HURRAH! MORE PARKING SPACES
At long last there are now 8 more parking spaces at Hall Park, hopefully this will go someway to help alleviate parking issues at the Williamson Hall and Hall Park.
Inconsiderate parking on Main Street continues to be a problem. Please think before you park.
Perth High School.
After listening to the concerns of Abernethy parents and a “Satisfactory” inspection report from Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education (HMiE) in February, I recently went to see the Perth High School Head Teacher, Mrs Pupillo. It was slightly intimidating as my last visit to the Headmaster’s Study, more than 40 years ago, did not go well. However, I was impressed by what I saw at the school.
Following the inspection report, the school has put together a detailed improvement plan around pupil attainment and behaviour as part of a 2020 Vision Project. There is a very strong emphasis on the importance of building excellent relationships in the school. Positive behaviours are promoted and staff and pupils have a clear stepped approach to inappropriate behaviour. The new school motto is “Achievement, Respect, Equality”. At the time of HMie’s visit, there were 18 new teachers out of 110 and many of them were still settling in. Crucially, there are now no vacancies for permanent staff at the school and supply teachers are only used to cover sickness absence and school trips. This is important for continuity of education for the young people at the school.
While the school has had some negative press stories over the last couple of years, there has been far more good news than bad news. The school has developed strong connections with local employers, which has resulted in great work experiences. There have been fantastic school trips to places like Auchswitz, South Africa and NASA in Texas. The list of good things happening goes on and on.
Mrs Pupillo took me on a tour of the whole school and what impressed me was the quietness in the corridors. Pupils were hard at work and focussed on their learning. When we went to the senior “Dinies” during break, the whole operation was managed by prefects, not teachers. Concerns around cleanliness in the toilets have been addressed by employing more cleaners and regular checking. She was very keen to emphasise that when parents have issues they can come direct to her, either by coming along to regular drop in sessions or through phone or email.
Although the building itself feels very run down and tired, a brand new £50 million Perth High School is planned to open in 2023 and it was a pleasure to look at the first architects drawings of the new building.
So, having been to meet Mrs Pupillo, I feel much more assured that there is a much brighter future for PHS and the children who attend. Again, I would stress that Mrs Pupillo is very keen to hear from all parents, especially where there are concerns.
One of most common issues presented to all councillors is the challenge of dealing with dog mess. For me, there is a spectrum of poo crime. At the top end not picking up after your dog in or near a children’s play park is literally criminal behaviour. It’s so important for parents to be able to let their children play in the park without the fear of them coming home smeared with the horrible stuff. At the other end of the spectrum are dog owners who, on seeing their dog do their business off the path in the woods, simply take a stick and bury it in the leaves. This is actually environmentally friendly, because it reduces the need for plastic bags and saves the council having to put more waste into landfill. All these offences can attract an £80 fixed penalty notice from dog (and traffic) wardens.
In Abernethy, over the last couple of years we have seen a significant reduction in dog fouling. Parents used to have guide their children round the various piles of dog poo on Main Street and the lane that goes from the Bowling Club up to Main Street was a complete no-go zone.
As a community, we’ve done three things to achieve this. Firstly, we’ve educated dog owners that not cleaning up dog mess is very anti-social. It’s horrible to clean off your shoes and can lead to very nasty infections. We’ve done that by talking to our neighbours and posting on Facebook. Secondly, we applauded the vast majority of dog owners who do follow the law and especially the super citizen owners who pick up other owners’ mess. A couple of dog owners and myself have made a significant difference to the park behind the Williamson Hall this year and it’s been great to watch the kids play there safely over the summer. Thirdly, we’ve given accurate information on who, when, where this offence is taking place to the dog wardens, either online through MyPKC, or phoning 01738 475000.
Now we are coming into the winter months when the incidence of dog fouling normally increases. I’ve seen (and picked up) 2 piles recently. So I would urge dog owners to love our community as much as you love your dogs and carry a torch in winter when you’re out at night, so you can find the horrible messes.
