Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 28th August 2017 at 8.00pm

in the Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

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

Also present: Councillors Margaret Davidson and George Cruickshank, Constable Willie Jones, Police Scotland, Susan Clark, Nicola Vestey and Jan Bell, GURCA, Fraser Campbell and Willie Cameron, Cobbs, Gillian Skinner, and 5 members of the public.  

Apologies: Ken Fraser, Stuart Ross, and Councillors Helen Carmichael and Emma Knox.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the AGM held on 26th June were approved as a correct record (Frances Colbron / Peter Macdonald), and the minutes of the routine meeting held on 26th June 2017 were also adopted as a correct record (Fiona Urquhart / David Fraser)

3. Matters arising from minutes

No matters arising not already covered in the Agenda.

4. Treasurer’s Report

Peter Macdonald reported that the balance stands at £1765.86.  Hall rent had been paid since the previous meeting.

5. Policing Update

PC Willie Jones from the Fort Augustus station was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update:

Road Safety – 2 x conditional offer issued to driver for speeding offence; 28 x non injury road traffic collisions – no offences; 1 x injury road traffic collision;  17 reports regarding driver behaviour – some drivers traced and spoken to – no offences;  7 x reports of vehicle breakdowns; 1 x incident of no insurance

Public Protection – 8 x public protection incidents; 9 x incidents linked to youths, not all are crimes and most are anti-social behaviour.  

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – 1 report of persons drunk on A82 in Drumnadrochit – 1 persons traced and charged

Crimes of Dishonesty – 1 x incident within the period, enquiries ongoing.  

Between 26/062017 and 28/08/17 there have been 11 incidents logged on assistance / advice, 5 of false call good intent and 2 incidents of disorder.

Since the last meeting there has been a significant increase in the number of tourists in the area which is reflected in the number of road traffic incidents.  

There is an ongoing problem with the behaviour of youths in Drumnadrochit.  Extra patrols are being carried out in the area to engage with the youths.

GUCC had been copied in to correspondence from Fort Augustus Community Council regarding the reduced police presence in Fort Augustus, and while GUCC could relate to this issue, the community were grateful for the extra patrols provided in Drumnadrochit in an attempt to address the youth behaviour issues in the village.  It was also noted that the Fort Augustus station would be increasing from 2 to 3 officers within the next 6 weeks.

There had recently been an issue with wild campers causing disruption at the cover.  The police had been involved but because the land owner had not complained there was very little the police could do in such a situation.  

Some members of the community in the Old Kilmore area were interested in finding out more about Neighbourhood Watch signage / schemes, PC Jones was not aware of the process for this and would find out if this was something Police Scotland would deal with.

There were no further Police matters and PC Jones was thanked for attending the meeting.

6. Update from Cobbs on business development in our area

Fraser Campbell and Willie Cameron were welcomed to the meeting and provided an overview and background to the Cobbs business.  Cobbs is currently one of the largest employers in the area and have recently purchased both the Clansman Hotel and the Lodge alongside.  Road safety within the area of the Clansman has been an ongoing concern and in this regard Cobbs are now in the process of preparing plans for a new parking area, with capacity for 65-75 spaces in the area alongside the Lodge.  The new parking area would not be visible from the road or from Loch Ness, and would be built in a sustainable and sympathetic way for the area.  It would be the intention for coach parking and disabled bays to remain at the lower level alongside the Clansman.  The company had also offered to install a designated bus stop for service buses which would help relieve congestion on this are of the A82, and would also be lobbying for a reduced speed limit for the area.  A new footbridge had recently been installed alongside the Clansman to discourage pedestrians from using the A82. GUCC welcomed this proposal and were appreciative of the Cobbs group sharing of information.  In this regard there was also a short discussion regarding the relocation of the bakery site, and while the company would hope to move to larger premises, they had recently invested in the current facilities and a move would be part of a longer term plan, possibly within the next 18 months to 2 years.

7. Update on changes to the structure of GURCA

Susan Clark was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update:

- GURCA had recently transferred to become a 2 tier charitable organisation, the original identity and role of GURCA would be retained, however the change in constitution meant that the charitable status would make funding applications more straightforward, and the inclusion of Blairbeg Hall as a community asset alleviated any liability from individual members.  

- The aim of GURCA was now to set a community plan, linking all local organisations, setting priorities, and working collaboratively to fund raise and push forward local initiatives.  

- GURCA were encouraging members of the community to become members, there was no financial liability or responsibility, but a large membership indicates strong community support and allows the opportunity for voting and receive email updates.

- Members of the community were invited to submit proposed logo designs for GURCA, and to encourage friends and neighbours to join become members of GURCA.

- GURCA will consist of Steering Groups to lead on different initiatives within the community, and a wider public meeting is proposed for September 2017.

- Pam Lucas currently represents GUCC on GURCA, a further member of GUCC would be welcomed.  Action – All

8. Flood Prevention Project

Balmacaan Scheme – David Fraser advised that work had not yet started and that he and Margaret Davidson were yet to find a date to meeting with local residents.  

Drumnadrochit Village scheme – 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 / Pam Lucas

9. Supported Housing

Susan Clark advised that she was currently focusing on the infrastructure which was tied in with the Loch Ness Homes development.  This involved installation of the sewage system, which would not start until work on the main roundabout starts, 2 weeks notice would be given prior to commencement of work.  Susan was also pursuing possible funding from the Rural Housing Fund and Scottish Government.  It was anticipated that a further source may be available later in the year and in this regard construction would not commence until all the funding was confirmed and in place (Spring 2018).  Tenders for the house construction were also currently being received.   

