This is a letter from the Stirling Observer from 11 October 2017
It is with great disappointment, but not surprise, that I have heard about the controversy regarding the footpaths on Dumyat. Two months ago I retired to Keswick in the Lake District but prior to that I lived in a cottage visible from the Dumyat path for over 20 years and was a regular, often daily, walker up Dumyat. So it is an area that I know extremely well and love. During that time, I was secretary of Stirling Before Pylons, a community member of Stirling Council's Beauly-Denny working group and most recently the council's Beauly-Denny legacy group.
It seems to me that all the official parties to this process have been negligent and not dealt with the matter professionally enough. Some examples include:
1. The Energy Consents Unit of the Scottish Government appointed consultants, Ironside Farrer, with no in-house knowledge of hill path restoration, although the Government knew this work was a requirement as part of the permission they had given for the Beauly-Denny power line.
2. Scottish Power transmission director Pearse Murray is quoted in the Observer of September 20, 2017, that the works had been approved by the legacy group. This is not the case. The group approved the principle of the works but had not, to my knowledge, seen any of the detailed current proposals.
3. The legacy group has failed to meet over the last 12 months despite a number of written requests by myself to the chair that meetings were needed to monitor and approve the detailed proposals. This would have highlighted the current issues in advance.
4. Ironside Farrer held several consultation meetings with Friends of the Ochils and myself. At these meetings we stated that these proposals would be sensitive to the wishes of the community and that wider consultation was required but they decided not to pursue this.
We also stated that their plans were over-engineered and not appropriate for the landscape setting and scale of Dumyat. In our view a more sensitive and complete solution to the erosion caused by walkers and mountain bikers was required. They wrote saying they didn't accept our views and that they were proposing to proceed with their plans which have led to the current complaints.
I visited Stirling last week and was fortunate enough to meet the contractor's site manager who was on Dumyat at the time. He gave me a thorough explanation of the works he was carrying out. This was the first time in all the meetings over several years regarding this project that I felt I was talking to someone who understood the issues associated with upland paths and how they can be implemented. Following this discussion I have some confidence that if his revised proposals are implemented we could see a satisfactory solution on Dumyat. This should involve consultation with the community and experts in the field. My own feeling all along has been that a satisfactory solution would be more expensive than budgeted and I was surprised to learn that Scottish Power have threatened to pull out of the scheme and reinstate their works to date. That is not a realistic option given that their approval for Beauly-Denny included a condition that compensator works would be carried out to the Dumyat path.
In his letter of approval for Beauly-Denny, the Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, also highlighted that the Ochils Area of Great Landscape Value, including Dumyat, was an area where compensatory environmental improvements should be made. He made funds available for this through the Beauly-Denny Mitigation Scheme and provided an additional £75,000 through the planning condition to Stirling Council.
It is important that those currently involved, particularly the community, should ensure that all these funds are fully utilised on the scheme and not used elsewhere. My own view is that additional funding will be required and that this should be forthcoming from Scottish Power. The visual impact of the Beauly-Denny line is recognised as being much more severe than anticipated in this location. I am also concerned that the existing process has wasted a significant proportion of the budget on professional fees and works on site, and that this is ultimately a failure by Scottish Power to manage the process.
Here are the Designs and Presentation Boards that were shown at the Event on 30 October
Over the past year Stirling Council, Dunblane Community Council, Dunblane Development Trust, Discover Dunblane and Sustrans have been exploring possible ways of raising the quality of streets in the Cathedral area. Amey were commissioned to work with the community to develop proposals that are suited to the heritage and history of the area including the Cathedral, Leighton Library, Dunblane Museum and Braeport Centre.
Since the initial proposals were released in spring 2017, the proposed designs have been refined, to account for issues raised both at consultation opportunities in April and May, and by the steering group. At this point in time no funding has been identified to deliver these proposed changes, and if this changes in the future then there will be a further opportunity to comment on the final designs. In the meantime, we’d like to invite you to comment on the refined designs, as we draw the current design process to a close.
The revised designs were shown at the Cathedral Halls on Monday 30th October, with over 150 local residents dropping by to view the designs and discuss them with officers. If you were unable to make it along to the event, a summary of the updated designs can be seen at Dunblane Library until Wednesday 8th November, or by following the links above.
You can submit your comments on the ideas until the 8th of November through an online survey, available at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9J995QY. Your suggestions for improvements will be considered as part of any steps taken to implement the proposals, if funding becomes available in the future.
