Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Annual General Meeting held on

Monday 25th June 2018 at 8.00pm

in Blairbeg Hall, Drumnadrochit

Followed by routine meeting

Annual General Meeting

1. Present: Pam Lucas (Chairman), Fiona Urquhart (Planning Secretary), Peter MacDonald (Treasurer), David Fraser (Vice Chairman), Stuart Ross, and Val Cooper (Secretary)

Also present: Councillors George Cruickshank and Margaret Davidson, Fraser Mackenzie, Soirbheas, Neil MacInnes, Glenurquhart Care Project, Gordon Watson and 1 member of the public.  

Apologies: Ken Fraser, John Duncan, Frances Colbrun and Councillor Helen Carmichael.

2. Minute of Previous AGM

The minute of the AGM on 26th June 2017 was approved at the routine meeting following the AGM on 28th August 2017.

3.  Chairman’s Report – Pam Lucas

“Community Councils are composed of members of the community elected to ascertain the views of their community on a range of topics and to pass these views, objectively, to Highland Councillors and representatives of other agencies and groups. Our local councillors are central to this chain of communication and we appreciate support and input from Councillors Margaret Davidson and George Cruickshank.

Roads and road safety continues to be a major focus. The 2017 / 2018 winter was not kind to road surfaces and GUCC constantly keeps repairs to verges, potholes and surfacing of the A831 and residential roads on the agenda of The Highland Council (THC) Roads Department.

With regard to the A82 Trunk Road GUCC has worked with Transport Scotland on a number of issues including extending the 30 mph limit from Balmacaan Road to Borlum Bridge, repairs to the base of the Cobb Memorial, resurfacing, pothole repairs and repairs and signage to Drumnadrochit Bridge. We are pleased to report that Transport Scotland has undertaken, or committed to undertake, all of these works.

The Glen Urquhart community played an active role in the development of the current Inner Moray Firth Development Plan. Loch Ness Homes Limited was granted planning permission for a mixed development in Drumnadrochit. As part of this project Albyn Housing is currently erecting houses which should soon be available for allocation by them. A second tranche of houses is going through the final stages of the planning process. Work is also due to commence shortly on a new Scotmid store. GUCC is represented on the liaison group which is working to ensure that the scale and speed of growth adhere to the spirit of the development plan.

Another developer has entered the planning process with a view to a mixed development on a different site within Drumnadrochit. They held a public exhibition, but no application has been lodged as yet. GUCC raised concerns regarding the scale, density, type of building and speed of development and will continue dialogue as the situation becomes clearer.

It is hoped that it will soon to be possible for construction to commence on twelve units of supported housing under the auspices of the Glenurquhart Care Project (GCP). GUCC is a stakeholder in this project and looks forward to it coming to fruition. Recent cuts in funding from National Health Service Highland have resulted in changes in the delivery of home care and there has been an impact on the delivery of day care. GUCC commends the staff of GPC on their loyalty and dedication and wishes to stress its commitment to supporting the staff and management of GCP as it consolidates its future.

GUCC appreciates regular input from Police Scotland and attendance at our meetings by PC Ryan Gill whenever possible. From time to time issues arise and it is reassuring to know that a swift and proportionate police response can be expected.

We welcome the ongoing commitment of THC to the Flood Prevention Scheme in Drumnadrochit. This is an important project which is expected to progress during the coming year.

The decision of the Reporter following the Public Local Inquiry is still awaited regarding the proposed wind farm at Druim Bha.  It is understood that the delay, which has been lengthy, is due to the illness of the Reporter. An announcement is expected shortly.

The renewable energy sector is a significant source of community benefit. Soirbheas now administers regular income from Corrimony and Blaridh wind farms and several mini-hydro schemes.  GUCC and Strathglass Community Council  members meet twice yearly with representatives of Soirbheas for the purpose of encouraging positive dialogue ensuring maximum benefits for the joint communities of Glen Urquhart and Strathglass.

A sub-committee of the GUCC is in the process of gathering funds for the repairs to the wall of the old cemetery at Cnocan Buraidh and we are approximately 75% towards target. At the time of writing, Historic Environment Scotland, (HES), has rejected the funding application and alternative funding sources are being investigated.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 has given all communities an opportunity to acquire assets which fulfil certain criteria. GUCC is represented on a working party investigating the possibilities of achieving asset transfer of the Tourist Information Centre, Drumnadrochit, (from THC), LNH Parklands, Drumnadrochit, (from LNH)  and the Visitor Centre and car park at Urquhart Castle, (from HES). The process in each case will be complicated and lengthy with extensive communication to ensure an outcome which the community supports.

Once again I must thank Val Cooper our minutes secretary as well as office bearers and members. Meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month, except July and December, and are open to the public. Venues rotate between Balnain Hall, Blairbeg Hall and the Craigmonie Centre. Agenda and approved minutes are posted on the website.

