Minutes of Kintore & District Community Council meeting on November 17, 2020

Minute of Kintore and District Community Council meeting
Held 7.00pm on 17 November 2020 by video conference

Vice chairman, Ken welcomed everyone to the meeting. He explained that Alexander Burnett MSP would not now be joining the meeting due to the fact he was self-isolating without good broadband. He hoped to join a future meeting. Ken also welcomed Jackie Owen to the meeting as she would be talking about the allotments group.

1. Apologies and Declarations of Interest
Present: Ken McEwen, Bill Duthie, Alan Milne, Kenny Thomson, Drew Cullinane, Lesley Monaghan, Jess Lumsden, Jamie Grant, Paul Davison, Janine Cracknell, Jackie Owen, Cllr Martin Ford, Cllr Dominic Lonchay.
Apologies:, Cllr Fergus Hood, Cllr Glen Reid
Police: No police in attendance

2. Declarations of interest
There were no declarations of interest.

3. Minutes of the previous meeting
Corrections: Janine had suggested rewording of the Kemnay Parents Council piece. Ken pointed out that under the word “possible” should be substituted for “impossible” (it is possible to combine the role of secretary and treasurer).
The minutes were approved by Lesley and seconded by Janine.

4. Matters arising:
The councillors present would take up Lesley’s question about the wall on Castle Road needing repointed. All other matters arising would come up under agenda items.

5. Police report
Despite reminders, no police report had been received

6. Urgent business
No urgent business.

7. Treasurer’s Report
Kenny reported the the community council account is the same as it was at the last meeting as there were no new transactions so the balance is £3748.63. £1143 of that is ring-fenced for ‘Lend a Hand Kintore’. The real balance of the community council account is therefore £2605.63. The balance of the Floral Displays account is £1932.02.

8. Planning matters
There had been no new planning applications, other than APP 2020 1999, requiring our attention.
Paul had prepared a comprehensive objecting to APP 2020 1999 Scotia Homes Woodside Croft. KDCC had not been consulted about this important application for a development to enable the Town Park that has been eagerly anticipated for more than 15 years. Cllr Ford pointed that the area would have a development brief and the whole point was always to enable the Town Park. In response to a question from Lesley, he said that it is always open for the landowner or developer to propose something different and the council will have to make a decision. The representation drafted by Paul, picks up on objections including concerns about the development affecting Gauchhill Wood, the dramatic shrinking of the open space, the increase in the number of houses. Ken pointed out that, not only did this plan show a dramatic reduction in open space, but the open space had moved away from the north-east of the site where it was closest to the centre of town. He also highlighted Paul’s concern that the sports square could become a ‘white elephant’ if it was not reconsidered in line with the current needs of the community. Many at the meeting felt that the current application ‘short-changed’ Kintore and there needed to be substantial public open space which has long been promised for Kintore. Added to this the meeting noted Paul’s concerns about the unimaginative design of the proposed houses, which appeared not to reflect any local features. The meeting thanked Paul for what had obviously been a considerable amount of work and asked him to submit the objection on behalf of KDCC.

9. Proposal for rearranged AGM
Ken asked if there were any developments in our search for a new chairperson. Kenny expressed regret that across Kintore people were finding that the community was looking for facilities and services, but without people being willing to stand for office. Ken said that we were in something of a ‘perfect storm’ in that we cannot physically meet (which makes it more difficult to identify potential chairpersons). It was also pointed out that the uncertainty caused by the pandemic was making people less confident about taking on commitments.

Cllr Ford pointed out that – as far as he was aware – if we do not have a chairperson at the AGM, the community council folds at that point. So, if we decide to go for an AGM in February, we have to be pretty sure that we have at least one nomination for chairperson, vice chair and treasurer. Ken said the constitution says the treasurer and secretary posts can be combined, or a secretary can be appointed from outwith the members. Furthermore, he said, the vice-chair cannot stand down until another vice-chair is elected. Cllr Lonchay advised discussing this with Alison Cumming.

Lesley asked if Ken would continue as vice chair. Ken replied that the constitutions says that he cannot stand down until a new VC is appointed, but – in an ideal world – the VC should be someone willing to step up tot he chair. He had been very conscious of this when our late chairperson, Fiona Cooper, had asked him to be her VC. But, as he did not live in the KDCC area, or indeed the same constituency he did not feel it would be right to take on the chair.

Assuming that Covid-19 restrictions allowed we could expect community council elections to take place in May, with the KDCC AGM in June. It was agreed to review the idea of a February AGM at our meeting in January.

