Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 24th February 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: Councillor George Cruickshank, PCs Steven Anderson and Paul Macdonald, Police Scotland, Nicky Maclennan, Soirbheas, and 23 members of the public.

Apologies: Councillors Margaret Davidson and Helen Carmichael, Dianne Fraser, Stuart Ross and Pam Poston.

It was noted that Kerri Ramsaidh has resigned from GUCC membership.

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 27th January 2020 were also approved as a correct record (Dominic Thierry / Fiona Urquhart).

             3. Matters arising from minutes

Glen Urquhart Signs – An application has been made to Highland Council for funding and a reply is awaited.

Old Kilmore Car Park – Margaret Davidson is pursuing Highland Council ownership of this parking area.

Access path – Cost have been received as well as approval from the landowner to undertake the work.  An application for funding has been made to the Ward Discretionary Fund and a response is awaited.

Craigmonie Woodland – Forest and Land Scotland (FLS) are hoping to recommence work towards the end of March.  SEPA approval has been received for work in the area.  This work remains behind schedule, GUCC will continue to pursue, and representatives from FLS will be in attendance at a future GUCC meeting.  It was also noted that FLS have undertaken work to repair ditches / drains which were over-spilling onto the Buntait road.   

Transport Scotland – Have advised that they will be reviewing barriers along the A82 roadside.

Etape Community Payment - Proposals had been received for path work on the Affric Kintail way, the High School Minibus, and Glen Urquhart Primary swimming lessons.  These, along with any other applications received, will be considered at the next GUCC meeting.

New housing scheme in East Lewiston – Name confirmation (Balanstrachan) has been submitted to Highland Council.

Kilmore Road – The loose lock block has been reported to Highland Council.

Jacobite Bus Park – Having taken on board the comments of GUCC, this application was withdrawn.

Old Scotmid – Sale is currently going through, with Highland Council exchanging missives at the moment.  Once the sale is confirmed, how the area gets developed will be agreed.

New Scotmid – New application for fish and chip shop received, and ongoing interest in the other units.

4. Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson reported that the balance at the last meeting stood at £8,988.19.  No transactions had been made since the last meeting.  £5,000 was received from Historic Environment Scotland for Cnocan Burraidh, taking the total ring-fenced amount to £12,649.51. 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 has been made to the Ward Discretionary Fund for extra funding to cover the annual operating costs of GUCC.

5. Police Report

PCs Steven Anderson and Paul Macdonald were welcomed to the meeting and provided the following report:

The Fort Augustus station is now fully staffed with 3 officers in post.

Road Safety – A person was charged for driving whilst on their mobile telephone.  There were 4 fixed penalty tickets issued to various road users regarding issues such as no MOT, careless driving and dangerous parts of motor vehicle.

Public Protection – No incidents of note.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – A man has been issued with a recorded police warning for possessing a small amount of Cannabis.

Crimes of Dishonesty – There have been 3 reported incidents of shoplifting which have all been detected and reported to the relevant authorities.  The recent break in to the wooden shed at the shinty club has also been detected and reported accordingly.  The police continue to enquire into other previously reported incidents of theft or vandalism within the local area.

PC Anderson confirmed that when pedestrians are on the main road (not using the verge), and facing the oncoming traffic, it is the responsibility of both to use common sense, however the driver should wait, stopping if need be, while oncoming vehicles pass, before pulling out and leaving the pedestrian / jogger adequate space.  

Any issues / concerns can be reported to

6. Snowman Rally Update

Peter Macdonald advised that the rally will be in the Glen Urquhart forest on two occasions, and he had been working on car parking and crowd control.  There will be 2 permitted viewpoints, one at Balnain entrance and one above Shenval.  Car parking in Balnain will be restricted to the hall, forestry area and confines of forest car park.  A field has been set aside at Shenval and as well as parking within the forest on the roads below the hydro area.  £5 will be the suggested donation per car.  Shenval will be collecting for their replacement bus shelter and Balnain Primary School will be co-ordinating car parking in the Balnain area.  There is still an opportunity for community group(s) to provide catering, but if not the organisers will provide burger vans at the start and finish.  Any local groups should contact Peter Macdonald if they are interested in providing catering.  The rally will be in the area at 9am and again at 2pm.   It was agreed that the organisers could be invited to a meeting after the event to provide feedback.  Action – David Fraser

