Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 22nd May 2017 at 8.00pm

in Balnain Hall, Glen Urquhart

1. Present: Pam Lucas (Chair), John Duncan, Ken Fraser, Fiona Urquhart (Planning Secretary), Peter MacDonald, David Fraser, and Val Cooper (Secretary)

Also present: Councillors Margaret Davidson and George Cruickshank; Malcolm Sutherland and Morag Fraser, Caledonian Concepts, 5 members of the public.  

Apologies: Stuart Ross and Gillian Skinner.  

Pam Lucas welcomed those present to the meeting and in particular, following Highland Council elections, returning Councillor Margaret Davidson and new Councillor George Cruikshank.

Since the last meeting Frances Colburn had indicated willingness to become a member of GUCC and she was duly co-opted, (nominated by Pam Lucas, seconded by Fiona Urquhart), and welcomed to the CC.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 24th April 2017 were adopted as a correct record (John Duncan / Ken Fraser)

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 11 – A831 – John Duncan confirmed that he had passed details of problem areas on the A831 to Margaret Davidson who had reported these and would chase up action on them.  Action – Margaret Davidson

Item 11 – Local Bus Timetables – Margaret Davidson advised that she was collating comments from the community regarding issues with the local bus services and would be following these up with the bus companies involved.  Action – Margaret Davidson

4. Treasurer’s Report

Peter Macdonald reported that the balance stands at £1805.86, with £10 hall rent being the only payment made since the last meeting.  Peter also advised that the annual accounts were prepared and it was hoped that these would be audited by the June GUCC meeting.  Action – Peter Macdonald

5. Policing Update

No officers were available to attend the meeting however a report had been submitted with the following information:

Road Safety – 8 non injury traffic collisions on A82, no offences. 1 injury road traffic collision on the A82, no offence.  7 conditional offers issued to drivers of motor vehicles for various driving offences.  Numerous reports regarding driver behaviour – some drivers traced and spoken to.

Public Protection – 1 report of vandalism at the Royal Observation Corp bunker in Drumnadrochit – enquiries ongoing. There has been a report of vandalism at the Royal Observation Corp bunker in the field north west of Glen Urquhart High School. It is believed that local youngsters have been gaining entry in to the bunker and causing damage. If anyone has any information regarding who may be responsible for the damage caused please contact Police Scotland. Police would also like to bring to everyone’s attention that the bunker is potentially dangerous and should not be entered.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – No incidents of note.

Crimes of Dishonesty – No incidents of note.

6. Review of Etape Loch Ness 2017

Malcolm Sutherland and Morag Fraser, Caledonian Concepts, were welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update:

- 5200 entries were received for the 2017 event, the largest to date, and currently the biggest cycling event in Scotland.

- Participants included 900 from outwith Scotland, and a smaller percentage than previous years from the Highlands.  An increased number were attending the event from Scotland, outwith the Highlands.  78% of participants were staying at least one night in accommodation locally, an increase from 70% in 2016.

- The main reasons noted for participants registering for the Etape Loch Ness were location, scenery, iconic route and safety / closed road.

- PR coverage had triggered 242 articles locally and outwith the area.  The event had generated £1.5m of press coverage.

- Macmillan Cancer Support, the key charity for the event, bypassed their £250k fundraising target, final figures are not yet known.  Another 33 charities had benefitted from rider fundraising.  

- Marshalls were recruited locally and their role had again been very successful.  Training nights are run for marshalls and an opportunity to debrief and suggest improvements after the event.  Marshalls from the GUCC had signed up for their donations to be passed to Balnain Primary School, Glen Urquhart High School, Blairbeg Hall, Great Glen Youth Club, GURCA, Park Run Inverness and RNLI.  

- The escort system provided by motorcycles had worked well for the event.

- Etape would be donating £750 to GUCC to be passed to a local organisation which would benefit the local community.  The organisers were thanked for this donation and GUCC would advise of the organisation in due course.

- It was proposed that the 2018 event would take place on 29th April, during the same weekend as previous years.

- Ken Fraser advised that he had received feedback that participants had felt there was too many taking part this year, and participants were overtaking faster groups which had set off ahead of them.  It was advised that this was a regular problem and the result of entrants underestimating their finish time in an attempt to avoid being picked up by the sweep vehicle.  It was also advised that the Etape Course Manager had undertaken calculations which showed that the road had the capacity for more participants than this year, however it was unlikely that the event numbers would increase.  Ken Fraser also advised that he had received feedback that many participants were wearing headphones and could not hear cyclists approaching them.  It was confirmed that all participants are advised as part of their entry conditions that the wearing of headphones is not permitted.

Malcolm and Morag were thanked for their attendance and breakdown of the event.

7. Flood Prevention Project

Balmacaan Scheme – David Fraser advised that work had not yet started and that he and Margaret Davidson would be visiting some residents in the Balmacaan area in the hope that everyone locally could agree to the flood prevention works.

Drumnadrochit Village scheme – Machines were currently on site undertaking ground investigation work.  Highland Council is moving ahead with the design and have made a commitment financially for the work.  The importance of co-ordination and communication via GUCC was reiterated, and any members of the community are encouraged to discuss issues or concerns they may have with GUCC members in the first instance.  It was agreed that the engineers for the scheme be invited to attend a GUCC meeting in the autumn to provide an update.