10. Action Kintore
There had been good news today in that the Architectural Heritage Fund had agreed to fund 50% of the planning application costs for the Town House project.
The Bothie providing providing its groups for young people, with relevant precautions. However, outside groups cannot yet be allowed to use The Bothie again. This means that one source of revenue from event bookings is not available to Action KIntore at the moment.
The trustees are working to try to repair some cracks on the frontage of The Bothie and a new security camera system had been ordered.
Concerns had been expressed about the lack of lighting in the car park in front of the bothie and on the public footpath between the car park and Forest Road. Cllr Ford suggested the most appropriate method would be a letter from Action Kintore to Aberdeenshire Council Roads Department requesting one or two lamp standards. Kenny confirmed the danger of walking the public footpath with street lights in front of you and total darkness on the path.

11. Allotments update
Jackie Owen reported that five people, from the group of more than 20 interested parties, participated in an online meeting. Jackie has also had contact from Susan Adams at Aberdeenshire Council who has been very helpful. Suggested that the allotment group should be a charity either directly or through Action Kintore. The Garioch Partnership has also been very helpful in suggesting how the group can organise itself. The group has prepared an action list and is looking at the pros and cons of setting up independently, or through Action Kintore.

Kenny said that Action Kintore was set up specifically so it could get involved with other projects like the Town House. The arrangement would have to be that the allotments group would look after their own affairs and not rely on the trustees of Action Kintore to support it. He said that might sound harsh, but project like the Town House will require a lot of attention. Jackie said that along with looking at council land, the group are looking at potential sites. Cllr Ford suggested that it would probably be quicker to join in with Action Kintore. He hoped that Aberdeenshire Council would be very much in favour of allotments. He also pointed out there are a number of developers who have to allow for land and it would be worth speaking to them about allotment land.

12. Flooding
Jess and Lesley were still to make contact with Alexander Burnett MSP. Ken referred to the Briefing Note from Lee Watson and highlighted that – as far as he can ascertain – KDCC never had a key for the sandbag store container. If so, it is incorrect to suggest that KDCC were to blame for a delay in access to the sandbags.

It was concerning that the flood study was not due to look at Kintore until 2026.

Jess had sent an email after looking at historical maps from the 17th century through to the 20th century. Over this period more tributaries have joined the Tuach Burn. Mosses have been drained and in the 19th century burns were straightened speeding its flow down to Kintore. With the increase in sudden and heavy rainfall, a meeting of all concerned, is needed to alter the course of the burns as is happening on Deeside. Along with planting trees and shrubs on the banks, beavers would build dams that souls slow down and decrease the flow of water.

Ken responded that while this would be a great strategy, achieving it would be the problem. Earthworks to put back meanderings into burns could cost huge amounts, let alone the problems of getting Landowners to agree. Similarly, beavers have been shown to slow water flow by creating dams, but, here again, it would require the backing of landowners. Martin Ford pointed out that, given the current financial constraints, Aberdeenshire Council was unlikely to be able to commit to expenditure. It was also pointed out that one of the causes of the flooding was the back up of water from the River Don.

While it was clear that the meeting had a huge amount of sympathy for the predicament of those living with the threat of flooding, the problem is to identify a practical course of action that can reduce the threat. After a long discussion it was agreed that Jess and Lesley could contact Alexander Burnett and other authorities to see if there is a practical course of action that could be implemented.

13. Kemnay Academy Parents Council
Janine explained that there had not been a meeting since last month, so nothing to report.

14. Aberdeenshire Councillors’ Update
Martin Ford said it was not over dramatic to say Aberdeenshire Council is facing a financial crisis. Costs have gone up, income has gone down, and it has left the council with a £24 million shortfall. He pointed out it was not quite as bad as it had been previously estimated at £30 million. The result is the need to clamp down on anything that is not absolutely necessary. Next financial year starting in March starts with a deficit of £22 million and we do not yet know how the Covid-19 situation may impact on it. Martin thanked council operatives for managing to keep services going in the pandemic.

Dominic Lonchay referred to the pre-determination hearing for the sub station at Leylodge. At the next meeting a new council leader is to be elected. ‘Spaces for People’ barriers in Inverurie are being reviewed. The A96 Dualling proposals have been adjusted with a new junction planned north of Inverurie at Pitscurry and a link road across the Don.

16. Correspondence
Drew said that Aberdeenshire Council were about to announce a new initiative to bolster town centres following the Coronavirus lockdown. He was awaiting details. He reported other correspondence, none of which required discussion.
Ainslie Reid had written about bedding plants for the Kintore Floral Group for next year and whether they need to make other arrangements.
Ken reported that the owner of a house next to the station had written about a belisha beacon that is causing annoyance. He believes a councillor has taken this on.

17. AOCB
It was agreed that Lesley should go ahead with the production of the 135mm engraved glass award for two recently-retired, long-serving members of the community council at £70 for the two.

18. Date of next meeting -
Usually KDCC does not meeting in December, but it was agreed that there were matters to be addressed.
So the next meeting of KDCC is on Tuesday, December 15 at 7pm.

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