Action Note - Ward Forum - Dingwall and Seaforth (Ward 9)
Meeting Held on 21 May 2008
Councillors, Angela MacLean (Chair), David Chisholm, Peter Cairns, Margaret Paterson; Dingwall Community Council, David MacDonald; Muir of Ord Community Council, Julie McKeddie; Conon Bridge Community Council, Alister MacKinnon; Maryburgh Community Council, Angus Christie, John Scholes; Ferintosh Community Council, Colin Craig; Northern Constabulary, Inspector Matthew Reiss; Highland Council, TEC Services, Jim Tolmie, Area Community Works Manager, Bryan Stout, Principle Engineer, Liz Cowie, Ward Manager. There were four members of the public present.
Dingwall Community Council, Nigel Greenwood; Muir of Ord Community Council, Tom Davis; Highland Youth Voice, Andrew Cronie, Siannie Moodie.
Listed below is the action required as a result of the discussion and decisions taken by the Dingwall and Seaforth Ward Forum at the meeting held on 21st May 2008.
Item 2 – Main Topic – TEC Services
2.1 Jim Tolmie (JT) Area Roads and Community Works Manager introduced Bryan Stout (BS), Principal Engineer. An overview was given of TEC Services and the Roads and Community Works section. The Service is split into four major sections plus business support. The Environmental Services Section is headed up by Alastair Thomson. Refuse and Waste comes under Dr Colin Clark (including Landfill). Local Manager for Ross, Skye & Lochaber is Andy Tuckwood, Katrina Taylor is the local contact for Refuse and Waste issues (e.g. missed bins). The Project Development and Design Team are based at Brora, in Alness at the Service Centre and in Dingwall. Sam MacNaughton heads up this section. The head of service for Roads and Community Works is Richard Guest who has three area managers working to him of whom JT is responsible for Ross, Skye and Lochaber. Ward 9 is looked after from the Dingwall office where Ian Hay is the Operations Manager (i.e. in charge of the labour force and their activities) with Bryan Stout being the Technical Team Manager. Bother these officers cover all aspects of Roads and Community Works. The Scottish Roads Condition Survey was outlined and this was clarified as determining road conditions. From that priorities are set in terms of road maintenance and resurfacing. Through the new administration, one million pounds has been allocated to TEC Services. The focus of this will be additional grounds maintenance and for targeting litter. In response to the pre-submitted questions JT responded as follows:
Q.1 ‘In Bloom’ Groups Support. The initial contact for this is Sam Lowe (01349) 868494.
Q.2 Contacting the Council. JT advised that the best method of local contact was the Ross & Cromarty TECs Admin Generic e-mail and the local TEC’s contact number. This should allow enquiries to be channelled to the appropriate officer and also gave cover for holidays / absences.
Action Point: LC to provide details to Ward Community Councils.
Q.3 Gully Emptying. JT outlined that TECs aim to clean every gully at least once year and known trouble spots twice a year. He also confirmed that there will be an additional gully emptier based in the Dingwall/Alness area for the winter period.
Q.4 Overgrown Trees on Road Verges. Trees on verges are not usually TECs responsibility. JT clarified that within the 30 mph limit, verges will be dealt with and 9/10 cuts will be carried out to improve standards and visibility. In burial grounds where trees are getting overgrown, TECs will take advice from Community Works Officers and if necessary from Robert Patton in Planning and Development.
Q.5 Previous Issues raised on Winter Gritting. JT explained that ‘contracting’ work for other services (e.g. Housing Services footpaths) is done on paid basis. With regard to winter gritting, JT asked if 2/3 members from the Ward Forum would take up the offer to meet Ian Hay to look at winter gritting routes and to discuss local priorities. It is important that this is done at an early stage to allow appropriate plans to be put in place.