10. Loch Ness Homes

David Fraser informed that the Community Liaison Group had recently met to discuss progress, which was dependant on when permission to start construction of the roundabout is received from Transport Scotland.  Two weeks notice would be given to the community in advance of work starting, no timetable had been received but it was likely that work on the roundabout would continue well into 2018.  A temporary footpath would be built to keep pedestrians away from the construction area, and it was proposed that signage be added to Balmacaan, Lewiston and Kilmore to encourage a 20mph speed limit, anticipating that traffic would increase in these areas during the roundabout construction period.  

11. Renewables

Druim Bha – no decision available as yet.

Soirbheas – Pam Lucas, Fiona Urquhart and David Fraser had met with members of Strathglass Community Council and Soirbheas in August and constructive progress had been made.  A further meeting was scheduled to take place in October.  

Hydro Schemes – it was noted that the Shenval hydro scheme had been commissioned and the Coiltie scheme was due for commission at the end of September.  

12. Roads

David Fraser, George Cruickshank and Margaret Davidson had recently met with Transport Scotland Manager David Devine, and the following decisions had been reached:

- Cobb Monument – foundation damaged by water run-off from the road, a structural survey would be undertaken and once the report of this has been received the next stage in the repair would be planned.

- 30mph Limit – Agreement has been made for the 30mph limit to be extended from Balmacaan Road to beyond Borlum Bridge where the 40pmh limit starts.  GUCC were most pleased with this decision and thanked David for all his efforts in pursuing this.

- Signage – Old and disused signage and posts around the village would be removed.

- Drum Bridge – Agreement had been reached that the bridge parapet had been damaged by wind farm transport, and this would be repaired, as would the road signs beside the bridge which had been knocked over, and the bollards on the island opposite the Drum Hotel.

- Gulley and Manhole – The gulley and manhole on the bride were sinking further and repair of these would be pursued with Scottish Water.

- Bridge Alignment – A request had been made to improve the alignment of vehicles going over Drum Bridge by closing the footpath on the east side however this was not approved.  If the community still views this as an issue then consideration could be given to a footpath in a different location at some point in the future.  It was noted that Margaret Davidson had requested that the Planning Dept notify her and Transport Scotland of any applications which will include extra wide / long loads using the A82.

Thanks were passed to David Fraser for all his work, with the increased 30mph speed limit being a significant achievement.

13. Planning Applications

17/02930/FUL – Relocation of a 100m section of path, 1.5m wide along the River Enrick, land 640m NE of Ceol Na H-abhainn, East Lewiston – noted

17/03545/PIP – Erection of dwelling house and garage (renewal of application 14/02467/PIP) Land 120m NE of Forestry Cottage, Drumnadrochit – noted

17/03594/PNO – Erection of agricultural building, land 120m SW of Upper Drumbuie, Drumnadrochit – noted

17/00356/PIP – Erect house and garage Land 80m SE of Holly Cottage, Balnain – members referred to this application to which an objection had been sent to Highland Council on the grounds that the development would be into the green area beyond the village and does not comply with the Local Plan, also that there is not adequate road provision to the site despite requirements on previous approved planning applications associated with this site.  It was understood that the application had been approved as it was deemed to be part of the existing village.  On looking at the Highland Council website, in an effort to understand why this application had been approved, it was noted that neither the GUCC letter of objection nor the report on the planning application were available to view.  It was agreed to write to the Planning Department requesting a copy of the report and advising of the concerns of the community council who would seek an explanation of the decision made in order to better understand how they should respond to such applications in future.  Action – David Fraser / Fiona Urquhart

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 had also objected to this application and had not yet received any acknowledgement of this, it was agreed that this should be re-directed to Nicola Drummond in the Planning Department.  Action – Fiona Urquhart.  It was noted Highland Council had confirmed that the original PIP for this development had been written in broad terms and this new application aligned to that.  In this regard GUCC could only comment issues related to the development, and a further written submission had been made by GUCC highlighting the concerns previously raised, including the major road safety issue.

14. Correspondence

FCS Felling Licence – notification of felling and removal of timber from Divach and down Balmacaan Road.  John Duncan had responded advising that transportation times should coincide with the timings already agreed for construction in that area.

Campervan Effluent – Pam Lucas advised that she had written to Highland Council requesting some provision be made in Drumnadrochit for the disposal of effluent from campers.  A response had been received advising that Highland Council would be looking for a solution to this, not only within Drumnadrochit, but within many areas in the Highlands.

First Responders – A note of thanks had been received from Drumnadrochit First Responders for GUCC support in the decision that First Responders would no longer be tasked to calls involving anyone under the age of 16.  GUCC were very pleased to note that this decision had been withdrawn and the Drum team would be tasked with attending paediatric incidents.  The Drum team had also been asked to be the rural trial team in Scotland for advanced first responder training, which, if successful would lead to attendance at a wider range of incidents and provide more specialised support.  GUCC reiterated their support for the first responder team and the invaluable service they provide to the community.

Kirking of the Council – Invitation to attend event on 10th September to be passed to Ken Fraser.

15. Any Other Business

Local Cemeteries – Subsidance had been noted in some areas, also increased weeds.  These issues had been reported to Highland Council.

Youth Provision – There was a short discussion on the need for a youth club / building within the village.  It was agreed that while GUCC was supportive of any initiatives proposed it was not within their remit to lead on this issue.  Discussion of these issues could co-ordinated by GURCA / GUHS Parent Council / Youth Development Officer.

16. Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 25th September, 8.00pm in Balnain Hall.

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.50pm.