Winton Estate plans 2nd site tour for Pencaitland community

Last December Winton Estate took members of East Lothian Council and local community leaders from Pencaitland, New Winton and Ormiston on a site visit of the estate.

The primary role of that visit was to allow the Estate to demonstrate what it currently does to generate income and discuss ideas for ways it may be extended and diversified in the future.

Ideas included the potential to revive, reinstate and redevelop existing sites such as Winton Hill to more ambitious plans to potentially generate income from sand and gravel extraction on the Estate, which then leads to leisure opportunities in creating an artificial water reserve.

Community leaders generally were open to hearing more and left heartened by the Estate enthusiasm to engage with local opinion on its plans.

A tour for the whole community

Of course, the thoughts and views of the community are not simply those held by elected councillors from East Lothian Council nor those sitting on local Community Councils. So, in an effort to reach out to the widest possible audience potentially affected by any future developments, Winton Estate is holding a further tour on the 25th of January. Below is an open invitation from owner Francis Ogilvy made to any locals living in and around Pencaitland, Boggs Holdings and district.

Francis & Dorothy Ogilvy in the grounds of Winton House and Estate
Francis & Dorothy Ogilvy in the grounds of Winton House and Estate

Please come to the Pencaitland and Winton Bowling Club next Saturday, 25th January at 1.00pm for a soup and sandwiches lunch, followed by a brief tour of Winton Estate. We shall aim to return to the Clubhouse for further refreshments and a time of discussion.

The purpose of the tour is to hear what the local community would like the adjoining Winton Estate to do in the future. It is also to share some of the estate ideas we have and to see how a process of dialogue can be taken forward to develop ideas generally. The desire is to secure mutual benefit and plan for the long term of the village and the estate where practically possible. We have already held tours for members of the community and county councils as well as other officials at national and local levels. We are now seeking to consult directly with adjacent village communities. We have met in New Winton and two tours are taking place next Saturday with Ormiston in the morning and Pencaitland in the afternoon.

This is an early stage in a consultation exercise, intended to enable myself and a community planning colleague, Nick Wright the opportunity to listen to views from the community. I have my own ideas and I shall share some of these on the day, however they are not fixed or the whole process would be nullified from the outset. Even if you are unable to attend next week, it would be appreciated if you could pass this invitation on to anyone you may consider likely to be interested to come along. I should ask, however that my colleague, Audrey Stevenson be alerted for the sake of catering and transportation as numbers are limited. Her email address is audrey@wintonhouse.co.uk or a message can be left on the Winton phone 01875 340 222.

For transportation purposes there is a limit to how many spaces are available on the mini tour bus, so if you are interested in attending we recommend you get in touch early to secure a place.

Some facts about Winton Estate…

  • Winton Estate comprises 2,500 acres
  • Winton House is considered one of the most architecturally important buildings in the UK
  • The House is used to provide corporate and private hospitality
  • There are two self catering properties on the estate
  • It employs 34 people (half part-time) plus temporary seasonal staff
  • Farmland makes up two thirds of the estate
  • Managed woodland covers 850 acres including Saltoun Big Wood
  • 100 acres of farmland were converted back to broadleaf woodland
  • £1.25 million has been invested on the woods over the last ten years
  • There is 12 miles of pathway around the estate – The Winton Walks
  • There are 30 estate houses and cottages
  • A third of the estate houses are occupied by staff
  • Three fields next to the Tyne river on the estate contain high quality sand and gravel

 

Concerns raised over new tarmac laid in Lamberton Court & Bruce Grove

Last week contractors came to lay fresh tarmac at problem hotspots around Pencaitland. But some locals were concerned.

Last week contractors came to lay fresh tarmac at problem hotspots around Pencaitland. But some locals were concerned.

Locals have been making greater use of services such as FixMyStreet to alert the Council to problems.
Locals have been making greater use of services such as FixMyStreet to alert the Council to problems.
That concern centered around the belief that the new looking tarmac did not appear to have been compressed with a roller, leaving what looks a little like a black cake mix that hasn’t been given the rolling pin treatment to smooth it out.

The Community Council subsequently contacted East Lothian Council with these concerns, receiving a quick and detailed explanation from Stuart Baxter, Senior Area Officer West, highlighting why the newly covered roads look so different from traditional tarmac. We have reproduced the explanation below:

The process carried out in Lamberton Court and Bruce Grove this week is a Carriageway Microasphalt, this process is widely used by local authority road maintenance departments throughout the United Kingdom and is an excellent, preventative maintenance process that will seal a surface against the ingress of water and prevent further disintegration of the existing surface.

