Vickram Mirchandani, Director of Coronation Power, has published replies to questions and concerns raised at the recent public meeting about his company's plans for a 50MW battery array at Coupar Angus sub-station.
Here (below) are some photos from today's exhibition of projects asking you to vote for them so they can get a share of £20,000 from Perth and Kinross Council.
Shona and Ellie Turnbull attended on behalf of the Restart Group, which needs money to pay for a heated cabinet for a defibrillator and for maintenance including special pads for children. In the long term they would like 3 publicly accessible defibrillators around the town - one in the town centre, one at Larghan and one in the northern part of the town. The group is working with the local fire service which does CPR training in the local primary school.
John Hodgson, Mags Jarvie and Charlie Munroe attended for the Crichton Lang Court Residents' Association. John said "We were invited to enter in 2016 by Beautiful Scotland at the suggestion of Jenny Williams of Perth & Kinross Council." Since then the group has won many awards for their work to beautify their shared courtyard with hanging baskets and planters. Children living there have also helped. This year they want to raise funds for planters, hanging baskets and flower for the top balcony. John said "We won the Silver-Gilt prize from Beautiful Scotland last year, and we're going for Gold this year."
Paul Noble attended for Strathmore Men's Shed, which currently has 30 members and operates at 1a High Street, behind the Lime Tree Restaurant. The group's display included a wide range of beautiful craft objects including a chair by David Downie and a painting by David Ferguson. Paul said "As well as a craft workshop, it is also a social place where we can sit and have a bit of banter." The Shed is open on Tuesdays 5.30 to 9.00 and Thursdays 2.00 to 5.30.
The Coupar Angus Illuminators are desperately needing funds for new Christmas Lights. Rianne Thomas said "We need better lights because the ones we have are old and not safe. New lights would help make Christmas special."
And lastly, a selection of exhibitors:
9 days of community events begin on Friday 15th February. Download the full programme here.
Coupar Angus News + Info spoke today with Vickram Mirchandani of Coronation Power regarding the lack of information at a recent information event.
The public information event, held at Coupar Angus Town Hall on 31st Jan, was supposed to give the public the opportunity to find out details of the 50mw battery that would be sited beside the substation off Pleasance Road.
One local person who attended the event told us "They didn't know anything. It was pathetic".
Mr Mirchandani responded that Arcus Consultancy were the designers of the project, so their staff should have been able to provide the required information. He added "We are a good company and we care. If people want more information they can contact me directly by email and I will reply. More details will also be available when we submit the full planning application in March."
Vickram Mirchandani's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Community groups in Coupar Angus and Bendochy want you to vote for them to receive a share of £20,000. To help you decide, an exhibition of entries will be held at Coupar Angus Town Hall on Saturday 16th February from 10am to 2pm.
The short list of 21 projects, described at the foot of this article, had to show they met three requirements:
1. Help alleviate isolation and get people involved
2. Benefit mental and physical wellbeing
3. Increase community groups ie new start ups
Additionally, they should involve young people as much as possible.
From the week beginning 17 February, voting packs will be issued to all households in the Town (and the area covered by Coupar Angus and Bendochy Community Council). Every household will receive a pack. In addition voting packs will be provided to the children from Coupar Angus attending Blairgowrie High, Collace, Kettins, Burrleton and, of course, Coupar Angus Primary Schools.
There will be clear voting instructions, plus information on how to vote if you are housebound. Ballot boxes will be placed in the following locations - large SCOTMID, Bits n' Bobs, High Street Community Store, Town Hall and the Health Centre.
Voting closes on Thursday 7th March at noon after which time the votes will be collected and counted.
It is anticipated that the results will be announced on Tuesday 12 March - all applicants will be notified of the outcome.
We are hoping to hold a Presentation Night on 22 March to present the cheques.
The voting is being done under strict guidelines and will follow the Scottish Voting System - ie votes cast in order of preference 1, 2, 3, 4.
Pam Mulgrew of Coupar Angus Community Choices Fund said today "It will be very interesting for me to see how the voting goes and also if there are any differences in what school pupils vote for compared to adults."
ABOUT THE PROJECTS
NEW AGE KURLERS – Are seeking £1827 to help transport infirm members to the hall, hall hire, equipment and an outing for members at Christmas. The club attracts over 40 people per week (from all backgrounds) of all ages and is ideal for able and disabled people (physically disabled and those with dementia). It allows respite for carers and reduces isolation as well as providing stimulation. It is like curling but is carried out indoors using ball bearings to roll the stones. They would like to run a session where young people could come and play the game as well as help the “older members” with technology.