Action Point: LC to liaise with Community Councils and to forward nominations to Jim Tolmie/Ian Hay. JT advised that Community Councils can also arrange to meet Community Works Officers/local Managers to look at issues in the locale (including potholes/ground maintenance issues/general TECs litter issues etc). Cllr. MacLean made the point that squads cover the whole range of tasks from ground maintenance to burial grounds, surface dressing to gully emptying etc.
Q.6 Question from Cllr. Chisholm. How do communities highlight areas where they think traffic calming should be introduced? JT advised that communities should contact Bryan Stout’s section.
Q.7 Question from Cllr. Chisholm. Could clarification be given on adopted roads? JT explained that where four or more houses are being constructed in a rural environment and all properties in an urban environment should be served by an adopted road which will be the responsibility of the Council for its ongoing maintenance. He gave the example of a new development of 120 houses where the alignment was incorporated into the planning approval. When a road is being considered for adoption it is covered by a process as Road Construction Consent with the agreement on alignment forming phase 1. Phase 2 kicks in and relates to the depths of make-up etc when the developer is about to commence operations. At that time they are also required to lodge a financial bond which will cover any outstanding works should the developer get into financial difficulty during the development. Failures to meet the requirements of any planning approval lie with the Planning Enforcement Officer while the Roads staff will pursue any non-compliance with the Road Construction Consent aspects. Cllr. Cairns questioned final surfacing being put down and then the road being used by construction traffic. JT clarified that the developer and contractor will hold back from carrying out the final layers of surfacing to ensure that the road will not be damaged by construction traffic (with these costs being covered by the outstanding bond monies held by the Council). Cllr. Cairns then asked if the school transport budget will be affected by increasing oil prices and also if road surfacing would be affected. JT clarified that yes, both would be affected by the increasing oil prices and that this would have to be looked at in terms of Highland Council’s budgeting process. LC asked when resurfacing would be carried out at the Tarradale Junction in Muir of Ord. BS clarified that this would be done before the end of May. Angus Christie, Chair, Maryburgh Community Council joined the meeting and asked for clarification on the question on contacting the Council. It was clarified that this issue had been already been raised and that a contact sheet would be circulated by LC following the Ward Forum. Colin Craig, Ferintosh County Council, asked if there was any censure on cyclists not using provided cycle ways.
Action Point: LC to investigate and report back.
JT then gave an update on the Dingwall Traffic Order which had been approved at the TECs Committee in April. The TO was to be introduced in phases. Phase 1 would be in conjunction with the opening of the new school in Dingwall. Key areas such as Hill Street would be targeted. Phase 2 would be implemented following meetings with the Police and a local publicity campaign would be run. This would include improved signage and would involve a proper campaign to inform the public of enforcement of the Order. September was the target date for this. A question was asked on the effectiveness of the implementation of the Traffic Order. BS stated that the real difference would be enforcement. Cllr. Paterson asked if the traffic warden post was to be filled in Dingwall. Inspector Reiss confirmed that recruitment was underway. He also clarified that both Police and the Traffic Warden would be involved in enforcing the TO when it came into place. Cllr. Chisholm asked if property was damaged (example given of the Muir of Ord Railway Bridge which had recently been damaged by a road traffic incident), would this be pursued for recompense of damage to Highland Council property? JT confirmed that the Council will pursue damages if information is sufficient to take the process forward. Cllr. MacLean asked if there was any update on the Conon Bridge lighting situation. BS advised that the plates had been ordered and the work was to happen within the next two weeks. David MacDonald, Dingwall Community Council asked about the ‘20’s Plenty’ Campaign and advised that Dingwall Community Council had requested that the upper part of Tulloch Avenue/Kinnardie Brae be included. Information had been passed to Hugh Logan, TEC Services.
Action Point: JT/BS to check on this and advise.
JT clarified that the ‘20’s Plenty’ signage was advisory and it was not an enforceable 20 mph speed limit. All thanked Jim Tolmie and Bryan Stout for their informative session. Bryan Stout and Jim Tolmie then left the meeting
Item 3 – Action Note from Previous Meeting
3.1 Muir of Ord - Replacement Bridge. It was clarified that there would be a public consultation meeting held on the 17th June 2008 in the Muir of Ord Village Hall.
