Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 26th February 2018 at 8.00pm

in Balnain Hall, Glen Urquhart

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

Also present: Councillors Margaret Davidson and George Cruickshank, Alan Dickson, Rural Designs, Ross Watson, Woodland Trust, PC Elliot, Police Scotland, Fraser Mackenzie, Soirbheas, and 7 members of the public.  

Apologies: Councillor Helen Carmichael, and Gillian Skinner.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 22nd January 2018 were approved as a correct record (Frances Colbron / John Duncan)

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 8 – Burial Grounds – Margaret Davidson advised that she was progressing the possibility of extending the graveyard at Kilmore into the greenspace ground which currently belongs to Loch Ness Homes, and would be meeting with the Highland Council Bereavement Officer to begin the process of a planning application through Highland Council, a representative of GUCC could also be present at this meeting.  Action – Margaret Davidson

4. Treasurer’s Report

Peter Macdonald reported that the balance remains at £2315.50.  A request had been received from the Community Association for £300 match funding for the community action plan, which was approved by GUCC.  It was noted that Highland Council had indicated that grants for Community Councils would be cut by 40-60% and in this regard it was agreed that £1k be set aside now to supplement the grant in years to come.  Members were in agreement that savings would have to be considered for future years, and Margaret Davidson advised that the Ward Budget would be available if community council finances are very strained.  

5. Policing Update

PC Elliot was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following details:

Road Safety – During this period there were numerous reports to Police regarding potholes on the A82 and due to weather conditions.

- Road Policing Officers carried out action days in the area.

- 5 non injury road traffic collisions

- 8 drivers issued with conditional offers for various road traffic offences.

- 3 drivers issued conditional offers for speeding offences.

- 3 drivers being reported to the Procurator Fiscal for road traffic offences.

- 1 driver being reported to the Procurator Fiscal for a speeding offence.

- 6 drivers issued vehicle defect rectification scheme notices for defects on their vehicles.

- 4 reports regarding driver behaviour – some traced and suitable advice given.

Public Protection – 1 report regarding a concern for person – traced and conveyed to hospital.

- 1 report regarding a concern for person – traced safe and well.

- 1 report regarding public protection offence – one person reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

- 1 report of disorder – Enquiries still ongoing.

- 2 reports of vandalism – Enquiries still ongoing.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – 1 report of concern for person under the influence of alcohol – Police attended and carried out a thorough check of the area with no trace of the person.

Crimes of Dishonesty – 1 report of a theft of a motor vehicle – Enquiries still ongoing

Police provided advice/assistance to members of the public for all other incidents including weather related incidents.

6. Woodland Trust

Ross Watson was welcomed to the meeting and advised that the management plans for the Cover and Balmacaan are both due for renewal for the next 5 year period.  The key areas for the Cover would be connecting people to the site and providing access to the cover.  Ancient woodland and connecting people to the site would be the key areas for Balmacaan.  Over the last 18 months, and for the next 5 years work will continue on path maintenance and control of rhododendrons for Balmacaan, and path maintenance and control of non-native species in the Cover.  Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (Ash dieback) is within the vicinity of the sites and monitoring would continue, as well as planting of alternative trees for lichen which may be adversely affected by ash dieback.  Public consultation for the management plans will continue until the end of March and it was anticipated that the new plans would be in place by the end of April.  The management plans are kept fluid and is also dependant on budget availability.  Pathwork is ongoing in the Balmacaan area and while the paths will remain open for public use, the car park will be closed for storage of materials, signage will be in place.  Path maintenance and repair work will then continue in the Cover and thereafter at Abriachan.  It was noted that areas of the Cover had an accumulation of felled trees which was unsightly.  Ross confirmed that some felled trees had been dragged back into the woodland to keep path areas clearer, but given the special designation of the area it was not possible to remove wood for timber.  Ross also advised that he would be meeting with members of Ness Fisheries Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage to consider those trees which are currently lying in the river.  GUCC thanked Ross for all his work and in particular the significant progress with path maintenance.

7. Development in Drumnadrochit

Alan Dickson, Architect for Rural Design, on behalf of R House Building Contractors was welcomed to the meeting.  The planning application for the first phase of private housing on the Loch Ness Homes site was currently live, and this would be the second large development for R House, who are based in Skye, and construct prefabricated houses (built on Skye).  The first phase is for 24 houses made up of 20 semi-detached houses and 4 single storey houses.  The mix of houses will change for each phasing on the site, with the overall development providing an approximate 50:50 split of semi-detached and single storey housing.  The houses would be of a simple design with a focus on weather proofing and heat efficiencies.  They will be primarily render finish but include an element of larch cladding.  Houses will be 10% larger than standard houses and include utility room and porch.  The houses will not be customised but 3 different internal layout options will be offered.  The houses will be heated by ground source heating and whole house ventilation, options for photovoltaic and wood burners will also be included.   The construction pace of the infrastructure will determine the rate of build, and the site compound currently in use will be taken over by R House.  The company employs mostly local (to Skye) employees and GUCC would strongly encourage the contractor to consider offering local apprenticeships for this development.  It was confirmed that Loch Ness Homes and Bracewell Stirling as their architects, will have overall responsibility for landscaping and open/green space.

