East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch - Forum Kunena Site Syndication http://ernhw.org.uk/ Mon, 21 Aug 2017 06:20:19 +0000 Kunena 1.6 http://ernhw.org.uk/components/com_kunena/template/default/images/icons/rss.png East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch - Forum http://ernhw.org.uk/ en-gb Subject: Scots councillors owe local tax debts totalling £126,000 - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42337-scots-councillors-owe-local-tax-debts-totalling-p126000#42337 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42337-scots-councillors-owe-local-tax-debts-totalling-p126000#42337 By Jamie McIvor & Marc Ellison
BBC Scotland local government correspondent

The total amount owed by the 31 councillors could pay the salaries of four teachers
More than 30 councillors across Scotland have historic council tax debts, according to BBC Scotland research.

Some of the local representatives owe their councils several thousand pounds, and the debts have built up to a total of more than £126,000.

The authorities concerned say they are aware of the debts, and the councillors are paying them off.

The total sum of the debts is enough to pay the salaries of four teachers.

BBC Scotland submitted freedom of information requests to all 32 of Scotland's local authorities, asking if any serving councillors had council tax arrears.

A total of 31 councillors in 12 council areas had debts - in six council areas, more than one councillor had debts.

The biggest headline total was in Glasgow where eight councillors owed almost £52,000 between them, with most of that amount was built up in previous years
In both North Lanarkshire and Aberdeenshire four councillors owe more than £20,000 between them - again most of that total was built up in previous years

Renfrewshire Council said four councillors owed a total of £14,101 - the majority of it from previous years
Three Edinburgh councillors owe a total of £5,594, all from previous years
Two Highland councillors owe £2,970 between them

One councillor in East Renfrewshire owes £4,355

One councillor in South Lanarkshire owes £3,237, from previous years
One councillor in West Dunbartonshire owes £2,497, from previous years
One councillor in South Ayrshire owes £1,149
One councillor in West Lothian owes £877, from previous years

The remaining councils did not have debts outstanding, while Western Isles Council failed to respond to BBC Scotland's FOI request.

The councils did not provide any information about the individual councillors or how they had built up the debts - the debts may have been built up before the person concerned was elected.

It is impossible to say whether the individuals concerned built up the debts as a result of personal financial difficulties, actively avoided paying council tax in the past or accidentally missed payments.

In the early days of the council tax, some councils had significant non-payment rates, possibly following campaigns to refuse to pay its controversial predecessor, the so-called "poll tax".

The figures for North Lanarkshire suggest four councillors owe an average of £5,000 each.

The council said it had pursued the individuals concerned and agreed plans to help them clear the debt over time.

'Public confidence'
The code of conduct for councillors makes specific reference to council tax arrears - although arrears do not prevent someone from standing for election or continuing as a councillor.

It says: "The law makes specific provision that if a councillor is in two months' arrears with payment of council tax that councillor may not participate in certain decisions concerning council tax issues, in order to preserve public confidence that councillors are taking decisions in the general public interest."

It adds: "Whilst you are a member of the community, you are also a representative of that community and of the council to which you are elected. As there is potential for public perception of abuse of position and poor leadership, you must seek to avoid being in debt to the Council."

The largest debts were outstanding at Glasgow City Council, although all eight councillors have agreed payment plans

All eight of the Glasgow councillors who have arrears have agreed payment plans.
A spokesman for the council said: "Council tax supports a wide range of frontline services. It is important that everyone that can pay does pay."

Brian Cook, head of revenue and efficient government at North Lanarkshire Council, said: "While we would never discuss individual cases, councillors in arrears are treated no differently to any other resident.

We actively pursue council tax debt in a variety of ways which can eventually lead to court action but we always attempt to put a suitable plan in place for those who are in arrears. That is what has happened in terms of these councillors."

Renfrewshire Council said the vast majority of the money owed by councillors is likely to be recovered soon.

It said arrangements had been put in place which would reduce the total to less than £1,000 by next month.

