Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 25th March 2019 at 8.00pm

in Blairbeg Hall, Drumnadrochit

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

Also present: Councillor Margaret Davidson, Pam Poston, Glen Urquhart Care Centre, Peter Roy & Gary Johnston, Gordon Findlay, GURCA, and 6 members of the public.  

Apologies:  Councillors George Cruickshank and Helen Carmichael, Stuart Ross.

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 February 2019 were approved as a correct record (Pam Lucas / Peter Macdonald).

3. Matters arising from minutes
Item 2 - Etape Community Donation – David confirmed that he has passed the donation to the Childcare Centre and has received thanks from them.

Item 2 - Wellington Bomber Layby Plaque – As the layby is currently still closed off, this item cannot be progressed as yet.

Item 11 - Roads – Drainage on A831, Highland Council confirmed that they will try and get to these.  Two of the gulleys at the top of Balmacaan Road have been cleaned and Highland Council are aware that further work will need done in due course.

Item 11 - Glen Urquhart Signage on A82 – Bear Scotland have confirmed that they will design signage, check locations, and would hope to submit a proposal to the next meeting.

Item 14 - Campervans at Clansman Hotel – David advised that Fraser Campbell had already been in touch with Transport Scotland for improvements to junction, speed limit reduction and signage, and our requests can only reinforce these.  It is looking probable that junction work and new signage will be put in place.

Item 14 - Old Kilmore Car Park – Highland Council confirmed that they would be looking at putting in a height restriction barrier, and Tullochs have said they would put in a “no overnight camping” sign if GUCC advise of the wording for this.  David confirmed that he has contacted Graham Ambrose and set up meeting for next week with Margaret Davidson and a member of the Planning Department to look at suitable signage for this location and around the Loch.

4. Treasurer’s Report
Peter Macdonald reported that since the last meeting the Community Council insurance has been renewed from 1st April 2019 at a cost of £95.00.  The balance currently sits at £96.77 usable funds with £1400 in reserve.  GUCC currently hold £19,900 on behalf of the Cnocan Buraidh project in the bank account.  This sum will be noted separately in the Accounts to be submitted to Highland Council after the June AGM.

5. Policing Update
No officer was present at the meeting, and the following report had been submitted in advance of the meeting:
Road Safety – Local officers carried out a 45 minute speed check, 1 person spoken to regarding lights.
Public Protection – 1 missing person – traced safe and well.  1 Vandalism, and 6 reports of public protection matters.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – 1 persons searched and found with controlled drugs.
Crimes of Dishonesty – 1 report of theft.

Additional Agenda Item - 19/00703/FUL – Erection of house, land 150m NE of Larisa House, Bunloit, Drumnadrochit
Peter Roy, and architect Gary Johnston, GH Johnston Building Consultants Ltd, were welcomed to the meeting and provided a courtesy update on the proposed new house at Bunloit.  This was a downsizing for Mr Roy, who had been resident in the area for 30+ years and was hoping to build a smaller house within the grounds of his existing house.  It was confirmed that the ground is privately used, and is neither commercial nor arable.  In creating a new access to the proposed site, there would be an additional layby created on the Bunloit road.  GUCC thanked Mr Roy and Mr Johnson for their attendance and update.

6. Drumnadrochit Flood Protection Scheme
David advised that a public exhibition had been held in the village and was well attended.  Residents affected by the scheme have contacted an agent to act on their behalf, and thanks were passed to Donnie Fraser for this contact.  David confirmed that he would contact Highland Council to confirm that everything is ok from a community perspective to progress with the scheme.  Action – David Fraser

7. Highland Council Community Councils Consultation
David Fraser advised that this was being revised at present, with a proposal to be ready for new Community Council elections in November.  All details can be found online.  GUCC have requested only once change, that being “Glenurquhart” to “Glen Urquhart”.

8. Street Lighting and Milton Survey
Following a request for a review of the overnight switch off of Milton street lighting, GUCC have agreed to undertake a residents survey.  David Fraser advised that he had contact the Highland Council Lighting Manager with a number of questions but was awaiting a reply.  The original switch off decision had been for a trial period, and therefore it was right that this be reviewed.  The original decision had resulted from resident preference and not Highland Council budget saving, and while there was currently no official policy in place with Highland Council, there were a number of villages within the area who were subject to the same switch off.  Highland Council have confirmed that whatever decision is reached as a result of the survey will be final, there will be no further votes, and this will be reviewed only in the circumstance of a change in policy by Highland Council.

