From the Stirling Observer 20 March 2018
A dog was hit and killed by a train in Dunblane at the weekend prompting fresh calls for repairs to be made to a fence at the railway line. Representatives from Dunblane Community Council contacted Network Rail to ask that they sort the structure which separates the Laighhills public park from the train tracks. The area is popular with dog walkers and concern is growing that the gaps appearing between the bottom of the fence and the ground are allowing pets access to the railway line. A seven-year-old Collie was killed after straying on to the train tracks during a walk with its owner in the park earlier this month. The dog’s distressed owner, who asked not to be named, told the Stirling Observer the pet spotted some rabbits on the other side of the fence and managed to get through. She said: “It was getting dark and he just went down the side of the hill to chase the rabbits I think. The fence is very close to the train tracks. “We were running around looking for him but couldn’t find him anywhere. We didn’t know where he had gone and it was getting darker and darker. ”The family became aware that something bad had happened when representatives from Network Rail arrived on the scene to say that a dog had been hit by a passing train. After finding the dog on the tracks he was taken home by his heartbroken family. His owner added: “There are a lot of people who take their dogs to the park which should be a safe area for pets .“I’ve spoken to some neighbours and they are also concerned about it. Dogs can scramble under some parts of the fence and larger breeds can jump over over other sections .”
Terence O’Byrne, chair of Dunblane Community Council, believes it’s lucky more dogs have not been killed on the tracks. He said: “The community council has reported this issue with the fence to Network Rail. “We expect them to make sure that the bottom of the fence meets the ground with no gaps and expect this repair to be done as soon as possible. We will keep a close eye on their response. “This fence is in a public park and as such must be more than simply ‘stock proof’. Dogs have been killed on the rail line for many long years. It is a matter of luck that more dogs have not been killed.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Our maintenance engineers will inspect the lineside fencing in the area and make any necessary repairs. “Our fencing is primarily designed to help people stay off of the railway by showing the boundary between our infrastructure and other land. We would advise dog owners to always keep pets on a leash when in close proximity to the railway as fencing may not always prevent smaller animals reaching the line.”
From the Stirling Observer 14 March 2018
Dunblane councillors met Network Rail to discuss the new concrete parapets at the town's railway bridge. Terence O'Byrne of the local community council said he was "apoplectic" at the finish and design of the new structures on the Perth Road Bridge. And Dunblane and Bridge of Allan councillor Graham Houston added that it "stuck out like a sore thumb" and resembled nothing more than a "blank white wall" The rail giant were called upon to make changes to the parapets to make them more attractive and in keeping with the surrounding landscape. Officials agreed to meet members of Dunblane Community Council, including Mr O'Byrne, to discuss the issue last week. And Mr O'Byrne told the Observer that the potential of a smooth, stone finish on the road-facing side was discussed. Work has been ongoing to partially replace the road bridge as part of the project to electrify the railway line between Dunblane, Stirling and Alloa. The north section of the bridge is too low for the overhead cables which will be introduced. Network Rail say that the parapets on the new structure comply with modern safety standards, are designed to keep pedestrians safe from the overhead power lines and can withstand a vehicle striking the side of the bridge.
From the Stirling Observer 28 February 2018
Concrete parapets erected at the railway bridge in Dunblane have been described as a"carbuncle"- with community councillors set to meet Network Rail to discuss the issue next week.
Terence O'Byrne of Dunblane Community Council says he is "apoplectic" at the finish and design of the new structures on the Perth Road Bridge, while Dunblane and Bridge of Allan councillor Graham Houston says it "sticks out like a sore thumb". They are calling on the rail giant to make changes to the parapets in order to ensure they are more aesthetically pleasing, and in- keeping with the surrounding landscape of the town. Work has been ongoing to partially replace the road bridge as part of proposals to electrify the railway line between Dunblane, Stirling and Alloa. The north section of the bridge is too low for the new overhead electric cables which will be introduced. Network Rail representatives are to visit the town next week to meet with community councillors and hear about the concerns.
Chairperson of the community council, Mr O'Byrne, said: "Dunblane Community Council is apoplectic about the finish and design of the new concrete parapets on the rail bridge project. "It is our view that the structure is a carbuncle that will remain in place for centuries. "We have asked for a high level meeting with Network Rail to discuss changes that will make them more acceptable. These changes will include a request to face the bare concrete in stone and to erect a new parapet to remove the various ugly corners which would do justice to chicanes on a Formula 1 circuit."