Aberdeenshire Council confirmed that all outstanding amounts are being actively pursued as part of normal procedure. It also said any councillor in arrears at the time of important votes on council budgets would be prohibited from taking part.

'Appropriate steps'
Edinburgh Council added: "Council tax collection forms a significant part of our budget and we always take appropriate steps to collect outstanding sums. This is only fair to the majority of people who do pay their council tax and other council charges that allow us to provide vital services for all of our residents.

"Council tax revenue helps to provide services to people in all our communities, which is why we take non-payment extremely seriously."

In general, councils advise anyone who finds it hard to pay their council tax to speak to them as soon as they can. They may be able to ensure people receive all the benefits or discounts they are entitled to or work out payment schemes.

Councils across Scotland collected 95.8% of the council tax they were due last year on average.

The lowest total was of 93.4% was in Dundee.

Some councils have effectively written off many debts from several years ago, believing the amount they will recover is not worth the cost and effort involved.

But current debts are pursued.]]>
Public Forum Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:28:19 +0000
Subject: Council denies claims it broke SQA rules - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42332-council-denies-claims-it-broke-sqa-rules#42332 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42332-council-denies-claims-it-broke-sqa-rules#42332
East Ren Council has denied claims that Highers students at Mearns Castle High could have received inappropriate help with projects.

The strong rebuttal follows news coverage of an investigation being carried out by the SQA about alleged potential malpractice, after a letter sent to parents earlier this year suggested students could make appropriate changes to work after receiving feedback from teachers.

However the council insists its teachers did not breach the stringent SQA rules, while conceding the letter sent to parents was poorly worded.

A spokesperson said: “Our staff are well aware of the guidelines set out by the SQA in relation to Higher Assignments and these are followed rigorously across the authority.

At no stage was any pupils’ Higher Assignment marked. “This letter, which unfortunately was poorly worded, was simply issued to stress the importance of these assignments to parents.

“Staff provided support and advice to pupils in preparation for completing their assignments under exam conditions, as is permitted by the SQA, which is what this letter is referring to. “It is important to stress that the wording of this letter does not accurately reflect the role staff at this school play in supporting pupils with their Higher Assignments, and this has already been amended for the forthcoming session.”

Read more at: www.glasgowsouthandeastwoodextra.co.uk/n...-sqa-rules-1-4531672]]>
Public Forum Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:54:42 +0000
Subject: New school an estate spin-off - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42316-new-school-an-estate-spin-off#42316 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42316-new-school-an-estate-spin-off#42316

Eastwood is set to gain a new Newton Mearns primary school following a key agreement over spin-off benefits from a £150million estate.

Maidenhill Primary, which is planned to open in 2019, will sit at the heart of the 834-home Maidenhill development and will be delivered by East Renfrewshire Council.

Assuming this element is approved there will be a primary school with 444 places, and a 120-place nursery. Developers Cala Homes and Taylor Wimpey say benefits of the scheme will include multiple pockets of land to be used for affordable housing.

Also planned for the estate are a multi-use games area and 3G pitch at the new school, to be available for community use. The developers also claim “generous” public space will be available, featuring “pocket parks” and a green corridor - equivalent to around 19 football pitches.

The promised spin-off includes contributions to community halls, sports grounds, sports halls and centres, libraries and community health and care provision.

Read more at: www.glasgowsouthandeastwoodextra.co.uk/n...e-spin-off-1-4528381]]>
Public Forum Fri, 11 Aug 2017 16:46:47 +0000
Subject: Letter from Cllr David Macdonald to ERC Director of Education - by: Newsline http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42291-letter-from-cllr-david-macdonald-to-erc-director-of-education#42291 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42291-letter-from-cllr-david-macdonald-to-erc-director-of-education#42291 Public Forum Wed, 09 Aug 2017 12:16:56 +0000 Subject: Cllr O'Kane makes an announcement - by: Newsline http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42290-cllr-okane-makes-an-announcement#42290 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42290-cllr-okane-makes-an-announcement#42290
We were certainly unaware that he was a gay Catholic and pretty sure that it was not a commonly known fact.

