Muckhart Village from Seamab

trueCall: protection from telephone scamming calls

Further to recent reports regarding the increase in the number of telephone scamming calls that are currently taking place. a resident contacted MCC to recommend ‘trueCall’, a product designed to help protect against scamming calls, in particular, for more elderly and vulnerable residents. This recommendation, subsequently, was passed on to Neighbourhood Watch Scotland (NWS) which has responded with the following information:

NWS promotes trueCall to its Watch Coordinators and members to stop nuisance calls. The following leaflet provides further information for anyone who may be interested in this product: trueCall leaflet

NWS has also provided a discount codeL19, which is worth £10.00, should anyone be interested in purchasing this product and will be circulating some information regarding trueCall on its social media channels over the coming days.

MCC’s thanks goes to the resident recommending this product.

25 January:

MCC has been advised about another device which may be useful for elderly and more vulnerable residents, namely, Hobsafe which is a device that is designed specifically to prevent hobs from being left on if the person preparing food is distracted.

Further information can be found on: Perfect Controls

Again, thanks to the resident recommending this product.

 

Mike Wilson

Secretary – Muckhart Community Council

sec.muckhartcc@gmail.com

 

Clackmannanshire Council: Cases of Avian Flu

MCC has been informed that the Council has been advised that the cause of death of three mute swans found in Clackmannanshire, in December 2020, has been confirmed as Avian Flu (also known as Bird Flu). Although the risk to human health is extremely low, the Council understands that this may cause concern for local people.

More information is available on the Council web-site: https://www.clacks.gov.uk/environment/avianflu/

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is leading with control measures and is being assisted by the Council.

Local poultry farmers have been notified about the control measures they must take and information for keepers of captive birds (chickens, pigeons, etc.) has also been made available and the rules on bio-security measures must be followed. Anyone who finds dead swans or other wild birds should report this to DEFRA on 03459 335577, selecting option 7.

Information for poultry keepers on biosecurity and protecting their birds can be found by following the link to the document, published jointly by the Scottish Government, Defra, and the Welsh Government.

Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/avian-influenza-bird-flu/

Update: Superfast Broadband service – Golf Course Road, Blairhill and Mosspark

MCC has been advised that Briskona has recently issued a second letter offering free superfast broadband connectivity to over 30 properties across the wider Muckhart area. These properties are currently unable to access a superfast broadband service due to their distance from the existing fibre-enabled exchange and cabinets and, consequently, are entitled to Scottish and UK Government Broadband Vouchers to cover installation and equipment costs.

See the earlier post, dated 14th December, for more information.

For further information on this offer, please visit Briskona’s website www.briskona.com or call their Office on 01786 235031 to talk to a member of their team.

Big Energy Saving Month: Clackmannanshire Citizens Advice Bureau

Big Energy Saving Month

This year’s Big Energy Saving Month, which will run from  11 January to Sunday 31 January, seeks to help people save time, money and energy through everyday actions.

We know energy bills are a real struggle for people and falling temperatures in the past week, alongside ongoing restrictions as a result of coronavirus, means people will really be starting to feel the squeeze.

Figures released by the Scottish Government last year revealed 1 in 4 households in Scotland, over 600,000, find themselves in fuel poverty and official estimates suggest this could rise to 29 per cent of households as a result of the pandemic.

This issue is a real problem for those already struggling with energy bills, with inefficient and expensive heating systems or those who are unable to access discounts and support online.

We would encourage everyone to take a look at the simple changes you can make to help save energy, reduce your bills and access any entitlements that you may be due.

Visit the Clackmannanshire CAB page at https://www.clackscab.org.uk/news/big-energy-saving-month which rounds up what we’ll be doing and how people can get involved. We will also be posting from our Facebook www.facebook.com/ClacksCAB and Twitter www.twitter.com/clacks_cab accounts using #BESM21.

 

Yours sincerely,

Jonny Miller

Clackmannanshire CAB Managing Director

Important: Getting the Right Care in the Right Place

Changes to the way people access A&E services have been introduced in NHS Forth Valley as part of new national arrangements to help people get the right care in the right place.

This new approach will make it easier for people to quickly access clinical advice and treatment from experienced local healthcare staff and ensure the Emergency Department is able to provide safe and effective care to people when they really need it.

