Wemyss Bay Community Woodland Association were formed after local woman, Jill Vedebrand, became increasingly concerned about the neglect and degeneration of local Greenspace, Wemyss Bay Woods. Among the community at large, the wood was developing the reputation as a place where under-age drinkers and drug addicts “hung out”. Vandalism, fly tipping and littering were common. The very dense undergrowth permitted very little light and even dog-walkers, particularly women, were becoming increasingly reluctant to use the wood.
Jill began to talk to other local people, motivating them to take an interest in the wood. These efforts involved a Questionnaire being delivered to every home in Wemyss Bay, and culminated in a Public Meeting attended by well over 100 local people in May 2002. Both the questionnaire and the public meeting demonstrated overwhelming community support for a programme of regeneration of the wood. As part of the consultation process, Inverclyde Council commissioned a feasibility study on the proposed regeneration plans.
At the public meeting it was agreed to establish Wemyss Bay Community Woodland Association (WBCWA). The committee have taken forward and developed the proposals and decisions of the public meeting. All committee meetings are open to members of the community and are publicised in the local press and Village News.
Using the initial feasibility study, WBCWA designated areas within the woods for specific purposes. WBCWA will be working alongside local authority staff from the Eco-Schools Initiative to provide the support and resources required to develop the educational potential of the wood. By capturing the interest of, and involving, children at an early stage, it is felt that we will be able to retain their interest and enthusiasm as they grow, thus ensuring the future care of Wemyss Bay Wood as a community resource.
Submitted by Finlay McFee for WBCC:
Fergus Macleod, the planning official responsible for producing the new local plan, told me today that the new Inverclyde Local Plan would be published on 25th November, what is known as "On Deposit" with the general public.
This means that the final proposals, and the final opportunity to object to any of them, formally go before the public from that date onwards.
The Council have decided that the Deposit period will be extended beyond the minimum six weeks required by law, because of the midwinter holiday period intervening. The final deadline for objections to be made has accordingly been set by the Council as 31st January 2003.
There will be an exhibition of the proposals embodied in the Plan, available for public scrutiny from 9th January onwards at Inverkip Library (within the Primary School).
Community Councils are notifiable bodies and each CC will receive a copy of the Plan for their scrutiny.
All of the above means that there is a ten week period to absorb, understand and respond if required, to whatever is in the Plan. Not long to consider the entire framework for development of our area for the next ten years plus!!
Councillors have approved a planning application by Inverclyde Council to build a recycling centre at Wemyss Bay Community Centre. The application has now been referred to the Scottish Executive, the Greenock Telegraph reported. The plan is to situate the recycling bays on the north side of the centre, next to the car park.
Ardgowan Football Development are running a special Gala Day this Sunday at the community centre. The Gala Day will be opened by Morton player and film star Martin Compston, the Greenock Telegraph reported today.
The activities will include football matches, a keepy uppy competition, beat the goalie, the bouncy castle, a disco, face painting, hair braiding, hot dogs, and refreshments.
The activities start at noon and run for 6 hours.
Pre-register for broadband
One of our local residents is spearheading a campaign to bring broadband to Wemyss Bay. He has managed to find out the following information:
1. Our exchange is actually in Skelmorlie and serves Inverkip, Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay - so there is a greater potential customer base.
2. There is a friendly, Scottish ISP with humans on the end of the 'phone who actually want our business -
Scotnet - http://www.scotnet.co.uk/ - offer broadband at the following price to basic home users (these prices to be confirmed):
These are fairly standard prices. However, if we put bulk orders to them, for example if all of the 400 people needed to enable the exchange go in a concerted manner through one friendly ISP, they can discount the set-up and hardware costs PLUS they would look to drop the subs to around £20 - £25 per month depending on demand.
Pre-registration on wemyssbay.net
wemyssbay.net has set-up a preregistration service on the site to collect contact details of those who wish to have broadband. This information will go to the co-ordinator of this campaign and he will take the names and details to Scotnet, who are happy to accept the info in the form of a spreadsheet when a reasonable number of contacts are received. Pre registration does not imply any commitment to register.
One of the biggest problems right now is that it's been made so difficult to get registered. This one form simplifies the process greatly.
Pre-register for broadband - fill in this form
Sarah Harvey, a third year student at Strathclyde Uni, is currently researching the area of Wemyss Bay and is looking for your help. She has prepared two questionnaires, one for those who stay at the caravan park and one for the rest of us in Wemyss Bay (or Skelmorlie).
Simply download the appropriate Microsoft Word file (in Internet Explorer, right click on the link below and click 'Save Target As'), open the file in Word and fill in the answers. Once you are finished, save your changes and attach them to an email to Sarah at this address:
1. Residents of the caravan park
2. Residents of Wemyss Bay or Skelmorlie
Your help will be very much appreciated!
BT have still not decided whether to erect a telephone box at Ardgowan Road due to concerns about vandalism. A BT representative was quoted as saying that they are still pushing for a survey to be done. In related news in the Largs and Millport, there is a concern that the postbox at Ardgowan Road might have to be removed due to vandalism.
Come on people, let's cut out the vandalism and look after our village!
E-mail your views on this story.
Strathclyde Passenger Transport's operations committee have decided against setting up a 'ring and ride' style bus service from Wemyss Bay Pier to Inverclyde Royal Hospital. Officials feel that McGill's bus service could divert to the hospital on request if necessary. When travelling back from the hospital, it is possible to get a bus down to Branchton station and then to get a train from there, the Largs and Millport reported.
E-mail your views on this story.