We at Newsline wish him well.]]>
Public Forum Wed, 09 Aug 2017 11:58:20 +0000
Subject: Broom Park - Time Line revealed? - by: Newsline http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42287-broom-park-time-line-revealed?limit=6&start=12#42287 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42287-broom-park-time-line-revealed?limit=6&start=12#42287
Cllr Bamforth has posted the following on the Save Broom Park F/B.

Councillor Bamforth]]>
Public Forum Wed, 09 Aug 2017 11:40:14 +0000
Subject: East Renfrewshire pupils top of the class with record breaking exam results - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42281-east-renfrewshire-pupils-top-of-the-class-with-record-breaking-exam-results#42281 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42281-east-renfrewshire-pupils-top-of-the-class-with-record-breaking-exam-results#42281
Across the secondary schools in Glasgow's south side suburbs, the best ever results in Highers and Advanced Highers have been achieved.


Pupils across East Renfrewshire have excelled across the board, with another year of record-breaking exam results.

Across the council’s seven secondary schools, the best ever results in Highers and Advanced Highers have been achieved. An impressive 184 young people across the authority achieved five or more Highers at grade A, with 39 per cent of 6th Years achieving one or more Advanced Higher.

The results for fourth year pupils also continue to show a very strong performance, with 95 per cent of the year group achieving five or more qualifications at National 4 or better and 76 per cent achieving five or more qualifications at National 5 or better.

This is the second highest ever achieved by pupils at East Renfrewshire Council schools.

As thousands of children from across the authority area celebrate their achievements today (August 8) East Renfrewshire Council’s Convener for Education and Equalities, Councillor Paul O’Kane, has welcomed the results.

Councillor O’Kane said: “Once again the hard work of our pupils has paid off as they continue to raise the bar each year.

“We are proud of these fantastic results, which are made possible thanks to the dedication of all our staff and the support of parents to help their children to achieve their very best.

“It is also extremely pleasing that the attainment gap has been narrowed again which highlights that our family-centred approach to learning is continuing to deliver strong results.

“Well done to everyone for another year of excellent results.”

Key achievements include:

• Barrhead, Mearns Castle, Williamwood and Woodfarm recorded their best ever S4 performance at National 5 this year. Across the authority, 271 pupils (20% per cent of the year group) achieved eight or more grade A passes at National 5.

• The Higher results for S5 pupils are the best ever with increases in all measures. The proportion of pupils that achieved five or more Highers increased to 44 per cent (43 per cent in 2016). 83 per cent of the original roll achieved at least one Higher in S5 (up from 81 per cent last year) and 67 per cent attained three or more Highers – which represents an increase of seven points over the last five years.

• Barrhead, Eastwood, Mearns Castle, St Ninian’s and Woodfarm High Schools had their best ever S5 results. 184 young people across the authority achieved five or more Highers at grade A – with 24 per cent of the original S4 cohort in St Ninian’s achieving this exceptionally high standard.

• At Advanced Higher in S6, the authority also achieved its best ever performance with 39 per cent of the original S4 cohort achieving one or more Advanced Higher awards (up from 38% in 2016). St Luke’s, St Ninian’s and Williamwood had their best ever results for the proportion of S6 pupils achieving one or more Advanced Highers, with Williamwood’s results increasing by 4 per cent.

Mhairi Shaw, Director of Education at East Renfrewshire Council, said: “Our approach is clearly having an impact as year after year our pupils continue to produce fantastic results.

"We continue to see improvements right across the board, with children from all backgrounds achieving and reaching their potential.

"Our approach recognises that all children progress at a different pace and need to be supported appropriately.

"Each child is an individual and will excel in different areas so we strive to provide a rounded education and a wide range of experiences, which allows all our pupils to achieve.