8. Supported Housing

David Fraser confirmed that the project is progressing and it was anticipated that work on the drainage and roads would commence in the autumn.  Work on the housing may not start until spring 2018 due to implications of grant funding applications.

9. Loch Ness Homes

Drawings for the Scotmid site on the new development area had been received and were currently lodged for planning approval.  Members discussed the drawing and noted some deviations from the original plans.  It was agreed to provide a response to the Planning Department noting that the car park does not look big enough, and the parking spaces provided should not be bigger than the minimum size permitted, thus allowing for larger vehicles to park with ease.  The views of Kilmore church should not be compromised.  Landscaping of the Scotmid site should be incorporated in the landscaping of the whole Loch Ness Homes site.  The original drawings had shown the main Scotmid shop plus 2 small units, while the new drawings showed 4 small units, and this may have impacted on the amount of car parking space now available.  It had been noted at an open meeting with members of the community that the preference for the smaller units was be to commercial business, (eg butcher / baker), and not tourist related; the tourist related businesses should continue to be focussed around the Drum Green / Post Office area of the village.  The turning and manoeuvring area for HGVs / delivery vehicles does not look adequate and poses potential safety issues within a busy residential area.  It was agreed that David Fraser and Fiona Urquhart collate the comments of GUCC and submit a response to the Highland Council Planning Department.  Action – David Fraser / Fiona Urquhart

10. Renewables

Cnoc and Eas / Druim Bha – no updates available.

Soirbheas – Pam Lucas and Fiona Urquhart had met with members of Strathglass Community Council and agreed to submit a request to Soirbheas for 6 monthly reports of finances going in and out of the organisation, and details of what grant payments are awarded.  Some information was available via the Soirbheas website but this was sometimes not kept up to date nor in a format which allowed for easy interpretation of the data.  The next step was to arrange a meeting with Soirbheas to advise of the information requests the community councils had agreed upon.  Those present at the joint meeting had also agreed that they wished Soirbheas to continue to administer community benefit monies and Strathglass CC had indicated that they would discuss reviewing their mini hydro arrangements.  GUCC felt it was important to ensure that the procedure for Soirbheas engaging in pre-planning discussions relating to any future developments are clearly agreed.  This requires a more formal arrangement and guidelines to ensure that responsibility sits with the Community Councils.  Pam Lucas and Fiona Urquhart would continue to progress these issues and arrange a joint meeting with Soirbheas.  Action – Pam Lucas / Fiona Urquhart

11. Planning Applications

17/01307/FUL – Erect replacement reception building, land 201m NE of Tigh Ban, Bunloit, Drumnadrochit – it was agreed to submit a response requesting that the developer be asked to contribute towards the costs of road improvements for Bunloit.

17/01523/S42 – Remove conditions 1, 9 & 10 and alter conditions 2 & 3 of 16/04767/FUL (Glen Urquhart Care Centre Supported Housing) – noted

17/01524/DEM – Demolition of buildings Drumnadrochit Medical Centre, Balmacaan Road, Drumnadrochit – noted

17/01535/MSC – Erection of house and garage, Land 15m NW of The Firs, Lewiston – noted

17/00953/DOM1 – Construct 20no dwellings, a mix of one and two bed bungalows, two and three bed villas and two bed cottage flats, along with associated services, parking and landscaping, land adjacent to A82, 145m north of Smiddy Bar, Lewiston, Drumnadrochit – noted

17/01702/FUL – Retail unit (Class 1) with four additional units (Class 1, 2, 3 and Sui generis-hot food takeaway (with associated service yard, parking, coach bay and landscaping – proposal discussed under Item 9 above.

17/01641/FUL – Temporary siting of septic tank and soakaway for pharmacy building and dentist building, Drumnadrochit Health Centre, Lewiston, Drumnadrochit – noted

12. Correspondence

Items of correspondence circulated by email to GUCC members.

13. Any Other Business

Transportation of Wind Farm Components – Margaret Davidson advised that the wind farm components would only be getting transported on the A82 for a further two weeks, and she had requested that where possible this happens early in the morning and later in the day to avoid busier times during the middle of the day.  The transportation had caused some damage and weakening to Drumnadrochit Bridge. Bear Scotland and Transport Scotland would be liaising with SSE to ensure repair work and / or payment.  It was noted that the SSE website does not always show current and forthcoming component transportation times, but rather historical information from the previous week.

Local Council Elections – GUCC wished to again pass on their congratulations to the 4 Councillors elected / re-elected to the Ward, and hoped that the current relationship with the community would continue, ensuring liaison, communication, partnerships, and progress always with the best interests of the local community in mind.

Etape Community Donation – It was proposed that the £750 community donation from the Etape organisers be passed to the Glen Urquhart Care Centre who was currently fundraising for a replacement car for the Centre.  This was agreed by members.

Glen Urquhart Care Centre Event – The Centre would be celebrating their recent Inspectorate results, the dedication and commitment of staff, and the positive turn-around in their financial position with an event on 9th June.  Two members of the GUCC would be invited to attend this.

14. Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting (and AGM) was scheduled for Monday 26th June, 8.00pm in Blairbeg Hall.

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.20pm.