Has the world gone Politically Correct Mad?
On Halloween, a resident, who lives in a certain house in Kirk Wynd, was forced against his will to abandon some long established traditions. The centuries old tradition of threatening Guisers with a chain saw was ended, probably for ever. Not only that, but the Neolithic Pagan ceremony of presenting teeth rotting Haribo sweets, was replaced by giving away pieces of fruit. What’s next for namby-pamby do-gooders to spoil now? Still, 38 Guisers appeared at the door and the few that survived seemed to enjoy themselves.
If you have any concerns that you think I can help with then my email address is Dillingworth@pkc.gov.uk or you can call me directly on 01738 475032 or 07767 006275
Councillor David Illingworth.
FRAE OOR COONCILLOR
Firstly I would like to congratulate Councillor Kathleen Baird on her election to the position of Depute Provost, regardless of politics, Councillor Baird has worked hard as a ward Councillor and it is good for one to get recognition for her hard work.
Summer, what we have had of it, has gone and we are now almost into the dark winter nights. The time has come to keep an eye on those that are elderly and vulnerable, as neighbours we need to ensure that they are kept safe throughout the winter weather. Hopefully we will have a mild winter with only a small amount of snow on Christmas morning.
We have had to look ahead to 2020 and a council budget in February who knows how that will go with the uncertainty, that the changes that Brexit will come. Many people reading this will wonder why I say this. Be under no illusions if we have an increase in unemployment, Universal Credit with its 5 weeks wait before the first payment, will force more people into rent arrears. Many, if older will have a great challenge to find work, meaning they will manage to clear rent arrears off. This will mean less funding for other services in the council area will be impacted. This will be very challenging, for the Budget Review Groups in the Council.
One recent council decision, that will protect jobs within Perthshire, was the decision to not proceed with the Central Production Unit. If this scheme had gone ahead it would have allowed Tayside Contracts to have centralised all, preparing and cooking of school meals, in Dundee. The impact to rural Perthshire would have been the loss of over 50 positions held Tayside Contract employees. The SNP group with support from amongst the Independents voted this plan down as there was little financial benefits to offset the redundancies of this plans. The SNP group put up an amendment, to look at the offering of school meals, to find out why the take up of school meals remains lower than we would like to have.
We also requested that officers find ways to cut out the amount of waste that is so high in our school meals offering.
Locally, we are proceeding with rolling out our cycle and walking paths with the improvement of path at Aberargie to the junction with the A912. Also the installation of a V.A.R. signs in the same area, to ensure that traffic are aware if they are exceeding the 40 mph limit.
Speeding on the A913 throughout Aberargie and Abernethy is still being noted by the public. This is a danger, and unacceptable in our settlements and villages. If we cannot control it by the methods we currently use, then alternative methods will be considered, that will not be to the benefit of the community.
By the time this letter is published we will be in the throes on a Westminster election that will be undertaken in December. Not a great time for getting to and from the polling station. So if you have not already applied for a postal vote this may definitely be the time to consider applying for one. The electoral office is very good at getting people on the postal register.
The biggest issue that I have had to deal with since becoming a councillor has been the closure of Bridge of Earn GP practice. NHS primary care are being severely criticised for the lack of consultation and transparency during the closure. The lack of information and consultation prior to the closure has attracted scrutiny from the highest
Although financially the prospect of a GP led medical centre in the Lower Earn is a remote prospect in the near future. I would hope that one of the neighbouring practices would revisit the prospect of a GP sub practice in the area. I will with colleagues pursue this at the highest level to find a suitable resolution. I am also in discussion with officers to find out, if we have a solution to make the travel, of patients to their new practices, a far better experience.
I shall finish by wishing you all the best for the festive season and stay safe and have “ A guid New Year”
Cooncillor Henry Anderson