Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 29th April 2019 at 8.00pm

in the Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

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

Also present: Councillors George Cruickshank and Margaret Davidson, Tim Stott, Highland Council, Liam Matheson and Alex MacLeod, Forestry & Land Scotland, Gordon Findlay, GURCA, Gillian Skinner, Chamber, Fraser Mackenzie, Soirbheas, and 10 members of the public including representatives from Strathglass and Fort Augustus Community Councils.

Apologies:  Peter Macdonald, Stuart Ross, Stevie Anderson, Police Scotland and Councillor Helen Carmichael.

Chairing duties are currently being shared between Pam Lucas and David Fraser.

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the meeting on 25th March 2019 were approved as a correct record (Fiona Urquhart / Ken Fraser).

3. Matters arising from minutes
Item 3 - Wellington Bomber Layby Plaque – As the layby is currently still closed off, this item cannot be progressed as yet.

Item 3 – Glen Urquhart signage on the A82 – ongoing

Item 3 - Old Kilmore Car Park, Campervan Parking and Litter – David Fraser had met with representatives from Loch Ness 360 and Highland Council and the group had agreed to escalate the issue of overnight parking and litter, as these problems are not restricted to the locality of Drumnadrochit.  In the meantime it was agreed to erect a noticeboard, advice on other local facilities, and signage relating to parking and litter in the car park at Old Kilmore. This will be discussed with Tulloch.  Action – David Fraser

Item 6 - Drumnadrochit Flood Protection Scheme – David Fraser advised that he had written to Highland Council advising of the GUCC and community support of the proposed works.  

Item 8 – Street Lighting and Milton Survey – A letter had been drafted and David Fraser would be meeting with Margaret Davidson to finalise the letter, and thereafter it was hoped to issue the survey towards the end of May.  Action – David Fraser

Item 13 - Glen Urquhart Care Project – It was noted that the Centre is currently recruiting for a Fundraiser, and further details on this position could be sought from Pam Poston.

Item 18 - Parking at Cobbs Bakery – David Fraser had spoken with Fraser Campbell who had advised that he would request that his staff park in such a manner as to avoid congestion in the vicinity of the bakery.

4. Treasurer’s Report
Peter Macdonald had tendered his apologies for the meeting but had reported that the balance remains at £96.77 usable funds with £1400 in reserve.  GUCC also currently hold £19,900 on behalf of the Cnocan Buraidh project in the bank account.  

5. Policing Update
Apologies had been received from Stevie Anderson, the new Officer for the area, who had been unable to attend a GUCC meeting as yet due to staff shortages.  The following report had been submitted in advance of the meeting:  

Road Safety – 1 MOT offence.
Public Protection – 3 Minor acts of vandalism.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – No incidents of note.
Crimes of Dishonesty – No incidents of note.

6. Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan
Tim Stott, Highland Council, was welcomed to the meeting, and provided the following update:

- The review of the current plan will begin soon, and now is an ideal opportunity to submit views and land use based ideas.  Comments are generally submitted by developers and agents, but also community groups.
- A call for sites process will run for 6 weeks over the summer, again, it is mostly land owners or agents who submit responses during this period, focussing on bigger sites (10 houses or more) and development proposals.  All the comments received will be made available on the Highland Council website.  Thereafter a Main Issues Report will be produced, and signed off by 3 Highland Council committees, this will happen towards the end of the year, or early next year, and Community Councils are invited to comment and feedback on this and the proposals within it.  
- Every main village within the Development Plan is assigned its own map, with indications of areas where the Council thinks new developments should go.  It is very important that Community Councils get involved at an early stage, and think about the principles, and the form these take, and submit comments at an early stage.  This map will also include areas which should be safeguarded from development.  
- Any proposed areas for development involve liaison with public agencies thus ensuring growth is co-ordinated.  
- There has to be a balance between facilities and amenities, commercial and community elements, and housing, all of these things go hand in hand.  
- When organisations apply for funding for new developments there is usually an assurance sought that these are in compliance with the Council’s Local Development Plan, and so it is important that any community developments bear this in mind.   
- By the end of next year there will be a procedure for formal objections.  Neighbour notifications will be sent out to any properties directly affected by proposals.  There will be an independent hearing of any objections with a government appointed reporter in charge of this.  
- Review of the Development Plan is a long drawn out process and involves a lot of consultation, and communities are encouraged to engage throughout the entire process.  
- All the details are available through the Highland Council.  It is preferred that materials are accessed and comments submitted online.  Details can be found through searching “IMFLDP” (Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan).  
- Details are included via main village plans for larger villages, which are generally the areas where there will be planned growth, and the smaller areas are covered in “other settlements”.  Developer Requirements are listed and are available in advance of any planning applications.  
- There is a legal right / opportunity for communities to produce their own land use plans if they are not content with the Council’s Local Plan.  The Housing in the Countryside Policy for areas out-with the boundary of a large town, includes a set of criteria on whether housing applications are approved or not, and will be reviewed internally by Highland Council over the summer.  
- The Hinterland Policy, and the boundary of this is being reviewed and provides another opportunity for communities to fine tune the existing boundary.  
- There is currently a Planning Bill going through parliament proposing a change from 5 years to 10 years for review of Development Plans.
- Highland Council will be asking Community Groups to advise of improvements needed, eg schools, water systems, roads, health centres etc, and in doing so consideration should be given to what sort of growth, and where, is needed.  It is likely that the future pattern of growth around the Inner Moray Firth will be concentrated around the urban areas.  

