DIRLETON VILLAGE ASSOCIATION
DRAFT Minute of the Annual General Meeting: 21st November 2019
**Note**: This will be approved at the AGM in November 2020
Present: D. Carter (interim chairman); K. Cornwell; C. Hamer; S. Low; T & C. Drysdale; M. Barker; F. McClintock; F. Dingwall; A. Orr; D. & P. McDonald; B. Nimmo; R. & S. Mitchell; D. Tait; M. Coutts; M. Chynoweth; E. Sutherland; E. Burnet; N. Bruce; B. Thomson; J. MacLeod; B. Simpson; R. Aberdein; P. Du Vivier; M. Hickey; B. Ford
Apologies: Mary McNie
Introduction: D. Carter agreed to act as interim Chairman for the meeting and opened with the following words. The death of Richard Gardner on 18th October, whilst in office as Chairman of the Association, is a matter of profound sadness. The committee remembers Richard as someone who was able to bring a calm, balanced approach to the sometimes challenging task of chairing DVA meetings. He conducted himself at all times in a professional and respectful manner. Richard was generous with his time, and his advice was always welcomed. He will be sorely missed.
Approval of the Minute of the 2018 AGM: approved on a proposal by F. Dingwall, seconded by D. Tait.
Matters Arising: None
Annual Report and Accounts 2018/19: the chairman summarised the Annual Report and draft accounts that were submitted to the membership by Mailchimp on 11th November, as follows:
The State of the Association
The number of DVA memberships was 169, slightly down on the previous year. This is over 50% of village residents.
The DVA needs new people to join the committee and to hold office in order to survive, and this is the main threat to its long-term continuation. There was 1 place available on the committee in 2018-2019, and the office of Honorary Secretary was vacant. A Chairperson is now also required to replace Richard Gardner. Committee members can give as little or as much time as they wish. Non-committee members have also volunteered to carry out specific tasks in the past where they have a specific interest in something, and this is always very helpful.
The Association held meetings every two to three months throughout the year to which all residents of the village and surrounding area were invited. Committee meetings were held on other months and on an ad hoc basis as issues arose. Committee meetings are open to all members.
Information has been distributed via the Mailchimp membership emailing system, which is working well and allows feedback along with the village website and Facebook page. The village notice boards continue to be used to make information available to off-line residents, non-members and visitors.
The village continues to suffer from severe and continuous pressure for house building and other development, with considerable areas of surrounding land now in the ownership of property developers, and there appears to be no prospect of these development pressures going away in the foreseeable future. The DVA has made a response to all applications that might have a significant impact.
Other Activities and Achievements
The DVA obtained approval to future grants from the North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership (AP) for: £35,000 for the improvement of the parking and road drainage at the church green; £500 for the planning application fee for the War Memorial green project; and £202 for the planning application fee for the Bowling Club’s improvements project. Payments were received from the AP and the Community Council for the community hedge project and the survey of the overhead wire crossing the green.
D. Tait has produced a Village Resilience Plan (see below) and a Sustainability Policy, which has now adopted by the members.
The DVA committee supports the Bowling Club and continues to campaign for the demolition of the derelict village hall, although with little progress. The DVA committee has continued to work with the school to promote inter-generation activity in the village.
The year-end accounts for 2018/2019 were issued prior to the meeting and in summary show income of £4654 and expenditure of £2,805, giving a surplus of £1,849 for the year. This had resulted in the Association’s total assets being increased from £11,667 to £13,516. The income included a donation of £776.77 from the Fete and Games Plant Stall. The accounts were proposed as correct by K. Cornwell, seconded by B. Nimmo.
Election of Office Bearers and Committee
D. Carter nominated R. Aberdein for the vacant post of Chairman, seconded by K. Cornwell. R. Aberdein was duly elected and introduced himself and provided some background. He will chair the next committee meeting on 19th December. Although the honorary secretary post remains vacant the secretarial duties will continue to be allocated to Felicity Dingwall (Membership) and Carl Hamer (Minutes). S. Low will continue her role as Treasurer. J. Finlay has confirmed he will stand down from the committee but will continue to provide assistance where he can. D. Carter thanked him for his assistance. The remaining committee members (M. McNie, M. Barker, F. McClintock, K. Cornwell, D. Carter and D. Tait) were all elected as continuing committee members. T. Drysdale remains an ex officio member of the committee but will stand down at the same time as he hands over chair of the GACC.
Village Resilience Plan
D. Tait provided details on the Village Resilience Plan, which links into the one for Gullane, and possibly Aberlady in the future. There are currently only nine volunteers more are needed whether it be a chainsaw operator, 4 x 4 driver or making tea and coffee. There are twelve grit bins in the village, D. Tait has scheduled a review, but it was mentioned that some already need topping up after a recent cold spell. He will notify ELC. D. Carter thanked D. Tait for his efforts so far.
ELC increased the cost of the usual 28 baskets to £1,000 and this was considered unaffordable for summer 2019. Suggested options for 2020 to a) reduce to 12 baskets along the north side of the green at a cost of £432 incl. VAT or b) wildflower planting of re-wilding areas. Committee voted: 4 to switching to wildflowers, 2 to both and 5 uncommitted. Mailchimp vote went out to 151 members only 19 responses received: 14 in favour of switching to wildflowers and 5 for hanging baskets.
A good debate was held with views on the sustainability aspect of wildflower planting (longer lasting, less maintenance, better nectar) and high impact of the hanging baskets, particularly to tourists. There was a general feeling that the impact of wildflower planting carried out so far (primroses below doocot and oxeye daisy, red campion and foxglove seed sown) will not be seen until 2020 and as the order for hanging baskets is required by 30th November, members voted to purchase 12 baskets for 2020 and then review.
Consideration also to be given to future spending of any contribution from Fete & Games plant stall and from the Open Gardens under Scotland’s Gardens (held every other year and contribution of £1,125 received in 2018, but this not guaranteed in future years).
K. Cornwell confirmed that an application has been submitted to BT Openreach to buy the telephone box to be used as we see fit (book exchange currently proposed). Purchase price of £1 is for the box only and not the ground. DVA will be responsible for maintenance. F. Dingwall to check DVA insurance coverage and contract to be passed to R. Aberdein for signing.
• The East Lodge application is now live with no more responses.
• The New Mains applications (planning and listed building consent) are back on ELC planning portal and responses can be made. T. Drysdale and D. Carter to prepare DVA responses – due by 13th December for the LBC application and by 20th December for the planning application.
• Work is scheduled for the war memorial green project in February 2020.
F. McClintock expressed thanks to D. Carter for acting as interim chairman.
Date of Next Meeting: R. Aberdein will chair the next committee meeting on 19th December 2019.