Public and Councillors Question Time
Linda Brannigan submitted the following question to the Committee:
“I have been following the reports from Argyll and Bute Council regarding their intention of becoming a net zero council in the not too distant future and then this week's (as at 21st December 2021) Campbeltown Courier reports that our landfill waste will not be able to be processed within our Area.
It is in the interest of everyone to reduce the amount of landfill waste and to increase the amount of recycled waste in Argyll and Bute.
This, in my opinion, begs the question of why the recent roll out of blue bins in Kintyre is restricted to households only.
Places such as golf clubs, bowling clubs, caravan parks, and popular beaches for picnics/walking plus the many hospitality venues are by their very nature high volume plastic/cardboard venues. Yet they were not given these bins.
Businesses already pay for the removal of waste, therefore providing blue bins will result in them removing recycling items with less going into the green bins and therefore landfill.
The down side is the initial cost of providing these bins plus the increased amount of recycling being collected, however on the plus side is:
(a) LESS GOING TO LANDFILL - reducing the cost of transporting it and paying for it to be processed
(b) MORE RECYCLING - helping the intended net zero target.”
Councillor Redman noted that concerns around recycling bins were raised with him on a regular basis, and advised that he would like to see Roads and Infrastructure Services take a more proactive approach to meeting their publicised environmentalism targets. He suggested that larger bins or more uplifts could be beneficial in this regard, as he was concerned that there was a culture of removing bins or replacing them with smaller ones.
Councillor Kelly advised that he agreed with the principle of Mrs Brannigan’s enquiry and would encourage the Council to look into the possibility and practicalities of this.
Councillor Horn advised that constituents of Arivore Road, Whitehouse, had received a reduced recycling service following the Council’s transition to in-house recycling uplifts. She explained that the recycling lorry could not access the road, and therefore people were unable to recycle unless they took their recycling to a central commercial bin at the local hall. She noted her disappointment in this, following prior assurances that recycling services would not be affected.
Councillor Armour noted his agreement with Mrs Brannigan’s comments, advising that it was in the Council’s interest to provide bins and increase the amount of material being recycled to meet their targets. He highlighted his belief that convenience could be a major factor in whether people chose to recycle or not, and therefore supplying additional bins to places which were likely to generate large amounts of recycling could be beneficial.
Councillor Currie noted that many of the businesses local to him did have bins for recycling materials, and so he was unsure why this would be the case in some areas but not others.
The Committee Manager agreed to feedback the Committee’s comments to Mrs Brannigan following the meeting and to obtain a response from the Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services.
Councillor Philand advised that an Environmental Warden for the area would have been able to assist with issues such as these, however Members had taken a decision in the Council budget not to employ an Environmental Warden for the area. Councillor Philand requested that the Committee write to the Administration to enquire about the reason behind this decision. The Chair agreed that this would be progressed following the meeting, and a response would thereafter be provided to Members by e-mail.
Councillor Kelly provided background information in relation to the Yellow Book report which had been carried out in 2005, and had been the catalyst for regeneration in Campbeltown. He noted that Campbeltown Community Council were currently progressing a Community Action Plan and requested that the Committee support a request for officers to bring forward a report to the next Committee meeting outlining the options for taking forward an updated survey and putting in place an updated strategic approach. He advised that it was important to deliver and build on the success of Campbeltown, particularly in light of proposed future investments and the need to put in place suitable infrastructure to support this. The Committee Manager agreed to progress this request following the meeting.
Councillor Kelly expressed his disappointment at the condition of the public toilets in Bolgam Street, Campbeltown. He requested that the Committee support a request for officers to bring forward a report to the next Committee outlining the actions required to bring public toilets across the area up to a reasonable standard. The Committee Manager agreed to progress this request following the meeting.
Councillor Kelly advised that he was seeking the support of the Area Committee in ascertaining the position on bedding plants for Campbeltown. He noted that he had been unsuccessful in contacting officers for a response and advised that, if the Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services could not provide a response to this at the meeting, he would ask the Committee to write to the Executive Director to seek clarity around this.
Councillor MacMillan advised that Traffic Warden attendance was urgently required in Lochgilphead, particularly in response to a number of Heavy Goods Vehicles being parked in the Stag Car Park overnight without paying for this. He noted that he had been told that it was too expensive to bring a Traffic Warden to Lochgilphead, however a lot of money was being lost by not monitoring the car park. Councillors Philand and Taylor reiterated concerns around this, noting that strategies should be explored to address this loss of revenue.
