Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 27th May 2019 at 8.00pm

in Balnain Hall, Glen Urquhart

           1. Present:  David Fraser (Chair), Peter Macdonald, Stuart Ross, 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, Gordon Findlay, GURCA, Fraser Mackenzie, Soirbheas, Morag Fraser, Caledonian Concepts, and 3 members of the public.  

Apologies:  Councillors George Cruickshank and Helen Carmichael, Steven Anderson, Police Scotland, and Gillian Skinner.

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

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the meeting on 29th April 2019 were approved as a correct record (Ken Fraser / Fiona Urquhart).

3. Matters arising from minutes
Item 3 - Wellington Bomber Layby Plaque – David Fraser has made contact with Bear Scotland and Transport Scotland regarding renovation of the plaque, however has now been directed to the group who erected the plaque in 2002, and will continue to pursue this.  Action – David Fraser

Item 3 - Glenurquhart Signage – Response awaited and David Fraser will continue to pursue this with assistance from Margaret Davidson.  Action – David Fraser / Margaret Davidson

Item 3 - Old Kilmore Car Park, Campervan Parking and Litter – David Fraser advised that details relating to the erection of an information board have been passed to GURCA and it was hoped they would provide feedback and also take on responsibility for the upkeep of the signage once erected.

Item 3 – Drumnadrochit Flood Protection Scheme – A note of GUCC support for the scheme has been passed to Highland Council.  SEPA have since raised questions in relation to the scheme which has caused a delay, and the proposals will now go to Highland Council committee in August instead of May.   It is hoped that the issues raised are not substantial and will not result in any further delays.  

Item 7 – Forestry Update – It was noted that Forestry and Land Scotland contractors are now back working in Craigmonie Woodland.

Item 9 – Old Scotmid Site – David Fraser advised that he was continuing to pursue arrangements for the re-development of the old Scotmid site, and noted that Highland Council were also continuing to pursue their bid for purchase of the site.   

Item 9 - New Shop Units – It was noted that rental of one unit is being finalised and negotiations are underway for rental of the remaining 3 units.  

Item 13 – A82 Drum Bridge – The grit and debris on the pavements has been reported and it was anticipated that street sweeping would take place when the sweeper has finished working in another location.

Item 18 - Cnoc an Eas Anemometer – David Fraser advised that he had contacted Highland Council development control who have advised they are undertaking a review and will check up on the status of the equipment.

Item 18 - Community Christmas Trees – It was noted that Highland Council City Committee would be discussing this issue at their next meeting and an update was expected thereafter.


4. Treasurer’s Report
Peter Macdonald reported that the balance currently sits at £19,981.52, comprising £1,400 in reserve for the Community Council and £18,496 in reserve for Cnocan Burraidh.  £1,500 has been received from Chris Grant as part of the Cnocan Burraidh commitment.  £11.25 has been paid in hall rent and £2,904 for preliminary works at Cnocan Burraidh.

5. Policing Update
No officer was present at the meeting, and the following report had been submitted in advance of the meeting:
Road Safety – 3 fixed penalties issued for minor traffic offences. 1 Drink driving offence.
Public Protection – 2 missing persons, returned safe and well.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – No incidents of note.
Crimes of Dishonesty – No incidents of note.

6. Etape Loch Ness 2019
Morag Fraser was welcomed to the meeting, she thanked GUCC for their support in the lead up to the 2019 event, and provided the following update:

-  The 2019 event had been very successful, and had involved 5,650 entrants.

-  A larger percentage than previous years had attended from out with the Highlands and Islands, and a larger percentage of those were from out with Scotland.  

-  Over 80% of participants had stayed for one night or longer in the area.

-  A number of official escort duties were carried out, this included one within the GUCC area.

-  MacMillan are on target to have raised over £300k for this event.   

-  Marshal donations have been paid and thanks are passed to all those who gave up their time to help with the event.  