SENIORS’ OUTINGS – Are seeking £1400 to allow them to hire the Freedom coach and take those people who are normally housebound for outings (14 trips per year). This reduces isolation in a vulnerable group and increases their mental well being. It is a totally inclusive project which means those on limited income can attend. They would like to work as well with local young people which would be a benefit to old and young alike.
BIG SWITCH ON - Are seeking £2000 to run a Christmas Night where the whole town can come together to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. They are looking to fund stage hire, PA system, 3 bands, lighting and an appearance fee for Santa. It is anticipated there would be the involvement of local Primary School children and will be an opportunity to bring families together.
FOOD & GROWING PROJECT - Are seeking £2000 to provide/install two waterless/composting toilets in the Community Garden. This garden is open to all ages and is a popular local place for events and workshops involving all sectors of the community. People often spend a lot of time at the two locations and Toilets would not only benefit them, but would also open up the Gardens for other local groups to host events as well and encourage more people to become involved. Having toilets would also be of benefit to the elderly, very young and less able as they would not have to worry about taking a break. Those working in the garden benefit from being outdoors which increases physical and mental wellbeing.
COUPAR ANGUS YOUTH ACTIVITIES GROUP - Are seeking £1900 to form an Outdoor Education Programme for 10 young people aged 8-14 years. The money will be used to pay staff costs, guide, food, equipment and transport. The Programme will include team building, orienteering, camping trips, woodland education etc. This will aid development and improve social skills, healthy living and practical skills in a number of areas, as well as promoting respect for the environment. Programmes such as this provide psychological benefits such as reducing stress, improving confidence and self esteem.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS – Are seeking £2000 to provide new Christmas lights for the town. The current lights are over 20 years old and it is felt that new public lights for the Festive Season would provide the town with the “feel good factor” and increase community spirit. New lights will benefit all in the town. It is hoped that, subject to funding, this event could be tied in with a switching on event whereby the whole community could be involved. They are seeking to buy two large overhead lights to go across the streets. The lighting is carried out by volunteers and this also gives people a sense of pride in their community.
THURSDAY FRIENDS – Are seeking £1916 to pay for entertainment for the monthly tea parties and also the rent of the Town Hall; as well as an annual May trip and High Tea and Lunch at Christmas. This group attracts many people to its meetings and focuses on the elderly and housebound. Their monthly tea parties allow those normally isolated to enjoy a sing-along. The group is totally inclusive to all as it is free and allows those normally stuck at home to get out; this also allows any concerns re wellbeing etc to be highlighted. Young people are welcome at the group to interact with the older people and to perform songs, dances etc.
RESTART PROJECT – Are seeking £920 to provide and maintain a heated storage cabinet for the AED (Defibrillator) which is situated in the town. Everyone in town will benefit from having an AED as it can take up to 30 minutes for an ambulance to reach Coupar Angus. Ongoing training in CPR and using the AED will ensure as many people in town know how to use it, this includes school pupils. The heated cabinet allows the AED to be stored safely and securely and ready for use.
YARNSTORMERS - Are seeking £700 for the purchase of 4 weaving looms and associated material. This informal group provides companionship to all ages and allows people to learn the skills of fibre craft i.e. knitting, crochet etc. All are welcome and mentoring is free. Sharing skills encourages interaction within the community and a break from the high tech world. Weaving classes will be delivered to all, including school pupils and will be sited in the new Community Hub.
COMMUNITY HUB – Are seeking £1753 for IT equipment for the new Community Hub. Local groups and individuals will use the Hub and this will provide access to IT equipment as well as allowing events and local information to be publicised through the use of said IT. The equipment will be a PC, Laser Printer and Design software. It is felt that the IT equipment can bring young and old together and will also be of use in developing younger peoples’ participation in the Hub.
ABBEY YOUTH GROUPS – Are seeking £1000 to buy protective floor coverings to be used during craft activities and also to provide an outing for local children to an outdoor activity centre. The Groups cater for children from P1 to S1 and are all interactive with activities like storytelling, crafts, games etc which promote companionship and togetherness, reducing isolation. The group is all inclusive with all backgrounds welcome.
