Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Annual General Meeting held on

Monday 24th June 2019 at 8.00pm

in Blairbeg Hall, Drumnadrochit

           1. Present: Pam Lucas (Chairman), Fiona Urquhart (Planning Secretary), Peter MacDonald (Treasurer), David Fraser (Vice Chairman), Stuart Ross, John Duncan and Val Cooper (Secretary)

Also present: Councillor Margaret Davidson, Pam Poston, Glen Urquhart Care Centre, PC Steven Anderson, Police Scotland, Gordon Findlay, GURCA and 12 members of the public.  

Apologies: Councillors George Cruickshank and Helen Carmichael.

2. Minute of Previous AGM

The minute of the AGM on 25th June 2018 was approved at the routine meeting following the AGM on 27th August 2018.

3.  Chairman’s Report – Pam Lucas

“Community Councils, (CCs), are composed of elected members of each community in Scotland.  CCs are the grass roots of local government and their roles include ascertaining the views of residents on a wide range of topics and conveying these, objectively, to The Highland Council (THC), and to representatives of other agencies and groups.  Demands on CCs have increased and changed over the years and are under constant Scottish Government review.  In recent years the role has become more strategic, especially in terms of statutory involvement in major planning applications and other large scale projects.  A flavour of activities during 2018-2019 can be seen below.  The coming year is of particular importance because THC is drafting the new Inner Moray Firth Development Plan which will inform all planning and development in the area for the next 10 years.  Consultation has commenced and Tim Stott, the Planning Officer leading the project attended the April meeting of GUCC and laid out his thinking and ways in which communities can ensure their contributions make the most impact in shaping the forthcoming 10 years.  In addition, in November 2019 there will be CC elections.  The entire election is advertised and administered by THC and full details are available on their website”.

“One permanent agenda item is road safety.  The A82 Trunk Road runs through the centre of our area; it is administered by a Route Manager on behalf of the Scottish Government in accordance with national regulations so any requests will be the subject of lengthy process with no quick fix outcomes.  However there have been management changes resulting in more openness to including CCs in discussion.  During the last year there have been positive outcomes to several A82 issues including some high quality and much needed repairs to Drumnadrochit Bridge.  This bridge is a pinch point which does not lend itself to adaptation to modern traffic.  Potential dangers are all too obvious and warning signs have now been added.  After many years of asking, the 30mph speed limit has now been extended from Drumnadrochit Hotel to Borlum Bridge.  The stretch of A82 in the area of the Clansman Hotel continues to be the source of concern.  The CC appreciates the input of the proprietor in terms of staffing and extending parking options but discussions will continue regarding alternative traffic management and speed limits.  Standing water and pot holes are on-going issues which the CC raises with the Route Manager.  Members of the public are encouraged to report these themselves using the A82 website.  Pooling drainage water was damaging the base of the Cobb Memorial and this was rectified in time for the winter”.

“Updates are received for each meeting from Police Scotland and officers attend when resources permit.  Each year we have an opportunity to confirm particular areas of concern / interest for us and the reports reflect this”.

“Local roads are the responsibility of THC and inevitably road maintenance has been impacted by budget cuts.  The CC keeps up pressure regarding gritting, general maintenance, drains clearance, surface water and potholes in Drumnadrochit and along the A831 and Culnakirk.  Again, the public can report problems using the website and a response is usually quick”.

“It is expected that the Drumnadrochit Flood Protection Scheme will receive final approval at the August meeting of THC.  This will complete the works already carried out to the back of the houses on The Green close to Drumnadrochit Bridge and provide reassurance to businesses and properties in the village”.

“This is a time of growth and change for the area with a number of important projects at various stages of development.  The CC continues to support GURCA as work proceeds through the complicated and inevitably protracted process of seeking to achieve asset transfers under The Community Empowerment (Scotland Act) 2015.  Members of the CC also engage with the Glenurquhart Care Project and are involved with the Patient Participation Group.  Restoration of the very unusual cemetery at Cnocan Buraidh is proceeding.  The CC is a stakeholder in this project which is detailed under its own heading”.

