Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 24th September 2018 at 8.00pm

in Balnain Hall, Glen Urquhart

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

Also present: Councillor George Cruickshank, Susan Clark, GCD, PC Anderson, Police Scotland, and 6 members of the public.  

Apologies: Stuart Ross, Councillors Margaret Davidson and Helen Carmichael and Gillian Skinner.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting on 27th August 2018 were approved as a correct record (John Duncan / Ken Fraser).

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 13 - Your Cash, Your Choice Scheme – details now available online.  GUCC would encourage community groups to attend this event and make a bid for funding support.

Item 13 - Highland Small Communities Development Trust – Pam Lucas attended this conference, which had been a very worthwhile event.

Item 13 - Community Council Scheme Review Questionnaire – Pam Lucas has submitted a response on behalf of GUCC.

Item 13 - Kirking of the Council – Ken Fraser attended on behalf of GUCC, this had been a good event however it was felt that security officers marching in front of the pipe band seemed unnecessary and somewhat spoilt the appearance of the event for spectators.

4. Treasurer’s Report

Peter MacDonald reported that the available balance currently sits at £1908.00, this comprises £758 of usable funds and £1000 in reserve with £150 also in reserve for Cnocan Burraidh.  No payments had been made since the last meeting.  £1,000 had been received on behalf of the Cnoc an Burraidh project bringing the total set aside to £1150.  The Highland Council grant of £543.51 had also been received, this represented a 58% cut from previous years.  It was proposed to transfer £500 from the grant to reserves so that future Councils will have funding to keep them operational.  This would leave £801.51 operating funds for this council and £1500 in reserve.  Members approved this proposal.  

5. Policing Update

PC Anderson was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update.

Road Safety - 1 Non injury road traffic collision, no offences.  3 Calls regarding manner of driving.  2 Road traffic offences.

Public Protection - 4 Reports of a concern for person, traced safe and well and taken to a place of safety.  3 Reports of threatening and abusive behaviour, enquiries ongoing.  1 Report of culpable and reckless behaviour.  2 Reports of neighbour disputes.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse - 1 Incident of substance misuse, report submitted.

Crimes of Dishonesty - No incidents of note.

With regards to the car which had been stolen from Milton, it was confirmed that this has since been recovered, forensic examination was taking place and Police Scotland were continuing to investigate.

6.  GCP – Homecare Update
Margaret Davidson had advised that there were still problems accessing homecare in Abriachan and she would continue to pursue this issue.

Supported Housing - update on progress & fundraising / shortfall

Susan Clark was welcomed to the meeting and advised that the 12 houses had been constructed up to foundation level, and the first kits would be arriving this week.  A further bronze age burial kist had been found, this includes engraving and would be likely to go through treasure trove process and become a museum piece, costs are involved in this process and Susan was looking at funding sources to support this.  The cap stone found in an earlier kist will be included as a feature in walling within the site.

Susan advised that the total cost of construction was £1.637m, to date £794k funding had been received from the Scottish Government Rural Housing Fund, £100k from SSE Highland Sustainable Communities Development Fund, and £100k from Wolfson Foundation.  A loan of up to £485k had been approved from Social Investment Scotland.  To date £27k has been raised through the local appeal, which is still running, and donations can be made via JustGiving or by handing a cheque into the Centre.  This leaves a £105k funding gap including £77k of contingency.  Further funding applications have been made to the Quaker Housing Trust and Soirbheas and it was hoped to hear the outcomes of these applications soon.  A further application will be made to the Scottish Hydro Charitable Trust, for electrical connections, and if successful this could amount to £3k.  If these applications are successful, this would leave a gap of around £53k.  Further applications will also be made to the Highland Cross, and Macleod & Maccallum Small Grants Appeal.  If all the remaining grant applications are successful, this would leave a shortfall of approximately £5k if all the contingency is required.  GCP have made the decision to be last resort funder.  The more funds which can be raised through grants and donations would reduce the need to borrow so much from Social Investment Scotland, the repayment period for which is 10 years.  Once the construction stage is complete it would be the intention to re-mortgage with a more cost effective lender.

Clarification was sought as to how much GCP had invested in the project up to now and it was confirmed that £65k had been invested from GCP reserves.  This was a decision which had been taken by the Board of Directors.  Funders for a project such as this generally expect the charity to contribute funds in order to demonstrate their commitment to the project, and therefore the Directors of GCP had made this decision.  Susan was unable to confirm how much capital remained in GCP reserves, and GUCC would seek an assurance that the security of the Centre has not been compromised through the transfer of these reserves.  Susan advised that once the houses were complete these will be owned by GCP, income generated from the houses would be used to repay the loan and GCP were considering the possibility of becoming a registered social landlord which would reduce the requirement for an external body to manage the houses.

The question was posed as to why a decision was not made to build fewer houses, given that the full funding requirements were not in place.  Susan advised that to do this would incur construction vehicle mobilisation costs by doing a second phase and the intention was to try and limit the overall costs of the project by doing it all in one fix.

Susan confirmed that she had stood down as a Director of GCP and was now working in a business management capacity for GCP, this role was in addition to Project Manager of the supported housing construction.  