This process is often used on the UK wide trunk road network and can extend the life of a road by up to ten years or even longer depending on the location and is an excellent cost effective means of prolonging the life of a road.

The process involves 2 stages, the first stage is the application of the Microasphalt, during the second stage ironwork is raised to the new surface level , the second part of this process is still to be carried out at these locations.

All works carried out by sub-contractors on behalf of East Lothian Council are supervised by an engineer and any defects detected during the construction or subsequent 12 months after construction are notified to the contractor for remedial works at their cost.

Mr Baxter also gave preliminary dates for when tarmac work is expected on both Woodhall Road and the main road through Pencaitland, from the crossroads at the eastern village entrance to the junction with Lempockwells Road.

The proposed resurfacing works on Woodhall Road and A6093 in Pencaitland are included in this year’s 2013-2014 programme of resurfacing works, Woodhall Road is currently programmed to be complete by the end of November 2013, however work to the A6093 is dependent on the successful completion of a proposed new gas supply to Glenkinchie which is currently due for completion late January 2014.

All programmed dates are however subject to change due to other works and changes to priorities.


Work on worst Pencaitland roads slated for 2013/14

As reported recently on this website, a number of residential roads around Pencaitland have fallen into very poor repair over the years. The good news is that some will shortly be tackled.

As reported recently, a number of residential roads around Pencaitland have fallen into very poor repair over the years. Some will shortly be tackled.

FixMyStreet helps raise awareness of pothole problems in PencaitlandAnyone going to the FixMyStreet website will see that there are quite a few problems listed on the service when you search for Pencaitland. Whilst not all of them can be addressed immediately, due to budget limitations at East Lothian Council, we’re pleased to report that one of the worst, on Woodhall Road, looks like it will finally be addressed after local residents complained that it had never been properly resurfaced in over 40 years.

As a council official explains in a response on the FixMySteet website, “All roads are inspected as part of the Council’s Needs Assessment Policy whereby individual locations are assessed and rated for comparison against other locations in East Lothian so that the funding the Council is able to allocate to such works is targeted where the need is greatest. Roads are currently being assessed to be included in the proposed programme of maintenance works and I am pleased to confirm that Woodhall Road has been included in the 2013/2014 programme of Urban surfacing renewal. In the meantime any necessary temporary repairs will be carried out.”

Other pot spots slated for a fix include a crumbling drain/pothole on a bend of the A6093 and temporary repairs of potholes on Bruce Grove and on Huntlaw Road.

Remember that if the Council does not know about a problem it cannot get on its list of road repairs. There are a number of options for reporting either directly or via FixMyStreet which we’ve covered in the past.


East Lothian Council bags four stars for website

East Lothian Council’s website has been rated as ‘four star’ in an independent survey of 433 local authority web services.

East Lothian Council’s website has been rated as ‘four star’ in an independent survey of 433 local authority web services.

The website was among thirty-seven to achieve the top four star rating with 140 receiving three star status.

East Lothian Council bags a top 4 stars for its website. Do you agree? Tell ELC what you think.
East Lothian Council bags a top 4 stars for its website. Do you agree? Tell ELC what you think.
The survey, called Better connected 2013, was organised by Socitm Insight – a membership association for all ICT professionals working in Local Authorities and the Public Sector. It identifies good practice in the development of local authority websites based on extensive evidence-based research.

A reviewer comment on the East Lothian Council website said: “Overall, a very good site, which provided answers to our questions. The search seems pretty good and well organised. I am impressed by how easily I found things and the simplicity of the layout.”

This is the 15th annual survey of all 433 local authority websites and a team of reviewers carried out a structured survey with 224 questions for local authority websites, followed by four shorter surveys on specific topics.

Q. Do you use the East Lothian Council website? Good or bad the Council wants to know what you think and you can take part in a short survey to help improve it for the future. Alternatively, just leave a comment below.

ELC’s 2013 Civic Pride Fund offers £20k to local groups

East Lothian Council regularly calls for applications to each new round of its Civic Pride Fund. Applications are now being sought for 2013 funding.