Ardgowan Thistle are planning to start an under 13 football team this season and try and enter them into the Greenock and District U13’s League. If any boy is interested in playing for us please contact Martin Mulholland or Keith Jackson who will be running the team this season. Trials will be held during the month of July. We are looking for players who are 11, 12 or 13. Date of birth no earlier than the 1st of Jan 1989. Please Contact Martin at 520622 or come along to any of the Ardgowan Football training sessions held at the community centre or Wemyss Bay school park. Any of the coaches there will be happy to help and invite you to the clubs set up.
Ardgowan Football Development Schedule
Restarts 24th July
Wednesday 6:00pm to 8:00pm
8-13 yr. olds
Wemyss Bay school pitch
Starts 28th July
Sunday 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Wemyss Bay school pitch
Restarts 29th July
Monday 6:30pm to 8:00pm
14-18 yr. olds
Wemyss Bay grass park
Restarts 25th of August
Sunday 12:30pm to 2:00pm
5/6 yr. olds
Wemyss Bay Community Centre
Restarts 25th of August
Sunday 2:00pm to 3:30pm
7/8 yr. olds
Wemyss Bay Community Centre
For any information or help please contact Iain Buchan at 521846.
Starting from September 30th, men who are 65 or over and woman aged 60 or over will receive free bus travel at off peak times from local transport operators. The free travel will also be available to those with disabilities.
The free off peak travel will apply across the whole of the Strathclyde region and is available for concession pass holders. They can continue to use the same concession passes they currently possess, but without any charge at off peak times. The scheme will be extended tov include men who are over the age of 60, the Greenock Telegraph reported.
Strathclyde Passanger Transport are receiving funding from the Scottish Executive to make this scheme possible.
E-mail your views on this story.
At present, BT broadband internet access (i.e. fast!) is not available in Wemyss Bay due to the fact that BT consider broadband not to be viable at the present time in the village because there is not enough demand. However, if you would like to have broadband access, you can help. Visit the following site and register your interest with BT.
According to BT, "Once this level of interest reaches a pre-determined level you will have the opportunity to place a formal order and subject to further investigations broadband services will be offered to your location. The "trigger" level will be calculated based on a balance of risk between BT's costs of deployment and anticipated future growth."
To register your interest (don't delay) visit the BT web site below and follow the instructions there:
E-mail your views on this story.
A new council tax section has been introduced on the Inverclyde Council web site. From this section of the web site you can advice on how to pay, when tax is due, what happens if you don't pay, discounts, exemptions, what your council tax pays for, and more. The site also contains relevant online and downloadable forms.
For more information visit the Inverclyde Council web site.
A Greenock couple were saved off the coast of Wemyss Bay earlier this month after their boat began to sink when it started to take in water. Their mayday call was answered by lifeboats from Largs and Helensburgh. One of the lifeboats was able to get alongside the vessel and stop the flow of water. The boat was then pulled using ropes to the Kip Marina in Inverkip, the Greenock Telegraph reported.
Direct from ScotRail: "ScotRail is pleased to announce a return to normal service on most routes across Scotland from Sunday 2nd June and in addition welcomes two new stations to the network with the opening of Edinburgh Crossrail. For a summary of the new timetables visit www.scotrail.co.uk. Full timetable details will be available on our website on and after Saturday 1st June."
117 people turned up at the recent public meeting to discuss the future of the woods and to hear plans for the woods. A committee will now be formed this Saturday as well as a neighbourhood watch scheme for the woods, and a new mountain bike stunt club will be starting as well.
Full details of the public meeting and latest news on the WAG group is available here.
ScotRail have announced that the threat of any further rail strike days has ended following the decision by ScotRail drivers, members of the drivers' union ASLEF, to accept the pay offer of 3%, plus 11% funded through productivity initiatives and the elimination of outmoded working practices.
A reduced timetable has been in operation over the five month long dispute. A full timetable will not come into operation again until the level of rest day working among drivers has been assessed. However, ScotRail aim to be running at around 90% of all services within a few weeks.
For further details visit http://www.scotrail.co.uk/dispute2.htm.
We have had a great response from kids in the community for our Wednesday night small sided games. 42 kids turned up last week and 52 tonight. This is a brilliant response to our call for 8 to 12 year olds. Having only one set of portable goals we are stuck with playing our games on the blaes pitch to make up 2 parks. We require help in trying to get another set of portable 7-a-side goals so we can set up 2 parks on the grass area behind the Community Centre.
The council have cut this grass but it still needs attention to provide an adequate surface for kids football. Can anyone help us? We would love to keep these kids interested on Wednesday nights but the lack of good facilities may hinder our chances.
Training classes for 5 to 8 year olds on Sundays are proving a big hit with over 50 kids registered. Hopefully in the next week will be handing out a training kit to all our regular attendees.
The new owners of the SPAR shop in Wemyss Bay, A.J. Gillespie, have shown their charitable side and very kindly agreed to sponsor the Gala Day ceilidh band all £350. This is a tremendous gesture and deserves much praise.
Calling all 8 to 12 year old Primary School Pupils!
On a Wednesday evening during the summer months from 6pm till 8pm Ardgowan Thistle shall be running a small sided football tournament for all 8 to 12 year old primary school kids.
This tournament will take place on either the blaes pitch or the grass area behind the community centre. This is the second stage of the Ardgowan Football Development for the area. On Sundays we run our 5 to 8 year old training classes which has proven to be very successful.
