DIRLETON VILLAGE ASSOCIATION
Minute of Meeting of 14th March 2019Present:
R. Gardner (Chair); C. Hamer (Minute Secretary); D. Carter; J. Finlay; F. Dingwall; K. & S. Cornwell; M. McNie; M. Barker; D. Tait; J. Oliver; N & N. Bruce; W. & S. Bain; R. White; D. & S. Holloway; S. Stephen; G. Robertson; Mr and Mrs Girma; C. & L. Goodman; R Baldrock; M. Mabon; C. Drysdale; E. Sutherland; B. Nimmo; W Anderson; D. & P. McDonald; S. & N. Steel; R. Wilkins; S. Finlayson; C. Huish; M. & D. Coutts; P. & L. Burnet; B. Ford; E. Douglas-Hamilton; Peter Kimber.Presentation by Isabel (Issy) Anderson:
Issy is a long-standing member of North Berwick Community First Responders. She explained the Face, Arms, Speech, Time assessment for victims of a stroke and the Chain of Survival procedure to improve the outcome of an out of hospital cardiac arrest:
i. Early recognition and call an ambulance.
ii. Provide effective CPR. Training courses provided by British Heart Foundation and Heart Start.
iii. Early defibrillation. To improve your chances of the first responder and SAS finding you make your house as distinctive as possible – have a clear house number or name plate preferably lit, turn on lights and open front door.
iv. Scottish Ambulance Service in-situ treatment and transport to hospital.
Heart Start would like to achieve one trained person per household.
RG thanked Izzy for coming along to give a very useful and informative talk.
S. Low (Treasurer) T. Drysdale; A. Orr; F. McClintock; M. Hickey; J. & C. Lindsay
RG announced that Anne Orr is to stand down from the committee to concentrate on Dirleton Good Neighbours (DGN). Volunteer required to take over website management.
2. Approval of the Minute of January Meeting:
FD pointed out an error in the cost of hanging baskets. They have increased to £30 + VAT. Otherwise accepted as correct and CH to amend.
3. Matters Arising:
None, all addressed below.
4. Coronation Anniversary Tree:
RG provided background on this issue. It was discussed in committee before Christmas and at the full DVA meeting in January. The group emailing system was then used to ask for comments from all the DVA members on what, it was appreciated by the committee, was a difficult subject. The February committee meeting then considered the responses. The majority decision from the group emailing enquiry was in favour of moving the tree. However, in response to requests, the question had been placed on the meeting agenda to allow those who had been involved with the original planting to make their case for retaining the tree in its ceremonial position. He considered the process to be democratic.
DC gave the history and context of the proposal to move the tree. Before Christmas, and again at the January DVA meeting, a member said that the tree would grow much larger than was anticipated at the time of planting, as it was a standard English oak tree and not one of the smaller oak species. It would grow over 20 metres high and would be 15 -20 metres across. DC then offered, in his role as Landscape advisor to the committee for this current year, to issue a report to every member explaining the landscape issues this raised. This reported that the tree, once grown, would change the historic designed landscape of the green, which was designed to be open space, and would block views of the Castle Inn from the north side of the green.
If it were to be moved, this would need to be done now, before it gets too big to transplant.
He invited the members present to consider themselves to be stewards of the heritage. The DVA is a conservation association. He said that as well as considering present needs, the DVA is therefore also responsible for taking care of and conserving the historical legacy which was deliberately designed to be as it is by past villagers and owners. The DVA also has a responsibility to them. In addition, the DVA has a responsibility to future generations to protect and hand on the heritage it received from the past. That does not mean that change cannot happen. What it means is that the following questions need to be asked: Firstly, is the change necessary? And secondly, how can the change be managed to reduce or avoid altering the historical legacy? In the case of the Jubilee Tree the issue is difficult because the tree is already planted. So the question for the meeting is that it is faced with a choice: which is more important, the connection with the original planting location and ceremony, or the ultimate position of the tree?
MM explained that the tree was planted on 3rd June 2013 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the queen’s Coronation on 2nd June 1953. A tree survey report was read out, which considered the tree to be in good health and could have a long life with appropriate pruning to maintain shape and crown clearing when necessary. The tree should now be considered part of Dirleton’s history.
DT did not consider the MailChimp ‘request for comments’ process to be democratic as it only went out to DVA members. In particular it should have considered the views of the Primary School which was involved in the planting and he read out the views of some parents. He suggested the request for comments should have gone out to the whole village by mailshot. He felt that communication on this subject should have been more extensive and not just through MailChimp.
RG listed additional people from whom he had received recent messages of support for retaining the tree since the original set of comments were received. These are: D. Holloway, S. Bruce, R. Lawrie, S. & J. Wellwood, M. Mayes, P. Rennie and M. Cosgrove. There was also one new message in favour of moving the tree from B. Thomson.