Councillor Horn advised that she was pleased to see work had been carried out on the footways in Tarbert, however she would like to enquire about whether there were plans to extend works to the Quay, rather than stopping at the public toilets. She noted that the slabs at the Quay had been the cause of a number of falls.
Councillor Redman raised concerns about a section of road between Islay Auction Mart and Whins Park, Islay. Councillor Currie advised that this had been addressed in the Roads Capital Reconstruction Programme 2022/23, which was being considered at the upcoming Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee meeting.
Councillor Redman advised that concerns had been raised by South Knapdale Community Council in relation to branches on the roads at Kilberry. Councillor Taylor advised that he had received assurance that the bushes and scrub would be cut back on the next occasion when the Council were cutting the verges.
Councillor Redman also raised concerns about the condition of the Cemetery Road in Carradale. He noted that he had previously received correspondence confirming that the road was not the responsibility of the Council and that the community should seek funding to address the issues, however he would request that this position was revisited.
The Chair advised that the Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services would be in attendance for a later item, and responses would be provided to the queries raised in relation to his Service at that point.
Public and Councillors Question Time
Cathy Cameron, Time for Change Argyll and Bute, submitted the following question to the Committee:
“Time for Change would like to thank the Council for supporting several of its climate change activities, including the opportunity to present at the Climate Education Summit and for giving us the opportunity to engage directly with the Council. We would also like to thank those who took part in Time for Change's Climate Change Summit on 20th September and for welcoming at Kilmory those Mid-Argyll schoolchildren who took part in the climate march on 5th November. In addition, we wish to commend ACHA for the work that they have undertaken on energy efficiency retrofitting.
We would like to enquire about how the Carbon Literacy Training roll-out for managers, elected officials and general staff is proceeding.
Following discussions with the Council it was agreed that Climate Change would be included in Implications on papers and we would like to ask when this might happen.”
The Committee Manager confirmed that implications on climate change would be included in Council reports for the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee on 9th December 2021 and in all meeting reports thereafter. The Committee Manager advised that the Head of Commercial Services, as the officer responsible for the Climate Literacy Training project, would provide a response to the query around training and this would be circulated to Ms Cameron and Members by e-mail following the meeting.
Councillor Horn requested clarification as to whether any further update had been provided from the Scottish Ambulance Service in relation to ongoing concerns around capacity and delays. Councillor Philand advised that a new Area Commander had been appointed for Argyll and Bute, noting that he would arrange to share the details of the new Area Commander with the Committee Manager following the meeting for onward dissemination to Members.
Councillor Kelly enquired as to whether Area Committee meetings were being recorded, and the Committee Manager confirmed that the meetings were not being recorded at this time. The Committee Manager advised that this would be looked at as part of the overall hybrid meetings project and agreed to progress discussions around this, with a view to having the next cycle of Area Committees recorded.
Councillor Kelly raised concerns around the time taken for an update report in relation to Traffic Management in Davaar and Meadows Housing Schemes to be brought to the Committee, noting that he understood that Covid-19 had impacted on the survey. Councillor Kelly expressed frustration around the lack of consultation with Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA), Fyne Homes, local residents and the local Community Council, and asked that appropriate consultation was undertaken and proposals investigated to alleviate the identified issues. Alastair MacGregor confirmed that ACHA would be happy to engage with any consultation around this.
Councillor Kelly highlighted his concerns that a MAKI Accessibility and Footway Survey was no longer being progressed, following a request from the Area Committee more than a year ago. Councillor Kelly advised that he would like to see appropriate action being taken to progress this.
Councillor Philand thanked the Committee for their previous support in relation to frustrations around the progress of the Autism Strategy, and advised that a productive meeting had since taken place with the Chief Officer of the Health and Social Care Partnership. Councillor Philand confirmed that he would keep Members up to date with any further progress updates in this regard.
Councillor Redman advised that constituents had raised concerns with him around the Education Change Programme and the level of consultation in relation to same. The Chair confirmed that an update in relation to the consultation which was taking place had been shared with Members. The Committee Manager also confirmed that an update on the consultation would be considered by the Community Services Committee later in December. Councillor Redman requested confirmation around the costs of this consultation, and the Chair advised that any requests around this could be directed to the Executive Director with responsibility for Education.