Current members are: Frances Colbron, John Duncan, David Fraser (vice chairman), Ken Fraser, Pam Lucas (chairman), Peter MacDonald (treasurer), Stuart Ross and Fiona Urquhart (planning secretary).

Contact points are:

                             glenurquhartcommunity (Facebook)

4. Treasurer’s Report – Peter Macdonald

The audited receipts and payments account for the year end to 31st March 2018 were circulated to members (Bank reconciliation and balance sheet also available from Peter Macdonald if required).  The closing balance of £2,015.50 was approved (with £1k of this in reserve).  The accounts were approved (proposed by Pam Lucas / seconded by David Fraser) and would now be sent to the Highland Council.  GUCC thanked Peter Macdonald for his financial recording throughout the past year.

5. Election of Officers for the forthcoming year

Chairman – Pam Lucas (proposed Fiona Urquhart / seconded unanimously)

Vice Chair – David Fraser (proposed Fiona Urquhart / seconded unanimously)

Treasurer – Peter Macdonald (proposed David Fraser / seconded unanimously)

Acting Secretary – Pam Lucas (unanimous proposal)

Minute Secretary – Val Cooper

Pam Lucas passed on her thanks to all the support received from her fellow community council members.

5. Any other business

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


Routine Meeting

1. Present: Pam Lucas (Chairman), Fiona Urquhart (Planning Secretary), Peter MacDonald (Treasurer), Stuart Ross, David Fraser (Vice Chair) and Val Cooper (Secretary)

Also present: Councillors George Cruickshank and Margaret Davidson, Fraser Mackenzie, Soirbheas, Neil MacInnes, Glenurquhart Care Project, Gordon Watson, GUCA  and 1 member of the public.  

Apologies: Councillor Helen Carmichael, Ken Fraser and John Duncan.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 28th May 2018 were approved as a correct record (Fiona Urquhart / Peter Macdonald)

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 3NHS proposal to move services from rural surgeries to central location in Inverness – GUCC had written to NHS Highland and received an acknowledgement but as yet no response.  Pam Lucas and Fiona Urquhart had met with Kate Forbes MSP, Councillor George Cruickshank and Dr Thom to discuss the issue and it was agreed to await a response from NHS and thereafter hold another meeting to discuss options.  It was noted that other local practices have also circulated questionnaires within their communities and similar feedback had been received to these.  

Item 4 – Cnocan Burraidh restorations - GUCC were extremely disappointed to note that the grant application to HES had been unsuccessful.  David Fraser has requested feedback from HES but had not yet received a response.  David Fraser would now be submitting an application for Lottery heritage grant funding in the hope that the remaining funds required for the restoration could be secured.

Item 6 – Etape Loch Ness 2018 – GUCC had previously agreed that the £1k community donation be made to Glenurquhart Care Project and an acknowledgement of this had been received from Malcolm Sutherland.

Item 7 – Glenurquhart Care Project / Home Care provision – a public meeting had been held on 30th May and this had been well attended, the evening had included good positive presentations, and a lot of interest from members of the community.  GUCC would like to be updated on how these discussions are progressing and offered their assistance where possible.

Item 15 – Forestry signage at Shenval – Pam Lucas had corresponded with Graham Prest, FCS who had been very helpful and will be taking measures to alleviate any future problems.

4. Treasurer’s Report

Peter MacDonald reported that the available balance currently sits at £805.50.  A payment of £50 had been made to Glen Urquhart Heritage Association since the last meeting and a letter of thanks had been received.  

5. Policing Update

No members of Police Scotland were in attendance however the following report had been circulated to GUCC in advance of the meeting:  

Road Safety – 7 drivers issued conditional offers for road traffic offences, 1 driver issued conditional offer for speeding offence, 1 driver reported for drink driving offence, 4 reports regarding driver behaviour, some drivers traced and given suitable advice, 8 non injury road traffic collisions

Public Protection – 3 reports of concern for persons, all persons traced safe and well, 1 report of suspicious person – police attend and there was no trace of the person, 1 report of an assault, on police attendance no complaints being made and no offences, 1 report of threatening messages on social media, no offences and suitable advice given to all parties, 1 report of a disturbance, Police attended and established no disturbance ongoing and provided assistance to a member of public, 1 report of an ongoing disturbance, 1 person arrested and reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – 1 report of persons being in possession of a controlled substance at a local licensed premises, positive line of enquiry ongoing.

Crimes of Dishonesty – No incidents of note.

6. GCP Update on Home Care Provision / Day Centre

Covered under Item 3 above.

7. Flood Prevention Project

No update at present.

