Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 26th November 2018 at 8.00pm

in the Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

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

Also present: Councillors George Cruickshank and Margaret Davidson, Ann Fraser, Gordon Findlay and Jan Bell, GURCA, Pam Poston, Glenurquhart Care Centre, Alec MacLeod and Martin MacPherson, FCS, and 4 members of the public.  

Apologies: Councillor Helen Carmichael.

1. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting on 22nd October 2018 were approved as a correct record (David Fraser / Ken Fraser) with the note that both the Chair and John Duncan left the meeting for discussion of item 13, the chair was then taken by David Fraser.

2. Matters arising from minutes

Item 2 - Cnoccan Burraidh – David Fraser advised that he was hoping to submit a grant application in mid December.

3. Treasurer’s Report

Peter Macdonald reported that the balance sits at £3604.02 with £7.50 paid in hall rent since the last meeting.  £754.02 is available as usable funds, with £1500 in reserve, and £1350 held for Cnocan Burraidh.  

4. Policing Update

No officer was present at the meeting, and the following report had been submitted in advance of the meeting:

Road Safety – 3 slight injury road traffic collisions, 1 Call regarding manner of driving of vehicles, 1 Speeding offence, 1 vehicle detected with no insurance, 4 vehicles detected with no MOT, 1 attempt to pervert the course of justice.

Public Protection – 1 incident report of suspicious behaviour, 3 reports of missing persons, traced safe and well, 2 reports of assault, 1 reports of public protection offences.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – 1 report of an older child contacting an ambulance after taking controlled drugs, enquiry’s ongoing.  1 report of controlled drugs being found within licensed premises.

Crimes of Dishonesty – 1 report of theft.

Police provided advice / assistance to members of the public for all other incidents.  Drugs presentation planned with local children and ongoing engagement planned in conjunction with other agencies.

5. Forestry Commission Scotland

Alec MacLeod, Operations Manager for Highland, and Martin Macpherson, Harvesting Forester were welcomed to the meeting.  

They had received reports from colleagues in the local forest district that concerns had been noted that FCS haven’t engaged with the community regarding works scheduled to take place locally.  

The local map highlighting felling works over the next 3 years was presented to the meeting.  The scheduled works would involve an estimate extraction of 28,000 tons of timber, equating to 1100 lorries (an average of 3 per day) which would all access the forest on the south side of the Glen through the Balnain forestry entrance.  A re-planting schedule would take place 3 – 5 years after felling and fences will be repaired, this will include the fencing from Corrimonie to Delshangie which is the responsibility of FCS.  It was also confirmed that paths in Craigmonie would be reinstated and discussions were taking place with Sandra Bardwell in this regard.  It was also requested that ditches at the forest access off Buntait road be cleared.

Click on picture for larger image

6. Community Asset Transfers

Gordon Findlay advised that they were continuing to work on asset transfer initiatives in relation to the Tourist Information Centre and had held very productive meetings with Highland Council.  Trustees were happy with the business plan, and a formal asset transfer application was being prepared.  Thereafter the group would begin to look at possible funding options.  It was noted that the Visit Scotland tenancy for the Tourist Information Centre ends on 18th April 2019 and any transfer would be from 19th April.  It was also noted that there are other interested parties in this property, aside from the community, and Highland Council will be obliged to accept the best deal they are offered.  Thanks were passed to Gordon for all his work and negotiations in this area.

It was noted that the Urquhart Castle Liaison Group were scheduled to meet on 28th November and Peter Macdonald will represent GUCC on this.

7. Renewables

Coben – It was agreed that it would be important for GUCC to have a representative on the Coben group, which is a subcommittee of GURCA and has been instrumental in taking forward the use of renewables and their community plan.  It was agreed also that details of the constitution and reporting process of the Coben group be passed to GUCC for clarification and to ascertain the role of John Duncan as the GUCC representative on the group.  Action – Pam Lucas

Red John Hydro Scheme – Details of this proposed scheme on the south side of Loch Ness had been received, and while it did not fall within the GUCC area, it was likely to be visible from many areas around Loch Ness.  David Fraser would be looking into the proposal and would circulate details as appropriate including details relating to changes in the community benefit process for hydro schemes.  Action – David Fraser    

Farley Estate – Information had been received regarding a possible application for a large industrial windfarm on the Farley estate, Kiltarlity however no details of this had been confirmed.   

8. Loch Ness Homes Development

It was noted that the new Scotmid shop was scheduled to open towards the end of January.  A liaison meeting with Scotmid had been scheduled and will include discussion of plans for the existing shop.  It was confirmed that there should have been a crossing installed across the A82 however this hadn’t been enforced on the developers, and Highland Council Planning Department were currently pursuing this issue with Transport Scotland as a matter of urgency given the imminent opening of the new shop.