Councillor Philand advised that, following concerns raised at a local Community Council meeting, he had submitted a request for the views of professionals and unions to be included as part of the information being collated for consideration by the Community Services Committee. The Committee Manager confirmed that a report would be submitted to the next meeting of the Community Services Committee which would confirm the consultation arrangements.
Public and Councillors Question Time
Councillor Redman advised that he had received a large amount of correspondence from constituents on Islay in relation to bins overflowing, noting that there were concerns from local residents that when they had previously reported instances of fly tipping this had resulted in the removal of bins. He noted that he had raised this issue previously but had not been satisfied with the response received and wished to pursue this further. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services advised that generally bin services were reported to be working well and additional collections had been put in place in some areas as required. He also outlined information around commercial abuse of bin collections; fly tipping; and the lack of capacity for vehicles to service additional bins on their allocated runs.
Councillor Horn raised concerns around the B8001 road to Skipness, advising that she had previously raised this matter several times and the condition of the road continued to deteriorate. Councillor Horn asked if the repairs originally scheduled for Autumn would be proceeding, as they were required imminently. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services confirmed that repairs to the B8001 road were included in the Roads Capital Programme for the current financial year, and geotechnical work had been undertaken to identify the causes of the issue. He noted that he was content that the road was stable at this time on the basis of the investigations which had been carried out. He advised that works had originally been planned for Autumn and asked for patience while the design work was completed and the procurement process initiated. He reassured the Committee that he was confident that the responsible team had the project in hand and that the work would be completed within the current financial year. He agreed to circulate information to Members, and via social media, in relation to an approximate timescale for works following a request from Councillor Currie. The Chair requested that details around the geotechnical issues encountered be provided in layman’s terms alongside this information, to provide local residents and Members with a better understanding of the challenges being faced.
Councillor Horn advised that there had been reports of issues on the road to Ardnahoe distillery, as some cars appeared to be unaware of how to use the laybys. Councillor Horn reported that this was causing concern for those who regularly used the road. The Committee Manager agreed to raise this with the relevant officer following the meeting and to feedback any response to Members.
Councillor Horn reported concerns around ambulance delays and asked that information was requested as to the reasons for this, noting that she was aware of one instance where this had resulted in an unplanned overnight stay and delayed discharge from hospital. The Chair and Councillor Philand confirmed that they had also been advised of concerns around ambulance delays, and Councillor Philand noted that he had received a response from the Scottish Ambulance Service around this which he would be happy to pass to the Committee Manager to be shared with Members. Councillor Philand advised that he had also requested that a meeting be set up with the area officer for the Scottish Ambulance Service to discuss this.
Councillor Horn asked if the Council had been notified around the new smoke alarm legislation coming into effect soon, and asked if any such information could be circulated to Members as she had received a lot of correspondence in relation to this. The Committee Manager agreed to raise this with the relevant officer following the meeting and to feedback any response to Members.
Councillor Philand requested the support of the Committee in writing to the Lead Councillor for the Health and Social Care Partnership in relation to the Autism Strategy. Councillor Philand advised that he had been unable to receive a response as to the status of the strategy at this time, having pushed for this for a number of years alongside Councillor Horn, and would appreciate the support of the Committee as it was important for communities and local families. The Chair agreed that he would be happy to make a request to the Lead Councillor for the Health and Social Care Partnership in this regard, and would liaise with Councillor Philand and the Committee Manager around this following the meeting. Councillor Horn noted her agreement with what Councillor Philand had said and the requirement for action to be taken.
Councillor Armour highlighted an issue in relation to frequent closures of the Roading amenity site, noting that this had also been raised at the last meeting of the Committee. He noted that he was still getting a number of complaints from people who were finding the amenity site to be closed during scheduled opening hours, with no indication of when it would re-open, and the closures appeared to be happening far more often than they had previously. He advised that he had also raised an issue around parking in the vicinity of the site, and asked for these issues to be responded to. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services advised that he would be happy to investigate these concerns with Renewi and provide feedback on this to Members following the meeting. He noted that it may be helpful to explore the ways in which signage and social media could be used to advise of any temporary closures and timescales for re-opening.