Andrew Adam, Senior Project Officer, Active and Sustainable Transport, Stirling Council, Teith House, Kerse Road, Stirling, FK7 7QA, Sustrans Scotland, Rosebery House, 9 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5EZ
From the Stirling Observer on Wednesday 11 October 2017
Two brothers from Dunblane are just weeks away from taking to the seas in an epic charity challenge. Kris and Blair Elliot will battle giant waves and potential shark attacks when they jump in a rowing boat and embark on a 3000-mile endurance race across the world's most dangerous ocean - the Atlantic. The event, which is called the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, will see participants start at La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 12, before heading for Antigua in the West Indies. Dunblane woman Elaine Hopley completed last year's race in just 59 days to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland. And Kris, a 30-year-old Stirling fire fighter, and Blair (28), who works off-shore as an engineer, are aiming to follow suit in aid of the Fire Fighter's Charity. They will be rowing under the banner Team Noble in memory of former Alloa Watch Manager John Noble. John was tragically killed in January 2008 when the fire appliance he was travelling in hit a tree on the A91 between Dollar and Tillicoultry. The aim is to raise £100,000 for the good cause and they have already managed to reach the £50,000 mark.
The original team consisted of two firefighters, Kris and Allan Hundy, from Stirling Fire Station, but when Allan had to withdraw Blair stepped forward in his place. Father-of-two Kris said: "We're out training every weekend - launching the boat off the west coast of Scotland and going for a 12-hour row. In addition to that, we've been going to the gym and working on the rowing machines. "While we need to train we also need to put on quite a bit of weight as we'll lose around two stone while were out there. "We've both done some challenges in the past but this is the first really big one for both of us. There's going to be a lot of unknowns. We're going to be sleep deprived while we'll be pushed to the maximum physically, then add the unpredictable weather into that." The duo will be spending Christmas Day at sea and will need to keep each other entertained throughout what could almost be three months contained in a 23ft rowing boat. Kris added: "We'll be taking a selection of music and some cards with us - and we've got our Santa hats looked out. There's an array of food we've collected too. "When we arrive in Antigua, our families will be there to meet us - my wife (Linsey) and daughters Fia (9) and Mila (6) along with Blair's wife, Beth. Hopefully we'll get the chance to wind down while we're there. "We just need to keep reminding ourselves that with every stroke we'll be nearer to seeing our families. "Anyone who would like to help out and contribute to our fund raising can visit our website www.team-noble.org.
The duo have spent £15,000 renovating their own boat ahead of the challenge. The Fire Fighters Charity provide services that aim to enhance the quality of life for serving and retired fire fighters, fire personnel and their families. This can range from recovery after an injury or support with mental health conditions. Kris and Blair will be at The Thistles Centre on Saturday October 21 to chat to shoppers and help promote their charity cause.
September 2017 Update
The northbound section of the B8033 from the roundabout at Claredon Place to the junction of Stirling Road and the southbound section of the B8033 from the junction of Beech Road to the roundabout at Claredon Place. Sunnyside will also be closed for its entire length. All roads closed from 9-10-17 until 23-10-17 to ensure public safety during bridge works. Alternative route : via Claredon Place-Springfield Road-Doune Road-A820-A9- B8033-Perth Road and vice versa. NB: Claredon Place will be open to two-way traffic.
February 2017 Update
- The bridge works will commence around the end of May 2017.
- The project will run for between 9 and 12 months.
- Network Rail plan to hold two drop-in sessions in the Victoria Halls for residents before the works commence.
- Every household will receive an information leaflet in March or April.
- Updates will be provided to residents who live within 500m every 6 to 8 weeksSunnyside will be closed to traffic and pedestrians (except for residents who will be able to walk to their houses).
- Clarendon Place will become two-way for traffic.
- Traffic will be two-way for the section of the B8033 on the abattoir side between the bus stop on the south side and mid way along the main road bridge over the river.
The only road bridge over the railway in Dunblane needs to be partially rebuilt. The bridge on the Perth Road Dual Carriageway needs to be raised to allow for electric trains between Dunblane and Edinburgh / Glasgow by next year. Engineers had previously thought that lowering the level of the track would be sufficient to install wires but due to flooding and other safety issues, they now need to raise the level of the bridge. Updated regulations also require higher parpapets on bridges over electrified railways.
The bridge is built in two halves - the original and the new when the road was dualled. Fortunately the road no longer requires to be dualled in any case so this should allow disruption to be less.
The Kerse Road bridge in Stirling has a similar issue which means it will be closed for a year from May, following the . Diversions to Springkerse will be in force.
Foundation Scotland launch their Stirling-wide Grants Programme
Background : Foundation Scotland is currently seeking applications from charitable groups and organisations operating in the Stirling area.
Aim : To fund local projects providing services and activities that can help to address the following themes:
* Support for older people in retirement.
* Employability skills development.
* Support for young people not in education, employment or training.
* Financial Resilience.