3.2 Budget Funding for local community safety initiatives. LC had investigated this and had determined that there was little or no funding now available due to the removal of ring fencing and that this could result in more pressure on the discretionary budget for the Ward for local initiatives.
3.3 Dates for future meetings. Dates for Ward Forums and for Local Community Council meetings had been forwarded with the minute.
Item 4 – Community Safety
Inspector Reiss gave a full outline of traffic issues across the Ward. He also gave a detailed summary of the Force restructure which had taken place over three areas. He clarified that he would normally be based in Alness but would be regularly working from Dingwall. A number of statistics were given with regard to Northern Constabulary’s policing of traffic. In the annual Police Survey the number one topic is speeding, the second is dangerous driving with drunk driving also in the top six. Enforcement issues were discussed with Inspector Reiss outlining that there are three radars within the area. It was clarified that all police officers have the power to enforce traffic actions as necessary. Cllr. Paterson asked if it was an offence to leave car keys in the car and the engine running. It was clarified that this was an offence. Tom Gray, member of the public from Maryburgh, raised an issue on the legalities of parking on pavements. Inspector Reiss said it was often not clear cut but that it was basically an obstruction and if viewed as a practical obstruction then police/traffic wardens could take action.
Item 5 – Strategic Priorities
The Strategic Priorities were outlined. Community Councils present asked for parking at railway stations to be included. Cllr. Paterson had asked that a Day Care unit be provided in the Urray House development.
Item 6 – LEADER 2007-2013
Debbie Maguire outlined the LEADER Programme for all present. She also advised that confirmation was still awaited on the Convergence Funding and that this could be as much as £7.5 million in addition to the allocated £6 million for LEADER. Confirmation of this was still awaited from Scottish Government. After discussion it was agreed that a development sub group be formed for the Ward from the Ward Forum to look at development issues and to take forward the LEADER Programme locally.
Action Point: LC to call a meeting by end July to progress this for the Ward.
Item 7 – Ward Discretionary Budget
LC advised that the allocation of £59,659 for the Ward Discretionary Budgets for 2008/2009 had been confirmed through Committee. LC asked that consideration be given to monies being kept back from the Discretionary Budget to facilitate LEADER projects. This was agreed by all present. LC also felt that caution should be exercised with the Ward Discretionary Budget until the full extent of LEADER was known. Cllr. Paterson expressed concern that this could delay local Ward projects. LC confirmed that this should not be the case. Cllr. Chisholm suggested that instead of LEADER being the key mover for the Discretionary Budget, that funds that had been allocated to the Community Councils in the last financial year be earmarked for LEADER projects. This was agreed.
Item 8 – Consultations
The ongoing consultation on proposed public call box closures was discussed. It was clarified that the proposed call box removals centred mainly around Maryburgh. After discussion it was agreed that a formal objection to removal of these phone boxes be put forward by the Ward Forum.
Action Point: LC to draft a letter from the Forum in response.
Item 9 – AOB
The issue of Community Council training was raised particularly with regard to the Data Protection Act. It was agreed to look at running Community Council training sessions in the Autumn.
Action Point: LC to take forward organisation of training for Community Council members.
It was agreed that the topic for the next Ward Forum would be Education and that Cllr. Paterson would chair. Cllr. MacLean asked Community Councils to submit key topics and questions to the Ward Manager beforehand. The validity of holding a Forum on the 2nd of July was raised by a number of those present due to this being peak holiday time,
Action Point: LC to advise if the Forum would still go ahead as this could depend on the availability of Education Staff to attend.
John Scholes, Maryburgh Community Council, asked for the problem of speeding in the Maryburgh area to be raised and asked if Police could patrol at night.
Action Point: Inspector Reiss to take this forward.
Phone box vandalism was also raised and it was felt that this could be targeted by police patrols and police foot patrols.
Action Point: Inspector Reiss to investigate.