The Laurencekirk Development Trust SC 435274 Minute of Annual General Meeting, Financial Year 1st November 2015-31st October 2016, held on Wednesday 8th March 2017 in Mearns Academy ay 7.30pm.

1. Jim Stuart, chairman, welcomed the attendees.

2. Attendance : Thirty eight including 34 members were present.

3. Apologies were submitted by Rosemary and Peter Reilly, Pat Mulcahy and Margaret Irvine.

4. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday 9th March 2016 were approved, nominated by Lawrie Milne and seconded by Ann Lewendon.

5. Chairman’s report was delivered by Jim Stuart. “This time last year we had two Capital Asset Transfer Applications (CAT) in place; one for the old Mearns Academy and the other for the adjacent playing fields. We aspired to develop more community facilities by providing a new town hall with catering and other facilities plus retail and commercial outlets to generate income for sustainability. Regretfully, Aberdeenshire Council were unwilling to support this project and opted to demolish the academy and sell the land.

There was limited success with the CAT for the playing field which was retained by the Council. Much of this was due to the petition launched by the Trust which attracted 600 e-mails being sent directly to specific Councillors. It is hoped the Council will now make good use of the facility.

We received funding from Aberdeenshire Council and Awards for All for a “Charrette” planning exercise. Although this did not secure the former academy the information gathered and the Shaping Laurencekirk document gives the community a sense of direction for future development.

Currently there is a live survey underway to determine the priorities from a number of previous public engagements. It is hoped that this will identify the present wishes of the community, particularly with regard to the future of the St Laurence Hall, the old Community Centre and the need for a new community facility to address the future short falls of the present Community Campus.

We look forward to taking forward the proposals with the confidence that we have the support of the local community.

A fresh approach for a safe pedestrian and cycle way to the Garvock Hill, avoiding the A90 dual carriageway, is now underway as part of a cycle route proposed by local minister, Ronnie Gall.

The Trust is supporting the efforts of a group of local footballers to improve the facilities at the Memorial Park. We are pleased to report that representatives have joined our management committee.

We are continuing to work with the Howe o’ The Mearns Heritage Club in their efforts to secure the Burgh Buildings as a community facility.

We continue to monitor the progress of the A90 Grade Separated Junction and the traffic implications for Laurencekirk. Current predictions indicate a start on construction in 2021.

Recently the community received approval for a Self-Build Housing Scheme in Fordoun Road thanks to the support of LDT and Mearns Community Council.

Particular thanks are due this year to director, Toby Burrell, whose excellent talk on “Mountaineering Around The World” made a major contribution to our funds.

Lynn Moir also continues to give generously of her time to manage our Laurencekirk AB30 and associated websites.
I also wish to single out Mike Robson, our secretary for the work he puts into the LDT. Tonight he brings forward a Special Resolution for adoption. This will maintain our ability to access the Scottish Land Fund for community projects under the Community Right To Buy Legislation. The resolution has been given approval by the Scottish Government.

Changes in the Community Empowerment Act and new directives for local government will provide both challenges and opportunities for the Trust.

As Chairman, I have benefited from the support from a committee that has and reflects a broad skill-base, professionalism and an excellent work ethic.

On behalf of The Laurencekirk Development Trust, I thank you all for your excellent support and hope you can all continue next year as we have much to achieve.”

6. “Shaping Laurencekirk“ Questionnaire
Director, Sarah Leigh, introduced an interim survey report. She designed the questionnaire to prioritise the aspirations identified in previous public engagements and demonstrated the breadth of information and demographic reach. She discussed in some detail the general findings to date and the current “top ten” subjects.
The survey will remain on line until the end of March.

7. Treasurer’s Report. Director, Dr Ann Lewendon, presented the financial report for the financial year 1st November 2015 to 31st October 2016 which largely dealt with the financing of the planning “Charrette”. The minor recurring charge is that of running the websites. A marginal positive balance for the year was recorded. She recommended that we should carry out further fund raising as a priority. The Statement was adopted, proposed by Alistair Beeley and seconded by Colleen Henderson.

8. Special Resolution.
A special resolution to maintain the Trust’s eligibility to apply for Scottish Land Fund support under the Community Right To Buy legislation (previously circulated to all members) was presented and proposed by secretary Mike Robson, seconded by Sarah Leigh and duly adopted.

9. Appointment of Directors.
During the past year Gordon Beatt resigned, Stuart Murray stood down immediately prior to the meeting, due to pressure of work and Fiona Bissmire was not able to attend the required number of meetings. The remaining directors served less than the three year term. Four places were available on the board.
The following candidates were proposed, seconded, introduced and duly elected:
Natalie Lucy, 15 Johnston Street, Laurencekirk AB30 1AN
Alastair Donal, 6 Lyall Way, Laurencekirk, AB30 1FU
Douglas Shaw, 18 Reed Crescent, Laurencekirk, AB30 1EF
Tero Luoma, 14 Reed Crescent, Laurencekirk, AB30 1EF

10. Appointment of accountants: Currently registered as a “micro-entity” in respect of financial reports and excluded from this requirement.

11. AOCB.
A question was raised as to the action the Trust could take to promote a fuel station for the local community. The chairman responded that our prime role at present is not only to lobby our political representatives but also to facilitate indirect commercial approaches to enable the challenge of economic viability to be overcome.

12. Vote of Thanks.
A vote of thanks to the Trust was proposed by Councillor George Carr who hoped that the Trust would continue to work closely with the local authority to deliver more for the community.

13. Provisional date for the next AGM : March 2018