It was agreed that there would be one vote per household, and these should be returned by post.  
Those without lights directly at their house may still benefit from lighting, and it was therefore agreed that all Milton residencies to the north side of the A831 be given the opportunity to vote.  

GUCC will administer the voting process, including the drafting of the covering letter / information, and this will be overseen by our local Counsellors.  The covering letter will include only statements which are factual and correct, and GUCC would not want any alternative information to or from residents who feel strongly for the lights to be on or off to affect this process.

David Fraser read the proposed draft covering letter, there followed a discussion on the note that First Responders had requested the lights remain on, and while historically there had been an average of more than two call outs per week, a change in First Responder policy whereby call outs are only to attend heart attacks and strokes, this had resulted in a huge reduction in callouts, and none to date in 2019.  It was also agreed that a note be added to the letter to advise that GUCC had received confirmation from the local police officer that any previously reported alleged theft / crime incidents in Milton had no connection to the street lights being off overnight.  

David advised that he would review the wording of the covering letter, and get this approved by Community Council and Highland Council prior to commencing with the survey.  Action – David Fraser

9. Community Asset Transfer
Gordon Findlay advised that community drop in sessions were held in January and these were well attended with positive responses and comments.  The group were now undertaking more detailed feasibility assessments, into the asset transfer in securing the tourist information building and the purchase of the business.  Highland Council have validated the asset transfer request, will review this and advise of a decision by the end of 6 months, however confirmation had been received that Highland Council be considering this at Committee on 16th May and advise of the decision notice at the beginning of June.  How much the asset should transfer to the community for, and any other information or requests, will be included in this.  Currently 3 surveys are being undertaken on the building, these being a valuation survey, a conditional survey, and a detailed mechanical and electrical survey.  A business plan is being developed for George Simpson Baggage Service, and will include an independent valuation of the business.  Discussions are taking place with Social Investment Scotland and Highland Opportunities with regard to funding possibilities.  Grant applications would also be submitted to HIE, Princes Countryside Trust and Soirbheas.  A Board has been established for the trading subsidiary, and 6 members of the community have joined this.  The group have had access to TIC building and have tidied it up, and hope to put posters up to improve it aesthetically while the building is empty.  It is also hoped that more information will be available by the next GUCRA meeting at the beginning of April.   GUCC noted the good progress and thanked Gordon for the immense amount for work he has undertaken.

It was noted that a meeting of the Urquhart Castle Group had been held earlier in the day and more details will be available at the GURCA meeting in April.  

10. Renewables
No update.

11. Loch Ness Homes Development
It was noted that the planning application for phases 4 and 5 has been submitted, and GUCC have submitted objections based on the number of houses not complying with the Local Plan, and there being no path between the new houses at the Care Centre and the shop until work is completed.  The Care Centre have also objected due to access through Coiltie Crescent for construction.  David confirmed that he has been in touch with Highland Council who had confirmed that the Local plan is due to be renewed, and Highland council will come to a future GUCC meeting in this regard.  As a reminder of the background to this application, David Fraser advised that when Loch Ness Homes put in the application to Highland Council, it was submitted under the previous local plan, they felt Highland Council took too long to make a decision on the application and instead went to the reporter.  Planning in Principle was granted with 43 conditions, and thereafter, the development was deemed to be approved.  When the conditions were given, details of the local plan were not spelt out, and therefore the developer has a broader approval than what we had thought.  Currently the Highland Council Planner is working his way through the application carefully, and is looking at the issues raised in objections.  GUCC do not yet know what the outcome of this application will be, however it is hoped that what we try to express in the local plan, is what the developers comply with.