Under the new national arrangements anyone with a non-life-threatening condition who would usually go to A&E should now call NHS 24 on 111 day or night to be directed to the right NHS service. NHS 24 will assess people by telephone and, where appropriate, refer them to a new Urgent Care Centre at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. This new facility, which is staffed by experienced local doctors and nurses, brings together a number of existing services within the hospital, including minor injuries, GP Out-of-Hours services and assessment services, in one location to provide comprehensive advice, support and treatment for a wide range of urgent healthcare issues.

More information can be found in the following Press Release: 14-12-20 New Urgent Care Centre Opens

In addition, a new Winter Zone has been created on the NHS Forth Valley web-site with local health information and advice for the festive period which can be accessed via the following link: http://www.nhsforthvalley.com/winter

Finally, the following link lists the local pharmacies that will be open during the Festive Period:

Pharmacy Availability over the Festive Period

 

Superfast Broadband service update: Muckhart Primary School and Golf Course Road, Blairhill and Mosspark

Muckhart Primary School

As recorded in the Minutes taken at recent MCC Meetings (see item 4, ‘Matters Arising’, via the link below), the Council’s IT Team has been actively progressing a long-term, fibre-based, superfast broadband solution for Muckhart Primary School. As reported at the last MCC Meeting, the Council’s Stirling based supplier, Briskona, has now undertaken a detailed survey, involving BT Openreach, which has determined that a fibre-based connection can be delivered directly to the school. The Council’s IT Team are currently working on a number of options to improve the broadband service in the New Year.

Muckhart Community Council Minutes

Golf Course Road, Blairhill and Mosspark

Also, as reported at our last Meeting, recently, Briskona has contacted over 30 properties which are located in the areas of Muckhart currently unable to access a superfast broadband service due to their distance from the existing fibre-enabled exchange and cabinets serving the Muckhart area.

Briskona has sent a letter, together with a leaflet (see the link below), to properties located close to Muckhart Primary (FK14 7JL), along Golf Course Road (FK14 7JH), at Blairhill (KY13 0PU) and at Mosspark (KY13 0QE) which are entitled to Scottish and UK Government Broadband Vouchers. The Scottish Voucher Scheme is intended to ensure that every address in Scotland has the ability to access a superfast broadband connection by the end of 2021, regardless of whether or not it will ultimately receive a superfast connection through the Government’s R100 (Reaching 100%) programme. Currently, Briskona is offering to deliver a superfast broadband service, leveraging both Voucher Schemes and based upon the latest Fixed Wireless Access technology, which it is already delivering to rural locations across Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire, Berwickshire, the Scottish Borders and beyond.

Briskona Flyer

It’s worth noting, also, that MCC has been advised that if enough properties in the postcode areas listed above sign-up for Briskona’s superfast broadband service, then this service could ultimately be delivered via a fibre-enabled cabinet which would allow an even faster Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) broadband service to be delivered.

Therefore, MCC would encourage as many properties as possible to contact Briskona and sign-up to the both the Scottish and UK Government Voucher Schemes to enable delivery of a superfast broadband service across the wider Muckhart area.

For further information, please visit Briskona’s website www.briskona.com or call their Office on 01786 235031 to talk to a member of their team.

New FACTS Campaign Launch

MCC has been advised about a relaunch of the new FACTS campaign. This new campaign looks to remind people of the five key behaviours that FACTS stand for, and how this should be part of our everyday lives to keep us all safe.

The new FACTS campaign runs until the 20th December on TV, press, radio, outdoor and social channels.

Click on the link below to see the new poster:

Coronavirus – FACTS – Poster

Further Update: Clackmannanshire Council: Covid-19 – Mobile Test Centre

7th December

MCC has been advised today that the Mobile Test unit left Alloa Town Hall, as planned, last night, however, after an increasing number of people in the area have tested positive for coronavirus, it is returning tomorrow to offer testing for 2 more days, as originally planned, on 8th and 9th December. Please see the following link for further information:

https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/cvmobiletestcentrecv/

 

1st December

MCC has been advised today that the Mobile Test Centre will close on Sunday 6th December and not Wednesday 9th December, as originally planned. Please see the following link for further information:

https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/cvmobiletestcentrecv/

 

26th November

Clackmannanshire Council

As you may be aware a mobile Covid-19 Test Centre has been set up in the Alloa Town Hall Car Park and the Council is encouraging as many people, as possible, to book a test which is aimed at people without symptoms. While the testing is focussed on Alloa, people who live and work across Clackmannanshire can book an appointment.