David Fraser raised the following points with regards to the GUCC area:
- There is a hangover from current local plan, resulting in a lot of development in the pipeline in Drumnadrochit.  
- The limit for the rate of build is important.  The Loch Ness Homes development had complied with the original plan, but now this is failing to deliver what the community is expecting as the number of houses has increased significantly.  The community had been content with the number of houses allocated to the land being proposed for the Springfield development however the wording of the Local Plan is such that this is open to challenge by the developer.  The Local Plan should not have clauses within it which mean that developers can do their own thing, making it difficult for the community to have faith in the rigour of it.  The Local Plan should deliver what people expect.  
- Issues are arising around Balnain with development creep, and the Local Plan is not delivering in this regard.  Again there is a discrepancy between what the community expect in compliance with the plan, and what the reality is.  
- Clarity on whether the next development plan will be for 5 or 10 years is required.
- It would be helpful if applications for housing in the countryside are considered in a balanced way with Highland Council’s Tree Officer.

Further discussion included the following points:
- When the Call for Sites bids are received they are sent to SEPA, SNH, Historic Scotland, Scottish Water etc for comment and written views are received from all agencies.
- It is difficult for communities to know if amenities eg sewage works, schools etc are nearing capacity or not.  It is Highland Council’s intention to published capacity information via a dashboard system which the community can access and feed in to.
- It would be good to request feedback on the process and the application of the current Local Plan to each village in the Ward area as an information sharing exercise.
- It would be sensible to place the upgrade of the A82 as a priority in advance of approving further development of the communities it serves.  It was confirmed that Transport Scotland have commenced a 10 year review and acknowledge safety issues with particular junctions, but advise that road width and volume of traffic are not an issue, especially since a large proportion of the traffic is not all year round.   The A82 is not likely to compete well against other A road upgrade schemes.  This should then be considered alongside the Local Plan, and in this regard perhaps more of the growth should be directed within the city boundary.  

Thanks were passed to Tim for his time in attending the meeting and providing this update.  Thanks were also passed to those members who had attended from other community councils, who left the meeting following discussion of this agenda item.

7. Forestry Update
Liam Matheson and Alex MacLeod, Forestry and Land Scotland (formerly Forestry Commission Scotland) were welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update on works within the GUCC area:

- Most of the recent operations have been focussed on the Drumnadrochit end of the Glen.  Works in Craigmonie have been behind schedule, although the bulk of the felling work has been completed.  It was confirmed that a site visit had taken place within the last week, and conditions had improved, so it was hoped that work would recommence soon, with the hope of completion before the summer period, including the reinstatement of the paths.  It was noted that there was shared management of the woodland in this area, and the community side of this has been in suspension over several months, with a wish not to lose the enthusiasm of the local volunteers involved.  
- Work at the far end of Glen Coiltie, and above Drumclune has been completed.  There remains work to deal with windblow near Delshangie and an area near Shenval.  Paths will be reinstated post harvesting.  It was also noted that the Delshangie bridge was in need of repair, and while this route was not used for the extraction of timber, it was agreed that FLS would look at the possibility of repair work.
- It was recognised that the haulage of timber on the public road network had caused problems locally, including volume and speed of lorries.  It was confirmed that the hauliers have been spoken with regarding this and it was acknowledged that there had been much fewer problems of late.  It was also noted that timber prices are high at the moment, resulting in a lot of private work also being undertaken.
- It was confirmed that an inspection had taken place on the condition of the forest roads as the overlaying of large material to upgrade the roads for timber haulage had resulted in a poor surface for leisure use.  It was confirmed that grading and rolling work to repair problem areas would be undertaken over the summer.  

Thanks were passed to both Alex and Liam for their attendance at the meeting.

8. Community Asset Transfers

Gordon Findlay advised that work was continuing on the community ownership of the Tourist Information building.  Highland Council had requested that the proposals be delayed for 6 months until community support can be established.  A meeting is scheduled with Highland Council this week in the hope of establishing an interim plan, and a short term lease.  Discussions are still taking place with George Simpson and potential funders.  

