Posties Park Dumbarton
- a Victory for the People. The council meeting to decide on the site for the proposed new Our Lady and St Patrick’s school was held on Wednesday 8th January. Posties Park, currently zoned as open space, is to the seaward side of Levengrove Park and was the site being promoted as the most suitable by Terry Lannigan, Executive Director of Educational Services and the council’s advisory team. This was being opposed by many including a ‘Save Posties Park’ campaign group
A statutory consultation had been held to which there had been 515 responses, 149 recommending Posties Park, 185 the current school site on Cardross Road and 176 for other sites. Feeling in Dumbarton on the possibility of losing this public park was running high.
Clydebelt had objected to the choice of Posties Park mostly on the grounds of loss of very valued open green space and being contrary to the Local Plan in several aspects.
The committee meeting was held in the Denny Theatre as it was anticipated that there would be a large attendance. The theatre was full (350) seats. Protesters had many banners and placards. The Director of Education spoke, through some noisy interjections, as to how this was the preferred site and no others would be as suitable. Cllr David McBride (Labour) motioned, with a very reasoned speech, for a refusal of acceptance of this choice of site. Cllr Jonathon McColl (SNP group leader) seconded the motion and it was obvious then that the case for the Posties Park objectors was won. The meeting ended with much cheering and jubilation among most of the audience. Unanimous decision and unexpected as most thought the ruling Labour group were going to support their Education Director. A victory also for reason and democracy.
Rose Harvey, who was prominent in the Save Posties Park campaign, is a committee member of Clydebelt and, with many others, put considerable time and effort into this highly successful campaign. Well done Rose and the others who showed the WDC councillors that people do value their green spaces.
Forest Design Plan for the Kilpatrick Hills.
Forestry Commission Scotland will be hosting community consultations in January 2014 to gain feedback on their draft Forest Design Plan which covers their existing plantations and the ground more recently acquired.
The venues, dates and times where these sessions will be held are listed below:
* Clydebank Shopping Centre, Sylvania Way, Clydebank, (old BHS café space) Saturday 18th January, 10am - 4pm
* Edenmill Farm Shop, Blanefield, Glasgow, G63 9AX, Sunday 19th January, 12 noon - 4pm
* Napier Hall, Dumbarton Road, Old Kilpatrick, G60 5JH, Tuesday 21st January, 4pm- 7.30pm
* Artizan Centre, Dumbarton, G82 1LJ, Saturday 25th January, 10am-4pm
They are keen to encourage the local community, groups, individuals, businesses and anyone with an interest in this site to contribute towards this process so please pass this information on to other people you think might be interested in attending.
You can download a Summary of the Proposals by the following button:
We have attached a Summary of the Proposals and have on file a series of MAPS to accompany this but the file is too large to transmit to several recipients at a time. Will send individually on request. Titles are 1-Overview, 2-Potential Afforestration, 3-Potential Deforestration, 4-Roads & Quarries, 5a-Peat Depth Survey, 5b- Breeding Bird Survey, 5c-0pen habitat survey, 6-Sensitivities and 7-Qualifying Projects . The initial letter codes used in some of the maps legends are not explained and perhaps not understood by non- foresters. These will no doubt be on show and explained at the sessions above.
Contact is-- Eilidh Spence
Woodland Learning & Community Officer
Woodland Trust Scotland & Forestry Commission Scotland Lang Craigs & Kilpatrick Hills
Sustrans Volunteers - be a Greener Greenways Champion
Sustrans has recently started an exciting new project in Scotland called ‘Greener Greenways’ to enhance and improve the biodiversity on traffic-free sections of the National Cycle Network, which act as wildlife corridors, linking habitats and species which would otherwise be isolated from each other. With funding from the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage, the project was launched in August 2013 and will initially run for three years, creating habitat management plans on 100km of Sustrans-managed greenways and over 100km of greenways managed by other organisations, such as local authorities. Volunteers will be trained in wildlife ID, surveying skills and habitat management, and will monitor and record wildlife on a local stretch of route. All that is needed is an interest in nature and enthusiasm!