The Council, itself, is not arranging tests but there’s more information about the testing on the Council website:

https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/generalinformation/

The poster – see below – contains more information:

covid testAlloa1a

You can book a test via the Government web-site: GOV.UK website or by calling 0300 303 2713.

 

Update: MCC follow-up to Reporter’s Decision re H49

24th November

Following our meeting on 5th November, MCC has since held several informal meetings, with the last one taking place last Thursday 19th November. Those attending reviewed and discussed the progress made to date regarding the possibility of a legal case being made to overturn the Government Reporter’s intent to approve planning permission for 50 houses at site H49.

MCC has approached several law firms and one is prepared to examine the Reporter’s decision in detail to determine if a legal basis exists upon which a case could be built to take to the Court of Session. It stated that: The basis on which a decision such as this can be challenged by way of Judicial Review… are quite limited.” It was further stated that: “… the Court (of Session) would not review the planning merits of the application, and would only intervene if a legal flaw could be identified. Such challenges can therefore be difficult, and can, I am afraid, be expensive.”

It was confirmed that a fee of £5,000 would be charged for the firm to undertake an initial review of the Reporter’s Notice of Intention together with the related appeal documentation. If a legal basis could be determined for taking the case to Court, then the associated legal costs could exceed £50,000. These costs would be combined with “the risk of having to meet costs incurred by the other parties to the court action” were the case to be unsuccessful.

If a legal challenge was successful in the Court of Session, the case would be returned to the DPEA for it to be decided again which does not mean necessarily that the original decision by the Reporter would be changed or reversed: “The Reporter who hears the appeal again may come to the same decision but for different or expanded reasons.”

Further to discussion with PAS, members also agreed to look at an alternative option, namely, that of trying to secure free legal assistance through the Faculty of Advocates. Members agreed to review an application form for this service, which has since been distributed, to help determine if MCC’s wish to establish whether or not a legal case could be built, would qualify for such a service.

Members also discussed whether or not MCC should raise a formal complaint to the DPEA regarding the Reporter’s decision.

It was recognised that any complaint would require to be “precise” and based on “procedural grounds”. With this in mind, a member agreed to undertake a further, detailed examination of the Reporter’s Notice of Intention, to determine if there was such a case for a complaint. The virtual Site Visit, that was undertaken for the Reporter to ‘view’ site H49, and a lack of response to Health and Safety concerns raised regarding the marshy area within the site, were agreed as possible grounds for complaint.

MCC will discuss the above further at our next Meeting to be held, via MS Teams, on 2nd December.

Please Note: prior to this Meeting, MCC would welcome any further suggestions or ideas from residents which could help build a legal case against the Reporter’s decision or a case for complaint against the DPEA. Please just forward these to the MCC Secretary. If you would like to attend our next Meeting, then please contact the MCC Secretary to request a link.

 

Mike Wilson

Secretary – Muckhart Community Council

sec.muckhartcc@gmail.com

 

6th November

Following our Meeting last week, MCC held a further meeting last night to discuss, in detail, how best to respond to the recent decision by the
Government Reporter to uphold the developer’s appeal, following the Council’s Planning Committee refusal to grant planning permission for 50
homes on site H49 in Muckhart.

It is clear from the DPEA letter issued, on 28th October, to all those who submitted representations relating to this application, and from the Reporter’s detailed Notice of Intention, that planning permission will be granted to Springfield “provided an agreement under Section 75 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 is reached between the planning authority and the appellant”. The details of this decision are included in the DPEA ‘Appeal: Notice of Intention’ which can be found at:

https://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/CaseDetails.aspx?ID=120984

Whilst MCC considers elements of the Notice to be somewhat subjective in nature, unfortunately, this decision means that the development of 50
houses will now go ahead and that there is no realistic opportunity for further negotiation, either with the Council or with Springfield, on this number.

MCC acknowledges that the community is dismayed and angered by this decision and that, despite all of our efforts, this is not what any of us
wanted or deserve, however, regretfully, this is the final stage in this part of the process.