-  The community donation has been made to the Glen Urquhart Childcare Centre.

-  The 2020 event is scheduled to take place on 26th April.  Numbers for this event will not increase from the 2019 event.

-  Feedback was given that a number of participants continued to race beyond the official finish line which was causing a hazard for marshals and spectators.  Morag advised that she would feed this information back to the organisers forthcoming review meeting.  

Thanks were passed to Morag for attending and providing follow-up information on the event.

7. Cnocan Buraidh – Update
David Fraser advised that work had started with the removal of the old walls, and the majority of the iron railings had been successfully extracted and retained from the old coping stones.  Some stones will need replacing and Historic Scotland were advising of a source for these.  It was hoped that the tender document for wall repairs would be going out within the next couple of weeks.

8. Community Assets Transfer
Gordon Findlay advised that an extension to the asset transfer of the Tourist Information building had been agreed with Highland Council and the proposal will go to their November committee for consideration.   In the meantime community use had been agreed for over the summer, this would comprise tourist information, display areas, and selling of local crafts.  Painting of the building is scheduled to take place in the coming week and an open evening is planned for those interested in doing craft pop-up sales.  It is hoped that the centre will be open on 10th June with activities taking place in the building on most days throughout the summer.  

9. Loch Ness Homes Development
Margaret Davidson confirmed that Transport Scotland have approved the installation of a new pedestrian crossing, and confirmation details were awaited from Bear Scotland.  Funding is in place for this.  It was agreed that the crossing should be installed before the end of June, otherwise it would be delayed until after the end of September to avoid the peak summer traffic period.  It would also make sense to have the crossing in place before the Pharmacy opens in July.  Margaret Davidson confirmed that she would continue to pursue this.  Action – Margaret Davidson.    The pathway from the supported housing to the shop was also still awaited, and David advised that he would continue to pursue this.  Action – David Fraser

10. Springfield Development
It was noted that a formal planning application had still not been submitted, but that a public meeting was scheduled for 6th June.  GUCC will submit a formal response to the application when it is available, and would encourage members of the community to also do so.  It was agreed that GUCC should request that they are made a statutory consultee for this application to ensure that they do not miss out on the opportunity to submit comments if the application is submitted during July when the GUCC do not meet.  
Action – Fiona Urquhart  

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

-  The centre currently has 41 Service Users Monday to Friday.   One Service User is purchasing spaces privately and one person is attending the centre for the drop-in lunches.

-  There is one new volunteer, increasing the pool from 2 to 6 in the past 6 months.

-  Service Users have been offered alternative days for Easter Monday, Good Friday and May Day so they had full potential of days due to Public holidays and they have all take up this option.

- The relationship with the new occupants of the supported housing is working well.  One tenant who was recently unwell was taken a hot home cooked lunch from the centre.

- The apprenticeship is going well and has completed its first quarter.

- The centre is being used by Skills Scotland for a work placement partnership between UHI and Fort Augustus High School.  This will last for a year.

- The centre has welcomed three pupils from Glenurquhart High School for a week’s work experience starting 27th May.

- Current staff vacancies include; Kitchen Assistant – 13 hours, Befrienders Co-ordinator – 6.5 hours, Fundraiser – 20 hours, Relief staff (centre, home based respite, domestic) and Relief Handyperson

- The centre has tripled in staff delivering 28 hours of support a week. This has quadrupled the service over the past 6 months.  

- One person is currently attending the centre for drop-in lunch, and one further enquiry has been received.

- The Befrienders Co-ordinator role has been re-advertised and two enquiries have been received.

- The new Men’s Shed project has included a talk by Beauly ‘Men’s shed’ and a meeting is to be held on 29th May in Blairbeg Hall.  In addition the Friends Group have donated £600 to help fund the purchase of tools.