"The improvements at S4, S5 and S6 in the 2017 SQA results provide clear evidence that we have focussed on equity and excellence by raising the bar for all and exemplifying the education authority’s vision of Everyone Attaining, Everyone Achieving through Excellent Experiences.”]]>
Public Forum Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:16:16 +0000
Subject: Park gains a magnificent seventh flag - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42277-park-gains-a-magnificent-seventh-flag#42277 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42277-park-gains-a-magnificent-seventh-flag#42277
Eastwood’s award-winning Rouken Glen Park has gained its seventh Green Flag Award, in recognition of the benefits it brings to the community.

It’s the seventh successive year in which the park has been awarded a Green Flag, which acknowledges the quality outdoor space that it provides for local people.

Environment convener Councillor Alan Lafferty joined parks staff and children from Glenwood Family Centre to unfurl the banner signifying the latest honour.

He said: ““Rouken Glen Park holds a very special place in the heart of its visitors and I’m thrilled that it’s been awarded another Green Flag.

“This award is the icing on the cake for Rouken Glen as it celebrates being crowned the UK’s Best Park earlier this year. “Of course we wouldn’t receive these awards if it wasn’t for our dedicated and hard working parks staff who deserve all of the credit, so a massive thank you goes to all of them.”

Read more at: www.glasgowsouthandeastwoodextra.co.uk/n...venth-flag-1-4524374

Councillor Alan Lafferty is on the left of the picture and will replace Vincent Waters on all Parks photo's for the next five years. ]]>
Public Forum Tue, 08 Aug 2017 10:43:29 +0000
Subject: Councillors getting ready to return after their holidays - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42273-councillors-getting-ready-to-return-after-their-holidays#42273 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42273-councillors-getting-ready-to-return-after-their-holidays#42273
Even the new deputy leader of the council has altered his facebook mast head.]]>
Public Forum Sun, 06 Aug 2017 11:04:34 +0000
Subject: Affordable homes provision among community benefits agreed for new Maidenhill community - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42268-affordable-homes-provision-among-community-benefits-agreed-for-new-maidenhill-community#42268 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42268-affordable-homes-provision-among-community-benefits-agreed-for-new-maidenhill-community#42268
Developers behind plans for a new community in Maidenhill, Newton Mearns, are to provide multiple pockets of land to facilitate the delivery of affordable housing as part of a range of newly agreed community benefits.

The framework outlining the additional requirements for the development of 834 new homes – between CALA Homes (West) and Taylor Wimpey West Scotland – has been confirmed with East Renfrewshire Council and early works activity is now under way.

The agreement will ensure the sensitive creation of the brand new neighbourhood, which the developers say is set to bring significant investment, and the creation of local jobs, to the area.

Other community benefits to be agreed for the Maidenhill project include:

The creation of a range of properties from one-bedroom flats to five-bedroom detached homes.

Land and funding to facilitate the construction of Maidenhill Primary – a brand new non-denominational school offering 444 primary school places as well as 120 nursery places.

A multi-use games area (MUGA) and 3G pitch within the school, and available for use by the wider community.

Generous public open space throughout the development – equivalent to around 19 football pitches – including a linear green corridor and host of pocket parks.
A contribution towards local community halls, sports grounds, sports halls and centres, libraries and community health and care provision.

Contribution of land towards a community faith facility.

Additional contributions towards off-site road improvements at Mearns Cross and sustainable transport.

Managing director of Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, Willie Burns, said: “Reaching the conclusion of this agreement for Maidenhill marks another milestone on the journey towards creating a fantastic new community that will complement and become an extension to Newton Mearns’ existing neighbourhoods.

“We’ll be working closely with East Renfrewshire Council and the local community to ensure Newton Mearns reaps the benefits of our long-term investment in the area.”