Locally volunteers are required to monitor wildlife and collect data on the traffic-free route from Dalmuir along the canal and on to Milton in order to help improve and enhance biodiversity, and engage the public.
To find out more about becoming a Wildlife Champion, contact your Sustrans Scotland Volunteer Coordinator, Laura White: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 0131 346 3016
W.D.C. Budget Meeting Consultation
Prior to the WDC’s Budget Meeting on February 6th there has been an online public box ticking consultation which runs to Friday 17th January. The Council require to make £17 Mn. savings by 2016/17, but this ‘consultation’ is only to access public opinion on achieving savings options of £189,000 in the current year. Without in depth knowledge of the implications of most of the cuts suggested we would have doubts as to the value of such ‘box ticking’ consultations.
The major concern for Clydebelt is the suggestion of reducing Dalmuir Golf course from 18 to 9 holes. What is not being said is that the intention is to sell off the remainder for housing, no doubt the real agenda being to lessen some of the of the £17 Mn. shortfall.
Clydebelt and others have petitioned at the last two local plan consultations to keep the Dalmuir wedge as green belt and to stop housing on it as was proposed twice, and failed, for Auchentoshan estate. The local plans evolve through a reasonably democratic consultation process and it seems that some elements in the council seem to think they can ignore them whenever they have new proposals. Posties Park being an example; saving the Dalmuir wedge could be the next public protest they might have to contend with. Or, could it be we’re being ‘wound up’ on this in order to accept some other cut elsewhere.
As regards the suggested cutting of some valuable council services to save £189.000, what will be final bill for the recent change to the Council’s Logo, hardly a priority in times of austerity, and, what do these surveys cost?
Clydebelt AGM and Membership Fees.
The AGM was relatively well attended as happens when there is a contentious issue. The evolving new WDC Local Development Plans intention to change the green belt designation to housing at Duntiglennan in Duntocher brought new faces to the meeting and several joined Clydebelt. The opinions put forward to the council on the plan will now be under consideration for presentation in the next stage towards the final plan.
The other main discussion was on membership fees. When Clydebelt was founded in 1990 a minimum of £1 per household was asked as a membership fee and no renewal fee has been asked since. We have been living on the large sum which was raised then by fund raising events and augmented by several donations and new memberships since. However we now need to raise some money and it was agreed that a minimum membership fee/donation of £5 per household will be implemented from January 1st. We cannot guarantee that your payment will last for 24 years this time. Some of those at the AGM have already paid. We will be investigating if there is a simple way to transfer money to Clydebelt’s account but meanwhile cheques made out to Clydebelt, with particulars and email if possible, can be sent to ELIZABETH PITTS, FAIRHILLS, STATION ROAD, OLD KILPATRICK G60 5LT
There were no new volunteers for the committee at the AGM. Anyone with an interest in protecting and improving the environment in around the Kilpatrick Hills and surrounding areas please come along to our meetings or get in touch.
Next Clydebelt Meeting Tuesday 21st January 7.30 in Trinity Church Hall, Roman Road, Duntocher.
The AGM of Clydebelt will be held in Trinity Church Hall Roman Road Duntocher
at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 19th November.
2. Minutes of last AGM
3. Matters arising
4. Secretary’s report
5. Treasurer’s report
6. Election of committee
7. Current Issues-Local Plan
8. Future Plans & Membership Fee
Refreshments Tea, coffee, biscuits
Talk by Paula Baker R.S.P.B Local RSPB Reserves
AGM time again and during the year the committee made the decision to remove from our large membership list all those who had not responded to the request to get in touch by email or send back the tear off strip on the last four AGM newsletters.
It was also decided that at this AGM, a membership fee should be discussed and implemented. Perhaps this will further reduce our membership list but we are not prepared to hand deliver nor can we afford to post to disinterested or perhaps even deceased ‘members’. Hopefully members will continue when we request Membership fees.