Councillor Armour expressed concern that the recent Campbeltown SURF award had not been adequately publicised. He noted that it had not been used to promote the town, and the good work undertaken by the Council and other agencies, to the extent that it should have been. Councillor Kelly endorsed these comments and advised that he would welcome further publicity of the award. The Committee Manager agreed to raise this with the relevant officer following the meeting and to feedback any response to Members.
Councillor Kelly advised that the condition of the old Post Office and the White Hart Hotel, as well as the external condition of the Aqualibrium, were detrimental to the works which were being carried out in Campbeltown. He noted that there had been a 25 year guarantee provided for the external paintwork and masonry when the Aqualibrium was originally built and it would be of benefit to investigate this prior to the guarantee running out as it had become an eyesore. He advised that the Council should also investigate any potential solutions to the old Post Office and White Hart hotel buildings. The Committee Manager agreed to raise this with the relevant officer following the meeting and to feedback any response to Members.
Councillor Kelly advised that, due to the condition of Castlehill and Dalintober Primary Schools, there was a requirement to initiate the process for a new Campbeltown Primary School to be built, particularly in light of the relevant timescales and required consultation procedures for such a project. The Committee Manager agreed to raise this with the relevant officer following the meeting and to feedback any response to Members.
Councillor Armour noted that he had received reports of issues with the cutting of the grass at Meadows playing field, which were causing issues for the local football teams who were trying to use it. He advised that local staff were doing their best, but there appeared to be an issue with the grass cutter which was not allowing the grass to be cut short enough. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services agreed to investigate this and provide a response to Members following the meeting.
Public and Councillors Question Time
Councillor Redman requested assistance around an ongoing issue with recycling bins at Port Charlotte, which had been removed by Roads and Infrastructure Services due to littering and fly tipping concerns but had not since been returned. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services agreed to provide a response to Members by e-mail following the meeting around concerns raised.
Councillor Redman raised concerns around vandalism and littering on Islay, particularly highlighting an incidence of vandalism which had resulted in a hand sanitiser station at a bus shelter in Port Charlotte being smashed. Councillor Redman confirmed that he had previously discussed the issue with the Head Teacher of Islay High School. Councillor Redman requested that contact was made with Police Scotland to request that a more proactive response be taken to tackle the issue and the Committee Manager agreed to contact Police Scotland and circulate any response to Members by e-mail following the meeting.
Councillor Kelly requested confirmation that a number of issues raised at the last meeting of the Committee had been progressed, particularly in relation to a disabled access to pavements survey and report; a response to concerns around Kintyre Care Centre and delayed discharges at Campbeltown Hospital; and a further report on traffic management in the Davaar and Meadows housing schemes. The Committee Manager confirmed that a response had been circulated to Members on 23rd March 2021 from a Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) representative in relation to Kintyre Care Centre and delayed discharges at Campbeltown Hospital. The Committee Manager confirmed that reports in relation to a disabled access to pavements survey and traffic management in the Davaar and Meadows Housing Schemes were included on the MAKI Area Committee workplan for the September 2021 meeting.
Councillor Horn advised that part of the road at Garvel Road, Tarbert, between the entrance and the car park was in very poor condition. Councillor Horn noted that she felt any underspend in money for the regeneration scheme works in the area should have been reallocated to improve the road conditions and this undermined the good work which had been done in the area as it was now a popular walking route and the road surface was becoming increasingly dangerous. The Committee Manager agreed to raise concerns with the appropriate officers and circulate any response to Members by e-mail following the meeting.
Councillor Horn raised concerns on behalf of a constituent around non-completion of commercial glass uplifts by Roads and Infrastructure Services, advising that this had been a frequent occurrence and companies paying for this service were then required to make enquiries or claim for the undelivered service. Councillor Horn advised that she felt that notification of non-completion and issuing of refunds should be the responsibility of Roads and Infrastructure Services rather than the customer. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services agreed to provide a response to Members by e-mail following the meeting around concerns raised.
Councillor Horn noted that a noticeboard previously in place in Skipness on the wall of the old church had been removed by the owners of the building due to Covid restrictions and had not since been replaced. Councillor Horn requested that enquiries were made on behalf of the community as to whether the noticeboard could be put in place at the crossroads without the need to apply for planning permission. The Committee Manager agreed to make enquiries with the appropriate officers and circulate any response to Members by e-mail following the meeting.
