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5 August Minutes

Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse (TRIM)                                                                 Minutes of Meeting 13th August 2013

Present   

Robert Pearson, Eileen Carr, Vince Logan, John Davidson, Jan Muir, Joan Tillbury,

Natasha Wood, Pamela Hanlon, Roy Douglas.

In attendance                                                                                                          Brenda Toner (MHA), Henry Coyle (North Local Office),  Cllr Cammy Day   Apologies                                                                                                                     Ann-Marie Whyte, Gordon Davie, Mandy Rudden, Cristina Frangulea, Jim McGinty.

Agenda Item 1 – Welcome       

Robert welcomed everyone to the meeting and quick round table introductions were made.

Agenda Item 2 – Apologies                                                                                            As above

Agenda Item 3 – Approval of Last Minutes                                                            Proposed John Davidson and seconded by Jan Muir

Agenda Item 4 – Matters Arising From Last Minutes       

o      Cammy confirmed that he is doing a walk about with John this week

o      Bank forms for internet business banking sent off

o      Continuing to liaise with Link up to see how to best support TRIP (if they want support).  Henry Coyle stated that he was willing to be involved in supporting TRIP.

o      Community shop has a loan of a ramp until other ramps are costed and brought to the Board.

o      Robert confirmed that the building work had started on the site opposite the high school on the 15th July. Cllr Day was concerned  that it was noted in the last minutes  there would be a delay due to alleged dispute but that was not the case and the building work is going ahead as planned.   Cllr Day asked that the previous minutes be corrected and noted – Eileen agreed to note it on the minutes as a correction and discussion followed on the lack of information or the poor communication that the community receive about developments or work and this inevitably leads to this kind of misunderstanding and mis-information circulating in the community.   Vince asked what the start date for the building work was originally and if there was any delay from the original planned date – Cammy stated he didn’t have that information but as far as he knew the plan is on track and progressing without delay or disruption and Henry confirmed it.   Henry apologised for not being at the last meeting as he could have given the right information and suggested that in future if he could not attend a meeting he could send a rep in his place.   TRIM agreed that this was a good idea and welcomed it. 

 

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o       Discussion then followed on the past regeneration of Muirhouse with the 3 way partnership of MHA, Scottish Homes and the Council and the changes in grants, planning, legislation and the development process that have to be taken into consideration now.   Concern was raised by TRIM about the length of time between demolition and rebuilding.  Cllr Day stated that he has the same concerns and has spoken about this issue on many occasions. 

Agenda Item 5 – Correspondence                                                                        Written    

·         ETF – Training and information needs questionnaire – completed and returned.

·         ETF – July Federation Matters – presented and filed.

·         Bank of Scotland – statement 2 – noted and filed.

·         Bank of Scotland – Business internet banking form – completed and returned.

·         Tenants Information Service – flyer for scrutiny panel – presented and filed.

·         Tenants Information service – Data Base update request – completed and returned.

·         Invoice – Room Hire – presented, approved and cheque signed

·         Invoice – Viking Direct – presented, approved and cheque signed

·         Invoice – Repayment to Eileen and Name badges – presented, approved and cheque signed.

·         Tenants Complaint Form – noted and filed for action

 

Phone calls – 15 received and lots of tenant and resident contact/comments through social media sites

 

            Agenda Item 6 – Brenda Toner                                                                            Brenda spoke about the proposed street naming and numbering of the development site at 67 Muirhouse Avenue.   After discussion it was agreed to support MHA in their proposal that sequential numbering starts at the Muirhouse Avenue junction and that the terrace of 9 houses opposite 69-79 Muirhouse Avenue be named as 67(1-9) Muirhouse Avenue.   TRIM can see no point or sense in the council plan of naming and numbering and believe this will cause confusion on lots of levels.  Robert spoke about the importance of street names and numbers being clear for the emergency services as delay in that area could have fatal consequences.  Brenda will liaise with Eileen and TRIM will send an individual letter of support for the proposal from MHA to the relevant department.                                                                        

 

 

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            Brenda also informed TRIM that the date of the start of handover for the 1st development phase is on the 14th November through to March.  Phase 1 will have 58 houses with 34 being for regular social rent and 24 for mid-market rent.   Priority will be given to people needing transfers because of the welfare reform changes (the bedroom tax and capping) and people on the internal transfer list.   Advertising and marketing will start soon for the mid market properties.

