Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of General Meeting held on

Monday 24th June 2019 at 8.00pm

in Blairbeg Hall, Drumnadrochit

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, PC Steven Anderson, Police Scotland, and 12 members of the public.  

Apologies:  Councillors George Cruickshank and 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 27th May 2019 were approved as a correct record (Peter Macdonald / Stuart Ross).

3. Matters arising from minutes.

Item 3 - Wellington Bomber Layby Plaque – David Fraser confirmed that Robbie Bremner has been in contact with the family, who are arranging for the plaque to be replaced.

Item 3 - Glen Urquhart Signage – The erection of “Glen Urquhart” signage was now moving forward with Transport Scotland.

Item 3 - Old Kilmore Car Park – David Fraser confirmed that Highland Council are considering installing a height restriction bar at the entrance into the car park.  Action – Margaret Davidson Details are awaited from GURCA regarding if they will assume responsibility for the erection and maintenance of a noticeboard.

Item 3 - Old Scotmid Site – Highland Council waiting to finalise the sale deal.

Item 3 - Cnoc an Eas Anemometer – It was confirmed that the Highland Council Planning Office have written to the developer legal team asking for an update on the removal of the anemometer.

Item 3 - Community Christmas Trees – no further information / update received from Highland Council. Action - Margaret Davidson

Item 9 - Loch Ness Homes Development – David Fraser confirmed that the road crossing to the health centre is still being pursued, and installation is likely to be in 2 – 3 months.  The access from new supported houses at the Care Centre to the shop has not been constructed and the developer has now confirmed that this will be created in the next 2 – 3 weeks.  

Item 13 – A833 Large Stones at the Top of Culnakirk – these have now been removed.

Item 13 – Kilmore Road Brickwork – has been reported but not yet repaired.

Item 15 - Path through the wood to Blairbeg Hall – David Fraser confirmed that he had met with the landowner, who, subject to Highland Council confirmation regarding liability, is happy for the access at both ends of the wood to be made suitable for mobility scooter / disabled use.  Once this work has been undertaken it will be important to monitor usage to ensure this pathway is not misused.

Item 15 - Stone Wall at Free Church – Highland Council have confirmed that they will repair the damaged area.  

4. Treasurer’s Report
Peter Macdonald reported that there has been no change since the previous meeting; the balance remains at £19,981.52, comprising £1,400 in reserve for the Community Council and £18,496 in reserve for Cnocan Burraidh.   

5. Policing Update
PC Steven Anderson was welcomed to the meeting and apologised for not having attended a GUCC meeting sooner, however as he was currently the only officer based at Fort Augustus his shift patterns and work schedule did not always make attendance possible.  PC Anderson advised that he was happy for any members of the community council to contact him by email, through 101 or through the Fort Augustus office number, however this is not manned and calls will not always be answered.  PC Anderson provided the following report:

49 Instances had been reported since the last meeting.  This increase is expected during the summer period which results in an increased number of instances, over half of which are related to minor road incidents.
Road Safety – 4 fixed penalties issued for speeding offences and 1 fixed penalty for careless driving offence.
Public Protection – 2 missing persons, returned safe and well and 3 Fixed penalty tickets issued for anti-social behaviour.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – No incidents of note.
Crimes of Dishonesty – Fraud re ticket scam, enquiries are ongoing and members of the public are encouraged to be vigilant when making purchases online, ensuring that money is not exchanged until the goods are received.  

6. Loch Ness Homes

David Fraser confirmed that he had met with James MacQueen of Skye Builder, to discuss the future extension of New Kilmore cemetery into the large green area of the Loch Ness Homes development adjacent to the existing cemetery.  Mr MacQueen had confirmed that he will consult with Highland Council regarding future expansion.  

7. Springfield Development
The Springfield Developer had held a community open session on 6th June however the revised planning application has not yet been submitted.  David Fraser advised that there is likely to be two applications; one for the housing section, and a separate application for the commercial development.  Access to the site will no longer be off Kilmore Road but via a new junction from off the end of Druimlon.  It is probable that the planning application will be submitted over the summer period and GUCC do not meet in July.  It is important that members of the community submit any comments they may have to Highland Council.  GUCC will continue to share information over the summer, and will be available to any members of the public should they wish to discuss the application.   GUCC have also advised Highland Council that a full response will be submitted after the summer once they have had the opportunity to meet with members of the public.  

8. Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan
David Fraser confirmed that Highland Council has publicised their call for sites for the new Development Plan, which includes housing developments comprising 10 houses or more, and any other developments on an area of ground greater than half a hectare.  Under this call for sites any developer or member of the community can submit information.   

-  GUCC has been liaising with local organisations to establish if there are requirements and will make a GUCC response to Highland Council by the end of July.  

-  At the end of the year Highland Council will have reviewed all the applications made and will likely provide a draft plan for comment.  

-  Information is also sought on the core path networks, and links to this can be found on the Highland Council website.  

- Glen Urquhart Childcare Centre is very successful and inspections indicate that they are at capacity for space, with the added pressure of the new houses in the area, plus changes to provision of childcare, which doubles the number of guaranteed hours, the Centre does not have space for any future expansion.  The current location does not lend itself easily to expansion and therefore the Centre is looking to identify two or three possible greenfield sites for relocation.  If the Childcare Centre secures a new location this could free up space for the primary school which is also nearing capacity.  Possible areas currently under consideration are within the Springfield Site, John Cameron’s field to the right on the approach to the primary school, in the field behind the Health Centre.

- Protection of the woods surrounding Blairbeg Hall and Kilmore Church will be submitted as will the possible extension of the shinty pitch into John Cameron’s field at the Pitkerrald end of the shinty pitch.  The case for the extension of the playing field could be further strengthened through the submission of comments from the Shinty Club to support this proposal.

- Consideration will also be given to the extension of the Tourist Information car park once the flood protection scheme has been completed, with a further area elsewhere for possible coach parking.

- There remains a further 2 – 3 weeks to flag up any other areas which we should be protecting or flagging for potential community use.  Consideration should also be given to a Youth Centre, sports facilities and areas up the Glen which may require protection from development.    

- Retention of green space is important and this should include the need to retain a corridor along the length of the space between Balmacaan Road and Lewiston, and the parkland areas within the Loch Ness Homes and Kilmore developments.

- GURCA had proposed to undertake a survey of community needs and it is important that this is carried out soon to feed in to this process.  

- The last 5 years has seen major increases in housing and this is likely to continue for a further number of years, it is therefore important to consider what  facilities are needed to support this and to build the community.  

- Any comments are required to be submitted to GUCC / David Fraser by the end of the first week in July.  

9. Milton Lights – Residents Survey

David Fraser confirmed that the resident survey was carried out, with the questionnaire being delivered to 51 households.  37 responses were returned (72%) with the result being  24 vs 13 in favour of the lights remaining off between midnight and 6am.  Thanks were passed to all those involved in the administering of the survey.

10. Roads


It was noted that the Lewiston bus stop sign has been re-erected and the barrier on the pavement at the old Lewiston nursery has been removed which gives more space on the pavement.

Margaret Davidson and David Fraser had met with David Devine, manager for Transport Scotland, and the following items were discussed:

- It was confirmed that a number of resurfacing works are scheduled to take place at the end of the year (Drumnadrochit to Temple Pier, and areas at Dunain Quarry, Dochfour, Abriachan Nurseries and the Clansman Hotel).  Transport Scotland have yet to carry out a survey to establish why there is a drainage issue at the fire station.  The rock verges between the Clansman and Abriachan nurseries have become compacted restricting drainage, causing ponding on the road, this will be replaced with clean stone to alleviate the problem.  

- With regards to the road safety issues at the Clansman Hotel, it was agreed to have to have a further meeting in 3-4 weeks to see if there are any other safety measures they could implement, and these could be undertaken at same time as resurfacing in this area.

- The white lines will be refreshed in various areas between Drumnadrochit and Inverness.

- Transport Scotland will continue to undertake weekly inspections and an annual structural check.

- Work on the reverse side of Drum Bridge parapet has yet to be undertaken.

Margaret Davidson advised that she intends to write to Transport Scotland requesting the installation of a low level cycle route between Drumnadrochit and Dochgarroch, and the creation of two more north side pull ins, one between Alltsigh and Achnahannet, and one between Temple Pier and the Clansman.  Action – Margaret Davidson

Weeds on the roundabout between the canal and Glenurquhart Road in Inverness is restricting visibility.  It was agreed that this would be reported to Highland Council.  Action – Margaret Davidson

A831 – Verges needing cut, especially at road junctions where visibility is restricted.  It was agreed that this would be reported to Highland Council.   Action – Margaret Davidson

12. Planning Applications
19/01990/FUL – Proposed accommodation pod for personal use, Criancraig, Bearnock, Glen Urquhart – noted.

