Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 28th January 2019 at 8.00pm

in the Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

Present: David Fraser (Chair), Peter Macdonald, Ken Fraser, Fiona Urquhart (Planning Secretary), John Duncan, and Val Cooper (Secretary)

Also present: Councillor George Cruickshank, Garry Smith, Highland Council, Morag Fraser, Caledonian Concepts, Gordon Findlay, GURCA, Pam Poston, Glenurquhart Care Centre, and 5 members of the public.  

Apologies: Councillors Margaret Davidson and Helen Carmichael, Pam Lucas, Stuart Ross, Fraser Mackenzie and Gillian Skinner.

David Fraser welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted best wishes to Pam for a good recovery.

1. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the meeting on 26th November 2018 were approved as a correct record (Ken Fraser / Peter Macdonald).

2. Matters arising from minutes

Item 2 - Cnocan Buraidh – David Fraser advised that he was awaiting the outcome of the grant application, and hoped to hear within the next week.

3. Treasurer’s Report

Peter Macdonald reported that the secretary’s honorarium, website renewal and hall rent had been paid since the last meeting.  The balance currently sits at £2934.27, comprising £84.27 usable funds, £1350.00 held for Cnocan Buraidh, and £1500.00 in reserve.  It was hoped that the remaining usable sum should be sufficient to see GUCC through to the financial year without having to encroach on the reserve funds.

4. Policing Update

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

Road Safety – 1 call regarding manner of driving of vehicles, 1 road traffic matter – hazard, 2 road traffic offences – speeding, 1 road traffic offence – seatbelt, and 1 road traffic offence – miscellaneous.  

Public Protection – 1 report of suspicious persons, 4 disorder offences, 1 concern for person call – traced safe and well, 1 vandalism, and 3 reports of public protection offences.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – 1 person found with drugs to the value of approximately £155,000.  

Crimes of Dishonesty – 1 report of vandalism with report sent to the Procurator Fiscals office this was not related to youths.  

Police Scotland would like to remind members of the public that they are committed to tackling the supply of controlled drugs in the Highland and Islands and proactively targeting those individuals intent on causing harm to communities.  Officers rely on the support of the public to help them take action to disrupt the drug trade, and anyone with concerns or information about drugs should contact Police Scotland at any time on 101 or call crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

There had been a request from GUCC to check if there is a correlation between the street lights going off overnight and offences in the Milton area. From checks carried out on the police reporting system these two factors do not appear to be linked.

5. Flood Protection Project, Drumnadrochit

Garry Smith, Principal Engineer, Highland Council was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update on the flood prevention scheme works behind the Post Office, along the riverside behind the houses on Drum Green, and at Kilmichael:

- The draft scheme drawings and documents would be going to the EDI Committee on the 31st January – if passed, they would then have approval to proceed to publication.

- The Highland Council’s Legal Department will be required to approve the wording of the scheme notice – this is expected to be complete and approved by the end of February.

- Minor changes to the drawings and documents might occur between now and publication.

- There will be 28 days to formally respond to the scheme notice when it is published.

- A hard copy of the documents and drawings will be available for inspection in the local Library and at Highland Council HQ in Inverness.  Soft copy will be available from the Highland Council website.

- All residents and owners / occupiers with an interest in the scheme will get a letter containing the ‘notice’.

- There will be laminated copies of the notice placed at locations in Drumnadrochit, and an advert in the local press.

- There will be a public drop-in in Drumnadrochit, from 3pm until 7pm on a date to be agreed, within the 28 day period.

- Following completion of the 28 days, a report will be prepared by officers and the scheme will go back to the EDI committee on 16th May for a decision.  This decision is then sent to the Scottish Government for deemed planning consent. This assumes there are no objections. If objections are received the procedure is slightly different and may delay the project.

- Assuming no delay, it is hoped to start construction late 2019 / early 2020.  Works pertaining to the bund at the back of the Post Office could commence during the winter, while river work is more likely to take place during the summer when the water levels are lower.

- Those directly affected by these schemes can appoint an independent agent to represent them.

- Concern was expressed that water from the hill at Kilmichael would still flood the road as the culvert under the A831is undersized. Gary confirmed that no work to the culvert was included but noted that the Kilmichael wall included flap valves to allow water to drain from the A831 once river levels abated.

Garry was thanked very much for his attendance at the meeting, and for the update he provided.

6. Etape Loch Ness 2019

Morag Fraser was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update on the 2019 event:

- Etape Loch Ness will take place on Sunday 28th April 2019.

- As per previous years the start is beside the Ice Centre (Bught Avenue) and the finish outside Inverness Cathedral with the main Event Hub being at Eden Court.

- Entries will be capped at 5,600, this is the same figure as the 2018 event.

- Entries for this year’s event comprise more riders from out with Scotland, specifically England and overseas. Of those from Scotland, there has been an increase from Aberdeen City & Shire and the central belt.

- Road closure implementation is the same as last year, with the exception being the Dores to Holm Roundabout / Finish for which Police Scotland have request a 20 minute extension to the closure.

- The organisers key consideration for any closed road event is that the route must be safe for all users (participants and non-participants), and therefore the organisers wish to continue working with the local communities to identify those people who have an essential journey to make during the closure time, and try to find a solution if possible. Any movements must be agreed in advance and have official escorts.

- The organisers continue to work with Visit Inverness Loch Ness to promote the area to participants.

- Pre Event Communication will include a flyer to 31,500 letterboxes between Inverness and Spean Bridge to advise of the event and traffic restrictions, this will take place in early April.

- Advanced warning road signs will go out approximately 10 days before the event.

