Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Annual General Meeting held on

Monday 22nd June 2015 at 8.00pm

in Blairbeg Hall, Drumnadrochit

1. Present: Pam Lucas (Chairman), Fiona Urquhart (Planning Secretary), Peter MacDonald (Treasurer), David Fraser (Vice Chairman), Ken Fraser, John Duncan, Dominic Thierry, Sandra Bardwell and Val Cooper (Secretary)

Also present: Councillor Margaret Davidson, Ann Fraser, Glen Urquhart Rural Community Association, and 4 members of the public.  

Apologies: Councillor Hamish Wood, and Dick Beach.

2. Chairman’s Report – Pam Lucas

The main objective of any community council is to ascertain, co-ordinate and reflect the views of the community which it represents, to liaise with other community groups and to give members of the community a means of voicing their opinions to The Highland Council and other agencies. Members of GUCC have worked hard to meet this remit over a range of topics.

Extensive discussions took place with The Highland Council with regard to the new Inner Moray Firth Development Plan. Several public exhibitions were mounted and feedback informed the CC responses. The Development Plan has just been adopted by The Highland Council.

There are several major construction projects at various stages. Again there have been public exhibitions and questionnaires. Loch Ness Homes Ltd. has now been given permission in principle to proceed with this mixed commercial and residential development. Further consultations will take place when the full planning application is submitted.

As can be seen from the A82, the new Drumnadrochit Medical Centre is at last taking shape. This follows many years of lobbying and several disappointments. The CC, along with the Patient Participation Group and the Drumnadrochit Medical Practice have been at the forefront of the project which is intended to widen the range and quality of medical services available within the community. It is anticipated that the new premises will be providing core services by October 2015 with the possible additions of pharmacy and dental facilities in the near future.

The Drumnadrochit Care Centre has maintained its place as a leader in the provision of innovative day care and care within people’s own homes. Representatives of the CC have joined with board members and other stake holders to work towards the target of building and managing amenity housing on land adjacent to the Centre. A feasibility consultation is ongoing co-ordinated by the Care Centre.

Road safety is a major issue for our community. There is frequent communication with The Highland Council Roads Department with regard to roads within Drumnadrochit and the rural roads up the Glen. The poor condition and lack of maintenance of the A82 Trunk Road is a major cause for concern and matters are constantly being brought to the attention of Transport Scotland. There is discussion between the CC, BEAR Scotland and Transport Scotland with regard to extending the 30 mph speed limit from The Drumnadrochit Hotel to Borlum Bridge to coincide with the opening of the new Medical Centre. Talks are continuing with Transport Scotland, Forest Enterprise and adjacent community councils to find more common sense ways of reducing road closures and managing traffic delays caused by forthcoming necessary forestry work along the length of the A82 in our ward. The A82 has a vital economic role and it is essential that it is fit for purpose and that the needs of local residents are recognized.

In the past, liaison with the police had been variable. A positive outcome of the formation of Police Scotland are regular and more meaningful updates on police activities in the area. Each ward is asked to identify its priorities and ours include road safety and alcohol / anti-social behaviour. Currently policing is delivered to this area from Beauly and Sergeant Craig Stuart ensures a report is available for each meeting, and when possible, an officer attends.

Over the years the CC has raised the issue of flood management in connection with land use in the catchment areas of the rivers Coilty and Enrick. Flooding of the River Enrick has become more frequent over the last few years. In 2015 the A831 was impassable for several days in the Kilmichael area. Meetings have taken place with The Highland Council Floods Department where the threat to the safety of homes and people have been stressed along with the economic impact of repeated flooding. As a result of lobbying, our area has been included in the recently published Highland Council Flood Management Strategy. The CC will continue to engage to ensure that this focus is not lost and that effective measures are put in place that will manage flood risk along the Enrick and within Drumnadrochit.

Renewable energy is a growing topic of discussion within the Highlands. Currently in our area we are awaiting determination of an application to construct a wind farm at Beinn Mhor, Tomich and a planning application is expected shortly for Cnoc an Eas, Kilmartin. A further application for a wind farm at Druim Ba has just entered the system. The CC is involved in these applications as statutory consultees and it is important that members of the community participate in the planning process so that their views, whatever these may be, are accurately reflected by the community council. A number of small hydro schemes are also in various stages of development. Any monies deriving from renewables in the form of community benefit, are administered by the community company, Soirbheas. The CC also has a role in more routine planning applications, however, the majority of applications do not attract any comments.

Members of GUCC welcome communication with the community. Meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month at 8.00pm except for July and December. Venues rotate between Balnain Hall, Blairbeg Hall and the Craigmonie Centre. Meetings are open to the public and there will be Highland wide community council elections in November 2015. GUCC has nine members, anyone registered on the electoral roll is eligible for election, including for the first time people aged 16 and 17 years. Highland Council organizes these elections and will publish notices of the commencement of the process during August.

As chairman I would like to thank the CC members for their support and involvement throughout the year. Accurate records of meetings are vital and I am grateful to our secretary Val Cooper for her expertise in this regard. With sadness we mark the passing of Charles Kennedy who was the MP for our area for a number of years until the boundary changes. On a happier note, we congratulate Glenurquhart Shinty Club on winning the MacTavish Cup, a very significant achievement indeed.

We also value our access to and support from our Highland Councillors and congratulate Councillor Margaret Davidson on becoming Leader of Highland Council and feel sure she will bring her formidable energy to this role.

Pam Lucas – chairman – Glen Urquhart Community Council

June 2015

3. Treasurer’s Report – Peter Macdonald

The audited receipts and payments account, bank reconciliation, and balance sheet for year ended 31 March 2015 were circulated to members.  The closing balance of £1542.51 was approved.  The accounts would now be sent to the Highland Council.  GUCC thanked Peter Macdonald for having again kept such careful accounting throughout the year.

4. Election of Officers for the forthcoming year

Chairman – Pam Lucas (proposed Fiona Urquhart / seconded Dominic Thierry)

Vice Chair – David Fraser (proposed Sandra Bardwell / seconded Dominic Thierry)

Treasurer – Peter Macdonald (proposed Fiona Urquhart / seconded David Fraser)

It was noted that while those re-elected were all willing to continue in their current roles, equally they would also have been content to stand aside had other nominees been received.

5. Any other business

It was confirmed that the 2014 AGM minute had been approved at the routine GUCC meeting following the AGM.

There was no further business and the AGM closed at 8.15pm.