GROWING & GARDENING GROUP – Are seeking £1990 for a mobile Pizza Business. This will see the purchase of two pizza ovens as well as associated equipment, a pizza herb garden and training in pizza dough making. This new Social Enterprise will benefit all in the Community and will be a facility which can be hired out to local community groups. The money raised from this will go back into the project allowing for free pizza events to be held which will allow them to be inclusive. The herb garden will also involve local children. This project is designed to benefit all in the community and to be used by everyone regardless of background, finances etc. It will provide training for people as well and promote a sense of pride in the Community.
COUPAR ANGUS AMATEUR FOOTBALL CLUB – Are seeking £2000 for the purchase of training kit, weekly and annual running costs (including training), laundry, referee, lining of pitch and also equipment. The Club have joined the U-19 league this season for the first time and have a squad of 23 players. They welcome new faces (playing or supporting) and enjoy a high level of support from the Town. Sport provides excellent physical and mental benefits and the Club is a way to meet new people and participate in social events i.e. quiz nights etc. They would like to have taster sessions for all ages and abilities and encourage people to get involved with them.
STRATHMORE MENS’ SHED – Are seeking £1996 to provide tools and computer equipment. The Shed (which also welcomes women) promotes social interaction within the community supporting those from all walks of life and abilities. They promote men’s health and combat loneliness and provide a sense of purpose. They are encouraging men of all ages to attend and interact with their peers. They hold family participation events i.e. BBQ’s, quiz nights etc and are totally inclusive welcoming those who may suffer financial hardship. They want a band saw, desktop computer, cordless drill and sander.
CYCLING HUB – Are seeking £2000 to fund the free Cycling Festival in June 2019. This highly popular event attracts people of all ages and is in its 6th year. The Festival inspires people to get active and shows stunt teams, electric bikes, free bike repairs and a mountain bike race. It allows people to volunteer and gain work experience as well as showcasing projects that they can get involved in i.e. marshalling, cycle leaders, mechanics etc. Due to being free the Festival is all inclusive and allows everyone the chance to try a new hobby. Cycling promotes a sense of well being.
COUPAR ANGUS PIPE BAND – Are seeking £2000 to purchase new equipment to allow pupils to participate in a structured tutoring programme to develop skills enabling them to play in the band. The project is primarily focussed at Primary age children. It is totally inclusive and at present has 16 children looking to learn. This programme will allow children to gain a new skill and increase their confidence. It is hoped that this programme will ultimately lead to the formation of a Juvenile Pipe band for the town.
CRICHTON LANG COURT RESIDENTS – Are seeking £288 to fund plants, planters, paint, hanging baskets, compost and wall brackets for their courtyard. This Group has previously won awards for their lovely garden and the Courtyard provides a place for residents to meet and they have held BBQ’s there and children visiting can play on the Astroturf. The garden reduces isolation and increases the health of those residents who participate (including growing your own vegetables) and involves young people through seed planting. Primary School children visit to collect peas and strawberries and are encouraged to take part in gardening projects.
HEALTH & FITNESS GROUP - Are seeking £500 for buy hula-hoops, weights, bands etc. for their weekly exercise class which takes place in the Town Hall. The class has a strong group of local people who provide a class whereby social interaction and new friendships are encouraged. As well as keeping fit they encourage members of all ages and abilities. Tutoring is provided in the class and they welcome people of all abilities as it can be adapted to suit all levels.
COUPAR ANGUS NURSERY SCHOOL – Are seeking £500 for the purchase of new, high quality toys (playhouse, sand and water table, activity gym and items for role play). The Nursery is open to children from ages 2-5 and of all social backgrounds. The toys allow for education in a stimulating place allowing the children to develop their imaginations. The Nursery allows children to mix with others and build friendships.
PRIDE OF PLACE – Are seeking £1940 for a public art project at the skate park. The money will be used to pay for an Art/Youth Worker and for materials plus a skate jam to re-launch the Park. The skate park has been popular with children and young people but has suffered neglect recently. This money will be used to breathe new life and will encourage it to be used to its maximum again. It will promote intergenerational activity and allow young people to build stronger relationships with groups in the town. Hopefully more families will be encouraged to use the skate park.