- Macmillan Cancer Support will again be the official charity for the Etape. Last year riders raised over £280,000 for the charity, which takes the total to over £1million since the event began in 2014.

- As in previous years there is an opportunity for local groups to provide marshals and they should contact the organisers if they wish to be involved.

- A £1k donation will be made to the Community Council, post event to provide support for a project which will directly benefit the local community.

- The 2020 event is scheduled to take place on Sunday 26 April, the weekend before May Bank holiday.

Morag was thanked for her presentation and wished well in the organisation of another successful event.

Action - Community Council to consider how the £1k donation should be used.

7. Community Asset Transfer

Gordon Findlay advised that discussions were still taking place in relation to the Tourist Information Centre, and this involved the possibility of purchasing a Great Glen Baggage Handling company, for operation within the facility, alongside local tourist information services.  Highland Council had been supportive of the proposals however there was no guarantee that the bid would be successful, and if it were, there would still be a lot of work to be done in securing funding for the facility and the purchase of the company.

8. Renewables

No update.

9. Loch Ness Homes Development

The new Scotmid shop was now open.  David Fraser had been liaising with Transport Scotland, Highland Council and the developer about the installation of a pedestrian crossing.  Transport Scotland and Highland Council had agreed to install a puffin crossing at their earliest convenience and recover the costs of this from the developer.  

No decision had yet been made regarding the plans for the site of the original Scotmid, however it was still hoped that this area might be re-developed to include further housing and a new car parking area.  It was noted that the storage containers currently sited in the car park beside the playpark belonged to engineers undertaking heating work in the council houses on Balmacaan Road, and these would be relocated or removed within the next couple of weeks.

10. Springfield Development

No update, however while the development had been rejected, it was still within the period during which an appeal could be lodged.

11. GCP

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

- At present the Centre offers day care either through statutory referrals or privately.  They also offer a laundry Service, Domestic Service and drop in lunch.  

- Initiatives are underway to introduce new projects including a handyperson scheme, home based respite, and befriending service. Feedback from the community has shown that other projects, such as a dog walking service, local on call service, meals on wheels etc may also be beneficial, and the Centre would welcome any feedback on such proposals.

- The centre has a calendar of community meetings where invited speakers give advice to carers and anyone interested in learning more about a particular charity.  These are held on the last Thursday of the month, 11am to 12pm, and everyone is warmly welcome.

31st January: Police Scotland

28th February: Age Scotland

28th March: Sight Action

- To enable the Centre to provide more services they are currently advertising for relief respite and day care staff as well as an apprenticeship placement for 3 years (which includes SVQ 2 and 3 training and driving lessons).  Anyone interested is encouraged to contact the centre for further information.

Pam was thanked very much for her attendance and update to the meeting.

12. NHS / Patient Participation Group

David Fraser advised that a Pharmacotherapy service (a pharmacist supporting the GP, from within the Health Centre, to ensure the right balance of medication on an individual basis) was now available at the surgery.  It was also noted that patients may be referred by Raigmore to the RNI for blood tests, and in circumstances where this proved particularly problematic for some patients, these tests could be carried out locally within the surgery.

13. Roads

A82 – It was noted that work was currently taking place on the re-pointing of Drum bridge, this would also include the erection of scaffolding to access the outside of the bridge in due course.  

Excess standing water remains an ongoing problem at Dr Sutherland’s house and at the Fire Station.

It was noted that the Wellington Bomber information plaque in the layby on the A82 was worn and illegible.  David Fraser advised that he would report this to Highland Council in the first instance.  Action – David Fraser

It was established that the damaged wall alongside the A82 in front of Druimlon was the responsibility of Highland Council housing department, and this had now been repaired.  It was not however the responsibility of this department to make good the access through the wall to the house nearest the fire station as this was privately owned.

A832 – Some of the off-lets on the A832 had been cleared however many were now re-blocked with leaf debris etc resulting in significant areas of standing water during wet periods.  It was suggested that this be reported on the Highland Council website in the first instance.

14. Planning Applications

18/05473/FUL – Siting of glamping pod for holiday let, Craigwell, 1 West Lewiston, Drumnadrochit – noted

18/05317/FUL – Change of use from house (class 9) to guest house (class 7), Highmarch, Balnain – noted

18/05892/FUL – Proposal to install a 17kw run of river micro hydro system, Forest Cottage, Drumnadrochit – noted

19/00003/PIP – Erection of a single storey annex to Rivermill House to provide 2no extra bed and breakfast, Rivermill House, Milton – submit note of concern that electricity supply to waste water treatment may be affected due to siting proximity to flood plain level Action – Fiona Urquhart

19/00136/FUL – Siting of a catering van (renewal of 17/00003/FUL), Fiddlers Bar, Drumnadrochit - noted

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

16. Any Other Business

16.1 Bogus Traders / Workmen – It was reported that an incident had taken place in Balnain where workmen had visited a vulnerable member of the community and had become aggressive when asked to leave.  All such instances should be reported to the Police.  

16.2 Milton Street Lighting – A request had been made to reverse the decision to switch off the Milton street lights between midnight and 6am.  This request had been discussed with Highland Council, who had advised that they would be prepared to review this, and whatever decision was reached would be final, there would not be a further opportunity to review this again in the future.  GUCC proposed therefore to survey the residents of Milton to allow for a vote on this, and it was agreed that the details of this process would be discussed in more detail as an agenda item at the meeting on Monday 25th March in Blairbeg Hall.  Action – GUCC Chair

17. Details of Next Meetings

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 25th February at 8.00pm in Balnain Hall.  

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