Depending on the numbers we get for this competition we are hoping to run a 7 a side league to run from May to September. The kids will be asked to register and pay £2.00 on the night. You can register with us on a Sunday at the Community Centre or on a Wednesday night at the school pitch. If you cannot manage and would like your son or daughter to take part please contact myself, Iain Buchan tel: 521846, or Martin Mulholland tel: 520622. We would like to try and start this competion on the 1st of May, so please register as soon as possible!
The Wemyss Bay School Board would like your assistance to try and alleviate the bottleneck on Lomond and Ardgowan roads at the start and close of school hours.
Many parents are disregarding the safety of other children and their parents by parking and dropping off kids on the yellow zigzags and parking and turning in and around the School car park.
The school car park is off limits to all cars except staff and the yellow zigzags are a crossing point for school children to access the school gates, not a drop off area. Please make time to drop your children off at a safe location like the Community Centre car park or one of the many side streets. We have been lucky so far with no serious incidents. Please think about where you park at the school. The lives of our school kids should not be put at risk.
Thank you (Wemyss Bay School Board)
In tonight's Scotland - Nigeria friendly international, former Wemyss Bay youngster Gareth Williams has been handed a starting place in midfield alongside Celtic and Scotland skipper Paul Lambert, as he makes his full Scotland international debut.
Former Wemyss Bay Primary School pupil Gareth Williams, now playing football with English first division side Nottingham Forest, has been called up to the full Scotland squad for the first time for the friendly with Nigeria on April 17th.
Gareth, who was called up to the Scotland under 21s side in September of last year, has benefited from new coach Berti Vogts' policy of giving young players a chance in the full squad.
Used with permission from the Nottingham Forest web site
In related news, a group of Wemyss Bay dads have reported that the football club they started for youngsters in the village has been a great success. Tom McClurg had been taking his son to Greenock for coaching every week when he decided to see if there was support for a football club in Wemyss Bay. Other dads agreed to help out and so far 43 boys and girls between the age of 5 and 8 have taken part in the football sessions.
The Greenock Telegraph reported that the club, called Ardgowan Thistle, are now applying for official club status. This would enable them to raise funds to help provide coaching for older kids as well.
A book of condolence has been opened for the Queen Mother at McLeod Newsagents in Wemyss Bay, along with other places throughout Inverclyde, the Greenock Telegraph reported. There is also a book at the Inverkip Hotel.
The body of David Telford, who went missing during a dive near to the Wemyss Bay shore, has been found by police divers, the Greenock Telegraph reported. The divers found the body of Mr Telford near to the wreck of the steamship Kintyre, 200 yards out from the shore.
David was a diver with the Red Fox Diving Club and went missing over two weeks ago while diving with three friends. A massive police hunt was launched at the time but they were unable to find him. A post mortem will be carried out to determine the exact cause of death.
Back in the days of Castle Wemyss, the three lodges in Wemyss Bay were used to house workers from the castle. North Lodge at Ardgowan Road, Mid Lodge which leads into Cliff Terrace Road and South Lodge at Wemyss Bay Road.
Sadly, in mid February, a demolition order by Inverclyde Council came into effect stating that South Lodge was unfit for human habitation. The owner of the building actually lives in England and has never been an occupant of the building, the Largs and Millport reported. The building is not a listed building but contains many unusual architectural features and is part of Wemyss Bay's history. It is possible for the owner to apply for a suspension to the demolition order but a large amount of money would have to be spent to bring the building up to suitable standards.
As a result of the ongoing dispute with the rail unions, a further 15 days will be affected by strike action (taken from the Scotrail web site and correct as at 20th March 2002). The days affected and the latest information on the dispute can be found on the Scotrail web site at:
Visit this page regularly for the latest updates and for alternative travel arrangements.
Caledonian MacBrayne have announced that special arrangements will be put in place while essential repairs are made to the approach to the vehicle ramp. The work was due to begin on the 18th March and last for 9 weeks.
The Calmac web site states that, "While repairs to the concrete wall are taking place, restricted space will be available for customers wishing to park overnight. Foot passenger access to and from the ship will be unaffected, although access to the pier will be restricted to the covered walkway. Outside access will be restricted to plant machinery and works, with access to vehicles delivering stores to ships and for the removal of waste."
Full information can be found on the CalMac web site at:
The Community Council has announced that it is is supporting a conservation project and have requested that the woods be made a local nature reserve.
A draft report was presented by Jill Vedebrand to the Community Council recently outlining what was wrong with the woods (such as damage caused by motorbikes using trails for scrambling, vandalism and graffiti on trees and walls, litter and fly tipping, choking of trees by rhododendron undergrowth, many fallen trees blocking paths etc.) and a proposal to restore them. There will be a public meeting on May 12th at the Community Centre and a Woodlands Action Group is being formed to help tackle the problems.
This year's Clean Up Day will have a special focus on the woods.
For the fifth year running the Community Association is organising a local volunteers spring clean under the auspices of Keep Scotland Beautiful and the National Spring Clean. For one day per year under this initiative local authorities provide free skips, gloves, bags, litter pickers etc, to enable communities to have a go at getting rid of their local litter problems.
The clean up will take the usual format - local groups to clean their own back yards. Finlay McFee, the organiser, will organise skips, bags, gloves, pickers etc.
The emphasis is on Wemyss Bay Woods this year - the Community Council is supporting a conservation project and have requested that the woods be made a local nature reserve. The Lower Clyde Project funded a report on the woods by the Tennant Garmory Partnership. The Woodlands Action Group (WAG) is being formed and further information on this group and the problems with the woods can be found here: Woodlands Action Group
If you would like to help, or organise a group to help, please contact Finlay McFee on 01475 522934 to put your name down and book your share of resources, no later than Monday, 22nd April. Alternatively, just turn up at the community centre at 10am on Saturday 27th April ready to help wherever you can!