9. Loch Ness Homes Development
David Fraser advised that he has been in communication with Scotmid regarding the re-development / sale of the old shop site, and they had advised that there is a potential purchaser for re-development of the whole site.  David flagged up the proximity to the shinty field and the community preference for a land swap with the adjacent Highland Council site, and it was agreed that a request be made to Scotmid that this information is passed directly to the potential developer.  It was also noted however that Highland Council has submitted a bid for this site, and it was very much hoped that they were the developer to which Scotmid were referring, and further information / continued discussions would be sought from Scotmid.  Action – Margaret Davidson and David Fraser

10. Springfield Development
Notification had been received from Highland Council Planning Department advising that Springfield Development would be submitting a revised planning application, and as this would be a resubmission, and not a new application, there would be no official requirement for the developer to have a further public consultation.  However the Planning Department have recommended that a consultation is held, and GUCC would also contact Springfield supporting this recommendation.  If this does not take place GUCC will lead on ensuring as broad a consultation as possible is held.

11. NHS / Patient Participation Group
David Fraser advised that the group had met recently and had discussed a Dementia Friendly Community and equality of access for all, and hoped to arrange a workshop to explore this further.  Snagging issues with the Health Centre had also been discussed.  

12. Planning Applications
19/01404/FUL – Siting of residential caravan, land to East of Milton Croft, Milton – noted

19/01502-FUL – Demolition of barn and erection of house, Pittyvaich, Strathnacro –note re proximity to road to be sent to Planning Department Action – Fiona Urquhart

19/01666/FUL – Extension to Rowans, Balnain – noted

19/01680/FUL – Construction of trail, Land 30m SW of Millness Cottage, Corrimony – noted

19/00946/FUL – Installation of solar panel array, Millness Croft, Glenurquhart – noted

10/01085/FUL – Erection of triple garage with additional store room, Millness Croft, Glenurquhart – noted

Childcare Centre – David Fraser advised that he and Margaret Davidson would be meeting with staff at the Childcare Centre to discuss their premises capacity and 10 year plan.

13.  Roads

A831 Road Width - David Fraser advised that he had contacted Highland Council regarding the section of road between Upperton road end and the Episcopal Church, and the number of instances where large vehicles have mounted the verge when passing each other.  This had also included a recent instance where the school bus had gone onto the verge.   John Taylor, Highland Council had advised that the road widths had been measured and were in the range of 5.3 to 5.8 metres, and Highland Council were of the view that from a road safety perspective these were adequate and they would not be looking to take action to widen this road.  Since the meeting, David Fraser had responded to John Taylor advising that while the road had been widened in the 1960s, the size of vehicles has increased since then, and buses (2.5m wide) / wood lorries (2.55m wide) passing each other would leave a gap of approximately 0.3m.  This measurement does not take into account the increased width to include wing mirrors, bends on the road, speed of vehicles, and whether the centre white line is accurately centred, and requested that the decision regarding road width be reviewed, and consideration be given to interim safety measures such as additional warnings and speed restrictions.  A response to this communication had been received from John Taylor advising that the traffic figures for the area are relatively low in comparison to many other narrower roads carrying more traffic, but that they would see if any measures could be put in place for improving road markings and signage.   

Pitkerrald Road – Issues caused by water flowing down the road and over the top of the speed bump had been reported to Highland Council.

A82 – David Fraser advised that Transport Scotland have instructed Bear Scotland to carry out a CCTV survey of the flooding at the Fire Station and Dr Sutherland’s house in an attempt to establish why these areas do not have the capacity that they should.  It was recognised that the water runs along the A82 from the old Scotmid area and it was hoped that any work on the Springfield development would include Scottish Water upgrading the drains in this area.

A82 Drum Bridge – footpaths need to be swept to remove grit and debris.  Action – David Fraser to report

A833 Culnakirk – It was noted that the potholes on Culnakirk have been filled, however the drains were badly blocked causing water to run down the width of the road leaving debris and gouging out verges.

Kilmore Road Junction with A82 – Donnie Fraser advised that he would cut back vegetation in the field which was restricting the sightlines for accessing the A82 from Kilmore Road.   

14. Correspondence
No correspondence beyond what had been circulated to members.

18. Any Other Business
Cnoc an Eas Anemometer – John Duncan advised that the test period for the anemometer had now expired.  It was agreed that David Fraser would contact the Highland Council to request that they contact the developer to arrange its removal.  Action – David Fraser

Community Christmas Trees – The local press had included an article in which it had been reported that Highland Council would not be supplying any Christmas trees to local communities this year.  It was agreed that direct notification from Highland Council would be helpful.  Action – Margaret Davidson

Great Glen Way Cattle – Reports had been received that there were cows on a section of the Great Glen Way, and it was noted that the Access Officer was addressing this issue with the owner.  

Public Transport Survey – It was noted that a Public Transport Survey would be undertaken as part of the Local Energy Plan, and that this would be based in the library.  Details were yet to be confirmed however anyone with a view on public transport is encouraged to engage with this survey.

19. Details of Next Meetings
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 27th May at 8.00pm in Balnain Hall.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.45pm.