Kirkcowan – What's Going On?

Minutes of KCC Meeting – 18th January 2021

Kirkcowan Community Council Meeting – 18th January 2021
at 7pm, online via Zoom, due to continuing Covid19 restrictions

Present: Charles McEwan (Chair), Hazel McWhirter (Treasurer), Debbie Mcbain (Sec.), Dave Mcbain, Dan Baillie, Andrew Gladstone, Mary Harkness, Katrina Dick, Wendy Wood, Tricia Veevers, Charlie McNeill, Mary Mackenzie (Minutes), Bill Harkness, Hazel Johnston, Helen Matthews, Kirsty McKie, Cllr. David Inglis

  1. Chair welcomed everyone and gave a quick update:  the generator was checked, found to be faulty and has been repaired; the kindling mentioned previously was distributed;  and he wished to give a commendation to all those people who are once more helping with the Covid-19 resilience group, collecting shopping & medicines, checking on the elderly, etc.

  2. Apologies: Lesley Parker, Mary Murdoch, Jackie Mortiboy

  3. Minutes of the last meeting (21/12/20):
    Minutes accepted: proposed by HMcW and seconded by MH

  4. Police Matters:
    There has been an increase in calls about breaches of Covid 19 restrictions, particularly in regard to travel. The public can report any potential breaches to Police Scotland here:
    And a reminder to take the F.A.C.T.S. precautions seriously in light of local outbreaks of the virus.
    (2) A warning about courier fraud – phone callers posing as police or the bank, ask people to hand over money, bank cards, firearms or ammunition to a courier to be checked. Elderly are particularly vulnerable to these scams, and have handed over substantial amounts of money & goods.
    The “Take 5” campaign aims to prevent financial fraud by offering straightforward & impartial advice. Visit the website for more information:

  5. Treasurers Report:  HMcW Account no.1 has £46.30   |   Account no.2 has £12,987.33    
    £175.01 has been spent since the last meeting: £48.34 to JB Print for Newsletter & Minutes; £96.68 to B. Marshall for generator battery; £29.99 for extra Christmas tree lights.

  6. Correspondence:  DMcb (Sec.)
    a) Several emails received about the first year’s winter fuel payments still not paid. Jak Kane is aware of these, and the relevant bodies have been contacted.
    b) Feedback that the path across the park has been widened by cutting the grass back to the edges.
    c) Reported that a pipe in the graveyard was leaking, the Council were contacted, and information passed on. (Kerren Walker is the current Ward Officer at DG Council.) Scottish Water vans have been seen at the site. HMcW will check that it has been fixed.
  7. Planning: No local planning applications this month.

  8. Update from December KCDT meeting:  KCC rep.DMcB, also AG and CMcN.
    The Trustees agreed to look at getting pathways established around the village.
    Dawson Court proposal shelved as too much work needing to be done.
    Long discussion about the MUGA, the park and upgrading the school playgrounds. Talked about a multi-function, all-weather playing surface and education process. All these projects are largely interdependent and need to be resolved together.

Covid Resilience Group/ Red Card system: AG wishes to resign as co-ordinator. CMcE will deputise at present while awaiting a replacement. Grassroots actions from local people are working well, looking after isolated individuals, but other resilience systems need to be put in place. Red cards can still be placed in windows for those needing help, and the group phone numbers can still be contacted.

The Hall: CMcN gave a summary and update on developments since the public consultation was held in November 2019 to canvas opinion on upgrading the Hall. KCDT had granted funds for an architect to provide outline options, and the majority supported refurbishing the main hall and stage, and rebuilding the unfit-for-purpose kitchen, supper room and toilets. The next step is taking over ownership from DG Council, which can be a lengthy process, not helped by the pandemic. Once the transfer is agreed, it will be time to look in detail at what facilities can be incorporated and best use of space in the Hall, before finalising the design. This is one of the priority projects in the Community Action Plan and is widely supported as an important community facility for the future.

MUGA/Games Area:  JW has talked to Planning Dept. – they will not allow a MUGA in the park, which is a Protected Open Space in the Local Development Plan. There would also be objections from the residents of Wellhouse Road if it was to be sited in the field behind the school, because of noise, floodlights, disruption and loss of privacy.
The question of maintenance costs was raised – a full MUGA can cost around £10,000 per year. Fees for use could be charged. DI – Newton Stewart MUGA, the most used in the area, is nowhere near paying for itself.
CMcN – KCDT grants would cover capital costs of projects but less likely to pay running costs.
Debbie Mcb emphasised that facilities need to be created for the young people of the village as there is little else for them to do.  KCC will consider all possible options & locations.
The unused ground on Teapot Lane (approx.12m x 30m) could be considered as a games area with hard surface and netting. Though not quite big enough for standard tennis court /5-a-side pitch, it would provide a convenient practice area. Nearby residents may object.
Dave Mcb suggested using the Hall to accommodate indoor sports/fitness. There were already regular badminton, carpet bowls, yoga, tai chi & pilates groups in the Hall before Covid stopped them.  5-a-side and tennis might cause damage, but could consider how to make safe when redesigning the Hall.
The School Hall is used for some indoor sports and the development of the school playgrounds is also now under consideration, so offers potential for a games area.
AG raised the option that Balgreen football grounds could still be looked at for development – though a bit further out, there are no residents nearby and plenty of space. The buildings could be upgraded or rebuilt to include changing rooms and showers.