DH raised concerns over the landscape report issued to the membership, suggesting that it was biased towards the view to move the tree. In his view, the Green has changed significantly since the C19th map shown. The tree was purchased by the DVA having taken advice from the Council on the species and location. There was no disagreement from DVA members at open meetings. The planting ceremony was carried out by Michael Williams, vice Lord-Lieutenant (now Lord Lieutenant) of East Lothian, supported by Joan Earle from the village, who originally proposed that the event should take place. The event was covered by the Courier. He suggested that it was disrespectful to suggest that the decision to plant the tree where it is was inappropriate and that he could not recall another occasion when a previous committee decision had been subsequently overturned. Previous voting had been done following a mail drop to the whole village. He went on to indicate that the mature tree roots and canopy would extend no more than 10m from the trunk and therefore there would be no impact on the road and the view from the main road would only obscure the bin storage area of the Castle Inn. As ELC managed the village green space they would be responsible for the tree. In his opinion the tree would contribute to the legacy of C21st village life.
A DPS parent explained that her children had placed their wishes beneath the tree roots and that she therefore felt very strongly that the tree should remain where it is.
KC indicated that the level of attendance at this meeting meant that the committee could now act on this matter. However, attendance at previous meetings has been poor and those that want to have an input on village matters should attend more often to ensure that future decisions reflect their wishes.
PK proposed a vote. CH proposed a secret village-wide vote by the maildrop method described. This alternative was dismissed however, and a show of hands by those present was agreed. A large majority of those attending the meeting were in favour of retaining the tree in its present position.
At the end of the discussion all but 22 of the attendants left the meeting.
5. Public Realm
• The required payment in advance (funded by the Area Partnership) has been made to Openreach for the wire survey. KC to chase up.
• DC is to meet with the church to discuss improvements to the War Memorial Green including parking, street lighting, road drainage, the overhead cable, and de-cluttering the church entrance. DC has asked the ELC Roads Dept. to address the surface water drainage problem in the short term.
• RG responded to an ELC planning application for an electric car charging point at the car park, requesting it be moved to avoid damage to tree/shrubs and a second charger be added.
DC reported as follows:
• Ruthven Road bus shelter repairs complete.
• Grant for o/head wire survey approved.
• Grant for Bowling Club improvements specification approved.
• DVA and committee meetings will need to agree the 2019 priorities by mid-May.
7. Planning Application:
• Castlemains Farm application being considered by the Reporter.
• New Mains – TD is taking the lead on the tree felling without a licence. The Forestry Commission is considering prosecution. The right of way has been closed off. Discussions are being held by TD with the Right of Way Officer. A possible alternative is to be offered.
• The recent Archerfield application (Just the part proposing houses at the East Lodge) is to be reviewed by JF/DC.
8. Village Green Plan & Sustainability Policy DT provided his background details for producing the Sustainability Policy for the DVA and explained the ideas being considered. DC proposed a September project to plant wild primroses in the long grass areas banks on the Doocot part of the Green as an action within the nature conservation part of this plan.
9. Bowling Club DC explained that after some progress there are issues with the terms of the proposed lease. At present it is only being offered for 20 years and a longer security of tenure may be required to secure grant funding. Post meeting note: the bowling club has decided to try applying for grants using the 20 year lease offered.
10. Winter Resilience Plan: DT explained that we are waiting to see North Berwick and Gullane plans finalised for DVA to use as a template. “Hand in the window” is considered a security risk for potentially vulnerable people and an alternative method should be considered to alert neighbours that assistance is required. Possible register of 4×4 owners who may be able to assist in icy/snowy conditions. Dirleton PS should be considered as a hub in case of emergency as it has heating, lighting and a generator.
11. Hedge Planting: The replacement of the Oatfield to Eel Burn hedge is nearly complete with the Dirleton PS children to add 100+ plants on 1st April.
• The grass verge on the north side of the village green has been cut back by DVA volunteers to widen the footpath.
• FD reported that the hanging basket order has not been placed with ELC and it is too late to request this. ELC require notification for 2020 baskets in November 2019. The cost of each basket has increased from £25 (No VAT) to £30 + VAT, which is quite significant for the 28 baskets usually ordered. It was first queried whether the DVA, as a registered charity, could reclaim the VAT. DH queried whether funds set aside for the tree relocation could be used for hanging baskets but DC confirmed these were private offers of contributions and they could not therefore be re-allocated by the DVA. DH offered FD assistance with the organisation of hanging baskets in the future.
Date of the Next Meeting: Committee 16th May 7pm at the Amalfi café. (n.b. these are open meetings and all are welcome to attend.) The next full DVA meeting is on 20th June at 7.30pm in the Kirk Hall.