 

 Agenda Item 7 – Environment                                                                                 John spoke briefly about the concerns regarding the general area and Linear Park – which included the fencing, litter, fly tipping, upkeep of planted areas and grass cutting.   John proposed that TRIM help to organise a new group (Friends of Linear Park) which would take responsibility for the overseeing of the maintenance of the park.  TRIM agreed to help organise this new group working with the community council and any other community organisations that are interested.   Cammy would also support  a Friends of Linear Park group and stated he is aware there is issues around the longer term maintenance and is having discussions around the community taking responsibility through enterprise schemes as outlined in the business plan of Muirhouse Community Centre.                                                 Cammy has arranged to go on a community walk about with John, Ewan Mc and Henry  and he hopes that this will be the start of the process of Linear Park working towards Green Flag status, which will mean improved services and a better, well maintained park for the community to enjoy.   John raised concern about the longer term maintenance of the park when the maintenance contracts end and the council have responsibility for upkeep – Henry acknowledged there is a problem in this area and spoke about the need for a properly implemented handover from maintenance contractors to the council and the need for it to be tightened up.   He also stated that there is the opportunity for community groups to bid (under social enterprise) for maintenance contracts against the established firms (which John stated is also in Muirhouse Community Centre’s Business Plan).                                                                        Jan questioned the cost of the ornamental gardens at the top of the Green and is concerned about the amount of money spent and the lack of maintenance – a short general discussion followed on the ornamental gardens most of it in a negative vein.   Robert asked about the grass cutting in the area and voiced concern about the grass-cutter being taken off his rota duties for other work.   Henry explained the difference in grass cutting on demolition sites and communal areas and the problems that occur on the demolition sites due to contamination.  He spoke briefly about the wildflower meadow and stated that it encouraged bio diversity and that the community had fed into the planning of this area.  Robert was concerned about the wildflower meadow being left to grow into a high thick weeded area but Henry assured him that this is natural and how it should be. 

 

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John stated that indeed the wildflower meadow was beautiful in the 1st year but it needs to be maintained, cut back appropriately and re-seeded at the proper times to allow it to flourish – not just left wild.  Discussion followed on wildflower meadows.   Concern was also raised about the wrong machinery being used to cut back the demolition site weeded areas and the damage it is causing to them.   Henry was not aware that the wrong machinery was being used and thought it was the thresher type and not the sit on normal grass cutter – it was confirmed by TRIM members that the sit on grass machine is being used (and damaged) for the grass cutting of these areas.    To allow the agenda items to move on it was agreed to wait until the timescale and plans are available for 21st Century Homes to see if there are any areas that the community can negotiate in order to influence/develop before the actual development starts and to make sure the community has the chance to challenge developers to take on board any feed back or consultation.    Roy stated that he has brought this to the attention to the council on behalf of the community council and will continue to do so after the community council elections.   Brenda asked if the flats in Muirhouse Park are due for external painting – Henry is not sure but will get back to her with the information.   Natasha is concerned about the amount of dog mess in the area and also the speed of traffic on the streets – discussion followed about lowering the speed limit and the pressure of parking spaces/turning in confined areas.  TRIM is concerned about this growing problem and will work towards finding a solution with the appropriate organisations.   John proposed TRIM lead a campaign for lines outside community centres similar to schools due to the amount of children, elderly and vulnerable people who use them on a daily basis – TRIM agreed to take this forward.  Roy spoke briefly about the difference in traffic calming measures in Drylaw compared to Muirhouse and how Muirhouse seems to have the ‘poorer’ ones.                                                                                                              Discussion ended with John making the point that he does not want Muirhouse to be forgotten and left to waste through lack of maintenance and interest while all the money is being poured into the new regeneration areas.  Henry confirmed it is important to sustain and look after things that are already there and would like to promote the positive good points of regeneration in the community.  Working with TRIM will help to promote the positive points of regeneration as well as highlight areas that need attention.

 

Agenda Item 8 – Finance                                                                                                 Vince gave verbal finance report and updated group on bank balance and invoices received/paid.

 

Agenda Item 9 – TRIM Community Shop                                                                            Robert gave short report on the growing success of shop  and stated that the shop is now open 50+ hours and volunteer hours average over 92hrs/week.  Huge thanks to all volunteers who give up their time to support the shop and make it a success!  

