Brechin in Partnership

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ANGUS Council’s Deirdre Mitchell welcomed the company to the latest Brechin in Partnership event and introduced members of the Local Community Planning Team (LCPT) who are based in the Brechin ACCESS Office.

Deirdre referred delegates to the handouts on the table and went through each topic on the draft action plan.

The topics in the action plan were identified by the people attending the last Brechin in Partnership event. The aim of this event was to consider each of the priorities and drill them down further to the top three actions that the community can take forward.

Matters under discussion was as follows:-

Flood Prevention/Flooding Issues – Angus Council continue to work with various partners and a local sounding panel to take this action forward.

Open Consultation/Increase Community Participation – This action is being taken forward by the local City of Brechin and Area Partnership, supported by the Local Community Planning Team.

Improve Public Transport Networks – This topic is high on most group’s agendas. Angus Gold had a fruitful meeting with representatives from Strathtay on November 20 when many issues regarding the current transport situation, were raised , including types of buses used and bus timetables during school holidays. They are to meet again on February 24 to feed back on points raised during these discussions.

Inglis Memorial Hall, Edzell – Bill Strachan reported that he and a representative of the LCPT, have started dialogue with the local community regarding the future use of the hall and had recently met with Edzell Library Action Group, ELAG, to discuss options.

A further meeting with a wider range of community groups from the Edzell area is scheduled to discuss this further.

He reported that Angus Council is happy to look at options for the future use of the hall.

Bill and a representative from the LCPT and Angus Council’s Safety Section are to visit the Inglis Memorial Hall to consider the opportunities and restrictions, for future of the hall.

Marketing Brechin & Edzell and Welcome Pack – No update was available. However, LCPT is to speak with Bill Sturrock from Brechin Business Association for an update.

Farmer’s Market in Brechin – the LCPT has been in touch with Keith Hopkins of the Farmer’s Market Association to discuss the possibility of a market being brought back to Brechin. The main issue is to do with a suitable site in the town centre area.

Develop the Brechin City Hall & Use of City Hall – It was estimated that it a significant sum of money would be needed to renovate and bring the hall up to standard. However, Angus Council is proposing to discuss an opportunity for a Community Management Group to take over the running of the hall.

Bill Strachan reiterated that if there was a group interested in investigating greater local community control of the hall, then the council would be happy to discuss this.

Brechin Arts and Music Centre & Brechin Community Shop - It was suggested that an arts co-operative could be formed by local artists for the Brechin area, with the possibility of using an empty shop to display/sell work from. It was noted that there is a similar co-operative in the Edzell area and House of Dun and that it may be useful to make contact with these groups.

Increase Support for non English Speakers in Education – there are currently two ESOL groups held on a Monday night – Access to ESOL and Beginners with very little English. There is also a family ESOL class on a Monday afternoon at Andover primary school.

Parking – Parking was discussed at length. There was no further update from roads department regarding their plans for Brechin, in terms of traffic management.

Hub – Bill Strachan gave an overview of the concept of a ‘Hub’ and described it as a place where some services, including health, social care and voluntary care services could be delivered from the one location.

This is currently at an investigation stage, as to whether this would be possible or not, and he is to write to NHS Tayside for their input.

A number of individuals who may be interested in taking this forward have been identified and Bill is to meet with them in the next two to three weeks.

Swimming Pool – It was noted that at present, the pool at the High School comes under the education remit. However, the new pool would come under neighbourhood services. It was also said that more pool time was needed by members of the public than exists at present.

Delegates then broke into three groups to discuss the action plan and decide on their top three community led priorities for the Brechin Area.

The groups’ priorities were as follows:-

Group one:

Parking – major problem in the town, which effects both residents and visitors.

Volunteers – try and address the apathy of people in Brechin and engage with people that may not have been involved in consultations/groups before.

Marketing of Brechin and Area – it was felt that there is not enough done to promote the positive attributes of Brechin and Area.

Group Two:

Parking/Tourism/Marketing of Brechin – members felt these should all be alligned, as each affects the other. They discussed Brechin having a product such as art and possible pedestrianisation, in relation to the parking issue.

Hub – a cohesive and co-ordinated approach to delivery of effective and efficient care services for Brechin and area.

Tourism – consider existing tourism, e.g. fishing, walking and historical places of interest, and work with local accommodation providers.

Group Three:

Members wanted to emphasise that their priorities were all linked.

Arts/Crafts – Brechin to have a theme to attract people to visit the town. Have a collection of arts/crafts and collectables shops. This encompasses the exhibition space and community shops, as well as tourism.

Parking – having no suitable parking puts people off stopping in the town. Investigation into a new car park, possibly a park and ride, linking in with the town bus service could be considered.

Improving Public Transport – the town bus service seems to be quite reliable, in terms of times. However, to get a bus outwith Brechin, to Dundee, requires a change in Forfar for most of the day.

It was agreed that an action plan, placing the above priorities in long, medium and short term timescales, be drawn together and distributed to all present.

It was also agreed to meet again in two to thre weeks to discuss the way forward.

Date of next Meeting - Thursday, February 17 at 10 am in Brechin Cathedral Hall.