The Park: Discounting a full MUGA in the Park, attention can be focussed on all the other things that residents asked for in the community survey. DB – Why not have a surface without fencing? Kids manage to play ball games now without incident, just give them a flat, surfaced play area, with play equipment for younger & older kids too. The Park needs to be planned as a whole (as in the existing Community Action Plan) to include seating, cycle/buggy/running paths, fitness equipment, planting for wildlife, etc to make an attractive, inviting family-friendly place where all residents & visitors can enjoy the outdoors. A landscape architect will be engaged by KCDT to come up with 2 or 3 possible layouts.

Steering group:  DI – There are a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline, so recommends setting up a Steering Group to look at all the possibilities. Involve representatives from different groups in the village, eg. KCDT, School, Church, Autumn Club, KCC and others (should not be a duplicate of Community Council).

Railway Line and other paths: AG- Have quotes and ready to go ahead with first phase of Railway Line, removing fence and cutting undergrowth. A question was raised about the requirement for all new paths to be wheelchair-friendly and whether Planning Dept. needs to be involved. AG will pause project until this is clarified. DB – could we connect road past Balgreen football grounds, via a bridge over the Tarff, into Mindork Forest, which has designated Core Paths?
The aim eventually would be to have a network of off-road paths around Kirkcowan for walkers and cyclists to avoid dangerous roads. Sustrans might help with funding?  The Community Action Plan includes having a separate open meeting, on Zoom, to consider all the options for local pathways.

Other Suggestions put to, and discussed by, the meeting:

Food Vouchers: M Murdoch – as Xmas meal for old folks was cancelled, could KCC give vouchers to spend on meals or shopping? Questions raised about how to organise, who would qualify, and where to spend them? The major supermarkets don’t usually participate in small schemes.
Agreed it would be better to arrange a social event/meal/celebration after restrictions are lifted.

Could Respite Care be offered locally to ease pressure on NHS, and help those stuck in hospital beds?
Good idea, but too much red tape, checks, etc. NHS & Social Work are responsible for managing this.

Should Kirkcowan install Charging Points for mobility scooters for the future, given the ageing population? Dave Mcb.
Electric vehicles (including bicycles, cars and mobility scooters) are becoming more common. Charging points in the village would fill a small gap in the growing national network and also provide some income. Could consider 1 or 2 at the Hall?

Notice Boards:  From the resilience point of view, do we need more in the village? At the park, school or bus stop? It was generally agreed that there was no need. There is information in the P.O., on websites & Facebook pages. Noticeboards are more often used for events and ongoing news. As not everyone uses the internet, a booklet of useful local information and emergency contacts could be produced for all households in the Kirkcowan area. It would need to be reprinted every so often to keep up to date.

Community Shop: Another great idea, possibly in DB’s former studio in Main Street, which was rented, and lacks basic facilities or heating, but does have plenty of space and is in a central location. Funds could be spent on upgrading, but arrangements would have to be negotiated with the landlord, or even possible purchase?
The Autumn Club building might be another option, but not as big, and difficult to park at. Unsure of who owns the building, (may be the Ex-Servicemen’s Club – now defunct) Jak Kane has the deeds. Also unsure of the future of the Autumn Club after restrictions are lifted, DMcb will find out.
May have difficulty recruiting volunteers to fill a rota, but most community shops are well supported.
DI – worth having a trial pop-up, before setting up permanently. Maybe some space in refurbished Hall?

Wooden Planters: Some will need repairs, and the 2 on the Stranraer road need to be moved closer to village for watering. Plants could be grown and tended by a gardeners group, also some are allocated by DG Council. Bigger plants and trailing ones are needed to fill these planters, small ones are barely visible from a car. There are already a few people who helped plant and maintain them last year.
The redundant black recycling boxes could also be re-used as additional planters to make more impact. MMac will check availability with DGC, and sound out local gardeners to see if more people would get involved with making Kirkcowan bloom.  

Covid-19 Business Support Fund: DI – Economy & Resources meeting on 26th January. DG Council will be administering a £855,000 Discretionary Fund to help businesses which have not had any financial support so far. The Update Report is here:

The Next Meeting of KCC will be held on Monday 15th February 2021 at 7pm, again via Zoom.
All welcome. For access codes, or if you have questions about using Zoom, email:

The meeting closed at 9.12pm

Mary Mackenzie (Minutes Secretary)