Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Meeting held on

Monday 25th January 2016 at 8.00pm

Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

1.   Present: Pam Lucas, Peter MacDonald, Ken Fraser, John Duncan, Stuart Ross, David Fraser, Cllrs Margaret Davidson and Jean Davies, Dan Luscombe, Margaret Luscombe, Cliff Green & Donna Green, STAG,  Constable Aros Matheson, Police Scotland,  Malcolm Sutherland and Morag Fraser, Caledonian Concepts, Ann Fraser, GURCA, Carolyn Wilson, Blairbeg Hall Committee & First Responders, and Val Cooper (Minutes Secretary).

Apologies: Fiona Urquhart and Cllr Hamish Wood.

Councillor Jean Davies was welcomed to her first meeting of GUCC.

2.    Minutes of the last meeting

The minute of the meeting held on 2rd November were adopted as a correct record (Peter MacDonald/John Duncan)

3.    Matters arising from minutes

There were no matters arising which would not be covered by the agenda.

Community Emergency Plan – Carolyn Wilson advised that a letter had been formulated on behalf of GURCA and GUCC inviting representatives from emergency services and local groups to attend a consultation meeting to discuss the format and detail of the proposed community emergency plan.  GUCC approved that this letter be issued on their behalf.

Call for First Responders – Carolyn Wilson informed members that the local First Responders team had recently lost a number of volunteers due to retirement and relocation, and were actively seeking new members of the community to join the current team. Training dates for new recruits were being set up and individuals from the local area were invited to consider this opportunity.

4.   Treasurer’s Report

Peter MacDonald advised that payments had been made for printer supplies, secretary honorarium, hall rent and website administration.  The balance currently stands at £1567.80.

5.   Co-option of New Members

David Fraser had been nominated as a temporary associate member of GUCC but had since indicated his willingness to be nominated as a full community council member.  In addition, Stuart Ross was welcomed to the meeting and had also indicated his willingness to be nominated as a community council member.

David Fraser – nominated by John Duncan, seconded by Peter MacDonald

Stuart Ross – nominated by Ken Fraser, seconded by John Duncan

6.   Policing Update

Constable Aros Matheson was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following report:

Road Safety – As part of Operation Route, 11 fixed penalty tickets were issued for various offences.  There were 5 non injury road traffic collisions and one vehicle seized for no insurance.  There had been an increase in issues of debris on local roads as is expected at this time of year.  

Public Protection – Where possible there have been routine patrols around the village in order to prevent any public order issues.  There have been 2 incidents involving disorder within licensed premises.  There have been 2 vandalisms.  There has been 1 high profile robbery which resulted in the offended being traced and detained.  

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – There was very little trouble over the festive period regarding alcohol related crime.   

Crimes of Dishonesty – One robbery.  There have been ongoing patrols to windfarms in the area.  

Further information was requested relating to the incident in May involving two timber lorries at the Old Smiddy house in Balnain.  Members felt it would be advantageous to know if the suitability of the road for such vehicles had played a part in the accident.  Margaret Davidson advised that she had a meeting scheduled with Forestry Commission Scotland and Highland Council Roads Department to discuss harvesting sites for 2016 and timber transport routes and she would report back if any further information was available relating to the cause of the accident. Action – Margaret Davidson

PC Matheson was thanked for his contribution and attendance at the meeting.

7.   Etape Loch Ness Update on Local Issues

Malcolm Sutherland and Morag Fraser were welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update on the Etape event:

- The 2016 event would be taking place on Sunday 24th April.  Registration would take place on Saturday 23rd April at the event hub next to Eden Court.  

- The event would start at the Bught Park, follow the road around Loch Ness and end at the riverside beside Eden Court.

- The maximum number of competitors for 2016 had been agreed as 4200 (an increase of 900 from 2015), and these places had all been filled quickly.  A higher percentage of entries had been received from outside the Highlands and Islands, and from outside Scotland, than in previous years.

- The same route as the previous 2 years would be used, with the key differences being a start time 5 minutes earlier, and a full road closure for the final section from Dores to Inverness.  Despite the increase in entries all sections of road closure would re-open at the same time as in the 2015 event.

- The event organisers would be working with local agencies and tourist groups to ensure local access is accommodated as much as possible.  Any individuals or organisations making key trips and requiring access during the time of the event are advised to let the organisers know as early as possible so these can be accommodated in the event planning.

- The event would welcome volunteers from local groups to act as event marshals again in 2016.  Each marshal would receive a payment to their group / charity of choice.

- It was anticipated that the increased participant numbers would result in more economic benefit for the local area, and the organisers were working with groups to achieve that.  Visit Inverness and Loch Ness was a key contact and would be promoting the event strongly.  

- The organisers would be communicating with local residents and businesses as much as possible through the local media and social media, there would also be a mail drop to 31,000 homes.  In addition the organisers would be liaising with local groups and community councils.

- Advance signage would be situated on routes out with the Loch Ness area advising of the event but that the local area was not closed for business.

- Any local individuals or groups wishing to set up official “cheering points” should contact the organisers as props and promotional material was available for this.

- Feedback from the 2015 event was very positive and many comments received had mentioned the help from marshals and the encouragement from spectators.

Thanks were passed to Malcolm and Morag for their update.