9. Springfield Development

No update.

10. GCP

Pam Poston was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update:

- The centre has 38 users on their records at the present, with 16-18 people attending per day.  Ongoing contact was held with NHS Highland Social Work Department for updates on referrals.

- A flyer promoting services available through the Centre had been circulated locally however this had not yet resulted in any additional users.

- The Carers Information Group had been poorly attended and was therefore being remodelled as a group open to any members of the community, not just carers.  The group meets on the last Thursday of each month from 10am to 12 noon and future meetings will include interactive talks from Age Concern, and from Police Scotland re scams / internet awareness.

- The Centre are keen to increase their pool of volunteers and would welcome anyone with occasional or regular free time to contact the Centre.  The Scottish Ballet would be holding a workshop with service users and volunteers to help with this session would be very welcome.  

- Work is being scheduled to maintain the outside equipment, new chairs have been purchased, and a deep clean is scheduled.  The website is being updated and will go live in the next month.

- A new apprenticeship scheme is available through the Centre and the team are hoping this will be filled by a young person (16 – 24 year old) from the local community.

- The Office Manager has resigned her position and this is not being re-advertised, but will be added to the General Manager’s role.

- 36 Referrals for the supported housing had been received and applications will now be sent to all of those who wish to apply, with a closing date of 7th December.

- The AGM is scheduled for Wednesday 28th November at 7pm.  The next Friends of the Centre coffee morning will be held on 8th December.

- It was noted that overnight respite has required a temporary variation to the contract with NHS for providing this service.  This will be an occasional service for which the Centre will be hoping to recruit additional staff.

11. NHS / Patient Participation Group

David Fraser advised that discussions regarding the relocation of local services was ongoing with a 4 year programme for additional services to GP contracts and new services at surgeries.  Pharmotherapy (a pharmacist supporting the GP, from within the Health Centre, to ensure the right balance of medication on an individual basis) was the latest initiative under discussion.  Drumnadrochit and Dingwall had trialled the self-referral for physiotherapy scheme, this had had a 100% positive response rate, and will be rolled out across the whole of Highland.  The NHS were trying to take a flexible approach with these developments which would vary depending on locations, while ensuring an equitable service to communities.

Further Patient Participation Group meetings were scheduled and it was hoped that a newsletter would be circulated before the January meeting.

12. Roads

A831 – David Fraser advised that he had contacted the Highland Council regarding the problems associated with the new slippery surface on Culnakirk and had been assured that the surface is satisfactory.  It was agreed that it is important to keep a record of any incidents involving this section of road, arising as a result of the road surface, and to report these to the Roads Department.  

A82 – GUCC were pleased to note that the rock armour at the Clansman has now been removed.  Repairs around the manhole on Drum bridge had been undertaken and Bear Scotland were looking at removing obsolete signage around village.  The damaged parapet on Drum bridge was still awaiting repair.  It was noted that there had been confusion between Bear Scotland and Highland Council regarding ownership of the wall along the A82 at Druimlon, it was confirmed that this did indeed belong to Highland Council and David Fraser would contact them again to request repair of the broken section which was unsafe in parts. Action – David Fraser

Village Footpaths – Confirmation had been received from Highland Council that footpaths around the village would be gritted by 5pm each day, and on weekends by 5pm on the Monday.  

13. Planning Applications

18/04785/FUL – Installation of dormer window and removal of velux, Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge, East Lewiston – noted


14.  Correspondence
No correspondence other than previously circulated to members.

15. Any Other Business

Water Mains – Ken Fraser advised that Balbeg in particular was experiencing ongoing water problems
caused by numerous bursts in the system due to the old pitch fibre pipe in use.  It was agreed that this
be notified to Scottish Water and a response requested.
Action – David Fraser

Blairbeg Hall Let – Members were concerned to note that Blairbeg Hall had been let on Armistice Sunday,
and had resulted in the Minister’s road being blocked, and parking issues for church goers.  It was hoped
that this had been an oversight on this occasion and those responsible for letting the hall should be
reminded that the use of the hall on a Sunday should be restricted during church times.

16. Details of Next Meetings

Details of 2019 meeting were noted as below, with all meetings commencing at 8.00pm:

Monday 28th January  Craigmonie Centre

Monday 25th February Balnain Hall

Monday 25th March   Blairbeg Hall

Monday 22nd April  Craigmonie Centre

Monday 27th May  Balnain Hall

Monday 24th June AGM Blairbeg Hall

July    no meeting

Monday 26th August  Craigmonie Centre

Monday 23rd September  Balnain Hall

Monday 28th October   Blairbeg Hall

Monday 25th November Craigmonie Centre

December    no meeting

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.00pm.