COUPAR ANGUS TODDLER GROUP – Are seeking £1300 to allow the Group to run for the next six months. The Group caters for children from birth to school age. It is a welcoming place for children and their carers (parents, grand-parents, aunts, cousins, childminders etc). In the holidays older siblings are encouraged to join in the fun. The group promotes companionship among carers as well as allowing the children to participate in fun, messy activities they may not get to do at home. They visit Balhousie Care Home where the residents are always pleased to see them, as well as having trips to see Santa and celebrate the different holidays throughout the year. The Group is completely inclusional.
On 31st January Coronation Power hosted an exhibition at the Town Hall about their proposal to build a 50MW battery storage system beside Coupar Angus electricity substation. Chairman of the Community Council Wendy McCombes subsequently criticised the event in an article in The Courier on 8th February (click here to see the article). A summary of the proposal is contained in the company's Planning Application Notice, which is available to view on the Perth & Kinross Council Planning Portal. The company plans to submit a full planning application with additional information in March.
Today we questioned Vickram Mirchandani, director of Coronation Power, over the criticism from the Community Council. Our questions and his replies are shown below. You can comment using the comment box at the foot of the page.
Question: In the article, the Chairman of the Community Council Wendy McCombes says the company that hosted the event, Arcus Consulting, didn't have sufficient knowledge to answer people's concerns such as proximity to the existing substation, lorries passing, landscaping, noise, security, lighting and the batteries themselves. Also there were no new pictures or 3-d images. Do you think there is a case for another consultation?
Answer: I do not believe there Is need for another consultation. The planning application will be submitted and it will provide all the information that necessary for the planning officers to come to a judgement on the acceptability of the issues and to determine the application. Any member of the public who wants information on this project can easily access the planning application and READ it. If they still have unanswered questions, I would be happy for them to write to me and I will respond. This has always been an option for them.
Question: If you decide to hold a second consultation, will you hold it in a venue with better access (some people couldn't make it up the stairs)?
Answer: We are not planning to hold a second consultation. The venue we selected for the first exhibition was deemed the most appropriate for the site in question.
Question: Mrs McCombes is quoted as saying that the town has struggled against industrialisation for decades and that local organisations have being trying to make the town look less industrial. Is this a fair comment?
Answer: Wendy is entitled to her own opinion. I had a colleague attend the exhibition incognito, talk to the local residents, and the feedback was that most people are in favour of the project.
Question: Mrs McCombes says that all but one of the feedback forms said people were unhappy with the proposals. What will Coronation Power do now to reassure people that its proposals won't be detrimental to Coupar Angus?
Answer: This is not the information that I received. On the contrary, my feedback is that most people were curious, came to learn more, and ended up satisfied.
Vickram Mirchandani can be contacted at email@example.com
The Courier, Friday 8th February 2019
A community in eastern Perthshire has had questions over an industrial development left unanswered after a public consultation.
A meeting was held to provide information on Coronation Power’s plans to build a battery storage unit on the edge of Coupar Angus.
Blueprints were submitted to Perth and Kinross Council for 15 batteries to store excess energy from the national grid via an adjacent SSE substation more than 100 metres away.
Two representatives from Arcus Consulting, representing the energy firm, attended Coupar Angus Town Hall where 54 members of the public grilled them on technical queries relating to the development.
However, it is understood others had hoped to attend but were unable to do so due to unsuitable wheelchair access at the venue.
Coupar Angus and Bendochy community council chair Wendy McCombes attended said the London firm’s representatives stumbled at almost every question.
She said: “We had been reassured that all of our questions would be answered, but the consultation was hugely disappointing.
“It was embarrassingly disappointing for Coronation Power. The visual materials they had brought were just what had been submitted with a few maps.
“There were no 3D images or any indication of what the outside might look like. There were no diagrams to show what the access and landscaping will look like either.”
Coronation Power did not send any direct representatives, something which has angered the local community.
Wendy added: “Industrialisation is an issue that Coupar Angus has struggled against for decades, and there are a number of great organisations doing their damnedest to make the town look less industrial.
“They’d be gutted if this was approved as it would be visible from most of the town and road in.”
Fears over access, proximity to the existing substation, lorries passing, landscaping, noise, security, lighting and the batteries themselves went unanswered, and Wendy is now asking for a second consultation before PKC take the case any further.
“Coronation Power cannot say that the consultation was a success. All but one of the feedback forms, which they ran out of, showed that people were unhappy with the proposals.
“We’d like another consultation, this time with Coronation Power, in a venue that everyone can access and with a bit more preparation.”
The Courier contacted Coronation Power’s managing director Vickram Mirchandani but he was unavailable for comment.
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