Information supplied by Finlay McFee (clean up organiser)
The revised Local Plan has been put back yet again. It is not now expected in the public domain until the end of 2002! Your Community Council wrote last year to the head of Inverclyde Council Planning Service requesting that the long awaited revised Local Plan explicitly address the question of Inverkip Power Station.
The search for 49 year old man David Telford of Carlisle has been called off. The man went missing on Sunday after a dive to the wreck of the vessel Kintyre, 40 metres below the surface, off the shore of Wemyss Bay with other members of the Red Fox diving club. He should have surfaced at 12.10pm on Sunday but did not reappear. The BBC web site quoted a coastguard spokesman as saying, "We have searched the area thoroughly over the last 24 hours and have been unable to find anything."
The Mobile Library service which has served Wemyss Bay and Inverclyde so well for many years will sadly be coming to an end soon. Many people have used this service over the years and will miss the regular visits it made to the village. The van is old, repair costs are high, and Inverclyde Council does not have the funds to replace it. An announcement is expected from the Council shortly, the Largs and Millport reported.
No trains were running from or to Wemyss Bay today as train services were disrupted throughout the country by industrial action. The Drivers' Unions have also announced plans to strike on the following days:
Wednesday, March 6
Monday, March 11
Tuesday, March 19
The Scotrail web site states that, 'No ScotRail daytime or SPT rail services will run on these days however Caledonian Sleeper services will operate as normal except for services to and from Fort William.'
The red blaes pitch at Wemyss Bay could soon be a thing of the past if plans to lay down an astroturf pitch are successful. The astroturf pitch would be full size and could also be used as three 5-a-side pitches with floodlighting. An anonymous local business man has put the plan to the school who, it would seem, are likely to go ahead with the plan. The facility would be used for both the school and the community and there is the possibility that changing rooms could be added to the community centre.
Local swimming coach Donald Muirhead has won the JY Coutts Award at the Scottish Swimming Awards. Donald, who set up Inverclyde Masters fourteen years ago, received the award on Saturday at a dinner at Stirling Castle in recognition of his volunteer work with Scottish Masters, the Greenock Telegraph reported.
Lomond Road was plunged into darkness and remained that way for a time after a recent black out. The delay in restoring power was caused by fly tipping and a digger eventually had to be brought in to remove a mound of rubbish that was blocking access to the electrical controls. Inverclyde District Council's head of transportation and roads explained that around 20 street lights in Lomond Road were left in darkness after the black out, the Largs and Millport reported. Men and heavy equipment had to be used to clear the area on Cliff Terrace Road where the controls are located.
Councillor Margaret Morrison has warned of the dangers of fly tipping and urged people to arrange for the council to upilft bulky items and keep the streets clean and safe. To arrange an uplift or to enquire about this service from the council call 714750.
An accident last week resulted in a man and woman being taken to hospital after a collision between a car and a van at the railway bridge near to the Wemyss Bay Hotel on the A78. The Greenock Telegraph reported that both drivers only suffered slight injuries. Traffic slowed for 45 minutes until the vehicles were removed from the road.
Golden Casket "Millions" have won the prestigious Inverclyde Innovation award. Wemyss Bay butcher and delicatessen Mearns T. McCaskie was a joint runner up along with McLaren Packaging.
Local butcher and delicatessen Mearns T. McCaskie is one of only three businesses in Inverclyde to be put forward for a prestigious award. Greenock Chamber of Commerce will announce the winner and runners up tomorrow for the award of the most innovative company in Inverclyde. Reported in the Greenock Telegraph, Nigel Ovens, manager of the shop, said that "Customers have a much greater incentive to visit us now. Development of the butcher business has mirrored that of the deli, with new award winning products on offer."
A train driver, who was attacked by a man who fell asleep on the last train of the day to Wemyss Bay and missed his stop, has been awarded £250 compensation. The man who carried out the attack had consumed too much alcohol that evening. He lashed out at the driver once the train reached Wemyss Bay and he realised his predicament, the Greenock Telegraph reported.
The David Bellamy Gold Conservation Award has been awarded to Wemyss Bay Holiday Park for its environmental efforts on its site. The Largs & Millport reported that over the last year the park had improved its recycling operation, expanded its energy and water systems, introduced low energy timers for lighting and had also introduced owl, bird and bat boxes. The 150 acre site, with more than 40,000 visitors a year, already holds the David Bellamy Silver Award.
A memorial for John McCallum (5), who died in a tragic road accident in June of last year, is to be erected, the Largs & Millport has reported. The details of the memorial and the fundraising total raised have not yet been released.
The auction was due to be conducted in the last quarter of 2001, or the first quarter of 2002, subject to demand.
At this point there is no mention of what use will be made of the cleared site, which covers 19.4 hectares including 5.7 hectares of reclaimed land. The total Wemyss Castle site is also about 20 hectares, which was enough for 140 houses at a low density 4 per acre/7 per hectare. It should also be realised that the selling of the equipment does not mean the immediate demolition of the site. It is unlikely that this will commence until planning zoning for redevelopment has been agreed, as this is where the money will come from to fund what will be a very costly demolition job.
A recent poll on wemyssbay.net showed that only 8% favoured a new housing development, 14% would like to see leisure and sporting facilities, while over 50% favoured a return to nature with parks, trees and walks. This last option is unlikely however given the likely demolition costs.
