Kirkcowan – What's Going On?

Minutes of KCC meeting 21st November 2022


ATTENDED – Committee – Andrew Gladstone, Hazel McWhirter, Mary Mackenzie, Richard Marsh, Robert Drysdale, John Drysdale, Kevin Dean.
In the absence of Chair and Secretary, it was agreed that Andrew Gladstone would chair the meeting.

Public – David Inglis (elected councillor), Lynne Dalglish, Martin Gumersell, Catherine Gray, Graham Parkes, Mark Godfrey, Jim Rae, Mary Murdoch, Susan Sale, Louise Willow, Kate Herkes, Les Mercer, David McBain, Deborah McBain, Kath Googe

APOLOGIES for absence – Hazel Johnston , Mary Harkness, Tricia Veevers

MINUTES of the October meeting were proposed by Richard Marsh and seconded by Robert Drysdale. Agreed as true record.

Matters Arising

On the advice of Hazel Kerr, (D&G Council) we the Community Council would like to add the following clarification to the minutes of the last meeting .
1 The Community Council is aware that the public have a right to attend meetings and indeed are welcome to attend CC meetings and to participate in the public forum of the meeting at the invitation of the chair, and we apologise for any misunderstanding on that point.
2 The Community Council is also aware that the CC directors represent the community on the Development Trust and we will take the views of the Community back to the Trust for Consideration , but we can do no more than that, as the decision process is outwith the control of the community council.

Disability Access to footpaths
Advice received from the Countryside Access Officer, Richard Masters. It is not a legal requirement for all countryside paths to be wheelchair accessible.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) has been in force for many years.
Mary Harkness has not had a response from “Paths for All” to enquire about requirements for disabled access.

No response from Streetwise regarding tidying up the verge on Newton Stewart Road. There may be no money in the D&G budget for cutting this.

Smell in Village Hall toilets. – it is acknowledged that the toilets and pipework are over 60 years old and need refurbishment.

Waiting for the contractor to visit to repair the lighting at the hall.

Kevin Dean is completing the survey from SWTrans. The deadline is 6th January

Kevin Dean brought up the difficulty with getting a good mobile phone signal and internet in the village. Vodafone signal has deteriorated recently. AG reported that Vodafone has decided for commercial reasons not to proceed with another phone mast to cover the bottom of the village. David Inglis suggested that the KCC could write directly to Vodafone to ask them to reconsider.

20.10.22 Kirkcowan – Advice provided regarding an ongoing civil matter and dispute over property
04.11.22 Kirkcowan Person arrested for an offence of assault to injury. (Domestic)
12.11.22 Kirkcowan Motorist traced in possession of controlled drugs and arrested for offence of drug driving. Positive roadside saliva sample obtained. Blood sample obtained for laboratory analysis.

Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Article (Scotland ) Legislation.
This came into force on 10th October. It is now an offence to buy fireworks for someone under the age of 18 year. This also aggravates an the offence where emergency service workers are attacked by fireworks.

Police Service Youth Volunteers
The police wish to recruit youngsters aged 13-15 years old who have an interest in policing. Any interested – email Pc Emily Conroy or speak with Pc Gary McCutcheon at Stranraer Academy.

Campaigns – “That Guy” sexual crime prevention campaign launched, encouraging men to speak and discourage other men who may be behaving or speaking in a way that harasses women.

Trading Standards Scotland have a month long campaign raising awareness of scams through email, and texts claiming to offer energy bill rebates .Doorstep scammers are also around demanding large deposits from customers for construction materials, in advance, and failing to return to do the work.
Further information on website
Public are asked to report incidents to Police Scotland via 101 or Advice direct Scotland on 08081646000

Ofgem Scam Emails
A lot of scam emails purporting to come from Ofgem claiming that recipient is due a rebate and follows a link where malicious websites will be able to take your money from your bank. Forward suspicious emails to

Identity Theft
Beware of leaving or giving personal information to fraudsters who may use it to steal your identity and leave you without money in your account or worse. Look out for bills for items you have not ordered. Transactions on your bank account you do not recognise. Your driving licence or passport etc may have been stolen. If you think an email or text is suspicious phone the bank direct to check.

No 1 account £46.30 | No 2 account £66,176.32

Outgoings: Hazel Johnston for Halloween celebrations £214.50
Rent for village hall £117.50
Incoming funds: KCDT Grant £220.80
Discretionary grant D&G £474.50

Business Stream – confirmed that KCC is not responsible for water charges for the Balgreen football field. They are the responsibility of the owner. The file on our outstanding debt is closed.

