Glen Urquhart Community Council

1.       Present: Dianne Fraser (Chair), Pam Lucas, Stuart Ross, David Ferguson, Dominic Thierry, Iain Riddle, Bill Smart and Val Cooper.

          Also present: Councillors David Fraser and Chris Ballance, Nicky MacLennan, Soirbheas, Susan Clark, GURCA, and 5 members of the public.

Apologies: Fiona Urquhart.

Councillor Chris Ballance was welcomed to his first GUCC meeting.

2.       Conflicts of Interest

No conflicts of interest in relation to planning applications declared.

3.       Minutes of the last meeting
The minute of the meeting held on 25th April was approved as a true record (Dominic Thierry / David Ferguson).

4.       Matters arising from minutes

Roads – A82 Litter issues were reported by Margaret Davidson.
Youth Representation – Dianne Fraser confirmed that she had contacted the High School and this request had been passed to Guidance Teachers to discuss with pupils.

5.       Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following financial report:

In the last month, there has been some activity in our account, details as follows;

Community Council: Previous balance = £9,027.67

2/5/22 paid P. Lucas £134 for gift to Margaret Davidson

11/5/22 received £1,000 from Etape

12/5/22 paid Soirbheas £300 for contribution to Community Action Plan

£7,211.77 is ringfenced for Loch Ness Tourism Strategy / Place Planning

New balance = £9,0027.67 – (£134 + £300) + £1,000 = £9,593.67

Actual Community Council funds = £9,593.67 less £7,211.77 = £2,381.90

Cnoc an Burraidh: Previous balance = £2,896.51

5/5/22 paid Speedprint £1,060 for books

New balance = £2,896.51 - £1,060 = £1,836.51

Total Balance in our account = £9,593.67 + £1,836.51 = £11,430.18

Accounts have been submitted to Highland Council for the annual grant.

6.       Police Report

No report received in advance of the meeting.  It was noted that Police attendance at GUCC meetings had stopped due to Covid restrictions / online meetings, however it was agreed that this had been very useful, and therefore an invitation reminder to attend future meetings, as well as a reminder about submission of the monthly report, would be passed to the local police offices.  Action – Dianne Fraser

7.       Scottish Water Update

Gavin Steel, Scottish Water Corporate Affairs Manager, provided the following update in advance of the meeting:

“I appreciate that the work described may appear to be jumping from one place to another a bit, particularly over the next 7-10 days.  This has partly come about from efforts to avoid activity between the Loch Ness Hub and Drum Bridge over the May Day bank holiday weekend.  The remaining connections should each involve relatively localised work for a short duration, albeit always with some time needed at the end to ensure a good standard of reinstatement.


Service connections for homes and businesses between Drumloin and the post office have been completed and traffic lights were taken off the road from Thursday.

3-way lights will need to be installed at the bridge / A831 junction on Monday to complete a final connection at this location.

The team had difficulty locating the service connection that is associated with the telephone exchange, which is next to the post office. The location of the connection has now been confirmed and the work will be completed next week – but this will require traffic lights in this area again for a short period.

There is also a final tie-in to be made at the Drumloin end of the water main.  Investigation works were carried out to confirm the network arrangement here when the service connections in the area were being transferred.  Work in the grassed area to feed Drumloin itself has already been completed.

The final phase of work following on from the 3 localised areas of activity noted above will involve removing and reinstating covers which are associated with the old water main once it is no longer in service.

The project as a whole is expected to be complete by mid-June.

As members might see, a connection has been left at the entrance to the Loch Ness Hub which is for the planned Top up Tap.  This will be installed by a different contractor – and I’m in touch with colleagues to see if we can get this done as soon as possible.  Once the tap is installed, it will be kept under a cover for a couple of weeks or so while a series of water quality samples are taken, before it becomes available for public use”.

GUCC acknowledged and appreciated the quick response to the comments at the last meeting about traffic light malfunctions.  

8.       Community Action Plan

Dianne Fraser advised that the community survey has now closed, 470 contributions had been received.  The group will be meeting to go through the responses, and a detailed report will be circulated to GUCC in due course, with an update at the next meeting.

9.       GURCA Update

The following update was received from Dan Light in advance of the meeting, and presented by Susan Clark:

Blairbeg Hall/Glen Urquhart Public HallWork Started on Monday May 16th on replacing the 3 large Windows in the Main Hall and the also to re-slate the Main Hall. Funds for the windows have been awarded for this from HIE (Highlands and Islands Enterprise) Greening Community Assets Fund and Soirbheas and for the roof Place Based Funding via Highland Council. The windows are in and just need some painting work and the scaffolding is all up ready to go. We anticipate this roofing work to take a further 5 weeks and hope for good weather.