West Dunbartonshire Local Development Plan
About every five years local authorities bring out a revised local plan. The one now emerging is, more ominously, being called a Development Plan. These plans set many aspects of overall planning using guidelines and directives from central government. In particular is the designating of land into categories for use such as housing, industrial, retail, green space, green belt. Clydebelt has always examined the draft plans, which are produced for public consultation, in particular to see what changes are being proposed in removal of greenbelt or open space for housing. Once land is allocated for a specific purpose it is very difficult to prevent that development subsequently taking place. Hence if you have objection to the outline development on a piece of land the objection must be made at the formation of the plan and is unlikely to succeed if you only object when a specific application is submitted after the plan is in force. Representations on the new proposed plan must be submitted by November29th. Unresolved objections are adjudicated by a planner from the Scottish Government’s Reporters Department.
Of concern in Duntocher is the proposed removal of ‘Duntiglennan Fields’ from green belt. This was attempted at the current local plan consultation some five years ago. A builder wanted the greenbelt removed and local residents (and Clydebelt) were arguing for its retention. The reporter judged on the side of the residents. So what has changed? Last year the council put out a consultation document asking for comment on major issues including the removal of green belt from several sites including this one. Clydebelt tried to bring it to member’s attention at the time, but as mentioned above, most members had not bothered to get in touch with their contact details. Only three objections were received, including Clydebelt’s, and this has perhaps given the planners the impression there was little opposition and Duntiglennan was a site they could attempt to remove from green belt. Government directives have also changed and local authorities are being encouraged to stimulate the building industry and economy by release of green belt. Duntiglennan is being promoted for up to 100 houses. To see and comment on any aspect of the proposed local plan use this link, or go direct to the WDC website or see documents in the planning office at Rosebery Place and perhaps libraries. Deadline is 29th November. http://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/planning-and-the-environment/planning-and-building-standards/local- development-planning/local-development-plan/#.Unq9FuLxA1I
Clydebelt will be making comment on this and other aspects of the proposed plan.
Nothing seems to have happened for almost a year. At a planning meeting last December, changes in the conditions of quarrying brought about by a Revision of Mineral Permissions (ROMP) were not agreed and deferred to a future meeting and subsequently delayed again. Clydebelt and others were trying to reverse the planning permission given in 1949 and re-approved in 2005, to remove Sheep Hill and its Iron Age fort, a listed ancient monument. We have written to Scottish Government planners and local MSPs but nothing seems to be happening.
Kilpatrick Hills Forest Design and Recreational Plans
It’s not all bad news regarding the Kilpatricks. Forestry Commission Scotland are well on with their plans and have held a number of consultations to consider routes and access points for walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders. The aim is to try to keep everything as ‘low key’ as possible but still promote a ‘wilderness experience’ to the one million people who stay within about ten mile radius. Rumours that a timber extraction road might be made right across the Hills have been discounted. Timber from the plantations above Bowling and Milton will come out to the A82 via the Sheephill Quarry road at Dunglass roundabout. East and West Dunbartonshire Councils are proposing to designate the Kilpatrick Hills as a Local Landscape Area (LLA) in their respective Development Plans. This will help to manage change and the protection of the area’s special qualities. Along with SNH they have produced a draft ‘Statement of Importance’ identifying its extent, describing the landscape character, including those qualities identified as special and explaining the reasons for the designation.
Lang Craigs Woodland and Overtoun House
Access to the Woodland Trust’s new Lang Craigs woodland and walks on to the hills is easiest made from Overtoun House where there is a car park on the left near the gates. The house is let by the Council to an American Christian group for £1 per year. They originally asked for a 99 year lease. The local community council, Clydebelt and a few others went to court to try to stop this, but under threat of having to pay the Council’s court costs, if we lost the case, settled for a 35 year lease. The group is now advertising bed & breakfasts, wedding and conference facilities etc. They have to maintain and repair the property which like many WDC properties was badly neglected (Have a look at Balloch Castle!).
The possibility to have had an outdoor/heritage/activities/café/ranger centre etc.etc. perhaps associated with a regional country park like Muirshiel or Country Park like Mugdock has been lost. There is a café on Friday and Saturdays in winter 10.00-4.00. Worth a visit and walk round the grounds and Lang Craigs - one of the Kilpatricks finest walks.