The old Scotmid shop is currently for sale. GUCC had hoped that Highland Council and Scotmid would come to a deal whereby Highland Council would purchase the land, and re-develop that corner of Balmacaan Road.  Negotiations broke down due to the price being asked for the site, and it is therefore now on the open market.  It is not a requirement of the sale that the building on the site is demolished and the site is being sold with the property as it is seen.  It was agreed that GUCC would write to Scotmid requesting that it be a condition of sale that the existing building is demolished, or, that they take it down themselves, and also ask that they revisit negotiations with Highland Council.  GUCC will also write to Highland Council supporting their proposal to purchase the site and asking them to revisit negotiations with Scotmid.  Action – David Fraser

12. Springfield Development
It was noted that a revised planning application is likely to be submitted in due course, and as this would be a new application it will go through the whole process again.  It is likely that the proposed number of houses in a new application is still likely to exceed that of the Local Plan ie 55, as the wording of the Local Plan is such that a developer can develop an argument for  more houses.  GUCC would hope that if this is the case, that the application does more to meet the needs of the community in other areas (eg safer site access, affordable housing etc).

GUCC were in agreement that when the Local Plan is next reviewed, we need to ensure the wording of it allows for some flexibility, but should be clearer to avoid situations such as these in future.

13. GCP
Pam Poston was welcomed to the meeting, and provided the following update:

-  Currently 41 service users, and almost at capacity for block funded places, also one new private user, and one attending for drop-in lunches.  Specialist funding from NHS has been applied for, for more specialist care needs, where one to one support is required, and this has been approved.  The Centre therefore hopes to provide more specialist care to more people in future.

-  The apprenticeship position has been filled successfully and is working well.  The UHI student who joined the Centre for 7 weeks has been offered a relief position.

-  Two current staff are now qualified to provide relief respite and have carried out home based respite shifts.

-  The Friends group have donated £1k to fund the delivery of more music based activities.

-  Speakers and charities are invited to the monthly meetings, to which all members of the community are welcome to attend.  

-  A Care Inspection had taken place last week, this has been revised since the previous inspection and is now on 2 elements; quality of care and support, and quality of care management, and a scoring of 5 had been awarded for both.

-  Compass are ahead of schedule with the Housing Project and all tenants have a new entry date of 8th April.  

Thanks were passed to Pam for her presentation, and congratulations to all the staff for their excellent care inspectorate results.

14. NHS / Patient Participation Group
David Fraser advised that the various changes within the Primary Care Board for NHS were already showing positive improvements, and they would be undertaking a communication strategy and disseminating information through Community Councils and PPGs.  

15. Roads
A number of potholes over Culnakirk to Beauly had developed, and the brickwork on the road to Coiltie Crescent was loose.  
Action – Margaret Davidson

There continued to be ongoing problems with the narrowing of the verges on the A831, especially between the Episcopal Church and Upperton road end, and this was being worsened by the increased number of wood wagons, including also a number of lorries transporting hardcore to the forest, currently using the road.  Confirmation had been received that this area of road did not meet width regulations for such traffic.  It was agreed that David Fraser would contact Highland Council, and Margaret Davidson would contact FCS for an update on their current movements in the area.  Action – David Fraser and Margaret Davidson

16. Planning Applications
Pam Lucas declared an interest in one application and left the meeting, taking no part in the discussions.
19/00303/FUL – Demolish shed & erect 20 no garden room motel & retain existing shop / café, West End Garage, Milton, Drumnadrochit – respond requesting that suitable conditions are put in regarding the use of the shop / café and decommissioning of the site.

19/00703/FUL – Erection of house, land 150m NE of Larisa House, Bunloit, Drumnadrochit – as per discussion at meeting on 25/02/2019 and additional agenda item above - noted.
19/00738/FUL – Siting of 7 holiday letting pods, land at Bearnock, Glen Urquhart - Application previously submitted in October 2018 and withdrawn – It was noted that there were some neighbour objections, and both SEPA and Highland Council had commented on the previous application noted, and GUCC would assume that these agencies would ensure compliance with this revised application - noted.  

17.  Correspondence
Scottish Canal Maintenance Work at Fort Augustus running behind schedule, completion delayed from 8th April to 17th April.

18. Any Other Business
Parking at Cobbs Bakery - David Fraser advised that he would speak with Fraser Campbell regarding staff parking causing congestion in the area.

19. Details of Next Meetings
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 29th April at 8.00pm in the Craigmonie Centre.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.50pm.