Jim McIntyre, managing director of CALA Homes (West), added: “We take our responsibility to improve the local community seriously, and this is evident in our plans for Maidenhill. As well as retaining plenty of open green space and creating new homes designed in to the landscape, we are also providing land for much needed affordable housing, and land for a new on-site school – with additional investment planned for local infrastructure and facilities as the development progresses.”

East Renfrewshire Council leader, Tony Buchanan, said: “I am delighted that this development will deliver such fantastic benefits for the wider community. The MUGA and 3G pitch will be available for use by all our residents, which will be a fantastic facility for sport and recreation. It is also important that the site will deliver a mixture of private and affordable homes to meet the needs of the area.”]]>
Public Forum Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:13:30 +0000
Subject: Plan to ditch speed bumps slammed by safety campaigners - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42265-plan-to-ditch-speed-bumps-slammed-by-safety-campaigners#42265 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42265-plan-to-ditch-speed-bumps-slammed-by-safety-campaigners#42265

Proposals to remove speed bumps in a bit to cut air pollution have been branded “irresponsible” and dangerous by safety campaigners. As part of the Government’s plans to improve air quality across the UK, Environment Secretary Michael Gove last week told councils to consider “improving road layouts and junctions to optimise traffic flow, for example by considering removal of road humps”.

The suggestion has been branded “absolute nonsense” by safety groups, which say such a move would put vulnerable groups such as children and elderly pedestrians at greater risk of injury or death.

Studies suggest that speed bumps cause an increase in pollution such as nitrous oxide and CO2 emissions as drivers repeatedly brake for and then accelerate away from them. “Removing speed humps, which are proven to be an effective way of reducing road casualties, would increase risk to all road users” Kevin Clinton, RoSPA But Rachel Maycock, head of public affairs for Living Streets, said the idea was “irresponsible”.

She told Radio 4’s Today programme: “Where they are talking about taking away these speed bumps are not the streets that are causing the pollution hot spots. “It’s absolute nonsense if we’re trying to prevent all of those deaths [from pollution] that we’ll be causing another problem with road safety.”

‘Expensive diversion’ The charity has now written to ministers warning against removing traffic calming measures unless councils can guarantee that safety will not be affected. In a joint letter with Campaign for Better Transport and Cycling UK, the charity says: “Removing speed control measures such as speed bumps from local streets would be at best an expensive diversion from addressing air quality and at worst a dangerous and retrograde measure.

“Local councils and the communities they serve have introduced speed control measures to make streets safer, particularly in areas around schools. It is not acceptable to reduce safety in order to improve air quality, nor is it necessary. Air pollution hotspots arise from high volumes of traffic on major routes, not traffic calmed neighbourhoods.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents also criticised the idea of removing traffic calming measures. Its head of road safety, Kevin Clinton, said: ‘Removing speed humps, which are proven to be an effective way of reducing road casualties, would increase risk to all road users, but especially to pedestrians, pedal cyclists and children, and are one of the key reasons why death and injury on our roads have fallen so substantially over the last few decades.” However drivers’ groups have said removing speed humps could offer benefits.

Roger Lawson of the Alliance of British Drivers told the Today programme: There’s very definite evidence on the additional pollution you get with speed humps. “Evidence from Imperial College shows you get 50 per cent more particulates and 64 per more cent nitrous oxide so the damaging effect regarding air pollution have been clear for many years.”

Read more at: www.glasgowsouthandeastwoodextra.co.uk/c...095d0f437b21af6baf2/]]>
Public Forum Thu, 03 Aug 2017 12:04:43 +0000
Subject: Bonnyton House residents evacuated after gas leak - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42260-bonnyton-house-residents-evacuated-after-gas-leak#42260 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42260-bonnyton-house-residents-evacuated-after-gas-leak#42260
Twenty-four residents at East Renfrewshire Council-run Bonnyton House care home were evacuated after a gas leak scare on Thursday.

However it has been stressed there was no risk to residents and that their temporary move was carried out only because the hot water supply had failed.

The alert was sounded after a contractor aiming to work in the home’s boiler house smelled gas and alerted the council’s technical services team.