The full announcement on the Business Auctions Network web site can be read at:
The Wemyss Bay Community Council has been active recently in ensuring that the future of the power station be addressed in the new Inverclyde Local Plan.
The proposed cybercafe extension to the community centre, which the community association have been persuing, looks to be dead. The bond insurers (de Montfort Ins.) insist that the guaranteed money be used as specified for outdoor play area upgrades.
In May of last year we reported on a boy who had been involved in a serious accident with a car on the A78. We are now happy to report that after 7 months the 11 year old boy is doing much better and recovering well. After the accident, the boy was unconscious for 8 days and spent 14 weeks in hospital because of his injuries, which included two broken legs. He hopes now to start high school at the beginning of the new year term, the Greenock Telegraph reported. A surprise party in the community centre was also organised for his family by kind neighbours.
The planned closure of 15 schools in the Inverclyde area has been backed in a council committee vote on the £100 million investment plan, the Greenock Telegraph has reported. Under the plan, 15 schools would close, 28 schools would be refurbished and 6 new primary schools would be built, one of which would be in the Wemyss Bay/Inverkip area. The Liberal Democrats have opposed the plan with Bob Campbell speaking out against it. If the proposal proceeds as suggested, the new and refurbished schools would be ready in 5 to 6 years time.
Read the full press release from Inverclyde Council:
£100m PPP investment proposed for Inverclyde’s schools
A group of 4 local dads are about to launch a new football coaching initiative for youngsters to enable them to develop and enhance their football skills. One of the organisers, Iain Buchan, wrote to wemyssbay.net to tell us about the scheme.
"With the backing of the Inverclyde Sports' council and Wemyss Bay Community Council we are setting up a football development scheme for children between the age of 5 and 8 years."
"The training sessions will take place in the Wemyss Bay Community Centre on Sundays between 1pm and 4pm starting on the 13th of January 2002."
"If your child is interested in developing their football skills, and lives in the Inverkip, Wemyss Bay or Skelmorlie areas, then please come along to our registration day in the Wemyss Bay Community Centre on Sunday, December 9th between 1pm and 3pm, where you can meet the people involved and discuss our aims and objectives."
"This scheme has been devised to meet the needs of the younger generation in the community and already has the backing of many parents. We intend to run 2 sessions on the day and numbers will be limited to 24 per session, places will be allocated on a first come basis, with a reserve list if numbers exceed our expectations."
"If for any reason you cannot attend the registration day then please telephone 521846, although priority will be given to those who register in person. WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU!"
Following another crash on Sunday at the junction where Gourock's Cloch Road meets the A78, which left a girl seriously injured, the Greenock Telegraph has reported that a roundabout is to be built at long last to solve the problems on a road where numerous accidents have occurred over the years. When there was an accident at this blackspot 10 months ago, wemyssbay.net made the suggestion that it was time for change and for a roundabout to be built. Following many accidents it seems that the Scottish Executive finally agrees.
The annual switch on of the Christmas Tree lights will be on Friday, 30th November at 7.15pm and will be carried out by councillor Robert Campbell. Let's hope that this year the vandals leave the tree, and the lights, in peace! There will also be a Christmas Fair on Saturday.
A leak at Inverkip caused 3000 people to have their water supply cut off, the Greenock Telegraph reported on Friday. Supplies were restored to most folk in the three local villages by 5am.
Since the Wemyss Bay web site launched at the start of this year, there have been three polls running to gauge public opinion on matters relating to the village. These polls have now closed and you can see the results on the Online Polls page.
By Finlay McFee
Why Does it Matter?
The Local Plan adopted and in force provides the framework for Council planning policy, and designates areas as residential or suitable for development of various types, or greenbelt. This is often referred to as zoning. As such it has the effect of defining the scope of possible planning applications by would be developers and existing residents and businesses alike. It also addresses other key issues such as transport infrastructure improvements required or desired.
How you can get involved:
Your Community Council last year wrote to the head of Inverclyde Council Planning Service requesting that the long awaited revised Local Plan explicitly address the question of Inverkip Power Station, as we did not believe that it would have been appropriate to continue the pretence that it was ever likely to actually be brought back into use. Technically at present the power station site and surrounding wood are zoned as greenbelt.
It became apparent in discussions with this official that how the power station was treated in the revised local plan would likely have a bearing on the future change of use of this site. It also became apparent that the only realistic way to achieve its removal was by designating this site for development of some sort, as the current owner Scottish Power was under no obligation to restore the site to a state of nature, so profit from the site's redevelopment was required to make it financially viable to pay for the very costly job of removing the chimney, tanks and pier, as well as the generator hall itself.
There have since been official discussions within the Council's Economic Development Committee, which were commented upon by our ward Councillor, Bob Campbell, in last month's edition of the WB News, and which were also published in the Inverkip newsletter.
The power station junction with the A78 is assuming key significance as the sole trunk road access point for the ongoing large scale housing developments behind Inverkip, and indeed the Community Council has lobbied (unsuccessfully) in the past for the most recent Brueacre residential development to have its own A78 access into this junction.
What is Likely to Happen and Why?
The Council is struggling to keep the total population high enough for Inverclyde to remain viable as a separate local authority. Most of the newcomers to Wemyss Bay and Inverkip are people who have moved from Greenock and Port Glasgow, both of which are suffering significant population decline. Almost all of you would agree that local needs would be better served if Inverclyde remained, rather than being reduced to an outpost of Paisley.