East Lothian Council regularly calls for applications to each new round of its Civic Pride Fund. Applications are now being sought for 2013 funding.

Applications from local community groups are sought to ELC's Civic Pride Fund by 30 Nov 2012
Applications from local community groups are sought to ELC’s Civic Pride Fund by 31 March 2013.
East Lothian Council established the Civic Pride Fund in order to support projects that will improve the image of a town, village or local community, give it a sense of place and make it somewhere that local residents and visitors can be proud of.

Projects need to demonstrate community support and involvement and deliver two or more of the following criteria:

  • Make a material difference to the appearance of the town, village or local community
  • Enhance the natural setting and biodiversity of the open space in and around your local area
  • Celebrate something special or unique about the town, village or local community
  • Give the town, village or local community area a sense of place or identity

Locally Pencaitland Parish Church was a recent beneficiary, receiving £2,100 towards repairs to the church’s buildings. The grant from the Council’s Civic Pride Fund was used to repair the bowed leaded windows and cracked window panes to help keep the Grade A listed church weather tight. As Minister David Torrance said at the time of the award, “Through the centuries, the Church has stood as a symbol of faith and hope, serving families, groups and individuals in the local community, so maintaining the building is very important. We are pleased that this has been recognised by the Civic Pride Fund”.

Other awards around East Lothian have gone towards park improvements, plantings, renovation of local monuments, Village Hall improvements, new public seating, public sculpture and floodlights to name a few.

How to Apply

To apply to the fund applicants need to be properly constituted community groups, local heritage groups and voluntary organisations. The £50,000 Civic Pride Fund’s closing date for this funding round is 31 March 2013 with grants of up to a maximum of £20,000 potentially being awarded. Any requests for £5,000 or more require matched funding from a source other than the ELC. A copy of the application form can be found here.

Applications should be sent to:

Landscape & Countryside Manager
East Lothian Council
John Muir House
Brewery Park
Haddington
EH41 4HA

Want advice?

Do you have a community group project or idea in Pencaitland, New Winton or Glenkinchie which would benefit from financial support from the Civic Pride Fund? If you would like to discuss this with a member of your Community Council you can email website@pencaitland.org with your contact details and we will get in touch to help you develop your idea.


ELC begins moving speed signs in Pencaitland

Following consultation last year, East Lothian Council’s transport team have begun making improvements to signage coming in & going out of Pencaitland.

Following consultation last year, East Lothian Council’s transport team have begun making some improvements to signage coming in and going out of Pencaitland.

A car approaches Pencaitland with 30mph signs now placed outside the village entrance, to encourage drivers to slow before arriving at houses.
A car approaches Pencaitland with 30mph signs now placed outside the village entrance, to encourage drivers to slow before arriving at houses.

This is part of wider plans, still under discussion, to improve road safety throughout the village. However, it is unlikely that any major changes will take place until after the main road through Pencaitland is resurfaced, most likely later this year.


Don’t forget to tell your Council about road or pavement problems

Pencaitland has seen its fair share of potholes and other pavement problems over the winter but thanks to email and the web it’s never been easier to report.

Pencaitland has seen its fair share of potholes and other pavement problems over the winter but thanks to email and the web it’s never been easier to report.

FixMyStreet is a great way to keep track of issues local to you which need to be addressed. Alternatively you can contact East Lothian Council directly. <a href="https://pencaitland.org/reporting-road-problems-to-east-lothian-council/"><B>Click here</B></a> to read how.
FixMyStreet is a great way to keep track of issues local to you which need to be addressed. Alternatively you can contact East Lothian Council directly. Click here to read how or above to view problems already reported in and around the village via FixMyStreet.


Scots Together tries to help people save on energy… together

A new website is attempting to help Scots band together to bulk buy energy and save money.

A new website is attempting to help Scots band together to bulk buy energy and save money.

Scots Together is a collective buying group bringing people together across Scotland to get a better price on gas and electricity.
Scots Together is a collective buying group bringing people together across Scotland to get a better price on gas and electricity.
Scots Together is free. It’s a collective energy switching idea, open to anyone in East Lothian or the rest of Scotland. It’s easy to join and could potentially save you money on your energy bills. That’s surely worth a few minutes of your time?

Here’s how it works:

1. Find a recent utilities bill

2. Go online to scotstogether.com

3. Enter your details and have a look at the deal Scots Together has organised by getting lots of people in Scotland together to bulk buy electricity and gas. The more people that sign up, the better the deal gets. If there’s a different deal that’s better for you or you’re already on the best possible price then they will let you know.