8.   Website

It was noted that the Glen Urquhart Community Council website was now up and running ( Members agreed that at this stage the site should remain simple, including only Community Council information, approved minutes, agendas, and major planning decision information.  Links to other organisations should not be included and it was also agreed that to include minutes of the Glen Urquhart Rural Community Association could cause confusion.  It was also agreed that none of the members of GUCC required webmaster rights for the site as the administration of the site was not onerous at this stage.  Thanks were passed to Dan Luscombe for all his work in setting up and administering the pages.  Thanks were also passed to Fiona Urquhart for her work in maintaining the local Facebook pages.

9.   Renewable Energy

Bhlaraidh Wind Farm – A liaison meeting was scheduled for February 2016.

Druim Ba – GUCC had submitted a response to the application.  The outcome was being awaited.

Beinn Mhor – Application had been withdrawn.

Cnoc an Eas – The planners will still awaiting an addendum from the developer, once this has been received GUCC will respond.

Response to Local Development Plan

David Fraser advised that he had submitted a response to the Local Development Plan on behalf of GUCC.  The main content of this response related to housing in the countryside, and the conflict between this and the way tree policies are applied.  Local families have been unable to get planning permission for housing in small pieces of woodland and such decisions then force development on agricultural land or flood areas.  A request was made for these two policies to work together in a more pragmatic and practical way.  The second main area related to renewable energy and the large section around Loch Ness where no further industrial scale wind farms would be approved.  Approval could be given to single and smaller wind turbines where appropriate, and it was agreed that this policy was aiming to protect the area around Loch Ness in a realistic way.  It was however important that a definition of “industrial wind turbines” be included in the policy to ensure that this decision is not undermined as the plan evolves over time.  Thanks were passed to David for his time taken to formulate the response on behalf of GUCC.

10.   Flooding

Members discussed the ongoing disruption caused by flooding at Kilmichael, the road was also now being undermined and it was thought that the broadband cabling was also affected.  It was also noted that the works undertaken to alleviate the flooding at the top of Balmacaan had not been effective.  Members were in agreement that these issues had been ongoing for too long and that positive action and a commitment for remedial work in both areas was now needed.  It was agreed to invite Gary Smith, Principal Engineer, Highland Council to a future GUCC meeting.  Action – Pam Lucas

11.   Roads

A82 – Ongoing issues with lying water and potholes.  

A833 – Areas of verge collapsing and narrowing of the road making it very difficult for lorries and larger vehicles to pass each other safely.  It was agreed that GUCC should contact Highland Council Community Services advising of these issues and requesting improvements.  Action – Pam Lucas


12.   Loch Ness Homes / Drumnadrochit Medical Centre / Amenity Housing

Loch Ness Homes – Agreement has been reached between the Care Centre and Loch Ness Homes regarding land value and transfer of land to the Care Centre for amenity housing.  

Loch Ness Homes were yet to progress the 42 actions associated with their development. It was proposed to establish a Community Liaison Group to communicate decisions related to these.

Drumnadrochit Medical Centre – Members were pleased to have attended the official opening of the Health Centre, conducted by David Fraser.  It was agreed that this no longer required to be a standing agenda item.


13.   Planning Applications

15/04699/PNO – Extension to farm track Corrimony Farm, Glenurquhart – noted

15/04712/FUL – Alterations to shop front Ness Deli and Café, Drumnadrochit – noted

15/04401/FUL – Proposed extension Tor-nam-Breac Kennels, Bunloit, Drumnadrochit – noted

15/04161/FUL – Installation of an air source heat pump, Sonas House, Delshangie Farm, Drumnadrochit – noted

15/03995/PIP – Proposed house site land west of Craobhach, Drumnadrochit – letter of objection sent as no provision made for sustainable drainage of surface water or increase in flood risk to Kilmichael area.

15/04610/FUL – Erection of dwelling house land 55m SW of Ridgewood, 1 The Kennels, Balmacaan, Drumnadrochit – noted

16/00136/LBC – Revised proposal for design of WC block 14/02460/LBC St Ninian’s Church, Glen Urquhart – noted

16/00137/FUL – Amended design for WC block 14/02519/FUL St Ninian’s Church, Glen Urquhart – noted

Naming of Loch Ness Inn Flats Development – The developer needed to agree a name so that marketing could proceed. Options were discussed and “Old Brewery Court” and “East Lewiston Court” were suggested and would be passed on to the developer.

14.   Correspondence

- SSE Publication – noted

- iBuild Magazine – noted

- Visit Scotland Winter Closure of Information Centre – noted

12.   Any Other Business

Glen Urquhart Shinty Club New York Visit – Ken Fraser advised that members of the forthcoming shinty visit to New York to take part in Scotland Day.  The visit was being filmed by BBC Alba and it was anticipated that this would cause a lot of interest and tourism for the local area.  Tied to this was the previous request for “Glen Urquhart” signage for the area and members supported the request for an application to the Highland Council Ward Discretionary Fund for this purpose.

Transport Scotland ­– it was noted that following the installation of new street lights through Drumnadrochit village there remained a number of old poles and signposts which required removal.  Action – Margaret Davidson

13.   Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 22nd February in Balnain Hall, Glen Urquhart.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 10pm.