8. Loch Ness Homes

Margaret Davidson advised that she had met with Skye Builders representative and discussed the Local Plan and the requirements to adhere to it with regard to the housing development, and to ensure continued liaison with the community re plans and aspirations for the site.  The Local Plan stipulation of construction of 10 houses maximum per annum, has been fully endorsed by the Planning Department.  Gordon Watson advised that progress is being made with the Parklands area, and the next liaison meeting is scheduled for 17th July, and the group would hope to have an initial report prepared at this stage.  He was also currently working on the conveyancing fee agreement, and ensuring that the landscaping work currently being undertaken complies with the PIP agreement.  Thanks were passed to Gordon for all his work in this area.

9. Supported Housing Project

Susan Clark had advised that the project has confirmed funding from the Scottish Government Rural Housing of £794k, and SSE have confirmed £100k.  Outcomes of funding applications are awaited from Wolfson Foundation (£150k) and Quaker Housing Trust (£40k).  An application has been made to Social Investment Scotland for funding of £435k.  Until the funders proposals and confirmed funding is known work on the main site will not commence, however Compass are currently stripping the topsoil at their own risk.  The Housing Project team were considering a Just Giving crowdfunding page, members of GUCC had no experience of crowdfunding on such a scale but were happy to provide any support where required.

10. Renewables

Soirbheas - A joint meeting between GUCC, Strathglass Community Council and Soirbheas had recently taken place, this was constructive and the notes are now available.  Fraser Mackenzie advised that Soirbheas were proposing a third tier of grant funding, and this will be discussed at their forthcoming AGM, the launch of their move from Steering Group to Delivery Group was also forthcoming.

Druim Bha - Outcome on Druim Bha windfarm development still awaited.

11. Roads

Margaret Davidson advised that substantial resurfacing work was scheduled between Drumnadrochit and Inverness, this was welcomed by GUCC who also noted significant improvement following the resurfacing work within Drumnadrochit.  It was noted that the manhole / drain opposite the Fire Station is blocked with sweepings from the re-surfacing, and an email should be sent to Bear Scotland in this regard Action – David Fraser  

It was noted that there was still a strong smell from the drains outside the Post Office, and it was hoped that drainage problems from Drumnadrochit Bridge down could be resolved as part of any possible Springfield Development which would require major sewer works, and GUCC should raise this at the appropriate time.

12. Planning Applications

18/02526/FUL Seasonal installation and use of temporary movable ticket kiosk, Castle and Visitor Centre, Urquhart Castle - noted

Springfield Development – the meeting was told that it is possible that an application might be submitted shortly. Members were disappointed to note that this could be submitted during the school holidays when many people / organisations would be on breaks and not available for consultation. It was agreed that in this event GUCC should compile an initial response rather than call a special meeting during the school holidays.  This response should reiterate that compliance with the Local Plan is necessary, and, assuming compliance, GUCC is likely to support the application, if that is the wish of the community. If it does not comply with the Local Plan then further consultation would be required.

Fiona Urquhart had followed up previous communications with the Planners regarding the access off the A831 for the new house at Polmaily, and the informal B&B sign for Highmarch and the Planning Department had confirmed that they would review these.

13. Correspondence

No items not already circulated to GUCC members.

14. Any Other Business

Warning Sign at Drumnadrochit Bridge – included in jobs list with Transport Scotland (along with repairs to bridge parapet).  David Fraser continuing to liaise with Transport Scotland.

Blairbeg Hall – Gordon Watson had been appointed as the new Chairperson for the Hall Committee.  The Committee would shortly be advertising for a hall caretaker.  There had been damage and slates removed at the back roof of the hall as a result of youths accessing the flat roofed area, this has given rise to a significant leak and water gathering in the back rooms.  It was suggested that the Hall Committee contact Police Scotland and provide an update on this situation, as the youths involved in accessing the roof are known to the Police.  

Gaelic road names / Bilingual signs – Members discussed the possibility of a Gaelic sign for Balnain.  It was noted that a policy exists for trunk road signage to be bilingual, and that Highland Council have a policy that all new signage should be bilingual.  Balnain Hall Committee may look into the possibility of additional signage with approval of Highland Council.

Retaining wall at Mill of Tore – Margaret Davidson advised that the wall has been inspected and found to be sound, but that vegetation required to be cut back.

HMIE inspection of Glen Urquhart High School – GUCC were pleased to note the recent outstanding inspection result for the High School.  

Balnain Primary School Head teacher – It was noted that Janice MacRae would be taking up a post as Head teacher for Muirtown Primary School and the two existing teachers will act as Head Teacher on a job share basis.  The staff were wished well in their new role.  

Local Bus Services – There were ongoing complaints and issues relating to the services locally.  Margaret Davidson advised that she would continue to take note of individual complaints which the Council would then pursue with the bus companies.  Highland Council subsidise some services / routes and are looking into alternative ways of providing services across the Highlands and would continue to look into issues and solutions. It was also agreed that these issues should be referred to the Traffic Commissioner if they continue to occur.

15. Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 27th August at 8.00pm in the Craigmonie Centre.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.15pm.