4. Decide whether to switch or not. There is no obligation. If you decide you want to switch, you need to accept the offer by 17 March 2013.

5. Pass it on. The more people that sign up, the better the deal for everyone else.

If you want to talk to an adviser first or you want to refer someone that doesn’t have internet access, there’s a freephone advice line 0800 408 0155.

Environmental charity Changeworks is co-ordinating the initiative in Scotland and will engage with householders in areas covered by the five partner Councils — one of which is East Lothian Council. There is also a Consumer Frequently Asked Questions PDF you can view for further background on the scheme.


East Lothian Bus Forum tackles transport troubles

East Lothian has a chequered history when it comes to public transport policy. In an effort to foster joined up thinking the new transport Convenor Michael Veitch initiated the East Lothian Bus Forum.

East Lothian has a chequered history when it comes to public transport policy. In an effort to foster joined up thinking the new transport Convenor Michael Veitch initiated the East Lothian Bus Forum.

The new 113 single decker buses being operated by East Lothian Buses connects Pencaitland and Ormiston to Edinburgh.
The new 113 single deckers being operated by East Lothian Buses connects Pencaitland and Ormiston to Edinburgh.
The first meeting took place on the 27th of November. The intention is that meetings will be held regularly, bringing together bus users, operators and other interested parties.

The first meeting was very well attended with representatives from across the county, all the key operators and a number of ELC Councillors. A synopsis of the topics covered and who attended can be seen here.

Intrinsic to the launch of this new group was RELBUS, short for Rural East Lothian Bus Users. This is a campaigning body intent on helping to promote better bus services across the county. We would encourage bus users to join. Membership is free.


Is right to roam legislation being flouted in East Lothian?

East Lothian’s Arthur Greenan questions whether public access to land, enshrined in the Right to Roam legislation of 2003 is being applied in the county.

Pencaitland community was recently contacted by an Arthur Greenan of East Linton, raising the issue of public access to rural land, enshrined in the Right to Roam legislation enacted in 2003.

Mr Greenan became aware of public access issues in East Lothian when organising a local event to take horses from his East Linton home down to the coast to Whitekirk. This became a battle to find an unencumbered route, discovering numerous impediments that made it all but impossible to use paths that were meant to be open to public access but were either locked or blocked.

Arthur Greenan argues that Right to Roam legislation, which came into force in 2003, is being ignored in parts of East Lothian. Photo copyright Trevor Coultart @ Flickr
Arthur Greenan argues that Right to Roam legislation, which came into force in 2003, is being ignored in parts of East Lothian. Photo copyright Trevor Coultart @ Flickr
As Arthur Greenan sees it, “John Muir won freedom of access to the countryside for millions of Americans but in his native county of East Lothian thousands of citizens are being denied their rightful access to the countryside.”

Scotland gained what many now refer to as “Right to Roam” legislation with the passing by the Scottish Parliament of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. This gives statutory access rights to most land and inland water in Scotland. The rights under the Act must be exercised responsibly by respecting people’s safety, privacy and livelihoods; and with regard to Scotland’s environment.

However, if Arthur Greenan’s experiences are representative across other parts of the county, it would seem that the theory enshrined in this legislation does not match up with its practical application in East Lothian.

It’s now ten years since the legislation came into force and it’s a little known fact that this law is currently under review, with an opportunity for interested members of the public to have their say. Unfortunately, to date, this does not appear to have been publicised by East Lothian Council.

Mr Greenan, aware that the deadline for comments to the Scottish Government on current Right to Roam legislation is looming (submissions need to be made by the 11th of January 2013), has asked a number of Community Councils to bring this issue to the attention of local residents.

Have your say

The Land Reform Review Group was set up by the Scottish Government in July 2012 to look at a range of land issues, including the effectiveness of Right To Roam. If you have a view you can submit it via email to landreformreview@scotland.gsi.gov.uk or write to the following address no later than the 11th of January.

Dave Thomson
Land Reform Review Secretariat
B1 Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
Edinburgh
EH11 3XD

Q. Have you experienced problems with access to or through the countryside in and around Pencaitland? If you have please share your experiences with a comment below.

More Useful Resources

Scottish Outdoor Access Code website