They are particularly keen to receive applications from projects that have the potential to meet more than one of the key themes through for example the provision of activities that encourage different generations to work together in support of common goals e.g. mentoring programmes for employability development, projects that seek to transfer skills across generations.
Priorities : Applications from organisations operating in central Stirling will be prioritised.
Deadline : Applications must be received by 12 noon on 1st November 2017.
Your new waste and recycling collection calendar is available online. The online calendar allows all residents to enter your postcode to check the dates of your future collections days, and features the option of printing off a handy calendar. Following customer feedback, the glass collection will move from fortnightly to every 4 weeks, providing a simpler presentation model for residents. Paper copies of your collection calendar will be delivered to households soon and can also be accessed from your local library and Customer First office. Please note that this will be the last issue of paper calendars to households. In future, these will only be available online, reducing our impact on the environment and saving precious resources by asking residents wherever possible to access their calendar online. This easy to use online calendar will help us all do our bit for a cleaner, greener Stirling.
Dunblane butchers' pies have been deemed worthy of national recognition at the recent Scottish Craft Butchers Awards.
John Hill won four awards in the 2017 Scottish Craft Butchers Steak Pie, Speciality Pie and Mince Round Evaluation :
Gold Award – Mince Round
Silver Award - Traditional Steak Pie
Silver Award – Chieftain Pie
Silver Award – Steak & Caramelised Onion Pie
David Bennett & Son, Dunblane won :
Gold Award – Game Pie
Silver Award – Steak & Pepper Pie
Silver Award – Mince Round
The heats were held at Forth Valley College last month with more than 250 pies from throughout the country were tested for appearance, flavour, filling and appeal. The panel of judges included experts, food writers and interested consumers and the event is organised by the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders in conjunction with Lucas Ingredients and William Sword Ltd.
Contact the Elderly’s Dunblane group enjoyed a trip to Loch Katrine thanks to the fundraising efforts of one of its volunteers.
Bobby Lennox completed the ‘Grasmere Gallop’ in Cumbria earlier in the year to raise funds for his group to enjoy a summer outing. The volunteers and guests enjoyed an afternoon and boat trip at the popular Perthshire destination. Lorna Dunbar, Support Officer at Contact the Elderly, said:
“Bobby did a fantastic job to raise funds for this trip and we are so pleased to see everyone had such a lovely trip to Loch Katrine.”
Contact the Elderly is the winner of The Older People’s Project Award at The Herald Society Awards 2016 and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012. Having recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee, Contact the Elderly is the only national charity, which since inception, has focussed solely on relieving the acute loneliness and isolation of older people who live alone, without family, friends or other support networks nearby. The Contact the Elderly model is based on a simple yet very effective model: free, monthly tea parties for small groups of older people and volunteers within their community - which bring all ages together, develop fulfilling friendships and support networks, and give everyone something to look forward to.
Contact the Elderly currently has over 800 groups throughout England, Scotland and Wales, providing a regular, consistent and vital friendship link every month to over 6,000 older people. There are currently over 10,000 volunteers supporting the groups: volunteer drivers collect the older guests from their homes and accompany them to tea parties, while volunteer hosts hold the tea parties in their homes. As part of its continuing Power of Contact campaign to recruit more volunteers, Contact the Elderly aims by 2020 to double the number of isolated older people it supports.
A message from the RAGE Group re Park of Keir decision
Saturday 16th September 2017 at 10.45am. Please join us and invite any friends or family who care about saving Park of Keir
We are walking from the two communities Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, onto Park of Keir, we aim to come together at the top of Gallow Hill at about 11.30. The aims of the walk are to:-
* show our objection to the Housing and tennis centre plan
* raise awareness of what Scottish Governments decision could mean for the area
* enjoy the lovely landscape whilst it is still here.
* meet up with our fellow objectors. It will be nice to put faces to names. There are great views from the top.
Meet at Bridge of Allan station 10.45am or outside M&S car park, Dunblane 10.45am (M&S car park is private, please park elsewhere). There will be a walk leader at each end of the route if you are not sure which way to go.
Please wear appropriate clothes and footwear, paths on Park of Keir are muddy and uneven, there are stiles and fallen trees to negotiate. It should take approximately 40 mins to get there. You can return the same way or make a longer circular walk independently. No refreshments will be provided.
Please follow the Outdoor Access Code
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Flattening Dunblane’s Hills
Dunblane is a hilly place but otherwise suitable for everyday travel by bike within the town and those hills can be ironed out by electrifying the ride. Dunblane by Cycle, a Cycling UK affiliated community group, is working in partnership with Dunblane Development Trust to run an e-bike day on Thursday 12th October. Join us at the Braeport Community Centre where 4 local ebike suppliers/hirers will be on hand to demonstrate a range of models, provide information and lead short uphill rides. Further information