It is a basic fact of life that most of the development within Inverclyde is taking place at either end, the so called "doughnut" effect, whereby the three burghs (or at least two of them) are losing population which is migrating to the greener edges. The net effect is an overall population decline, masked by growth at the edges but with greater decline in the middle. (Doughnuts are hollow!)
All of you will accordingly understand how critical the new Local Plan will be for the future of Wemyss Bay, Inverkip, and Inverclyde as a whole, and the fundamental pressure on the Council to encourage as much development as possible. It is accordingly to be expected that more greenbelt will be rezoned for development, with particular emphasis on Inverkip power station and the surrounding woods.
Indications are that the Council's Economic Development Committee favours mixed residential, retail and business development for the power station site and there is also talk of a secondary school "campus" with both religious and non-denominational elements. Development on such a scale has significant implications for traffic flows, particularly northbound up the A78 in morning rush hour.
What Should We/Can We Do About It?
The community has a legal right to be consulted. Indeed the Council in the past couple of years laid on Local Plan roadshows, we had one in the community centre, in order to get some public interest.
Unfortunately the draft Local Plan at that time did not address the question of the power station site at all, whereas in fact that is the determining issue for the future of the area.
The Community Council is pleased that the question of the power station is now on the agenda, as it would have been a nonsense to plan for the future on the basis of the fiction that it was, and was going to remain, operational.
What we need now is a public debate conducted in both Wemyss Bay and Inverkip to establish the views of the inhabitants on zoning and development in general, and the fate of the power station site in particular.
Bear in mind that the ideal option, proper restoration of what is legally greenbelt to a state of nature, is not available. The choice is between the status quo, whereby the power station site continues to moulder but the threat of it being brought back into service one day remains, or planned mixed development of the site, possibly including shopping, offices and a secondary school, as well as residential housing. The devil is in the detail, which is why proper public focus now is so important.
For the new Local Plan to come into force it has to be laid in its final form before the public for six weeks, and if there are any objections, there has to be a Local Planning Inquiry, or LPI, run by an independent official from the Scottish Executive, known as the Reporter. LPIs have been known to run for years before arriving at a final decision. Local Plans once adopted tend to remain in force for a decade or more.
There is a designated official of the Inverclyde Planning Service, responsible for the Local Plan, whom we hear is delighted to attend public meetings, provide presentations and plans etc. The Community Council will organise a public meeting between now and Christmas in the hope of provoking an informed public debate and ensuring that if a consensus view emerges on the big local issues that it duly gets incorporated into the new Local Plan.
We will also organise the web site wemyssbay.net to record a sample opinion poll on development of the power station site, and to provide an open forum for residents to post their own views and share them with the community. As far as practical we will publish people's written views on the community centre notice board, in the WB News and possibly in the Spar shop as well. Please write to Jenny McGee.
It is likely that once the cat is out the bag, there will be extended public debate, and indeed that a Local Planning Inquiry to settle opposed views will be necessary. Please think about it, get informed and get involved. This will be a bit of a long slog, but at the end of it, we hope a proper vision for our future based on the wishes of the majority will be incorporated in the Plan.
Finlay McFee, on behalf of Wemyss Bay Community Council.
Rachel from Wemyss Bay received a special surprise when she went to the Waterfront Leisure centre in Greenock recently for her first swimming lesson. She was the 1,000,000th customer to go swimming in the pool since the centre opened four years ago. Rachel was presented with a year's pass and an inscribed crystal trophy to mark this event, as reported in the Largs and Millport.
HAD Coaches of Shotts have been awarded the contract for the Greenock to Wemyss Bay and Upper Skelmorlie subsidised bus route. The Greenock Telegraph reported that Strathclyde Passenger Transport had agreed a deal for the service which is for evening journeys from Monday to Saturday. The contract is until the 14th July, 2002.
CalMac Ferries are hoping to be able to announce shortly that they have been given the go-ahead for two new ferries, with more room for cars, for the Wemyss Bay to Rothesay route.
One of the CalMac ferries at the Wemyss Bay pier
The Greenock Telegraph reported that the company are currently in the process of resubmitting their proposal to the Scottish Executive for funding, and would like to have two new ferries each capable of carrying 62 cars. At the moment three of the four ferries that service this route carry 40 cars each, while Pioneer carries 33. A spokesman for CalMac said that it was too early to say when they will get a decision, or what the costs involved will be.
The Greenock Telegraph reported that the BP garage in Wemyss Bay was raided yesterday morning. At around 2.30am, thieves broke in to the garage and made off with a substantial quantity of cigarettes and chocolate. Police are looking to hear from witnesses or anyone who can supply any information on the crime. Call 492500 if you can help.
Following the terrible tragedies in New York, Washington and Pittsburgh, 5 books of condolences have been opened across Inverclyde, the Greenock Telegraph reported.
The events in the US on Tuesday have been described as the worst terrorist attack in history, and millions around the world have been left shocked, saddened and angered by what happened. A 3 minute silence was held yesterday throughout the UK, and a minute's silence was held before hundreds of football games today.
The second hijacked plane moments before disaster
The book of condolence in Wemyss Bay can be found at McLeod's newsagents, while another book has been put at the Inverkip Hotel.
The message board can also be used to leave your messages of sympathy and sorrow.
Gareth Williams made an impressive debut for Scotland under-21s yesterday when he came on as a half time substitute. Scotland drew 0-0 in Belgium with Williams putting in a commanding performance in midfield. His impressive display even led to the manager, Alex Smith, likening him to Graeme Souness, the ex-Liverpool and Rangers midfield legend.
