Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 27th January 2020 at 8.00pm

in the Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit


1. Present: David Fraser (Chair), Pam Lucas, Fiona Urquhart, David Ferguson, Dianne Fraser, Dominic Thierry, Stewart MacLeay, and Val Cooper

Also present: Morag Fraser, Caledonian Concepts, Nicky MacLennan, Soirbheas, and 14 members of the public.  

Apologies: Councillors Margaret Davidson, Helen Carmichael and George Cruickshank, Kerri Ramsaidh, Pam Poston and Gillian Skinner.

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the Establishment Meeting held on 25th November 2019 were approved as a correct record (Fiona Urquhart / Pam Lucas).  The minutes of the Business Meeting held on 25th November 2019 were also approved as a correct record (Fiona Urquhart / Dianne Fraser).

            3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 3 - Erection of signs for Glen Urquhart – This was being led by Russell Fraser acting on behalf of the community council, however GUCC and Highland Council approval was required for confirmation of the signage, which it was proposed would be similar text and design to the “Welcome to Lewiston” signage.  Two will be situated on the A82, one near John Cobb memorial, and one near to the Clansman Hotel, a further one on Culnakirk and one at Millness.  GUCC members were in agreement with the locations and design.  Action – David Fraser to seek formal approval from Highland Council

Item 3 - Old Kilmore Car Park – The car park which is currently owned by Tulloch, has had ongoing problems with maintenance and campervans parking overnight in the summer.  Liaison is taking place with Highland Council in the hope that they will take over the car park, once Tulloch have erected a height restriction barrier.  It is anticipated that either the Highland Council Roads or Cemeteries department will take over responsibility.

Item 3 - Safe pathway through beechwood – It is hoped that the remedial work at either end of the path will be funded through the Ward Discretionary Fund and David Fraser will get prices for this.  Action – David Fraser

Item 3 - Funeral Delays – Anyone encountering unreasonably lengthy delays in the availability of funeral slots should raise these with Margaret Davidson on an individual basis.  

Item 3 - Craigmonie Woodland Paths – FLS have been delayed in undertaking the path work, promised for the Spring, this has mostly been due to problems caused by water run-off for which authorisation is now required from SEPA before work can commence.  There is also still timber to be extracted, and it is hoped to commence path work before the end of March.  GUCC will continue to note the progress and contact FLS as required.  This work is now a year behind schedule with negative knock on effects to the Community and leisure activities such as the Affric Kintail Way.  This will remain a GUCC agenda item until completion.

Item 10 - SSE attendance at GUCC – Meeting dates have been sent to SSE.  

Item 10 - Roadside barriers on A82 near Urquhart Castle – Transport Scotland have been asked to review and report to next meeting.

Item 10 – Culnakirk – The abandoned car and boulders in roadways have now been dealt with by Highland Council.

Item 10 - Litter at Polmaily has been reported to FLS and Police Scotland.

4. Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson reported that the balance at the last meeting stood at £9,518.19, since then £600 has been paid for secretarial work, the current balance is £8,988.19.  £7,649.51 is ring fenced for Cnocan Burraidh. The GUCC balance is therefore £1,338.88, this is made up of £598.88 usable funds and £740 held in reserve.  An application is being made to the Ward Discretionary Fund for support to cover yearly running costs.  An additional £5k has been received for Cnocan Burraidh from Historic Environment Scotland today.

5. Police Report

No officer was present at the meeting however the following report was submitted in advance of the meeting;

Road Safety – A person was charged for driving whilst on his mobile telephone and driving with no insurance. The car was seized from him.  A person was charged for failing to report a road traffic collision after a positive enquiry to identify him.  A person was given a fixed penalty notice for doing 42mph through Drumnadrochit (30mph section).  On the 20th of December 2019 a dedicated traffic marked patrol car was located in Drumnadrochit and the immediate surrounding areas providing advice to drivers and dealing with the above offences which were identified whilst on patrol in the area. If anyone has concerns re speeding in particular areas please contact your local officers so activity can be focussed on the problem areas.
Public Protection – No incidents of note.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – A man has been charged with possessing cannabis.
Crimes of Dishonesty – On the 14th of January 2020 at Milton, Drumnadrochit it has been reported to police a potential theft of heating oil. The circumstances are being looked into with ongoing enquiries.  Police are also making enquiries into a possible vandalism at Loch Ness Lodge Hotel from 17th of January 2020 which is ongoing.

Community Councils are reminded to pass any requests / information to the section email address As this is monitored by all section staff so any correspondence should not be missed.  