“Renewable energy is very much of the moment and the community benefits from funds managed and dispersed by Soirbheas with grants available for small groups, medium sized projects and major initiatives.  Income derives from Corrimony and Bhlaraidh Wind Farms and from several mini-hydro schemes.  Any new proposals for renewable energy developments are considered on their merit with the view of the community being passed on to the planning authority.  Twice yearly meetings take place between representatives of Glen Urquhart Community Council, Strathglass Community Council and Soirbheas”.

“Forestry and Land Scotland is one of the major landowners in our area and we are pleased to receive updates and information from its representatives.  Currently it is going through a settling in period following a restructure, but work continues and major consolidation work is on-going alongside the A82.  From time to time we also liaise about issues such as management of construction / extraction traffic”.

“A national long distance multi use track, the Affric Kintail Way, passes along Glen Urquhart and the Strathglass Marketing Group is working hard to re-route the section which currently runs alongside the A831 between Corrimony Bridge and Cannich.  The object is to improve road safety and the user experience.  The CC is delighted to support this and to be part of the working group”.

“During the year there was a request to review the street lighting in Milton.  This required a survey of affected households, following this, the status quo, ie lights off between 2400 and 0600, will prevail unless there is a change of lighting policy by THC”.

“In general the CC does not make comments on small planning applications unless there is a particular aspect which needs to be drawn to the attention of the planning officers.  However, it has a statutory remit to engage with larger applications.  Members continue to participate in the Loch Ness Homes Liaison Group which also covers the Scotmid site.  House construction is still in progress and it is important to discuss issues as they arise to ensure that the planning conditions are being observed.  In 2018 Springfield Homes lodged a major planning application to which the CC objected.  THC refused this application and a new application is now entering the planning process.  Again, the scale exceeds guidelines of the existing Local Plan and this will be reflected to THC”.

“Tourism is an important source of income to our area however it can create management problems one of which is random parking of large camper vans in unsuitable locations.  This is a Highland-wide issue and the CC is working with THC and tourism groups to address this by increasing appropriate service facilities and encouraging visitors to make use of the provision already available with existing businesses”.

“In closing, I remind members of the community that elections will take place in November 2019.  The entire process is run by THC and advertisements will appear in the press and on the website.  Several CC members will be standing down.  I want to thank all concerned for their input, especially our local Councillors, George Cruickshank and Margaret Davidson.  Having direct access to and support from them makes our job so much easier.  On a personal level I have needed to have medical treatment over the last six months and I am enormously grateful to our vice chairman, David Fraser, for stepping straight in and taking on the bulk of the work supported by our minutes secretary, Val Cooper.  Thanks are also due to the member of the public who set up and maintains our web site for us”.

“GUCC meets on the fourth Monday of each month, except July and December, and meetings are open to members of the public.  Venues rotate between Balnain Hall, Blairbeg Hall and the Craigmonie Centre.  Agendas and approved minutes are available on our website.  Current members are: John Duncan, David Fraser, Ken Fraser, Pam Lucas, Peter MacDonald, Stuart Ross and Fiona Urquhart”.

Contact points are:

4. Treasurer’s Report – Peter Macdonald

The receipts and payments account for the year end to 31st March 2019 were circulated to members along with the bank reconciliation and balance sheet.  The closing balance of £21,396.77 was approved (with £21,300 of this in reserve; £1,400 for community council and £19,900 for Cnoc anBurraidh).  The accounts were approved (proposed by Ken Fraser / seconded by John Duncan) and would now be sent to the Highland Council.  GUCC thanked Peter Macdonald for his financial recording throughout the past year.

5. Election of Officers for the forthcoming year to the elections in November 2019

Chairman – Pam Lucas (proposed by Ken Fraser / seconded unanimously)

Vice Chair – David Fraser (proposed by Ken Fraser / seconded unanimously)

Treasurer – Peter Macdonald (proposed by Ken Fraser / seconded unanimously)

Planning Secretary – Fiona Urquhart (proposed by Ken Fraser / seconded unanimously)

Acting Secretary – Pam Lucas (proposed by Ken Fraser / seconded unanimously)

Minute Secretary – Val Cooper (proposed by Ken Fraser / seconded unanimously)

5. Any other business

There was no further business and the AGM closed at 8.20pm and the general meeting commenced.