Merkins Wind Farm
At last this has come before the Planning Committee and turned out to be a bit of a cliff-hanger. The council planners were recommending refusal, perhaps due to strong objections from Scottish National Heritage, the National Park, Friends of Loch Lomond and many others. Only six councillors attended and one declared an interest and withdrew. Cllr. Agnew and Provost McAllister voted for refusal and put up good cases why it was against the planning regulations. Cllr. McColl and O’Neill voted for the application to be passed claiming it had little visual impact on the landscape and emphasising the benefits the developers might bestow on the local community. Our interpretation is that monetary or similar gain is no way to judge a planning application; it must first sit within the planning guidelines. Fortunately, with the casting vote Cllr.Gail Casey was firmly against. Clydebelt had also objected mainly on the grounds of visual effect of the turbines on the Kilpatrick Hills and views from and to the National Park. It was a test case, if passed it would be difficult to prevent similar wind farms all over the Kilpatricks. The developer will, no doubt, go to appeal.
Objections to building on this have to be in by Nov. 14th See
There is a Kilpatrick Hills section at Flickr with some remarkable pictures.
If you have any interest in these topics or any other aspects of the Kilpatrick Hills and the environment of surrounding areas, please come along to the AGM, November 19th 7.30 Trinity Church Duntocher, member or not we will be glad of your support and are willing to listen to your concerns.
Please come and show your support and hear our speaker Paula Baker from the R.S.P.B
The draft of the proposed LDP has now been put on the WDC website for comment.
One of the purposes of the LDP is to give a recommended usage designation to land eg for housing, which will then be difficult to argue against if a planning application is made. Sites for 5000 houses have been identified, as well as 50 hectares of land for industrial or business use. Although it is a lengthy document it is important to study the plan to see if there is anything you would take exception to and then make comment. Once amended and approved it regulates the whole planning process until 2019 and beyond.
Representations must be on the official form and made by 29th November.
See and select Proposed plan at http://development-plan-online.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/oldp-web/doc/contentsAction.do?itemId=ID4fa04fbc0b0ce68711f7550ce6113720&pageSize=20&pageNumber=1
Documents can be seen at Council Buildings at Rosebery Place and Garshake and at Libraries
At the WDC Planning Committee meeting on 25th September a report was presented on the proposed Kilpatrick Hills Local Landscape Area (LLA). We hope this should give the area further protection and enhancement. It makes much of the importance of landscape. It replaces the existing Regional Scenic Area designation introduced in the Strathclyde Structure Plan of 1981and will be part of the new West Dunbartonshire Local Development Plan (WDLDP) currently in formation(see above).
A draft Statement of Importance has been prepared by WDC, SNH and with input from East Dunbartonshire. This makes very interesting reading and if the idylls being glowingly described in the 14 page Appendix 1, are to be protected by the Local Development Plan, it should, hopefully, make developments such as quarries and wind farms in scenic areas unlikely to get planning permission.
To see the document – from the WDC website home page/Council and Government/Find Meeting Agendas and Minutes/View Meetings/25th Sept. 10.00 Planning Meeting/ Item 8 & Appendix 1 . The Report has several pictures with large file sizes.
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Clydebelt supports the efforts of the North Bank Environmental Group in their fight against the removal of Sheephill and its Iron Age vitrified fort above the Dunglass roundabout.
Read more for a letter from Clydebelt sent on 19th June 2012.
The West Dunbartonshire Council's Local Development Plan covers Clydebank, Dumbarton, Old Kilpatrick, Dalmuir, Parkhall, Duntocher, Hardgate, Faifley, Gartocharn, Jamestown, Bonhill, Bellsmyre, Silverton, Milton and Bowling, and issues such as housing, access, conservation, planning, environment, greenbelt, community, regeneration, archaeology, wildlife, habitats, landscape, wind farms and supermarkets. It includes a National Park and a Regional Scenic Area
(Other plans cover Milngavie, Bearsden, Glasgow, Drumchapel, Craigton, Carbeth, Croftamie, Mugdock and Blanefield).
Read more for Clydebelt's comments on the recent consultation about the Main Issues, which is the first stage in producing a new plan.
This news/blog site continues from an earlier one at: