Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 26th June 2017 at 8.00pm

in Blairbeg Hall, Drumnadrochit

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

Also present: Councillor Margaret Davidson, Constable Dave Elliot, Police Scotland, Gillian Skinner, Ross Watson, Woodland Trust and 4 members of the public.  

Apologies: Ken Fraser, John Duncan, and Councillors Helen Carmichael and Emma Knox.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 22nd May 2017 were adopted as a correct record (David Fraser / Fiona Urquhart)

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 6 – Etape Community Donation – The £750 community donation from the Etape organisers had been received and passed to the Glenurquhart Care Project for their car fundraising.  Thanks were passed to the Etape organisers for this donation.  

Item 13 – Glenurquhart Care Centre Event – Pam Lucas and Fiona Urquhart had attended the event as community council representatives.  This had been a most enjoyable occasion celebrating the efforts of all the staff and directors over the past year.  

4. Treasurer’s Report

Peter Macdonald reported that the balance stands at £1805.86.

5. Policing Update

PC Dave Elliot from the Beauly station was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update:

Road Safety – 1 x conditional offer issued to driver for speeding offence;  5 x non injury road traffic collisions – no offences;  2 x injury road traffic collisions;  6 reports regarding driver behaviour – some drivers traced and spoken to – no offences;  1 x report of careless driving – enquiries ongoing;  2 drivers reported to Procurator Fiscal for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Public Protection – 1 person injured on a farm near to Drumnadrochit;  1 report of injured male on shores of Loch Ness, male traced and returned home safe and well.; 1 report of youths throwing stones at moving vehicles – extra patrols in the area;  1 report regarding youth behaviour at the shinty club, Drumnadrochit – extra patrols in the area;  2 reports of concern for persons – traced safe and well;  2 reports of missing persons – traced safe and well and returned home;  1 report of youths taking a boat out on Loch Ness and conduct of youths – to be traced and spoken to.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – 1 report of persons drunk on A82 in Drumnadrochit – 2 persons traced and returned home safe and well.

Crimes of Dishonesty – No incidents of note.

PC Elliot advised that routine patrols of the village usually take place on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, in addition officers passing through the village on other non-urgent business will generally patrol the village at those times also.  

6. Woodland Trust

Ross Watson was welcomed to the meeting.  Ross advised that tree work along the A82 at Abriachan had resulted in 50 trees being removed, 17 trees had been removed from Balmacaan, and 15 trees removed from the Cover.  Work undertaken had also included grass cutting, fence repairs, removal of tree cages, path maintenance and culvert clearing.  Work was scheduled for the path to the west side of Balmacaan woods next year, and the upgrading of signage and paths for Abriachan.  A 50m section of the path in the Cover which was currently being eroded was due to be replaced with a new 120m section.  Ross advised that the forest management plans for each area would be passed to GUCC for information as they become ready for renewal.  It was confirmed that the fallen trees in the river at the Cover had to remain as stipulated by SNH, but that the Fisheries Board had been given permission to remove sections of fallen trees to allow the passage of fish.  Ongoing discussion was taking place for landowner permission for the renewal of the bridge across the Coiltie.  GUCC were pleased to note the community involvement with the Craigmonie Woodland Group, Scout groups etc.

7. Flood Prevention Project

Balmacaan Scheme – David Fraser advised that work had not yet started and that he and Margaret Davidson would be visiting residents in the Balmacaan area over the summer in the hope of alleviating concerns so that everyone locally could agree to the flood prevention works.  If the commitment of residents for the scheme is not reached, there is a likelihood that work will not progress, which would have an ongoing detrimental effect on roads and houses in the lower areas of Balmacaan.

Drumnadrochit Village scheme – The scheme is progressing well with site investigation work ongoing.  It was noted that the engineers would be invited to attend the September meeting of GUCC to provide an update on the works.  Action – David Fraser

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

David Fraser advised that a meeting of the Liaison Group would be taking place later in the week where the key issue for discussion will be ownership of the area of land between the new houses and Lewiston, the decision as to whether this remains with Loch Ness Homes or is community owned lies with the Community Association.  Machinery is currently on site, and work is progressing on the archaeological survey.  Construction of the roundabout will commence in early September.  Members discussed the old Scotmid site and were in agreement that a request be made to Highland Council (HC) that they seek to purchase the site and demolish the existing building. This would give HC ownership of the Scotmid site and together with land already owned by HC (the adjacent carpark / school drop off and the small playpark) this creates an opportunity to improve the centre of the village considerably.  GUCC should also ask HC to consider the options to redevelop the area to create a quality space at the bottom of Balmacaan Road, suggesting a small housing development where the current carpark is (to tie in with the existing houses), relocation of the playpark and development of the carparking space / school drop off zone and enhancement of the linkage between the village hall and Blairbeg Park.  In terms of phasing the shop demolition should be item 1, followed by reposition of playpark and school drop off zone and finally the new housing.  GUCC would be interested in supporting this development by HC in any way possible.  Action – David Fraser

New Item - Roads

Margaret Davidson advised that she, George Cruickshank and David Fraser would be meeting with representatives from Transport Scotland next week.  This meeting would focus on damage to the foundation at Cobbs Memorial, 30mph limit from Balmacaan to Lewiston, signage, and damage to Drumnadrochit bridge including possible realignment of the traffic.  A report of the meeting will be circulated to GUCC.

Members discussed the recent proposal at the A82 Summit meeting for the precedent to be set that sections of the A82 be widened.  Given the substandard condition of local roads, and the above average accident rate for motor vehicles and motorcycles, GUCC should begin lobbying the Minister for this to be extended north of Fort William and Fort Augustus to include more of the A82.  

10. Renewables

Cnoc an Eas – GUCC were pleased to have noted the Scottish Government’s Reporter’s decision to reject the appeal by Force 9 Energy / EDF for a windfarm at Cnoc an Eas.  It was noted however that the developer could still appeal to the Court of Session, but on procedural issues only.  

Druim Bha – no updates available.

Soirbheas – Pam Lucas, Fiona Urquhart and David Fraser would be meeting with members of Strathglass Community Council and Soirbheas on 17th August in the Craigmonie Centre to clarify procedures in the wake of legislative changes brought in by the Scottish Government.  It was noted that Strathglass Community Council had indicated that at this stage in the process it would not be possible to adjust the management of the community benefit from the Glen Affric micro hydro scheme, but that a joint arrangement may be considered for future developments.   

11. Planning Applications

17/02824/MSC – Improvement of access, formation of new car and coach parking, shoreside jetties and small craft berthing.  Construction of buildings to provide retail, café/restaurant, cruise boat facilities and viewpoint; new WWTP – Brackla Harbour, Land 200m north east of Loch Ness Clansman Hotel, Inverness -  GUCC object on the grounds of road safety and inadequate car parking.  The original application had provision for 60 spaces plus coach parking, while the new application has 64 spaces, including 5 disabled spaces, and no provision for coaches.  The new application is significantly larger than the original application and the parking allocated is not sufficient. 

The junction on the A82 needs to be designed for this development, the road is now busier than when the original application was made, and the increased capacity of the development will result in increased traffic. 

GUCC would also question whether the PIP is valid, the proposed development is significantly bigger than the original application and should be treated as a new application  

12. Correspondence

Signage – Proposed signage for “Glen Urquhart” had been received from Highland Council.  It was agreed to pass this to Ken Fraser for approval and confirmation of sign location.  Action – Ken Fraser

Web Domain – Tony Harmsworth had advised that the domain “” was now available should another community group be interested in using it.  It was agreed to pass this to the Community Association for their consideration.

Edward Mountain MSP – Edward Mountain, Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP had contacted GUCC to ask if there were any issues which he could address. It was agreed that Pam Lucas respond to the correspondence to thank him for his interest and advise of the current issues GUCC are addressing.

Fly the Red Ensign – 3rd September Merchant Navy Day correspondence – noted

13. Any Other Business

Verge Cutting – It was noted that while the verges locally had been cut, the machine used had been large and fast, and a better job would have been done using a smaller machine.  It was confirmed that the Highland Council were no longer contracting out the verge cutting and had undertaken the work at short notice and had therefore not been properly equipped for the job.  It was hoped that the verges on the side roads would be cut soon.  It was agreed to write to John Taylor, Highland Council Roads Dept to ask what the schedule is for the cutting of grass in key public spaces eg Druimlon, burial grounds etc.

Cnocan Burraidh – David Fraser advised that while he had secured some funding for the repair of Cnocan Burraidh, he hoped to apply to Historic Environment Scotland for grant funding and members were in agreement that he should apply as GUCC.  

Campervan Effluent – It was noted that an increased number of campervan users were now emptying their effluent in the public toilets in the village.  There was no designated facility for this and members were in agreement that Highland Council be contacted to ask what measures they might be able to take including signage (in different languages) advising against emptying in the toilet facilities.  Action – Margaret Davidson

14. Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting (and AGM) was scheduled for Monday 28th August, 8.00pm in Craigmonie Centre.

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.45pm.


(The AGM was also held this evening Monday 26th June 2017, click here for the link to those minutes)