However, at last night’s meeting, members discussed the possibilities for contesting this decision. If we were to follow this route, then our only recourse would be to take a robust legal case to the Court of Session. This would require identifying and highlighting clear and strong planning and legal grounds upon which to challenge the Reporters decision which could only be achieved by Muckhart engaging an experienced and specialist Planning lawyer or team. We determined that not only would this be a very costly exercise – based on our understanding, typically, such legal representations cost around £100,000 – but, were we to lose our case at the Court, then we would also be liable to pay any costs incurred by the DPEA in defending it’s decision. Further, based on the number of cases that have been taken to the Court of Session, in the recent past, the evidence points to the fact that the vast majority of appeals have not been successful, so, consequently, we agreed that this would be a very risky route for us to take.

However, a group of MCC members have agreed to scrutinise, in detail, the Notice of Intention, to determine if there are any relevant issues upon
which the grounds for an appeal could be based. We have also agreed to seek advice from Planning Aid Scotland, to ascertain their view regarding the
basis of a possible legal case. Based on the advice that MCC receives, subsequently, we may then consider contacting a specialist Planning lawyer.

Based on all of the planning and legal feedback and advice received, MCC will then make a decision on whether we would wish to go down the legal appeal route, taking into account the financial risks versus the chances of success.

In the meantime, members also agreed that it would be remiss of MCC not to engage and work with the Council Planners, to try to influence and secure the greatest benefits, possible, for all within our community, under the Section 75 agreement.

Finally, and with the above in mind, MCC would ask you please to forward any views on planning or legal ‘points’ which you would like us to consider, in any future discussions and representations, and share any experience or recommendation, that you may have, regarding a lawyer, or law firm, experienced in legal planning matters.

 

Mike Wilson

Secretary – Muckhart Community Council

sec.muckhartcc@gmail.com

 

UPDATE: MCC Press Release: H49 Decision

Please find below a link to the on-line version of the Alloa Advertiser article (which is slightly different to the article published in today’s ‘paper’ version):

https://www.alloaadvertiser.com/news/18845207.muckhart-housing-plan-go-ahead-despite-councillors-rejection/

 

Mike Wilson

Secretary – Muckhart Community Council

sec.muckhartcc@gmail.com

 

The following Press Release has been sent today to the Alloa Advertiser:

Press Release on H49 decision. DPEA Ref: PPA-150-2008

On Wednesday 28th October the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division of the Scottish Government (DPEA) issued a Notice of Intention allowing the appeal by Springfield Properties PLC against the decision of Clackmannanshire Council to refuse a residential development of 50 houses on land adjacent to the Pool of Muckhart.

Muckhart Community Council and the wider Muckhart community are dismayed and angered by the Reporter’s intent to grant planning permission for this development. The decision goes against the wishes of the elected representatives of Clackmannanshire Council on the Planning Committee, the elected East Clackmannanshire Ward Councillors, Muckhart Community Council and the wider Muckhart community.

The greatest anger is reserved for a decision that supports 50 houses on the site when the Local Development Plan allocates 35 – a 42% increase. Furthermore, the 50 houses will be crammed together into an area that is approximately 1/3 of the area of land designated for housing in the Local Development Plan for 35 houses, resulting in a development which is entirely out of character with the existing village.

The figure of 35 in the Local Development Plan was arrived at as a result of the intensive involvement of Muckhart Community Council and the wider community in the consultation process, leading to the finalisation of the Clackmannanshire Local Development Plan in 2015. That process involved a vote by Clackmannanshire Council specifically supporting the figure of 35 for housing development.

Muckhart is not against further housing in the community but why is it acceptable to exceed the number in the LDP when that number has been arrived at through due democratic processes?  Furthermore, questions are now being asked as to why anyone should get involved with the development plan consultations when the wishes of the community are ignored so blatantly and completely by the developer.  Those wishes, expressed through many objections and well attended public meetings, draw on local knowledge and positive aspirations for the Muckhart area; they have to mean something and not be side-lined through the planning process.

Is this a case of the profitability of a development taking precedent over the wish of the Muckhart community to protect the character and appearance of one of the most attractive conservation areas in Clackmannanshire? As John Anderson, Chair of Muckhart Community Council says: “The people of Muckhart deserve better, particularly given their interest in and involvement with the development planning process over many years and this planning application in particular.  As we move forward, we trust that there will no longer be a deficit in local democracy and that Muckhart Community Council and the wider community will be listened to and able to make a positive contribution to any development.”

Stuart Dean. Muckhart Community Council