He added: "We asked for a stone finish many long months ago but were turned down by Network Rail on the grounds that stone finishes can be climbed. "If it is good enough for the southern parapet then it is good enough for the new northern parapet. We will be involving the rail regulator and Keith Brown MSP in our campaign to get this sorted out."
Councillor Houston gave his backing to calls from Mr O'Byrne for action to be taken. He said: "The finish on the new bridge is no more than a blank white wall which appears to be an open invitation to graffiti artists to use. It is not acceptable and must be changed. "The people of Dunblane have endured months of disruption to traffic and parking but understand the need for this work to be carried out. They have been very patient and put up with the inconvenience over the months. "I would hope that Network Rail recognise the patience shown by the residents and do everything in their power to ensure when the work is finished the bridge finish sites naturally in the landscape of the town blending into the overall appearance. 'What can be seen at present sticks out like a sore thumb and suggests Network Rail are doing this a cheaply as they can. Network Rail must sort this while their contractor is on site until the end of next month.
The Observer spoke to a number of people out and about in Dunblane this week who were keen to have their say on their town's new structure. Kevin Gordon said: "It's a hideous blank canvas - and it has taken far too long. It's just terrible." Kenneth Murray added: "It was a bit of a surprise to see how it has turned out. The design is not how I'd have expected, and it's a bit more obtrusive than I'd have thought." And Duncan Strathdee said: "It's certainly interesting. I think it's fair to say that. It's not what we were expecting anyway."
A spokesperson for Network Rail said: "The parapets on the new structure comply with modem road and rail safety standards. They are designed to keep pedestrians safe from overhead power lines running beneath the structure and to withstand a vehicle striking the side of the bridge."
Survivors and relatives of the Dunblane tragedy have sent a message of support to students affected by the Parkland school shooting in Florida. A letter was sent to Marjory Stoneman Douglas School on the 22nd anniversary of the Dunblane murders.
Ten family members of victims and survivors also recorded a video message entitled Dunblane Stands With Parkland.S tudents at the US school have demanded tougher gun laws after 17 people were killed in the attack on 14 February.
Community salt piles have been established by the Council to enable communities to draw salt to help the community clearance of side streets and footpaths, whilst the Council’s own winter maintenance fleet continues to concentrate on the Priority 1, 2 & 3 routes. The sites in Dunblane are:-
* Dunblane Mill Row Car Park
* Dunblane Tesco Car Park
A hotel owned by tennis legend Sir Andy Murray has been awarded the top possible rating following an inspection by national tourism organisation VisitScotland.
Cromlix House Hotel, a Victorian mansion just three miles from Sir Andy’s home town of Dunblane, became one of only two Five Star Gold Country House hotels in the country. READ MORE: Andy Murray agrees to share luxury mansion with bats The two-time Wimbledon champion purchased the hotel in 2013 after it had ran into financial difficulties and reopened it as a 15-bedroom luxury hotel after extensive refurbishment.
Stirling Council is delighted to announce a fund of £130,000 open now to community groups to deliver activities that will improve their community - DEADLINE for applications is 16 March 2018
Update 8 March 2018 : We wish to clarify that there will be two separate presentation/voting events at which the funding is allocated based on the decisions of the local people attending the events, one rural and one urban. Therefore if you are a group or organisation that works in both rural and urban areas and wish to apply for funding, if the work you intend in your application will happen in both rural and urban areas then you should complete two application forms, and be prepared to have someone in attendance at each event to present the idea. Then the local people from the rural areas will vote on what they would like to see funded in their area, and similarly for the urban areas. You can apply for a maximum of £10,000 in each area. We hope this now makes the process clearer but if you have any questions please contact Jean Cowie 01786 233143 or Pam Campbell 01786 233141.
Stirling Council, as part of our locality planning processes, has been successful in securing £65,000 to distribute to community groups, from the Scottish Government’s community choices fund. We have matched the grant, creating a fund of £130,000 for community groups, to enable them to deliver activities throughout Stirlingshire.