6. Etape Loch Ness 2020

Morag Fraser, Caledonian Concepts, was welcomed to the meeting and provided the following update:  

- Event to be held on Sunday 26th April – starting and finishing in Inverness

- 5,600 cap on riders, expected numbers will be c4,500

- Stats show an increase in riders from England, Wales and overseas, and those from Scotland out with the Highlands which provides a positive impact for tourism.

- Road closures on the north side of the Loch remain as per previous years.  The organisers will work with local communities for local access and the provision of escorts for essential journeys.

- The organisers are working with Visit Inverness Loch Ness to promote tourism in the area.

- Pre event communications are working well, as per previous years, this includes a 33k letterbox drop, visits to local community councils, local press, radio, online and advance signage.  The message is clearly advertised that the area is open for business.

- Partnership will continue with MacMillan Cancer Support.  Since 2014 the event has raised £1.28m for this charity.

- As per previous years, a donation of £1k will be given to GUCC for a local community organisation.  

- Marshalls from local community will be recruited and are always very much appreciated, playing an integral role in the smooth running of the event.

- The 2021 event is scheduled for 25th April.

7. Roads including new street naming request


Drum bridge junction is badly potholed and uneven, in need of resurfacing and new white lines.  

Speed surveys close to Clansman Hotel, one before tourist season and another one during the summer, are scheduled to take place.  Depending on these results, and other necessary approvals, consideration will then be given as to whether a speed reduction in that area would be approved.  It was noted that there was a new gate and entrance way work done to an existing entrance to the west of the Clansman, and it while it was understood that this work may have been undertake for health and safety purposes for pedestrian access, there are not currently any plans for this area to have vehicular access.  

Water is collecting more on some of the newly surfaced areas including flooding at Abriachan corner.  David Fraser confirmed that he has asked for a report for the next meeting on drainage and plans for updates.  


Ongoing problems with potholes – these should be reported directly to Highland Council via their website

Kilmore Road - Lock blocks lifting again in some areas.

Street Naming Request

The area which currently has 3 houses, soon to be 4 houses, in East Lewiston, opposite the Back Packers requires a street name.  The developer has suggested “Coiltie Grardens” however this does not comply with Highland Council policy which does not approve stem names.  David Fraser advised that he had consulted Duncan Macdonald for his advice and local knowledge, to try and capture some of the traditional or historical nature of the area in the new name.  Duncan had suggested Balanstrachan (Gaelic Bail an t-Strathain) – which comes from the old name of East Lewiston, and is recorded in Mackays book “Urquhart & Glenmoriston”, and which translates as “towns of the wee strath”.  This was agreed and approved by members and David Fraser advised that he would pass the details to the Highland Council Planner.  Action – David Fraser

8. Planning Applications including Fasnakyle Windfarm  

Fasnakyle Windfarm – David Fraser advised that the proposed development area straddles both Glen Urquhart and Strathglass Community Council areas.  While this application is at the very early stages, requests have been made to Community Councils for input to the scoping study, this has been done, and the Reporter has asked the Developer to take account of everything the Community Councils have asked for in their responses.  The Developer will be holding open public drop in sessions, the first being held in Blairbeg Hall from 12pm until 7pm on 7th February.  Members of the community are encouraged to attend this session to ensure they are fully informed of the proposed development.  Any finance issues should be discussed by the Developer with Soirbheas, in a way that does not impact on whether it is more or less likely to get permission.  The local Community Councils deal with planning issues.  

19/04651/ADV – Installation of sign in shop window, 2 Victoria Buildings – noted

19/04743/S37 – Erection of 6m span HV OHL and pole mounted transformer, land 35M west of Bridgend House - noted

19/05165/FUL – Erection of porch extension to house, Drumgar, 109 Balmacaan Road – noted

19/05345/PNO – Formation of private way at land 240m NW of Balnalick Steading, Balnain – withdrawn

19/05626/PNO – Formation of turning point for timber lorries, land 285m SW of Drumclune Farm, Drumnadrochit – no permission was required

19/05517/FUL – Siting of chalet, installation of treatment plant, Craobhach, Drumnadrochit – submit comment re drainage issues.

