Good evening, it’s good to be back in harness and in a position to present the annual report covering the past year.
A year in which we have been busier than ever addressing an ever growing number of local issues some of which I will allude to later.
The increasing workload has without doubt impacted on Team members and regrettably we have lost two valued members in Iain McCusker and very recently Duncan Mc Dougal.
As lead on Planning Iain did an outstanding job fronting our valued response to a number of key planning issues (including the controversial Co-Op site location and the Henderson Street Care Home development proposal as well as the day to day oversight of the everchanging local planning landscape.
Duncan has been a priceless asset fronting our significant objection input to the Airthrey Kerse planning applications and the formal appeals process at both local and Scottish Government level over the past decade on behalf of ourselves and Causewayhead C.C.
We are however fortunate to have recruited two new members in Alastair Herron who has adopted the Planning portfolio and is already addressing a number of challenges including the upcoming Local Development Plan. We are also pleased to welcome the addition of Emma Fradgley who will amongst other things be assisting Alasdair with the Xmas lights plan.
Regrettably we are also about to lose Janie who is standing down has done an outstanding job over the recent past often encouraging us to think out of the box and has led on a number of important developments in tandem with key partners including the Accessibility and Inclusivity access work with Caryln Fraser of Stirling Council and also the Discover Bridge of Allan initiative.
Planning has been a major issue throughout the year and despite what could be measured as successful interventions on number applications. The Park of Keir outcome following the Ministerial intervention was undoubtable a low point and has left a bad taste. For the many years work by RAGE, Dunblane Community Council , ourselves and our elected members to be dismissed in such controversial circumstances was a significant blow and threat to the upholding of future Greenbelt expectations and an undermining of the Local Community Planning process. In the same context the future shape and development of the Village will be included in the soon to be created Local Development Plan by Stirling Council and we plan to bear influence wherever possible through the consultative process.
As ever the constant issue of traffic management, speeding and parking have been a constant feature of our agenda working through our elected members. And highlighting specific issues including the those relating to the access and egress to the new Crossing Gates and speed restriction within the Village.
I am happy record that following years on our agenda and the input from Bill the on-going saga of the Tennis Courts now appears to be closer to a resolution with potential access to major funding being made available to Stirling Council through a new Lawn Tennis Association stream of funding. The outcome should be clearer following a meeting with Land Services officials later this week.
Village Christmas lights provision proved to be potential problem with issues over maintenance costs and a significant shortfall in available funding. We were fortunate to have the drive and imagination of Anna who’s Crowdfunding initiative saved the day and certainly created a welcome and much appreciated festive feel in the Village at an important time in terms of Covid Recovery.
Work on the future of the lights in terms of storage, funding and maintenance is now a priority for a small working group. Now further complicated by the future closure of U.G. site with whom we were in consultation over potential storage and minor maintenance cost saving options
Despite the considerable work done to create a clear administrative system for access by the community to the Common Good Fund applications and uptake over the year has been disappointing in part due to misunderstandings with Stirling Council officials. A matter to which we will be giving full attention with Stirling Council who appear to be on a different page in respect of their understanding of the administration management of our Fund.
I am aware that during my time away concerns over the quality and delivery of appropriate grass cutting services has been highlighted on a number of occasions. Coupled with these concerns is the issue of litter and appropriate bin provision.
Having not long returned from OZ both issues were in full evidence and unwelcome. I am aware that these are on-going matters and that an acceptable level of service provision is being sought.
Finally, I would wish to highlight our Communications group which has also been hard at work this year making improvements in our digital communication and information to the wider Community on a wide variety of issue which is increasingly accessed appreciated by residents.
In closing I would wish to take the opportunity to thanks my colleagues for their commitment and support in particular Leslie for his invaluable support and mentoring. Also, Janie, Anna and Alastair for support throughout the year and in particular during my OZ sabbatical.
I would also wish to thank our Elected representatives for their whole hearted support which is appreciated and greatly valued as one of our key strengths as a proactive C.C. It would also be remiss not to recognise the support from Stephen Bly and the Community Development team at Stirling Council.p