Mr Dickson confirmed that he was not familiar with the build phasing element of the Local Plan which was a condition of the whole development and GUCC reiterated that while they had not commented on the planning application for the actual houses, they had reiterated that the development complies fully with the Local Plan and the conditions applied to the site.  Mr Dickson confirmed that he would seek further information on this and report back to GUCC.  It was also noted that the Community Liaison Group was fully active and should also be consulted and kept informed of developments and progress with the site.  Mr Dickson was thanked for his attendance and presentation to the meeting.

8. Flood Prevention Project

No update available.

9. Loch Ness Homes

It was noted that the construction of the roundabout was progressing well.  The footpath had been extended from the bus stop on the church side of the road to meet with the crossing on the opposite side of the road, and this was a welcome addition to the works.

10. Supported Housing Project

Development is on schedule, and assuming the funding applications go to plan it was anticipated that construction would start in June with completion scheduled for February 2019.

11. Renewables

It was noted that consultants Beyond Green were working with community representatives to establish priorities in producing a community energy plan.  

Fraser Mackenzie was welcomed to the meeting on behalf of Soirbheas.  He advised that details relating to grants paid to the community could be found on the Soirbheas website.

12. Roads

It was noted that some pothole repair work had been undertaken locally but that further maintenance was required.  The overtaking straight at Alt Saigh and the area alongside Loch Dochfour were scheduled for re-surfacing but Margaret Davidson would encourage GUCC and members of the community to report other areas requiring work in the hope that the whole road from Drumnadrochit to Inverness could be considered for re-surfacing.  It was noted that the side roads from the A831 and pavements within Drumnadrochit also required maintenance / clearing of grit and debris.  Action – Margaret Davidson

13. Planning Applications

18/00165/FUL – Erection of Pharmacy with residential accommodation above, land 80m SE of The Surgery, Drumnadrochit – it was noted that accommodation was not included in the original plan and GUCC had submitted a letter to the Planning Department asking for a condition of planning consent that the flat is related to pharmacy use only.  

18/00056/FUL – Erection of house and garage, installation of septic tank and soakaway, land 120m NE of Forestry Cottage, Drumnadrochit.- noted.

18/00400/FUL – Erection of house, land 15m NW of The Firs, Lewiston, Drumnadrochit – noted

18/00395/FUL – Change of use from existing disused garage and yard to caravan park and camping site, including demolition of existing garage, West End Garage, Milton, Drumnadrochit – it was agreed that a note be sent to the planners requesting clarification of the nature of the caravans using this site (ie not static / residential caravans), screening, and waste disposal.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

18/00577/PNO – Prior notification of farm-related building works, Tychat House, Temple Pier, Drumnadrochit – noted

Previous Minute Item 14.1 – it was noted that a response was awaited from the Planning Department in relation to the signage and expansion of site at Bearnock Country Centre and Hostel and a reminder should be sent.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

Polmaily House Site – it was noted that the new access to the A831 appeared not to conform to planning regulations, particularly in relation to gradient and belmouth.  Note to be sent to Planning Department.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

Highmarch B&B – a response was awaited from the Planning Department in relation to the informal sign for Highmarch B&B and a reminder should be sent.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

14. Correspondence

14.1 Highland Games Committee – a note had been received from the Games Committee noting their concern at the potential loss of car parking due to proposed housing developments.  It was agreed that this would be kept in mind at the next review of the Local Plan.

14.2 Highland Licencing Board – Variation of premises licence for Drumnadrochit Post Office, to serve alcohol to customers of the café and outside seating area.

15. Any Other Business

Scotmid Site – It was noted that an application was awaited from Scotmid for the demolition of the existing shop, and thereafter it was hoped that Highland Council would purchase the site with a view to extending the existing Council Housing and reconfiguring the layout of the parking and playpark areas.

Closed Item – Units on Health Centre Site – John Fraser requested the input of GUCC in relation to the occupancy of the unit originally designated as a dental surgery.  He had experienced difficulties in finding an occupier for this and GUCC suggested approaching NHS to seek their advice, and also liaising with the Community Consultation which was due to take place from March.  It was agreed that the site could be used for a purpose other than a dental surgery (eg vet / optician / complimentary therapies etc) provided it was within the category specified within the Local Plan.

16. Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 26th March, 8.00pm in Blairbeg Hall.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 10.00pm.