- The Friends of the Centre Strawberry Tea is scheduled to take place on 8th June from 10am to 11.30am

12. Planning Applications
19/01690/MSC – Erection of house, land 110m south of 2 Balnalurigin, Balnain – Response to be sent noting concerns regarding surface water and access track conditions.  
Action – Fiona Urquhart

18/00395/FUL – It was noted that this application had been refused because the information required to assess and determine the application, particularly in relation to the assessment of flood risk, surface water drainage and waste management, had not been submitted in accordance with the request under Regulation 24 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2013. Application 19/00303/FUL also refused.

Local Plan, call for sites – David Fraser advised that the community needs to consider identifying new sites for development, particularly in relation to the need for new premises due to increasing numbers at the Childcare Centre.  It was also noted that John Cameron was agreeable to the sale of the field at the Druimlon end of the shinty field and this could be flagged for community use.  Any comments on additional areas to feed in to this process would be welcome.   

13. Roads
A82 – It was noted that issues previously reported have not been resolved and it was hoped to have a meeting with Transport Scotland in early June to progress these issues.  David Fraser confirmed that he would also continue to pursue outstanding issues with Highland Council eg flooding issues on Pitkerrald Road.  Action – David Fraser

It was noted there continued to be traffic problems with the roundabout at the surgery.  No further work was planned on the roundabout and GUCC would continue to monitor the situation.

A831 – Potholes at Drum Bridge junction and at Achmony road end have been reported and it was agreed that David Fraser should email Highland Council Roads Dept directly cc Margaret Davidson.  Action – David Fraser

Drainage - Blocked drains on the A831 should continue to be reported through the Highland Council website. Similarly, any road kill carcases requiring removal should also be reported in this way.

A833 – It was noted that large stones placed at an entranceway at the top of Culnakirk were very close to the road causing a potential hazard, this should be reported through the Highland Council website.  Action – David Fraser

Kilmore Road – It was noted that the brickwork on the road was coming loose again and required reporting / repair.  Action – Margaret Davidson

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

15. Any Other Business
Bridge at Cover – The installation of a bridge at the cover was a long running issue and has been looked at in detail with the local walking group and through discussions with Borlum, and this is not something that would be happening.  At times when the river is low it is easy to cross on gravel banks, and on other occasions fallen trees often provide a natural crossing point.  

Milton Lights Survey – David Fraser confirmed that letters have been delivered to 51 households and the number of responses already returned confirms that there will have been a representative number of households participated in the voting.  

Shenval Bus Shelter – GUCC were supportive of the request to provide some funding to contribute to repair / replacement of the Shenval bus shelter.  It was also noted that an application should be made to the Ward Budget and Soirbheas.

Postal Service Issues – It was noted that some residents who have inaccessible driveways were experiencing problems with the delivery / collection of their mail, which sometimes also includes prescription medication.  It was confirmed that these issues be discussed with Robert Cockburn as the Local Postmaster, and thereafter with the Royal Mail Service directly.  

Path through cemetery for access to Blairbeg Hall – Some residents in the new supported housing had requested access through the cemetery to Blairbeg hall as the existing path along the roads is too long, and the pathway through the woods is uneven.    It was agreed that access through the cemetery would not be appropriate, and that the woods landowner is conscious that the planning application by Loch Ness Homes shows paths leading into the wood, and a tarred path has been installed to the boundary, but this represents a potential liability issue for the landowner.  Upgrading the path alongside the cemetery would be the preferred option but this requires discussion with Loch Ness Homes and the landowner of the woods to ensure the right solution is found.  

Stone Wall at Free Church – It was noted that stones are coming loose from the wall opposite the church, and this was potentially dangerous given the proximity to the main road and the drop to housing on the opposite side.  It was agreed that this be reported to Highland Council for repair.  Action – David Fraser

16. Details of Next Meetings
The AGM was scheduled for Monday 24th June at 8pm in Blairbeg Hall, this would be followed by the routine meeting immediately afterwards.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.10pm.