They ensured the gas was turned off, quickly found that the leak was from a gas mains pipe, and began to dig up the car park to carry out emergency repairs.

Residents were evacuated to Mearns House in Newton Mearns, and will stay there until the problem has been fixed – probably some time on Monday.

Frank White, head of health and community care at East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said in a briefing to councillors: “When the problem was identified yesterday it was quickly confirmed by property and technical Services that the gas supply had been isolated and that there was no risk to residents, staff or the building. “HSCP staff reviewed the options available to us, including evacuation, but given we didn’t know the likely timescale of the repair works at that stage we decided not to take that course of action yesterday.

“The ovens in the kitchen are electric, and although the gas hobs were unavailable to our catering staff, we used the kitchen at the Kirkton Centre to prepare additional food and the evening passed with no disruption to residents. “Today (Friday) it was confirmed that the repairs will take until Monday and that hot water would no longer be available as the residual supply from the boiler ran down.

“Given these circumstances we took the decision to evacuate the 24 residents from the building to an alternative care home”.

He added: “The families were contacted and have been very understanding of the situation. “The council’s transport staff have arranged additional transport and the move has gone very smoothly. “We are very aware that this move will be distressing for some residents but our staff have worked really hard to ensure as little disruption as possible.” Repair work will continue throughout the weekend, and is expected to be completed on Monday.

Read more at: www.glasgowsouthandeastwoodextra.co.uk/n...r-gas-leak-1-4517106]]>
Public Forum Sat, 29 Jul 2017 10:29:33 +0000
Subject: Fairer East Ren: Feedback draft - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42257-fairer-east-ren-feedback-draft?limit=6&start=6#42257 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42257-fairer-east-ren-feedback-draft?limit=6&start=6#42257 ERC want your views -

Working with communities to create a Fairer East Ren is a key priority of the East Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership. Since January 2017 we have spoken to over 1,500 residents about their priorities for making East Renfrewshire a fairer place to live. Your views, alongside socio-economic evidence, are presented in a feedback draft of the Fairer East Ren plan which is shaped around the following four priority themes:

Tackling poverty
Promoting positive mental health and wellbeing
Reducing social isolation and loneliness

These will be addressed alongside two cross cutting themes, which will feature across our activities:

Moving around (including community and public transport)
Community influence and sense of control.

Link to the web page]]>
Public Forum Sat, 29 Jul 2017 09:55:40 +0000
Subject: Drugs and firearm discovery during raids in Busby leads to arrests - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42256-drugs-and-firearm-discovery-during-raids-in-busby-leads-to-arrests#42256 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/42256-drugs-and-firearm-discovery-during-raids-in-busby-leads-to-arrests#42256
Stacey Mullen

COPS discovered drugs and a firearm during a raid of two properties in Busby.

The search under warrant was carried out at properties in Easterton Avenue and Bon Accord Road at around 6.30pm on Friday, July 21.

Police say a large quantity of controlled drugs, believed to be cannabis was recovered, and a firearm was also found during the search.

Three people, two men, aged 39 and 17 years, and a 35-year-old woman, were arrested and have since appeared at Paisley Sheriff Court in connection with the incident.

Sergeant Edward McLemon, of the East Renfrewshire Local Problem Solving Team, said: "Following concerns from the local community, officers from the Greater Glasgow Proactive Crime Unit and the Local Problem Solving Team, who serve in the East Renfrewshire area of Greater Glasgow, carried out a joint initiative tackling alleged drug activity in the Busby and Clarkston area.

"On a daily basis, officers work to disrupt this type of criminal activity and I would urge members of the public to pass on any information that could assist us.

"Police Scotland is committed to removing drugs from our communities as drugs can have detrimental effects on the local community and even ruin lives.

"Anyone with information regarding drug activity in their area can contact their local police on 101, speak to officers out on patrol or if you wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."]]>
Public Forum Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:10:20 +0000