Gareth Williams, a former pupil of Wemyss Bay Primary School, has been called into the Scotland under-21 squad for their game against Belgium tonight. Gareth plays for Nottingham Forest in the English 1st Division.
Used with permission from the Nottingham Forest web site
The new footbridge being built over the A78 as part of the housing development at the Kip Marina is expected to be put in place over the next three weeks. The work will be carried out overnight and during this time traffic will be diverted through Inverkip Main Street. It is anticipated that it will take a couple of nights to complete the job, the Greenock Telegraph reported.
Local designer Rosie Simister, currently studying at Nottingham Trent University, has been given a £1,000 grant from the Audi Foundation for her ergonomically designed chair. Reported in the Largs & Millport, her chair swings within a frame, up to 10 degrees forwards and 25 degrees backwards and can go lower than normal. Rosie is hoping the money will help her to get the chair into production.
Two Wemyss Bay girls celebrated their weddings in Largs at the beginning of August. On the 1st of August, Susan Renton married Adam Wenlock from Northern Ireland. Then on the 10th of August, Vicky Battley walked down the aisle to marry Joe McMillan from Largs.
Both girls have been involved in the community for many years, with Susan a leader at the Bible Club and Vicky with the Guides. They will be sorely missed by friends, family and children in the village as they move away from the area to begin married life.
You may have noticed a major change in the landscape of Undercliff Road over the last two weeks. One of the oldest buildings in Wemyss Bay, at 2 Undercliff Road, was demolished and the land cleared in preparation for a new block of flats.
The main part of the building, originally known as Ferncliff Villa, was approximately 150 years old, and the property as a whole was known as Seaside Heights when it was ran as a Christian Guest House and Conference Centre in the early seventies. Wemyss Bay Baptist Church, from the seventies through to the eighties, and Wemyss Bay Evangelical Church, from 1995, also met in the building.
Look out for more on the history of this fascinating part of Wemyss Bay appearing on the site over the coming weeks and months.
The empty land of Seaside Heights
At the Community Association AGM on Tuesday it was a case of more of the same for the committee. Caroline Anderson was re-elected as chairperson, with Finlay McFee staying on as treasurer and George Anderson continuing as secretary. The committee, newly formed at the EGM in December, have made their mark during this time with the running of the Easter Fun Day and the recent Gala Day.
The date for next year's Gala Day has already been set following the success of this year's event. The date for your diary is Saturday, 15th June, 2002.
AGM - 19th June, 2001
It was 'as you were' for the community association committee after the recent AGM. Caroline Anderson was re-elected as chairperson, with Finlay McFee staying on as treasurer and George Anderson continuing as secretary.
There was a poor turnout but that may have been to do with the heavy rainfall there was that night. Look out for minutes from the Community Association meetings appearing on the web site when the committee resumes after the summer break.
Labour candidate David Cairns was today celebrating his election as MP for Greenock and Inverclyde. It was a familiar site across the country as the Conservative Party failed to make any significant inroads into the massive Labour majority from the 1997 election. Chic Brodie, who suffered a gun wound during the election, took second place with the SNP down to third.
David Cairns - the new MP for Greenock and Inverclyde
This was reflective of a poor night overall for the SNP. They lost the Galloway and Upper Nithsdale seat to give the Conservatives their only seat in Scotland, and they also saw their share of the overall vote go down considerably.
Wemyss Bay and the rest of the country began voting today on who will be asked to form the next government. Lib-Dem councillor Bob Campbell was on duty at the Primary School and commented at lunch time that turnout had been quite low so far. The polling stations close at 10pm.
A policeman on duty at Wemyss Bay Primary School as voting continues
A 5 year old boy suffered fatal injuries after he was involved in a collision with a truck on Monday evening. John McCallum was playing on his bike near his home when it seems that he lost control and collided with the truck. He was rushed to Inverclyde Royal but medical staff were unable to save him, the Evening Times reported. Police are appealing for witnesses. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of John at this time.
Greenock and Inverclyde Liberal Democrat candidate Chic Brodie was injured yesterday in a shooting incident in Greenock. "I heard a whoosh and I felt a pain in my hand," he said. "We all hit the deck and for the first 10 seconds we looked at each other." He was given an x-ray at Inverclyde Royal before being released yesterday, the BBC web site reported.
Wemyss Bay bus operator Dario Sassarini has launched an appeal against the ban that has been imposed on his two bus companies, the Greenock Telegraph has reported. The appeal will take place in Edinburgh but in the meantime, Mr Sassarini is hoping that permission will be granted to allow him to resume running the local routes.
Former Celtic and Partick Thistle goalkeeper Andy Murdoch has agreed to take part in a beat the keeper competition at the Gala Day on 16th June. Do you fancy yourself as the next Henrik Larsson?
[22/6/2001 - Andy unfortunately had to pull out of the Gala Day after injuring his knee ligaments the Wednesday before the event. Local Greenock Juniors' player Stephen Renton stepped in to take the gloves along with the help of a friend. We wish Andy well in his recovery.]
Parents in Wemyss Bay have raised fears against a developer's plans to build an access road linking Mount Stuart Drive to a possible new housing development. The proposed development is for 31 homes on greenbelt land between Mount Stuart Drive and the A78. There are many young children that play in the area and with the new access road possibly being built next to a play park, there is concern that the safety of the children could be at risk. Councillor Bob Campbell has also voiced his opposition to the plan, the Greenock Telegraph reported.