East Lewiston Play ParkGURCA trustee Gordon Watson has worked over two weekends in May with a team of volunteers including Junior Shinty to repaint the playpark. It looks fantastic in the Red and Black colours of GU Shinty Club. Balnain is next on Gordon’s list and volunteers have been preparing the play park at Druimlon.

Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund (distributed by HTSI Highland Third Sector interface) This fund was extended and funding awarded to GURCA in March– two Free events are running at the Hall every Tuesday – a Bite and Blether lunch 12:00-14:00 and ‘Laddies Night;’ our Men’s Social Night 19:00-21:00 (Some of the Laddies nights will be on Thursdays in June).

These are friendly informal events. If you know somebody who would benefit please encourage them to come along or come along with them there are friends waiting you haven’t made yet. If you’d like to volunteer or need anymore info please get in touch with our community development Officer Dan Light:

Community Litter PickThese have been organized by GURCA member Charles de los Santos. Next one is this Friday 27th May at 16:00 – again please encourage people to come along we’ve had around 20 volunteers for each session so far. If you have pickers and gloves bring them as we have a limited number to give out on the day. These make a real difference.

GURCA AGM TUESDAY 21st June Blairbeg Hall.  In accordance with our Constitution, at the AGM, 3 of our existing Member Trustees will stand down. This year, only 1 of those standing down is in a position to make themselves available for re-election.  We are now seeking nominations for new Member Trustees to join the GURCA Board. To be eligible for this, an individual must be an Ordinary Member of GURCA i.e.they reside within the Glenurquhart Community Council boundary, and they are eligible to vote in local elections.  If you'd like to know more about what being a Trustee entails, please contact Carolyn: or speak to any of our existing Trustees.  It would be great if you could attach a short paragraph telling us a bit about yourself and why you are interested in becoming a Trustee. Please note, this will only be shared with members in the event that there are more nominations for Trustees than there are vacancies. Nominations should be received by 1800 Friday 10th June.  This will allow us to establish whether or not a vote will be required. In the event there are more nominations than vacancies, GURCA members will be given the opportunity to vote for their preferred nominees, either in advance by email or post, or at the AGM in person.

What’s on Glenurquhartwe are actively trying to promote local events using the GURCA website, Posters, Social Media, the Hub Screens etc – again please get in touch with Dan. A number of recent new bookings have taken place at the Hall including Yoga, Pilates and Sound Healing, these are from local providers who need our community’s support.

Additional Discussion

Mens Shed – Materials and tools are stored securely in the Hall cottage building.  The Men’s Shed are still seeking new premises.  

Litter Picking – The community organised litter picks are very successful and appreciated.  Thanks were also noted to those members of the community who litter pick independently throughout the village, Balnain and Glen Urquhart.  

Margaret Davidson Reception – Friday 27th May, 4pm, Blairbeg Hall, please advise Dan Light of attendance.

Development Trust Association Scotland – GURCA has been invited to be a feature community in September, this will involve film making and Dan Light will be in touch with members of the community for content.  The film will be about the community as a whole and will be screened at their conference in September.  

10.       Soirbheas Update

Nicky MacLennan provided the following update:

Highland Third Sector Interface Volunteering Awards, looking at putting something forward for this.

Soirbheas AGM on 30 June, Balnain Hall at 7:30 – includes Chair and Finance report and annual achievements. We will also have a presentation for final SIS report and results of photo competition.

Glens Befriending Service – we urgently need volunteers who can commit an hour or so a week to meet with someone who is feeling lonely or isolated – all training and support provided and expenses paid.

Grants programmes – summary of what funding we have available and reintroducing ‘surgeries’ Affric and Kintail Deer Management Group (AKDMG) – Soirbheas have funded a deer management and education program. Last week 91 primary school children from Glenurquhart and Strathglass primaries attend the first in a series of education and community events on managing deer. Lots more activities planned including preparing venison and cookery demonstrations. Events will be held across both Soirbheas community areas.  

Development Support Days – how we can support groups develop projects, source funding, advice on committee and organisation etc

Groups Event – showcase event for groups in the area (including more formal groups like GUCC, SGCC etc) – what they do, where they operate, what volunteers they need etc. For adults and children to attend to find out more.

Paths Development – strategy being led by Highland Council, waiting on appointment of new postholder.

Walking festival has been shelved as match funding wasn’t secured. We are looking at developing a heritage weekend as an alternative and will know outcome of match funding in August.

Electric Vehicle for Loch Ness Hub – match funded by Soirbheas should be in place by September and will be available for use by formal groups (such as Health Walk group) and other constituted groups. It won’t be available for private use.