19/02178/PIP – Erection of house, Land 40m NE of Sealladh Shewglie, Glen Urquhart – noted.

19/02271/FUL – Alteration and extension of public hall including conversion of former cottage, Blairbeg Hall, Blairbeg, Drumnadrochit – noted.

19/02323/LBC – Erect a new conservatory first floor extension, Temple House West self catering, Drumnadrochit – noted.

19/01917/PREMAJ – Proposed to be over 50mw, comprising turbines with a tip height of up to 180m and a rotor diameter of up to 150m, Bhlaraidh Extension, Glenmoriston Estate, north of Levishie, Invermoriston – submit note to Highland Council requesting an assurance that visibility is not affected.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

19/01919/FUL – Installation of 20m high lattice tower, antennas, dishes, cabinets, enclosure, installation of 15m access track, Land 23m NE of Tynaherrick, Bunloit, Drumnadrochit – noted.

19/02366/FUL – Conversion and change of use of domestic outbuilding to form short-term residential accommodation, Bridgend House, Drumnadrochit – noted.

19/02368/FUL – Part change of use and conversion of stable block building to form holiday letting unit, The Jennings, Drumnadrochit – already approved.

19/02518/PIP – Erection of house and formation of access, land at Balmacaan Road (plot A), Drumnadrochit – See below

19/02519/PIP – Erection of house and formation of access, land at Balmacaan Road (plot B), Drumnadrochit – See below

19/02520/PIP – Erection of house and formation of access, land at Balmacaan Road (Plot C), Drumnadrochit – See below

19/02521/PIP – Erection of dwelling house and formation of site access, land SE of 119 Balmacaan Road, Drumnadrochit – This area was identified for two houses in the last local plan, with the condition that green space be retained between Balmacaan Road and Lewiston.  The applications for these four houses does not meet with the local plan with regard to house number and also fails to create and protect the green border corridor between Balmacaan and Lewiston.  It was agreed to write to Highland Council requesting a redesign of the applications.  Action – Fiona Urquhart  
19/02056/FUL – Erection of house and outbuilding, land 40m east of Meall Gorm, Culnakirk – Construction of first house restricted the use of the layby which provided the opportunity for slow moving vehicles to pull in.  GUCC would request that a new layby is installed and a note to this regard should be submitted to Highland Council.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

19/02356/FUL – Demolition of existing porch and erect new porch, Bridgend House, Drumnadrochit – noted.

While the GUCC do not meet in July, planning applications will continue to be circulate to members and comments made to Highland Council where necessary.  Members of the public are also encouraged to make individual comments on specific applications where they feel appropriate.  

13. Correspondence

Historic Environment Scotland – David Fraser confirmed that communications had been exchanged with Historic Environment Scotland (HES) with regards to their policy for a single caterer for all of their Scottish establishments, which restricts the opportunity for local businesses to tender to supply.  HES had responded advising that this was their policy and that it was unlikely to change.  Some local businesses are proposing to remain open over the winter and had asked HES if they could provide a 2 for 1 entry to provide an added attraction to visit the area, to be advised that this goes against their ticketing policy, but that they could offer 20% discount (which would actually take their prices back to the same charges as last year given that a 20% increase was applied this year).   The Community Liaison Group with HES had discussed these matters and HES have agreed to consider looking into their issues in more detail.  In addition, David Fraser has discussed these issues with Kate Forbes MSP and it is proposed to await the HES response before pursuing further at this stage.  

14. Any Other Business
Snowman Rally – Peter Macdonald advised that the organisers of the Snowman Rally had requested attending the August 2019 meeting to discuss the February 2020 event.  

Occasional Alcohol Licence Cost – The proposed increase by Highland Council in the licence costs was restrictive for local groups seeking licences for one off events.  It was agreed that Margaret Davidson will look into this further.  Action – Margaret Davidson

Visitors to Urquhart Castle – It was agreed that at times when Urquhart Castle is at capacity, that Historic Environment Scotland be asked to signpost visitors to Drumnadrochit village as an alternative.  Action – David Fraser

Glen Urquhart Care Centre – Pam Poston advised that both the Fundraiser and Befrienders Co-ordinator positions have been filled.  Currently there are 5 fully trained Befriender volunteers, however these are not located within the immediate area, and therefore anyone with an interest in becoming a volunteer is asked to contact the Centre for further information.  The Mens Shed is now up and running as a group and they are currently looking for premises.  

16. Details of Next Meetings
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 26th August at 8pm in the Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 10pm.