20/00035/FUL – Erection of house and alterations to existing cottage to form ancillary accommodation, land 30m east of Drumbuie Lodge, Drumnadrochit – noted

19/05210/FUL – Change of use of field to overflow coach park for Urquhart Castle, Land 135m SE of Drumnadrochit Health Centre, Lewiston – 30 space overflow bus parking facility, consent is currently sought for 10 years.  This land in the local plan is shown as cherished green space, a space the community has identified as important to remain green.  David Fraser advised that he has asked Highland Council if this would set a precedent that this site then becomes a brown field site and has other types of development in future.  To date 37 responses have been submitted to Highland Council, 35 being objections, and 2 general comments.  An overview of the main points noted includes; non-compliance with the local plan, no welfare facilities for site manager or drivers, impact on access to health centre, archaeological  issues, pollution of running engines from drivers keeping warm or cool, pollution into the soil (basis of SEPA objection), unspecified details of topsoil bund, potential flooding issues, no mention of community benefit, 10 years is not temporary, no traffic impact assessment undertaken, eye sore, loss of green space, loss of Lewiston / Drumnadrochit buffer, increased hazard for pedestrians and cyclists, noise pollution issues, negative effect on local businesses adjacent to the development.  The Highland Council planner responsible for the Development Plan has confirmed that the proposal is against the plan, but if other considerations outweighed that, the development might require a number of improvements, eg landscaping of bund, stone walling, visual and sound barrier etc.  Local residents were not informed of the resubmission of the proposal, so there may now be more objections submitted.  A number of the objections submitted did acknowledge the need for a solution to the traffic parking issues, but the clear view of the community is that this is the wrong solution in the wrong place.  Community groups have been liaising with Historic Environment Scotland (HES) over the past year, which had included lots of opportunity for discussion of such a proposal, however HES have not engaged with the community on this issue.  In addition a recent meeting had been held with included senior HES representatives, Freda Newton and senior advisor from Jacobite, local business leaders, GUCC and GURCA representatives.   The purpose of this meeting was to look at transport issues, improving year round employability, and improvements to the hall.  A commitment was given at that meeting that Jacobite, Cobbs and HES would put fund a project to look at a transport hub that takes account of all local business and the village, looking at parking, shuttle buses, etc.  The planning application was then made, exclusive to HES and Jacobite.  A number of conversations have been held with HES, Jacobite and Cobbs, GURCA, and GUCC since then, and the commitment remains for all parties to look at finding the right solution, and all parties are still seeking to support that.  It may be that temporary parking is needed but the public do not want that temporary solution to be in that area of ground, a very clear answer has come to that proposal.  GUCC has to make a response to the planning application as it stands, it was agreed to object to the application, capturing the points which people have already made, and recording the desire to work with Jacobite, HES, and local businesses to find long term solutions to this problem.  Action – David Fraser / Fiona Urquhart

9. Correspondence
Loch Ness 360 – Request received asking local organisations to help with stewarding etc, passed to GURCA.

10. Any Other Business

Men’s Shed – It was noted that a small event was scheduled for Wednesday 29th January at 11.30am in Blairbeg Hall, to mark 4 Glen Urquhart High School pupils participation in the Young Philanthropist Scheme, being awarded £3k which was being presented to the Men’s Shed.  Those pupils will now enter the National Awards, and congratulations were noted to those pupils and staff concerned.  The Men’s Shed are currently based in the Blairbeg flat but are on the look out for larger premises.  

Tourist Information Centre – Gordon Findlay advised that the application to the Scottish Land Fund had been successful and they will provide 95% of the agreed purchase price.  The Community Association is now in a position to make an offer to Highland Council.  The support from the community in making this happen has been instrumental, and congratulations were passed to all those involved.  

Flood Protection Works – Tender documents were currently being prepared while final approvals are awaited from the Scottish Government.  It is expected that work will commence later this year.  Where possible work will avoid dates where events are taking place on Drum Green, and landowners will be notified once construction dates are confirmed.

Snowman Rally – David Fraser and Peter Macdonald have been liaising with the event organisers who have been finalising their plans and working closely with Forest and Land Scotland.  Peter has also been liaising with local community groups regarding fundraising events.  It is hoped that representatives will attend the February GUCC meeting.

Old Scotmid Building – Negotiations are still ongoing with Highland Council, David Fraser will ask Margaret Davidson for an update.  Action – David Fraser / Margaret Davidson

New Co-op Units – David Fraser will ask for an update for the next meeting.  Action – David Fraser

Children’s Leisure Facility – It was agreed that facilities for local children / youths would be a big asset to the village, and it was agreed that this should be considered when looking at the new Local Plan.

11. Details of Next Meetings
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 24th February in Balnain Hall at 8pm.  This meeting will include a thank you to the retiring Community Council members, Peter Macdonald, John Duncan and Ken Fraser.

12. Short Session in Private – Co-opted Membership

The addition of Stuart Ross as a co-opted member of GUCC was fully supported and approved by members.  

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