Councillor Horn advised that she had previously discussed the issue of littering on Islay with Chief Inspector Marlene Baillie, Police Scotland. Councillor Horn advised that Police Scotland had been in communication with the Head Teacher at Islay High School and a plan was being put in place to combat the situation.
Councillor Philand requested that contact was made with the Lead Councillor for the HSCP, following recent reports in local and national newspapers around difficulties within Children Services and the potential for future strike action. Councillor Philand expressed concern that no information had been provided to Councillors around this and advised that he had previously contacted the Lead Councillor for the HSCP on 20th May 2021 but had received no response to date. The Committee Manager agreed to contact the Lead Councillor for the HSCP and circulate any response to Members by e-mail following the meeting.
Councillor Armour requested that an update was provided on reasons behind a reported substantial increase in closures of the amenity site at The Roading, Campbeltown. Councillor Armour expressed concerns around the availability of parking in the area for those wishing to access the site, particularly during site closures when waiting for the site to reopen, advising that this could have an impact on the nearby Ambulance station. Councillor Kelly noted that he felt that the MACC base at Machrihanish would be a more appropriate destination for Campbeltown’s amenity site. The Chair confirmed that plans for the amenity site in Campbeltown would be looked at in future, with cognisance being given to the planned changes to waste management regulations coming into force by 2025. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services agreed to provide a response to Members by e-mail following the meeting around concerns raised.
Public and Councillors Question Time
Councillor Kelly requested an update on a survey being carried out across the MAKI area in relation to disabled access to pavements. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services confirmed that these surveys would usually be undertaken by colleagues in Economic Development in conjunction with Roads and Infrastructure Services and confirmed that he would communicate this request to them. Councillor Kelly requested that this item be added to the MAKI Area Committee workplan for regular updates to Members.
Councillor Kelly asked that updates be sought from the Health and Social Care Partnership prior to the next meeting of the Committee in June in relation to delayed discharges at Campbeltown Hospital and concerns raised around Kintyre Care Centre. The Committee Manager confirmed that she would request these updates and circulate any responses to Members by e-mail.
Councillor Horn raised concerns around the new Caledonian MacBrayne policy of no loose cargo being allowed on ferries affecting the delivery of prescriptions to island communities and it was agreed that the Committee Manager would contact the Chief Officer of the Health and Social Care Partnership in relation to this and circulate any response to Members by e-mail.
Councillor Horn advised that there had been increased reports of littering and dog fouling in the MAKI area, and requested that this be brought to the attention of the relevant warden. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services advised that the number of wardens in Argyll and Bute had been reduced due to a previous Council budget decision and there was therefore limited resource across the area, however as a result of the most recent Council budget decision there would be some extra resource available to deal with seasonal issues which may allow the existing wardens to give this issue additional attention. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services requested that Members advise him of any specific areas which they felt should be particularly targeted and suggested that it may also be beneficial to circulate information around this through a social media campaign, noting that this had been carried out in other areas previously with some success.
Councillor Horn requested an update in relation to a previous agreement that Officers would liaise with local undertakers around issues at Carrick Cemetery. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services confirmed that regular meetings between Officers and local undertakers across Argyll and Bute took place to discuss issues and circulate relevant information, noting that these meetings appeared to be generally well received. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services confirmed that historical issues around record-keeping had been improved now and it was hoped that a better position had been reached and would continue in this regard.
Councillor Horn advised that severe damage to the B8001 road at Claonaig was causing concern to residents and requested an update on work being carried out to remedy the situation. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services advised that a solution was being progressed and a briefing note would be circulated to Members and the wider community to provide details of this. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services confirmed that a traffic management plan was in place currently and a contingency plan had been identified in case of any situation where the existing road may not be useable in the interim.
Councillor Redman raised concerns around rabbits in Kilnaughton cemetery and enquired around the possibility of culling them to prevent damage to the cemetery. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services confirmed that he would research briefing notes in relation to this topic and provide an update to Members by e-mail following the meeting.
Councillor Armour reiterated concerns raised earlier in the meeting around an increase in dog fouling, noting his concern that this appeared to be an issue across the whole Argyll and Bute area. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services advised that he took on board concerns from Members and suggested that it may be beneficial to carry out an active social media campaign in addition to ongoing work to address the issue. The Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services highlighted issues around some people being unwilling to report people for dog fouling due to worries around the consequences of this and noted that lockdown restrictions had seen a large increase in dog ownership at a national level.