Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 28th May 2018 at 8.00pm

in Balnain Hall, Glenurquhart

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

Also present: Councillors George Cruickshank and Margaret Davidson, Malcolm Sutherland and Morag Fraser, Caledonian Concepts and 2 members of the public.  

Apologies: Councillor Helen Carmichael, Fraser Mackenzie, Soirbheas, David Fraser, Stuart Ross and Ken Fraser.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 23rd April 2018 were approved as a correct record (Fiona Urquhart / Peter MacDonald)

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 14 – GURCA held its open meeting: essentially the consensus following a vote on pursuing the option to look at community ownership of the tourist information centre, green space within the new development, and Urquhart Castle car park and visitor centre, was to go ahead with looking into these possibilities further.  It was reiterated that this is only the next step in a very long journey.

Item 14 – NHS moving of services from rural surgeries to the RNI in Inverness, GUCC had written to NHS Highland and received an acknowledgement.  GUCC representatives would be meeting with MSP Kate Forbes in early June to discuss this further.

4. Treasurer’s Report

Peter MacDonald reported that the balance currently sits at £2005.50 (with £1k in reserve) there had been no change since the last meeting.  Peter proposed a contribution to David Fraser to support his efforts in restoring Cnocan Burraidh (eg ground maintenance, weed killer), £150 was agreed and approved.  Request received from the Heritage Group for financial support, £50 was agreed and approved.  It was further agreed that, unfortunately, no further funding could be distributed to community groups due to the reduction in grants provided to community councils.

5. Policing Update

No representatives from Police Scotland were in attendance, however the following report had been provided in advance of the meeting:  

Road Safety – 1 driver issued conditional offers for speeding offences, 2 drivers issued conditional offers for various road traffic offences, 6 non injury road traffic collisions - no offences, 8 reports relating to driver behaviour – some drivers traced and spoken to, 1 driver reported for a road traffic offence.

Public Protection – Concern regarding youths smashing bottles in Drumnadrochit, officers attended, no trace of youths or broken bottles.  Report of youths attempting to gain access to a local business, no trace of youths.  Report of a male attending properties selling raffle tickets – no trace of anyone on Police attendance.  2 separate calls regarding concerns for persons – traced safe and well and conveyed to hospital.  2 separate calls regarding concerns for persons – traced safe and well.  Calls regarding the use of social media by youths and the language being used, police are going to engage with the youths and provide suitable advice.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – Several calls regarding youths drinking in the village of Drumnadrochit – some youths traced, alcohol seized and suitable advice given.

Crimes of Dishonesty – 1 report regarding a Paypal fraud – Enquiry ongoing, Police would remind all persons to have suitable passwords and not to provide personal details to anyone, if contacted by telephone do not disclose any details until satisfied it is legitimate.

Police would like the community to be vigilant and to say NO to persons attending at their house unannounced offering work and NO to persons looking for scrap unless relevant identification can be produced and they are happy.  If any concern please contact Police.

There is currently an ongoing problem with youths in Drumnadrochit.  Officers will be carrying out additional patrols when operationally possible to engage with the youths to prevent any criminality or disorder.

The current vacant position in Fort Augustus Police Station has been re advertised within Police Scotland and hopefully the position will be filled in the near future.

6. Etape Loch Ness – Review by Malcolm Sutherland

Malcolm Sutherland the Morag Fraser were welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update on the 2018 event:

The 2018 event had 5600 entries (5200 in 2017), the event will not increase beyond that number and has now reached the point of a comfortable capacity.

Increased numbers were recorded from outwith Scotland, and those from Scotland had increased numbers from outwith the highlands.  It was estimated that 8 out of 10 people travelling to the area were staying in paid for accommodation and using local businesses.

The closed road, location and scenery are the main factors contributing to the popularity of this event.

Macmillan is the official charity, receiving £283k from 2018 (likely to rise to over £300k), with over £1 million in 5 years of the event.  Responding to a query, the meeting was told that Marie Curie benefit from the equivalent event in Pitlochry.

Thanks were passed to the excellent local marshal teams, covering over 440 marshal tasks. The involvement of local marshals continues to work well, with the benefits of having local knowledge and strong teams with knowledge of the event contributing to the smooth running on the day.  There continues to be an ongoing debriefing process with marshal teams.  Donation schemes operate in return for marshal time, the 2018 event had made payments to Balnain Primary School, GURCA, GURCA Defibrillator Fund, Glenurquhart High School and RNLI Temple Pier. The increase in entry number had resulted in pressure being experienced by volunteers engaged in pre-race assistance with admin tasks. The meeting was told that this had been noted and would be addressed in future years.

Escorts by motorcycle marshals had operated for vital trips – 3 had been conducted within the Drumnadrochit area

The organisers would appreciate advice from GUCC re the local organisation to receive the Etape community donation – this was discussed by GUCC who were in agreement that the £1k donation be made to the Glenurquhart Care Project.  

The 2019 event will take place on 28th April 2019 (out with the Bank Holiday and Easter as per previous events)

No complaints had been received re the condition of the roads.

Thanks were passed to Malcolm and Morag for their update.

7. GCP Update on Home Care Provision / Day Centre

A meeting to discuss the current situation with home care provision was scheduled for 7pm on Wednesday 30th May and as many members of the community as possible are encouraged to attend this important event.   

8. Flood Prevention Project

No upate.