There was comment that it would have been helpful if some of the GCP Directors had been in attendance at this meeting in order that further questions could be answered.  Susan advised that any additional questions could be passed to the Directors who would be meeting later in the week.  In this regard GUCC would seek an assurance from Directors that the security of the Centre has not in any way been compromised through the funding of the housing project and that GCP had sufficient reserves in place; and how GCP minutes can be accessed.  Action – Pam Lucas.

Susan was thanked for her attendance and update on the project.

7.  NHS – Relocation of Local Services
No update available although David Fraser advised that he was hoping for an informal meeting in next couple of weeks.  The next Patient Participation Group meeting was scheduled for 4th October.

8. Asset Transfers
Progress had been made around the proposed asset transfer for the Urquhart Castle car park and visitor centre and Tourist Information Centre.  The Tourist Information Centre is scheduled to close in its present form at the end of October, although notice has not yet been submitted.  GUCC were in agreement that it is important to get these arrangements right and it might be necessary to embark on one of a range of temporary solutions for the Tourist Information Centre to retain ownership while a more permanent plan is developed.

9.  Cnocan Burraidh
David Fraser advised that the Steering Group had met last week and had agreed to invite Historic Environment Scotland to be a formal partner in the funding application process, they have already agreed to committing expertise and monetary support to the project.  The grant application is to be made to the National Lottery, the current round of which is open until December, with a further round opening for applications thereafter.   If successful, there will be some early work undertaken dismantling walls and railings and subsequently tenders for repair work.  It is hoped this would take place in spring 2019, with repairs over the summer.  GUCC thanked David for his continuing work on this project which was turning into a really significant initiative, and would be an important site of interest in the village, fitting with the Heritage Trail which the Chamber of Commerce are keen to promote.

10. Flood Prevention Project
David Fraser had written to the flood team to request an update, and had received a reply advising that there had been some programme slippage, however they hoped to submit drawings to Highland Council planning committee in November, if this goes to schedule they would still hope to make a start on the main scheme next year.  GUCC would hope to see the drawings once submitted and therefore revisit this at the November GUCC meeting.

11. Loch Ness Homes Development
The Liaison Group had met last week.  GUCC were pleased to note that some of the houses were now occupied.  The new shop is scheduled to open end of February 2019 and the existing shop will remain open until then.

Loch Ness Homes are still considering passing an area of land at the back of the new shop site and the old part of new Kilmore over for extension to the cemetery.  If that land can be secured the Highland Council cemeteries team would take it over and manage it.  David Fraser was also scheduled to meet with John Fraser regarding possible community transfer of an area of Blairbeg Woods.

GUCC were in agreement with the proposed street names for Skye Builder houses – “Carn Glas” and “Carrier’s Croft” (after the nickname of the family who owned some of the development land). These names will be passed on to the developer.

12. Springfield Development
It was expected that a decision on the planning application would be known soon.  GUCC had objected to the application, and would hope that the development would be refused as it does not comply with the local plan.

13. Renewables
The Soirbheas Green Living day was scheduled for 29th September.  Local groups can attend this event to promote their activities.  Pam advised that she would send GUCC details for inclusion and any GUCC members available can attend the event.

14. Roads
A831 - It was noted that the clearing of vegetation around the Beauly sign on the A831 was scheduled to take place this week, and bush whacking on the A831 will be done this autumn.

Potholes at Milton and Polmaily straight should be reported for repair.  Action – George Cruickshank

A82 - David Fraser advised that he had sent a reminder that work was still required on the wall grouting on Drum Bridge.  It was noted that work had begun on repairing the sunken potholes and it was hoped that this would also continue through Drum village.  David Fraser had also enquired about resurfacing of Nursery corner, and was awaiting a response.  It was anticipated that the 30mph limit was due to be extended through the whole of Drum imminently.  

Margaret Davidson had advised that the Roads Department have committed to carrying out gritting of the A831 on Saturday and Sunday, not as frequently as weekdays, but it will be done, which would be a significant improvement on last winter.  A map indicating which of the side roads are included in the gritting route will be added to the minutes when available.  A request was also made for grit piles to be made available on side roads.  Action – Margaret Davidson  

There were ongoing issues at the Clansman Hotel with motorhomes reversing onto the main A82 road and it was noted that Margaret Davidson would be speaking to Fraser Campbell about this and the parking problems at Cobbs.  Action – Margaret Davidson

A reminder to be sent advising that the rock armour has yet to be removed from opposite the Clansman.  Action – David Fraser

Problems were being encountered with cars parking in Balmacaan Road, St Drostans and Pitkerrald Road during school pick up and drop off time causing a narrowing of the roads, and it was agreed that a 20mph limit on the routes that lead to the school should be requested.  Action – David Fraser

15. Planning Applications
18/04123/PIP – Erection of house (renewal of 15/00581/PIP) Uibhist, Milton, Drumnadrochit – noted

16.  Correspondence
Glen Urquhart Bulletin – a note had been received from Fraser Mackenzie advising that the 2018 Bulletin was selling well and in profit, and encouraging the sale of the remaining copies.

17. Any Other Business
No items discussed.

18. Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 22nd October at 8.00pm in Blairbeg Hall.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9pm.