 

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Agenda Item 10 – Community Council                                                                    John informed everyone that the Community Council elections are coming up in the autumn and the Community Council needs the community and organisation to support it or it will be lost.  He urged people to think about being nominated and encouraged them to promote joining the Community Council to everyone they know.   Roy stated that TRIM could have a co-opted member and that anyone who lives in Muirhouse or Salvesen could be nominated and elected – there could be up to 15 community councillors and elections forms are available.

Robert asked Roy why he thought the Community Council is struggling for members and doesn’t seem to be widely known in the community.  Roy stated that community councils all over the city are struggling, the name council might be putting people off and the community activists are not as involved as they were in the beginning so it’s a variety of reasons.   

Robert asked Roy what is the main difference between what TRIM do and what the Community council do – Roy stated that the Community Council is an important community organisation that has statutory powers from the council and is supported and promoted by the council in planning and consultation and has more influence and consultation  than regular tenants groups. Robert asked why TRIM members should get involved and will it not just be a doubling of the TRIM work load.  Brenda stated that in her opinion when TRIM was formed she was a bit surprised and couldn’t understand why  a lot of the things TRIM do are actually the role of the community council and not what a tenant group should do –  Robert stated that TRIM is a tenants and residents group who’s aims are to promote Muirhouse and it’s tenants and residents in a positive way – not just deal with housing issues – in fact most of the tenants and residents concerns are environmental or community based and that is what we action .   TRIM promotes Muirhouse in a positive way and strives to make the Muirhouse community work together to make Muirhouse a better more positive and thriving, caring  community                                                                                                             Brenda and Roy suggested that TRIM – the whole organisation –  join with the Community Council and possibly continue  working  as a sub-group for housing within it.  It would make both groups stronger by working together and promote  the Community Council in a positive way as well as being advantageous to TRIM (as the sub group) when dealing with the Neighbourhood Partnership.   TRIM did not think this was a realistic proposal as we have our own distinct identity  and role within Muirhouse and are quite confident in that  identity and role.  Henry clarified that the Neighbourhood Partnership works with all groups by using a neighbourhood approach and not favouring any one particular group.  He stated that since TRIM and the Community Council get their own funding it would make more financial sense to stay separate.  TRIM decided that since it (TRIM) is a very successful group in its own right it would not consider  joining the Community Council to work as a sub group in order to promote the Community Council. Brenda stated that  in her opinion it makes more sense for TRIM to work through the Community Council as part of the main organisation.  TRIM disagreed and will continue to grow and flourish as TRIM!                                                                               

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TRIM will ask at the September meeting if any TRIM member would like to be nominated for co-option onto the Community Council.   Cammy and Henry stated that there is a review/consultation on the Forth Neighbourhood Partnership at the moment and that will clarify the role of the Community Council.  Robert stated that Roy is welcome to drop off leaflets at the Community Shop about the Community Council and the forthcoming elections.   Roy said he would do that as soon as possible.

 

Agenda Item 11- Cavity Wall Insulation                                                                  John spoke about the need to top up/replace the cavity wall insulation in the blocks in  Muirhouse Park and the 4 blocks in Muirhouse Terrace.  He stated it has not been done for years and has ‘dropped’ meaning the houses have poor or very little insulation.   Henry will follow this up and get back to TRIM (John) about this.   Henry spoke about the opportunities for tenants to engage with Changeworks (who also come to the Community Shop to provide information and advice ) and receive the best energy saving advice.  Henry explained that the council fund Changeworks and is pleased that the community are engaging through the shop and Changeworks can be promoted through the shop and other advertising to the whole of the North community.   TRIM stated that Changeworks gives essential and relevant energy advice that gives a positive message on simple changes that make a difference.

 

Agenda Item 12 – Any Other Business  

·         Give and Take sale has taken place in North Edinburgh Arts – A successful day despite their being other community events on at the same time so footfall was a bit slow.   Toy and clothes swop was particularly well used but large furniture not so successful.  Lessons will be taken on board for next time.

·         West Pilton and Muirhouse Gala – has been cancelled again at very short notice after previously being cancelled on June 11th (notified in the NEN) then rescheduled for  August .  TRIM agreed that this is a great pity and the last minute cancellation will leave the community disappointed after the success of the previous gala where the organisers/committee won an award for it.

There being no other business Robert closed the meeting by thanking everyone for coming and reminding all present that the next meeting date is the 10th September at 7pm in the Board Room of the Muirhouse Community Centre.   ETF will be invited to the Sept meeting along with Betty Stevenson to find out more about this organisation.

 

Date of Next Meeting 10th September 2013                                                                      all welcome

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