The five candidates who will contest the general election in the Greenock and Inverclyde constituency are David Cairns of Labour, Charles Brodie of the Lib-Dems, Andrew Murie of the SNP, Alistair Haw of the Conservatives and Davy Landels of the Scottish Socialist Party. The current MP, Norman Godman, will not be standing again.
The community association has met to discuss plans for the upcoming Gala Day on Saturday, 16th June. There will be various activities and stalls in the afternoon including a bouncy castle, bouncy slide, a putting contest, hamburgers, face painting, music and much more. In the evening there will be a family ceilidh, with tickets to be sold from the chemist. More
An 11 year old boy was injured yesterday following an accident with a car on the A78 just before the entrance to Wemyss Bay at North Lodge. The incident happened at 3.30pm, the Greenock Telegraph reported, and left the boy with fractures to both legs and an arm. He has been transferred to the intensive care unit at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow where his condition has been described as serious. The road was reduced to one lane and delays lasted until around 7pm.
Tomorrow on Saturday, 28th April, two events will be on at the community centre. First of all the Spring Clean Up day will start at 10am from the community centre, then from 12noon to 3pm the Bravehearts to Beijing fete will be on at the centre. More
Inverclyde was left without mail again today after postal workers staged another unofficial walkout. The Greenock Telegraph reported that the row centres around what workers regard as lenient disciplinery action taken against a Glasgow based manager.
Local girl and Paisley University student Maureen McQuaid, along with Gillian Harvey, Chris Collins and Renzo Cardosei, will shortly be walking along the Great Wall of China to help raise funds for The Scottish Society for Autism.
Report from afterwards:
Paisley University students Maureen McQuaid (of Wemyss Bay), Gillian Harvey, Chris Collins and Renzo Cardosei, along with about 100 other volunteers, walked 100km along the Great Wall of China to help raise funds for The Scottish Society for Autism. They were away from the 23rd of September, returning on the 3rd of October, 2001.
The group were hoping to raise £2,500 each for the charity and their fundraising efforts were very successful. The charity helps Autistic children and gives invaluable support to their families to help them deal with the condition which, as yet, has no cure. Each of those taking part in the walk took a St. Andrew's flag with them to fly proudly on top of this great wonder of the world!
A successful fund rasing fete, with a cake and candy stall, nearly new, books, plants, toys, a tombola, face painting and refreshments was held at the community centre on Saturday, 28th April, with over £1000 being raised! The only thing the team did wrong was to put the children in charge of the tuck shop! Thanks are given to all those who attended and helped to make this such a success.
The unofficial postal strike action, which has left Inverclyde without mail since last Wednesday, was finally called off today as postal workers went back to work.
Inverclyde was left without mail for a second day after postal workers decided to continue their unofficial strike action. The strike could continue into next week unless written promises are given regarding working practices, their spokesman said in the Greenock Telegraph today.
Wemyss Bay, along with the rest of Inverclyde, were left without mail today after postal workers walked out of their Greenock depot, the Greenock Telegraph reported.
Following a dispute with management regarding bullying and working hours, the workers decided that enough was enough and gathered at the gates of their Arthur Street depot, vowing not to return to work until the row had been resolved.
At the Inverclyde and Renfrew Musical Festival, the Guides brought home the Renfrewshire County Committee of the Girl Guides trophy for the first time this year despite stiff opposition from the Guide company who had won it for the past couple of years. In the Scottish Country Dancing class, the girls scored 87 for their performance of The White Cockade, beating the 6th Greenock Guides by just 1 point.
You may have noticed over the last few days that you have been unable to make a lot of calls, or that friends and relatives have been complaining of constant engaged tones.
According to BT, the root of the problem is a cable fault in Largs. The knock on effect has been that a lot of calls have been re-routed through an exchange, therefore causing a lot of network congestion.
The 2nd Wemyss Bay Brownies (coached by Alison Carmichael) retained the Rob Roy Trophy for country dancing at the Inverclyde and Renfrew Musical Festival on Wednesday night.
After yet another crash at the junction where Gourock's Cloch Road meets the A78, is it time to finally build a roundabout to solve this notorious black spot? What do you think? Share your views.
Following the resignation of the long serving chairman and treasurer, leaving just three people on the committee, an EGM was called for Tuesday, 12th December 2000. If new committee members could not have been found to fill the void there was a distinct possibility that the centre would have closed, never to be opened for community use again.
The Community Centre
Thankfully however, the people of Wemyss Bay responded and a new committee of about 12-14 people was elected, and the first meeting of the new committee was duly held straight after the EGM.
The centre may have been saved on this occasion, but this was a clear warning of what could happen should the committee dwindle to such low numbers again. The centre has been a valuable aid to the community for over 11 years and it would be a sad day should it ever be allowed to close. If you would like to get involved then come along to one of the committee meetings and find out what you can do to help. If you would like to know more details then e-mail me or ask your questions on the message board.
Thanks must be given to Liz and Gordon Roders for all their help over the years in keeping the centre going, especially Liz who, among other duties, cleaned the place, answered alarm call-outs, organised lets, and much more.
The new committee will usually meet on the first or second Wednesday of every month at 7.30pm in the committee room of the centre. This could change however and so you are best to watch this space or look in the village news to find out details of the meetings.
The annual Christmas tree lights switch-on took place on Friday, 1st December at 7pm. Children sang and Santa appeared to bring some festive cheer to the village.
Sadly however, the tree didn't always shine as brightly as it did that first December evening. Bulbs disappeared and were smashed, leaving only the top part of the tree with light. It's a poor reflection on our community when not even the Christmas tree can be left in peace!