CREPL advised that the 2022 grant £3,003.27 is waiting to be paid on receipt of invoices for equipment/work to corner garden. (there is a delay in obtaining the materials)

Dumfries and Galloway Council Elections for No 2 ward are due 8th December.

No new applications.

The winter fuel grant to householders is confirmed at £200, cannot be increased.

Still waiting for tenders for the project manager post for the Park improvements.

KCC is still waiting for the invoice for the work that has been completed. It is likely to be under the estimates and there will be a surplus in the budget.

AG proposed that this could be used to repair the dyke between the Glebe Field and the road, max cost £2,000. The Glebe field is owned by the church, RM suggested that the church be approached for sharing the cost. AG did not think the church has any funds available. After a long discussion this expense was agreed.

JD voiced concerns about safety of children who may run through the gap in the dyke into the road, where a field gate has been moved back to enable vehicle access. A vote was taken whether this should have 2x 6ft gates to close the gap. AG to check the costings for this and bring to the next meeting.

Railway Path.
AG is to arrange for vertical rails at the bridge to prevent falls off the path. RM asked if some of the surplus from the footpath works already completed could be used for a seat on the railway embankment and it was also discussed about a seat on the hill between Barhoise burn and the Newton Stewart road.
AG undertook to arrange for his contractor to deepen the ditches to lower the water table around the path where it crosses the moss and to spread some type 1 stone at one point on the path where the surface is inadequate.

Teapot Lane path
There are still problems with heavy rain washing out the gravel. Also with vegetation creeping across the path and also the paths up to Dickie Wood. Suggested this could be remedied by arranging for a contractor to strim the vegetation twice yearly.
Also to form gaps under the field dyke to allow water to run off the Teapot Lane path into the field below. Possibly a ditch running beside the dyke on the lower level to drain the water. AG estimated the cost of the contractor who constructed the path to use a mini digger for 2 days work at approximately £500. He could also scrape a plinth for the setting of a seat at the T junction of the path up to Dickie Wood and Teapot Lane. Decision on works to be brought to the next meeting. Martin Gumersell suggested that the contractor should rectify works at his own expense if the works did not solve the problems.

A grant of £300 has been allocated to Kirkcowan for Community events, Just need to apply. A form has been sent to Hazel McWhirter for completion. This can be allocated to buying selection boxes of sweets for distribution to all primary school children in the village. Need to check the number of children, including all who are home schooled and not attending school .

JD will put the Christmas lights on the tree next weekend. The formal switching on of the lights will be Saturday 3rd December at 6.30pm. People can bring food – cakes, shortbread etc to share at the event.

Church services. There is no Family this year or a service on Christmas Day. There will be a Watchnight service at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve.

Mary Harkness has received notification from Karen Anderson, Communities Directorate of D&G Council that she will come to meet the KCC members to give guidance about the KCC roles and responsibilities. This could be in the New Year and would need to be no later than 6pm as she lives in Annan. Several members would prefer a Saturday, as 6pm weekdays not practicable for them.
David Inglis suggested that it may be possible to arrange to restart the Federation – (all the community councils in this part of the region) to meet together and all receive the instructions together. It was proposed that MH pass this suggestion back to Karen Anderson.

Martin Gumersell – Serious concerns regarding the dangerous bend at Spittal Bridge where there is a blind spot and no sight line, coming from the Wigtown direction. High risk of a serious possibly fatal accident. David Inglis offered to discuss this with the roads department – suggested remedies included a 30mph speed limit, Priority signs, and cutting trees and hedges to improve visibility.

Community Service volunteers have sacks of kindling for distribution . Charles McEwan to be consulted as to how much kindling is available, and how people can receive it. This could be publicised by a poster on the village notice boards.

Community Service had been approached about clearing the vegetation on Teapot Lane but they did not deem it appropriate.

Remembrance Day commemoration
This year the school laid a wreath on Friday the 11th November. The village commemoration took place on Sunday 13th. Three police officers attended to manage traffic. It was agreed that next year the school would be encouraged to join with the village commemoration and police presence would not be requested.

Jenna Morra Wood
An informal group of people has met with Hugh Connick to discuss and take forward his plan to develop the wood to improve the ecology for wildlife and people. A submission is being made to the Forestry Commission for a licence for thinning out some trees. A working party will be tackling removal of rhododendron and clearing away the tree tubes in the New Year.

The meeting closed at approx. 21.10

Next Meeting Monday 21st December at 7.30 pm