If you have children I hope you survived the wild and wet ‘summer’ holidays. School is back on Tuesday and ‘sleepy’ Kirknewton comes alive with the morning school run! It has been an interesting summer where it seemed the whole of Scotland’s media descended on our wee village amidst cries of “It’s raining – again,”, “Is this it?” and “Where is everybody?”
If you don’t know the army are (maybe!) coming back to base Kirknewton you will do when you descend on the school playground this week!
Whatever your views on the proposed army barracks one thing is becoming clear. Report after report are highlighting Kirknewton does not have many facilities to speak of. As a community we are changing that. Here is the latest update on developments from the Trust.
Kirknewton Development Trust Update
The Kirknewton Development Plan is all but complete and will be available from September. There are a few things to add that came out of the consultation, primarily the need for medical provision in the village. The details will be available in the final report but the summary points are below.
By the end of 2014 Kirknewton hope to;
- Increase and support volunteers and groups in the village.
- Increase and support the number of regular and annual events in the village, particularly for young people.
- Improve the park, green space and sporting facilities in the village.
- Improve our current facilities and build a new resource centre.
- Establish a daytime social space for everyone to use.
- Improve paths and cycle paths in and around the village.
- Introduce and support local food initiatives.
- Support local business and establish an online directory and improved broadband/mobile reception
- Invest in renewable energy project for community benefit.
- Improve road safety, public transport services and links to Balerno and East Calder.
A 2015-2020 plan will follow, that will take on board the army barracks development (for more information on that see below).
The Anaerobic Digestor Plant
The AD Plant project is on hold due to unresolved planning issues and a question mark over potential waste streams. However the Trust have provisional details of the cost of a grid connection for the site and the food waste collection scheme is collecting waste from 200 homes across Kirknewton. If you need any more food waste bags please collect them free from the Development Trust office (the office will re-open from 22nd August). The Trust are in initial discussions on how the scheme can be extended beyond the six month trial period.
The Trust have also asked the lottery for an extension to our technical assistance grant while we investigate other renewable energy projects such as Harperrig and the Fauch Hill windfarm development. This has been agreed by the Lottery and the Development Officer will continue for at least another 6 months from November.
Harperrig Hydro Plant
Kirknewton came 33rd out of 936 groups across the UK for the £100,000 energyshare bid. We have until the end of September to produce the project for the Harperrig Hydro Plant. If the Kirknewton project is chosen by the energyshare panel the project will go to the public vote to all those signed up on the energyshare website. The Kirknewton energyshare page has been updated and you can still register to have your vote when the time comes at www.energyshare.com/kirknewton-community-development-trust
EFRG / Fauch Hill Wind Farm Development
The Trust has had meetings regarding the potential investment model and/or community benefit if this site goes ahead. The Trust has also met with Partnerships for Renewables / Foresty Commission who are looking at a development for Camilty Forest. The Trust is also in discussions with West Calder about the potential of setting up a Development Trust and has met with representatives from West Lothian Development Trust with an eye on best practice for distribution of any community benefit for community projects.
A project management group has been set up to deal with the Resource Centre build on the Old Gospel Hall site. This should take meetings and surgeries out of the Village Hall and make it more available for activity based groups. An additional site survey is done and the architect for the project intends to make a planning and building warrant application based on a new design brief and findings from the site survey. Utility companies have been approached regarding access to the site and by the time you read this we will have been given an indication if our major funding application to Leader has been accepted. The Trust have applied for over £100,000 of funding for the project.
Additional outdoor gym equipment, suitable for age 15 and over, is to be installed near the current play park. This will include a 6ft climbing ball. The path from the Whitemoss Road entrance to the main road entrance will also be tarred thanks to funds found by West Lothian Council. This will hopefully improve walking and cycling through the park. There is still a question mark over a suitable location for the recycling bins and you will be kept up to date on the Kirknewton facebook community group.
The Allotment Association is having a Halloween apple day in the village hall on the 30th of October from 12noon till 4pm. There will be a number of events including a home baking competition, a Halloween lantern competition, face painting, bobbing for apples, and much more besides! They will also be giving an update on the Allotment site and their progress to date.
They are also looking to put together an apple recipe booklet so if anybody has any apple recipes they would like to share, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our ultimate aim is to raise funds for the Allotment Association; a project that would benefit the entire community, particularly as any excess would be made available to Kirknewton throughout the year. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved and to entertain children and adults alike in the middle of autumn.
The Ministry of Defence have responded to an initial query from the Kirknewton Community Council regarding the proposed new army base near the village.
In a letter the MOD recognise their aim of establishing a substantial presence at Kirknewton has very significant implications for the local community and other sites affected by the announcement.
The MOD went on to say they are very keen to work with the local community as they develop detailed plans in addition to the necessary formal consultations that will take place. This work will be carried out by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation working with the Army and Royal Air Force. This team is in the process of being set up as it was not possible to establish in advance of decisions made by the Secretary of Defence.
It is hoped that contact will be made early in the work so we can jointly identify issues that will need to be addressed over the next few months and years. An initial first meeting is scheduled for early October.
The Kirknewton website and social network sites (facebook, twitter and blog) hope to keep you up to date with any further news and developments.