The Your Place, Your Priorities initiative allows the local community to decide which projects are needed and should be funded in their area.
Any local community, voluntary or non-profit groups can apply to this fund – even informal groups. Funding of £500 to £10,000 is available to put each idea into action. Informal groups should seek the support of a formal group which is willing to hold the grant award in its bank account and manage payments as the project is delivered. All activities will have to happen in areas of Stirling and benefit local people.
To apply for the funding you must return the attached form before midday on Friday 16th March 2018, and be prepared to present your idea at an event on Saturday 24th March. Two presentation and voting events will take place on Saturday 24th March 2018, one in Stirling High School and one in Callander Primary School. Applicants will present their projects and local community members in attendance will vote on all the applications presented. Decisions will be made on the day.
We have provided a link to a short video the Church and Society Council produced as part of its Speak Out initiative Doing Politics Differently, explaining Participatory Budgeting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKdIllMhrA0
From the Stirling Observer 21 February 2018
Moving to one of Europe's most famous clubs would undoubtedly be a daunting prospect for many a footballer. However Dunblane's Fiona Brown has taken no time in settling in to life at Sweden's FC Rosengard - relishing the prospect of sharing a changing room and training pitch with an array of top class athletes.
The 22-year-old moved to the Malmo club, who have won ten league titles, towards the end of last year after impressing in her debut season in Sweden's top flight for Eskilstunda United DFF. She made her club debut in a cup tie earlier this month before netting a treble in her most recent outing, a cup tie against lower league Qviding FIF, as her side ran out 16-0 victors at the weekend. And she spoke to the Observer about her delight at earning a move to Rosengard - who have recently seen top players move on to clubs such as Chelsea and Barcelona. She said: "I got the call last year and I just wanted to grab the opportunity with both hands. They are such a massive club who have achieved so many things. I couldn't say no.
"I had a great time last year [at Eskilstunda United DFF] but I'm now training with players who have won World Cups and Olympic medals. The professionalism is a big thing. I'd also say the vision of the coach is a big thing for me and it really suits my game. He encourages us to attack, find pockets of space and allows us to play with a bit of flair, and that should help me." She added: "We lost some of our top attacking players last year. Some of our players have moved on to other big clubs, but we still have a lot of top players here."
Fiona explained that her new team have high hopes for the upcoming Swedish season - of which the national cup competition is already underway and league season starts in April. She said: "We want to win the league 100 per cent, and the cup. I've experienced competing for titles before, when I was in Scotland, and it's always really exciting to start the season with that aim. "It's an extremely competitive league over here and the standard is really high. Everyone can beat each other on their day, so it's going to be a good challenge." FC Rosengard also have pedigree in the Champions League having been a regular fixture in the latter stages of the competition.
Fiona started her career at Celtic before moving on to Glasgow City in 2014 where she remained for two years before heading abroad. The attacker, who studied at the University of Stirling, is also already a seasoned Scotland international with more than 20 caps to her name. She starred for her country at last summer's European Championships, where the Scots missed out on group qualification by a single goal. The team won respect for bouncing back from a crushing defeat to England to inflict a giant killing on Spain. And Fiona says things are going well under new head coach Shelley Kerr - former University of Stirling football coach. She said: "Things are all really positive with Scotland just now. Shelley Kerr has come in and put her stamp on things. We've won both qualifiers and come away with six points, so we have to be pleased with that. "It's always an honour for me to pull on the Scotland shirt. As young footballer that's the thing you always dream about. "It's nice to catch up with everyone too. We're actually going away to La Manga on Monday for some training and preparation
STUDENTS from Dunblane High School have beaten off competition from schools and colleges across West Scotland to be crowned winner of the Subway brand’s Design a Sub competition. The challenge, which was launched in Scotland last year, asked budding entrepreneurs from schools and colleges across Ayrshire, Argyll and Bute, Dunbarton, Falkirk, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Stirling to come up with their own design and marketing campaign for a brand new 6-inch Sub or flatbread.