9. Loch Ness Homes

It was noted that it was the intention for the new Scotmid building to be open by October / November.  It was also anticipated that the existing building will be demolished, and plans have yet to be finalised on what might happen on this site, which is owned by Scotmid.  Previous discussions on moving the playpark to nearer the A82, extending the existing council houses, and relocating the carpark had also yet to be confirmed.

10. Supported Housing Project

It was noted that Scottish Government Rural Housing funding of £794K had been confirmed.  The other funders to which applications had been made will confirm by the end of June, and so construction will not start until then, although Compass will strip the site during June at their own risk.  

11. Renewables

A decision on Druim Bha was expected at the end of May / early June. The meeting was advised that the lengthy delay was due to the illness of the Reporter.

The Culachy Wind Farm (south east Fort Augustus) had recently been refused.  

Pam Lucas advised that a joint meeting with Soirbheas and Strathglass and Glen Urquhart Community Councils was scheduled for 8pm on Friday 1st June.  Pam Lucas and Fiona Urquhart would be attending on behalf GUCC.

John Duncan updated GUCC on the COBEN meetings, which, with input from members of the Steering Group and Ambassadors Group, had resulted in the production of a draft local energy plan which has been distributed for consultation, with comments requested by 5th June 2018.  It was expected that the final plan would be available from mid-July, after which the Steering Group will be required to establish how this will be managed by the community, and concerns were raised about how this might be implemented in practice.

12. Roads

It was noted that David Fraser had contacted David Devine at Transport Scotland regarding the outstanding work on the A82 and to pass on thanks for the work on the Cobb memorial.  The stonework is now very loose on Drum bridge, and the rock armour at Clansman not yet been removed.  It was hoped that a warning sign for the bridge would be included as part of these works.  

Margaret Davidson advised that she was currently asking for resurfacing works to be brought forward, in particular on the areas at Loch Dochfour and along Loch Ness side between Drumnadrochit and the Clansman.

Issues with the new roundabout at the health centre were discussed, it was noted that the signage is wrong and the white lines are causing confusing – remedial works were scheduled for these issues.   

It was noted that Balnain Hall Committee had arranged a litter pick from the top of Kerrowbrae to the bottom of Culnakirk and members of the community would be undertaking this task during the week commencing Monday 28th May.

13. Planning Applications

18/01701/FUL – Erection of commercial building (Classes 1, 2 & 4), land 35m south of Drumnadrochit Health Centre - GUCC had previously objected to this planning application which had included “class 1, 2 and 4 usage” and GUCC were not willing to relinquish the desire to have a dental surgery there.  It had since been confirmed that the inclusion of “class 1” had been an error and the intention was still to pursue the potential of a dentist of vet unit.  

18/01555/FUL – Change of use from former bar to Chinese Takeaway and Accommodation, Blarmore Bar, Blairbeg, Drumnadrochit – GUCC has responded with comments regarding parking, but no objection.

18/01959/FUL – Installation of surface mounted waste water treatment plant and erection of timber cabin reception building, Land to south west of Polmaily Farm, Drumnadrochit – noted.

18/01967/PIP – Erection of house, holiday accommodation (Renewal of 15/01288/PIP) – noted.

18/02024/FUL – Alterations and extension, Torran Lodge, Upper Drumbuie, Drumnadrochit – noted.

18/02043/FUL – Erection of garage, 1 Coiltie Court, East Lewiston – noted.

18/02198/PIP – Erection of house, 50 Balmacaan Road, Drumnadrochit – noted.

It was requested that Fiona Urquhart follow up previous communications with the planners regarding the access off the Glen road for the new house at Polmaily, and the informal B&B sign for Highmarch (Minute of Meeting 26th February 2018 Item 13) Action – Fiona Urquhart

14. Correspondence

Request from member of the public regarding litter around the bins at the graveyard Old Kimore, and picnic benches at Borlum Bridge area – Margaret Davidson advised that these areas should be included within the Saturday morning litter collection for layby bins etc – and this route may not yet have started for the summer period.

15. Any Other Business

Peter MacDonald had attended the RNLI opening ceremony at Temple Pier on Saturday 27th May.    

Retaining wall at Mill of Tore – in poor condition – Margaret Davidson would raise this with the Roads Department Action – Margaret Davidson

Shenval – It was noted that a fully loaded timber lorry had accessed Shenval residential area in error and while reversing out had caused significant damage to verges / garden areas, and had then got stuck on the corner at Shenval Cottage preventing vehicular access for 4 hours.  The Forestry Commission (FCS) have installed signs, but nothing preventing lorries going in to Shenval.  FCS have been asked by residents to repair the damage and to add signage for no heavy forestry vehicles / weight restriction / no through road but as yet no action had been taken.  It was agreed that GUCC contact Graham Prest the Forest Manager to request repairs.  Action – Pam Lucas  

Local Bus Service – Members of the public had been noting concerns regarding bus timetable changes.  Margaret Davidson advised that there was a Public Transport meeting scheduled and she would raise the issues associated with the services on the A82.  It was noted however that in general the D&E services were very reliable.  

Local Bulletin - At a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting it had been raised that some members of the community would like to see a bulletin in printed form.  It was noted that local information is generally available online and via social media, which has pros and cons, but regular production of a printed bulletin would require funding and committed individuals.   

Blairbeg Woods – It was noted that John Fraser had made an offer to the community regarding possible ownership of the woods on either side of the church.  GUCC were in full agreement that they would fully support this proposal. Members were reminded that this proposal  is at a very early stage of negotiation and considerable further discussion would be required.  

16. Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting and AGM was scheduled for Monday 25th June at 8.00pm in Blairbeg Hall.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.40pm.