £10 751.80 from our £15k drawdown from windfarm share from ELCC, and £4800 previously from the Civic Pride contribution.) Gordon has opened a second account to receive windfarm funds paid directly to OCA, in which there is now £7580 from Ferneylea 1, representing payments for 2016 and 2017.
Windfarm update: Of the communities receiving benefit from Community Windpower (Aikengall 2), one (Abbey St Bathans, Preston & Bonkyl) has already been offered £50k pa, but has rejected the wording of the draft agreement provided by Community Windpower– this is under discussion. ELCC is in line also to receive £50k per annum for 25 years, but an agreement has not been presented as yet. If the funds were shared out equally between the four village areas, OCA would receive a quartershare of this funding. Neil and Gordon are working on a letter to ELCC to ask them to “ringfence” a lump sum to be made available for our project. Historicallly, other villages have received forward allocations. It is calculated that by 2019 the allocated Oldhamstocks share of windfarm funding money would amount to some £300k, with significant further money being available in ensuing years. Neil proposes that we ask ELCC for an undertaking to allow us funding (based on our due share) during 2019/20. He further suggests that we ask for a second undertaking for funds to service the offered loan (of £300k, or for such part of this sum as is necessary, depending on funding raised from other organisations).
Neil and Gordon
Land purchase/missive agreement: We await an update from Fraser Symon (of Paris Steele, Dunbar) - he will hope to have further communication in time for a future meeting. Sharon asked if we could approach the lease - holder directly to ask if we can take over the lease and follow up with a purchase, perhaps in 2018 – this is perhaps unlikely, but we agreed that, once we have more advice from Fraser Symon, we could at least ask Ewan Harris (Dunglass Estate Factor) about the possibility of moving this on. We are very aware that no major funders will look at our application until we own the land. We are also aware that any funds granted usually have to be spent within a year, so it is necessary also not to purchase the land until we are nearer construction time.
Funding: Sharon has met representatives of the Robertson Trust, LEADER, and Lloyds TSB, received encouraging advice, and is continuing contact with these funding organisations. She suggested that in due course we should have a meeting to deal solely with the question of funding. Chris suggested that, as a future possibility, if we could apply for funding (e.g. from the Robertson Trust or LEADER) before 2019, without jeopardising applications made during 2019 for the construction of a new hall, perhaps this money could be used to make faster broadband available in some way via the present hall building, as has been done at the Humbie Hub (and at a later date the facility could be transferred to the new building). Some members of the community have mentioned this possibility – Chris suggested we might in due course ask if any of them would be willing to take on research and present findings to OCA. He noted that our hall could more easily in the future become a medical surgery (and/or prescription service) outpost facility if fast broadband is reliably available – this could attract funding.
Phonebox: No news on our request to adopt. Sharon will pass the email address of contact Ian MacFarlane to Neil for him to request an update. Neil and Sharon
Consultation letter: this was slightly amended, and Barbara will forward this to the committee and also to S&B who are to provide an updated design and facade view to attach. OCA (Barbara) will arrange copying personally or with John H or at Lothian Printers, and the letters should be available for delivery between 29/9 and8/10, with responses requested by 31/10. It is hoped that several of us will be able to do doorstep delivery. We will use this opportunity also to publicise the AGM, which we propose to hold on Thursday 23rd November at 7.30pm. Barbara and all
Design: we approved the latest design. We discussed the storage of benches. Sharon suggested that perhaps villagers could adopt a bench, store it during the year and make it available for Show Day – this way we could save the expense of constructing the separate store. However, we agreed to leave this on the plan during the Planning Permission stage, and possibly take it out at the construction stage. Flower Show items, as per the inventory sent by Sheila Ainslie: smaller items (signs, boxes etc) would be stored in the loft space above the foyer, and traffic cones can be stored outside at the back. Neil noted that the sprung floor (for dancing) is an expensive item, but we did not want to change this. We agreed that Neil should communicate our acceptance of the design and, at Sharon's request, ask S&B if the shower and internal store-room adjacent to the meeting room could be swapped - but this is not a deal-breaker. Neil
Twinning opportunity: Chris reported that he had been approached by George Kerevan (who had formed a Scottish-Catalonian cross-party group at Westminster, and had actively been promoting twinnings between Scottish and Catalonian villages) and Mrs Kerevan, who proposed a twinning between Oldhamstocks and a Catalonian village where there is also an organ building workshop! We agreed that the match did not seemideal as firstly the Catalonian village has a population of some 4000 people,with a much bigger organ building company, and secondly as Neil's workshop will probably not exist beyond his retirement. However, we did agree that it is possible there might be cultural and travel advantages/opportunities for some (younger?) folk and that we should at least pursue enquiries. Sharon, who has a friend with much experience of twinning, asked Chris to ask Mrs Kerevan to forward details to her for further consideration. Chris and Sharon
Bus shelter: Alison reported that the step into the bus shelter is a trip-hazard, and that the bus shelter needs fresh timber treatment – Chris agreed that ELCC could raise this with ELC. Chris
Rubbish in field: Alison asked if something can be done about the pile of household rubbish (which is growing!) in the field by Mill Cottage pathway. Chris agreed to approach the appropriate person to find out what the intention is. Chris
Noticeboard: Alison asked if we can have a proper noticeboard instead of putting notices in the bus shelter – a practice which is apparently not approved of by ELC. We agreed that it would be nice to have one, perhaps of recycled plastic, wood effect material, but Chris noted that this has been discussed before, that a noticeboard would require planning pemission, and that ELC would not fund it. We agreed that, though this might be incorporated into the new hall project, the bus-stop is the best site. We agreed to discuss this further at the next meeting.
Dog-poo bin: Alison asked if it's possible to have one at the bottom end of the village – Chris suggested that she ask Carl Howman, ELC Dog-warden. Alison
Next meeting: at present is the AGM on 23rd November, but there may be one arranged prior to this date if necessary.