Congratulations were passed to all those who had been involved in the Cnoc an Burraidh film making and evening, which had been a very successful event and was an excellent example of how the support from Soirbheas had facilitated this.  The films can be viewed on YouTube Soirbheas - YouTube

11.       Roads / Drainage

GUCC noted the consultation request relating to the layby area at Temple Pier.  It was agreed that in order to be in a position to comment fully on this, more information was required, particularly relating to ensuring safe pedestrian crossing. It was also felt important that any assessment needs to take place during the summer months when this area is particularly busy.  It was agreed therefore to respond to the consultation asking what the proposals will be for the safe crossing of pedestrians from the harbour to the other side of the A82, what assessment of the area has been done, and advising that GUCC a time extension to submission of a response.  Action – Dianne Fraser

David Fraser advised that discussions were taking place for Fort Augustus, Glen Urquhart and Inverness West Community Councils to form an A82 safety group.  It was hoped that this would include local councillors and one or two representatives from each community councils, with the aim of working collaboratively looking at new proposals on traffic safety including any forthcoming legislation eg footpath safety, speed limits, north bound laybys etc.  GUCC volunteers were confirmed as Bill Smart and Iain Riddle.  

The patching works around Shenval / Corrimony were noted.  It was confirmed that areas receiving maintenance / repair were selected by Highland Council and added to the schedule of works on an engineering basis.  It was agreed that Dianne Fraser contact John Taylor, to thank him for all the work which is being undertaken and ask if there was an indication of when the Kilmichael section of road will be resurfaced.  Action – Dianne Fraser  

David Fraser advised that a reduction to 20mph speed restrictions requires a change in Transport Scotland policies at Scottish Government level, this is being considered, but is a lengthy process.  In the meantime, Highland Council are continuing with their village by village zoning and Drumnadrochit is on that list.   

It was noted that any road safety incidents involving horses and riders should be reported to Police Scotland and to the British Horse Society who can provide additional support and guidance.  

12.       Planning Applications

a) Active Applications

22/01948/FUL – Erection of replacement garage and extension, 119 Balmacaan Road – noted.

22/01640/FUL – Siting of 4 Shepherds Huts, parking, landscaping of site, Clunemore Steading Buildings – comments regarding impact on road, concerns regarding waste water, water supply, and visual impact to be submitted.  Action – Iain Riddle

22/02153/PIP – Erection of house, land 15m SE of Ivy Cottage, Lewiston – decision deferred until further information received.  It was agreed to seek Highland Council guidance / training for community councils in relation to various planning application scenarios, Section 75 agreements etc, as well as the opportunity to talk to planners about specific cases as these will recur in future.  Action – Dianne Fraser / Iain Riddle

22/01760/S36 – Bunloinn Wind Farm consultation on application – GUCC members were in agreement with submission of an objection on visually impact, ecology and commercial reasons as per the draft response prepared by Bill Smart.  Action – Bill Smart

13.       Consultations

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – comments by 10th July, Dianne will circulate details to GUCC members.

14.       Correspondence

UHI Workshop Power of Storytelling – details passed to Soirbheas and GURCA.

15.       AOCB

National Park Creation Group – Pam Lucas advised that the group has met on a few occasions and a lot of work has taken place.  The consultation has now started and the document is available on the Scottish Government website, individual responses can be submitted.  The group have declared an interest in Glen Affric being considered as one of the contenders to be a National Park.  

Loch Ness Challenge Event 20th – 23rd May – Event was successful and well organised.

Youth Issues – As per Item 3 above.

Jubilee / Community Picnic - Friday 3rd June at playing field, all welcome.

Shenval Defibrilator - It was noted that the Shenval community had fundraised and a defibrillator was now in situ, they were congratulated on this achievement.  It was requested that Pierre Lebrun contact GURCA to ensure that the equipment is added to the register so that maintenance costs can be covered by Soirbheas funding.  Action – Pierre Lebrun

Mailbox at Post Office – It was agreed that a meeting was required with Royal Mail in order to establish and confirm the location of mail boxes within the village.  It was also noted that the trees were now very much obscuring visibility of the box at Balmacaan Road end, David Fraser advised that he would contact Highland Council with regards to this issue.  It was also agreed to confirm with Royal Mail by the express post box was removed from the Post Office.  Action – David Fraser

Caravan, Balmacaan Road – It was noted that the derelict caravan in the woods on Balmacaan Road was somewhat unsightly.  It was not clear who this belonged to, however it was agreed that Bill Smart would ask residents in the area to establish ownership.  Action – Bill Smart

GURCA Representation – It was agreed that Dominic Thierry and David Ferguson would submit membership applications to GURCA with a view to GUCC representation. Action – David Ferguson / Dominic Thierry

Soirbheas and Community Council Joint Meeting – Bill Smart and Dianne Fraser would be attending the forthcoming meeting on behalf of GUCC.  

16.       Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 27th June, AGM at 7.30pm followed by routine meeting at 8pm, in Blairbeg Hall.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.30pm.  

              Action List – May 2022

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of meeting held on

Monday 23rd May 2022 at 7.30pm

in Balnain Hall, Glen Urquhart