The team from Dunblane came up with a Sub called The Chicken Spicer, and alongside five other teams that were shortlisted, they pitched their marketing and advertising campaign to a panel of Subway experts on Tuesday, February 6 at the SEC in Glasgow. The winning team consists of Taylor Downs, Maddie Duncan, Miranda Ferguson, Lucy McGowan, Olivia Scott and Jasmine Wild who are all studying business at Dunblane High School. The winning design, which consists of Italian white bread, plain chicken strips, lettuce, peppers, jalapenos and hot chilli sauce, will be brought to life in over 100 stores across West Scotland in April and the team has also bagged themselves £1,000 of Amazon vouchers.
Taylor Downs, a student from the winning team, said: “We’ve really enjoyed the competition, from start to finish. "It was great to put the business skills we have been learning into practice with a brand that we all know and love. "It’s been a brilliant learning experience; pitching in front of the panel from the Subway brand was really nerve wracking, but such great preparation for the future. "Winning the competition is just the icing on the cake.”
Subway brand entrepreneur, Shahid Sadiq, said: “The team from Dunblane High School really impressed us with both their Sub design and campaign ideas.
"This is the first year that we have run the Design a Sub competition in Scotland and we had an outstanding response, with some brilliant creative designs and marketing proposals submitted by students from across the region, demonstrating that the entrepreneurial spirit is well and truly alive in West Scotland. “Selecting our overall winner was a tough decision, but the team from Dunblane High School clearly understood the brief, did their homework and put together an impressive presentation for the judging panel. "Congratulations to them, and indeed all our finalists; we look forward to seeing their winning design on sale in stores across West Scotland in April. “As a franchise business, the Subway brand is run by entrepreneurs who live and work locally in their communities and we are committed to fostering and developing the business skills and employability of young people. "The students who entered the Design a Sub competition demonstrate excellent creative and business skills and it was a privilege to be involved.”
Louise Burton, from Dunblane High School, added: “Our students thoroughly enjoyed getting to grips with the Design a Sub competition. "It offered them a fantastic opportunity to put the business and marketing skills they have been learning in the classroom into practice in a real-life business environment. "What’s more, they have been able to develop important life and employability skills, such as research, communication, presentation and team work, which will hopefully stand them in good stead in the future.” The Design a Sub competition has been running in England for many years, but this is the first time the challenge has been open to schools and colleges in West Scotland.
Young people in Dunblane are being given a boost to get into work with the help of almost £40,000 of lottery funding.
From the Stirling Observer 14 February 2018
Discover Dunblane BID, the group representing over 90 businesses in and around the town, has been awarded £39,000 for the next two years from the Big Lottery Young Start Fund. The grant will be used to launch a new programme supporting young people locally to make the transition from education to employment. The package includes provision for a support worker and a project base.
The new programme Skills 4 Life, a name chosen by high school pupils, will take over from the 'Education for Life and Work’ pilot project which ran for two years led by Discover Dunblane BID in partnership with Dunblane High School and Stirling Council. More than 5O young people from the school have already gained work experience with businesses and developed new skills in preparation for life after school. In several cases, businesses were so pleased with their placement experience the young people were offered paid employment.
During the two-year pilot, the project discussed with the community the disadvantage carried by a minority of the town's young people who do not have access to additional educational support away from school. The Discover Dunblane-led team is tackling the issue head on and say the affluence within the area "masks a poverty of ambition and inclusion". They say the award from the Big Lottery will help the pilot project move into a bigger, broader and community-based initiative.
The Skills4Life programme will create a new community base in the town, which will be young person led and open to all those taking part. The base will be the centre of operations of a new enterprise company run by the young people and, it is hoped, an avenue of employment will be created with local businesses.
Discover Dunblane BID will recruit an employability engagement facilitator to support the young people in identifying opportunities and developing a wider network of opportunities outside Dunblane. The base will also host workshops as well as training and networking events.
The project is designed for 16 year-olds intending to leave school and a smaller number of 17-19 year olds. Around 100 young people are expected to participate in the two years of the project. Discover Dunblane chair Tom Casey said: "This award from the Big Lottery provides an essential resource to make a real difference in preparing our young people for life after school. Dunblane businesses recognise this responsibility and the central role they play in supporting our rural community. We strongly believe that the project will offer a blueprint for other communities. "Clackmannanshire and Dunblane MSP, Keith Brown, said: "This is a fantastic community-based partnership initiative which will expand the opportunity for local young people to develop practical skills and work experience.”
Kris & Blair have made it across the atlantic - well done