Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Meeting held on

Monday 22nd February 2016 at 8.00pm

Balnain Hall, Glen Urquhart

1. Present: Pam Lucas, Peter MacDonald, John Duncan, Stuart Ross, David Fraser, Dan Luscombe, Margaret Luscombe, Cliff Green & Donna Green, STAG, Gillian Skinner, Chamber of Commerce, Julie Adams, Soirbheas, and Val Cooper (Minutes Secretary).

Apologies: Ken Fraser, Cllrs Margaret Davidson, Jean Davis and Helen Carmichael, Fiona Urquhart, and Police Scotland.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minute of the meeting held on 25th January were adopted as a correct record (Peter MacDonald / David Fraser)

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 3 Community Emergency Plan – Peter Macdonald, Fiona Urquhart and John Duncan had attended a meeting on behalf of GUCC the previous week at which members had formed the Resilience Committee and would begin working on providing the content of a local community emergency plan.  This would include compiling a list of vulnerable people within the community (eg those with only electric heating, those with no family within the area etc), and the means for collating this was yet to be agreed.  

Item 6 Forestry Vehicles – Margaret Davidson had raised the issue of the narrowing road with FCS and Community services who have agreed to undertake an inspection and get back to us.

Item 7 Etape Loch Ness – A reminder that volunteers should make contact with the event organisers if they wish to be involved in marshalling at the event and thus raise funds for their charity / organisation of choice.

Item 10 Flooding – Margaret Davidson had forwarded a compensation claim link to Fiona Urquhart and this was being passed to those residents affected in the Kilmichael area.  Discussions were ongoing with the Flood Team regarding Kilmichael including opening the previous channel and sediment removal on a planned basis.  Margaret Davidson was also still pursuing a Flood Plan for the River Enrick.  The work undertaken at Balmacaan had not been effective.  In summary of the flooding issues, David Fraser advised that they would continue to push for a resolution to the issues at Kilmichael and Balmacaan over the summer, thereafter it would be the intention to receive a commitment for works for the Drumnadrochit village area.

Item 13 Planning – It was confirmed that the developer of the new flats at Lewiston had chosen “East Lewiston Court” as the name.

Item 15 GUSC New York Visit – Plans were well underway for the visit.  Margaret Davidson had requested contact details for Gary Mackintosh in relation to the proposal for “Glen Urquhart” signage.

4. Treasurer’s Report

Peter MacDonald advised that the balance remained unchanged from the previous month and currently stands at £1567.80.  The recent correspondence from the Highland Council regarding budget cuts was discussed.  It was confirmed that GUCC should still be able to operate at the same level as in previous years but would no longer be in a position to provide donations to other organisations or ventures.  There followed a general discussion about the expenses of Community Councillors, and GUCC members were not in the habit of claiming back expenses from attending meetings and events during the course of the year, but rather car-shared and carried out their duties while covering their own costs personally.  In addition to this, when Community Councils are dealing with major issues, for example large scale planning applications, no funding is available to deal with the consultation process, processing and sharing of information and conducting their business in a professionally.  The Community Council can also be open to challenge by applicants and there may be cases where they are required to employ professional services, and the provision of a route through Highland Council for one-off funding would be prudent.

5. Policing Update

No officers were present at the meeting but the following report had been provided via email:

Road Safety – As part of Operation Route, 2 fixed penalty tickets were issued for various offences.  Numerous road traffic collisions within beat, majority of which related to adverse weather and / or driver error.  Pedestrian struck by vehicle and suffered bruising as a result, enquiries ongoing to trace driver.  

Public Protection – Juvenile victim of minor assault within Drumnadrochit village by another juvenile, detected.  Abriachan, assault after argument between two adult males involving a dispute over a dog, enquiries ongoing.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – Drunk male causing disturbance outside house in Milton area.  Area searched and no trace of male, enquiries ongoing.

Crimes of Dishonesty – Facebook fraud relating to sale of xbox console, enquiries ongoing.  Report of theft by shoplifting from Scotmid Drumnadrochit, enquires ongoing.  

6. Renewables

Druim Ba – no update

Cnoc an Eas – Still awaiting supplementary environmental information, expected by Highland Council imminently, and thereafter to GUCC and STAG.  It is expected that this will lead to another period of consultation which would be likely to culminate around Easter, if this is to be the case it would be possible to request an extension for responses.  

Broadband – Julie Adams advised that Soirbheas were currently working on widening the availability of high speed broadband, which at present was limited to Drumnadrochit and Balnain only.  Discussions were taking place with other community councils regarding the intention to erect a remote mast system for transmission, with boxes / dishes for individual properties to receive the signal.  It was hoped that the system would be rolled out in Autumn 2016.  Further information of a similar scheme could be viewed at

7. Roads

A82 – Ongoing issues with lying water and potholes.  

8. Loch Ness Homes / Amenity Housing

It was noted that Loch Ness Homes were in discussion with Highland Council regarding rent to buy housing.

The site for amenity housing had been secured and was adjacent to the Glen Urquhart Care Project.  A liaison group would be established to take this development forward and would include representatives from Loch Ness Homes.  It was noted however that Loch Ness Homes would have no control or burden over this development nor the land on which it will be sited.    


9. Planning Applications

15/04782/FUL – Change of use to Firewood Business Oakbank Longhouse, Milton, Drumnadrochit – following an approach to GUCC by a neighbour concerned about noise disruption GUCC had submitted comments to Highland Council requesting that work does not take place in early mornings, evenings or Sundays, GUCC did not object to the application.  Mr MacMillan, the developer, was present at the meeting and thanked GUCC for their balanced response and advised that the business would remain small, and he was willing to do whatever was required to ensure there was no disruption outwith the works listed in his planning application.  There was however details relating to the neighbour objection which added complications to the application but these were not for public disclosure.   

16/00238/FUL – Extension and conversion of barn to form dwelling house, Pittyvaich, Strathnacro, Glen Urquhart – noted

16/00396/FUL – Erection of house land east of Drumlin, Balnain, Drumnadrochit – members noted concern about treated effluent going into a ditch which may run dry in the summer.  John Duncan would look at this application in more detail and provide a response to Fiona Urquhart.  Action – John Duncan

10. Correspondence

- Highland Council Community Councillor training event – 24th February, Spectrum Centre, Inverness - noted

11. Any Other Business

Balnain Speed Limit – A request had been received from Euan Maclean to extend the 40mph limit to incorporate Mill of Tore as he was finding it increasingly difficult to move livestock in the area due to the speed of cars on the A833.  There followed a general discussion about motorist speed through Balnain, which was often well outwith the 40mph limit.  The area was increasingly busy with leisure traffic using the forest at Balnain, plus pedestrians and school children walking along the roadside.  Balnain Primary School were partaking in a “walk to school” initiative and safety of pupils was a concern. There was also a considerable amount of timber yet to be removed from further up the Glen resulting in an increased and continued flow of wood lorries.  It was agreed therefore to contact Highland Council with a request to extend and / or lower the speed limit within Balnain in the interests of general community safety.  Action – Pam Lucas

13. Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 28th March in Blairbeg Hall, Drumnadrochit.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.10pm.