7. Shaping our Future

                     a) Capacity Constraints

David Fraser advised that the Highland Council had been willing to approve 95 houses on the Springfield site, and have approved a total of 105 at the Loch Ness Homes site, of which 30-40 are currently occupied.  There is also currently a large development at the back of the Loch Ness Inn.  There is a capacity problem with the sewage system within the village not coping with the flows, and the surface water drainage system is not coping during periods of heavy rain.  Both Highland Council and Bear Scotland are affected by the damage caused to roads through poor drainage.  When Highland Council gave approval to increase the rate of build on new developments from 10 to 15 houses per year, they advised that the primary school would be full by 2025.  The Childcare Centre is already at capacity, and that is before the increase in free childcare comes into effect in August.  GUCC have written to Highland Council asking for all these things to be addressed, for them to take control of this, to manage the resources and determine the constraints.  GUCC needs to know what will be done to cope with the effects of the houses which have been approved as well as those which are yet to be approved.

In terms of local facilities, the community needs to look at what else is needed, eg leisure facilities, youth development etc.  We should not just look at the infrastructure but also how we as a community want to see the village grow.  As well as specific constraints, the community needs to consider how to plan and engage.  The new Highland Council Local Plan will be available soon, and this may not include the level of detail the community needs eg any development of under 10 houses will not feature.  The Highland Council Head of Infrastructure will be present and the next GUCC meeting, and these questions will be passed to him in advance of the meeting.

                       b) Place Planning / Community Action Plan

Scottish Government Local Place Plans are a new type of plan giving people an opportunity to develop proposals for the development and use of land in the place where they live. It is intended that Local Place Plans will stimulate and encourage debate about the future of a place, enabling communities to focus on their aspirations as well as their needs.  This initiative is not yet fully implemented, and GUCC will receive more information in due course.

GURCA is still considering a local Community Action Plan but does not have funding to support such a development, neither would this carry any regulatory weight.

                           c) National Planning Framework

The National Planning Framework (NPF) is a long-term strategy for Scotland. It is the spatial expression of the Government’s Economic Strategy, and their plans for development and investment in infrastructure.  NPF identifies national developments and other strategically important development opportunities in Scotland.  It is accompanied by an Action Programme which identifies how they expect it to be implemented, by whom, and when.  NPF4 will be coming out in the next year, with a consultation process on its framework and policies. has more information.  

                            d) Democracy Matters

Democracy Matters is a Scottish Government initiative to recognise the growing recognition that it is often better for decisions about the issues that affect different communities in Scotland to be taken with more active involvement of those communities. Whether that is communities in different places organising at a very local level, or communities with a shared interest organising at a more regional level. This enables public services to work in ways which meet local circumstances and reflect the priorities of different communities. has more information.

GUCC is looking for a tool to use as a community to help see how we envisage ourselves developing over the long term.  There are real constraints which are affecting the area.  Balnain is not currently protected the way it ought to be within the Local Plan.  GUCC will take more control as a community, working with other community associations eg Soirbheas, GURCA etc to take this forward with a multi-agency approach.

8. Flooding Issues – Balmacaan / Lewiston

David Fraser advised that a very large section of hillside and farm land drain to a single point close to the duck pond at the west of Balmacaan House.  This water doesn’t get into the pond but travels down the farm track (mainly in a ditch) passing close to houses and then continues down through John Cameron’s steading and onto Balmacaan Road, then down Lewiston and doesn’t fully dissipate until well down the street.  Along the way a number of householders get affected by the water and it causes deep ruts, creates an ice hazard and can damage the road surface.  A few years ago there was a commitment from Highland Council to resolve the situation with one engineer promising to fix it within months but this very small soakaway did nothing to alleviate the issues.  A scheme was then developed to use the duck pond as an attenuation area with a controlled flow into the pond and monitoring of downstream ground water levels. Whilst supported by Woodland Trust who own the pond and with Highland Council willing to fund the project we needed 100% support from the householders in the area – this was not achieved and a result the funding was lost. The attenuation scheme was never going to stop the most extreme events and may not have prevented the damage caused recently.  The other 2 schemes which were thought about but ruled out on cost were to pipe the water to either join the old Balmacaan Estate drainage scheme to the East of Balmacaan House, or to be taken directly to the river.  It is likely that the old estate drainage which went to the river has become blocked over the years.

Woodland Trust have been adding stone and trying to divert water away from houses.  Communication has also started with FLS, there is a large section of hillside where trees have been removed, and they are looking to see if they can improve their drainage in that area.  This will however still leave a large area needing controlled.

Possible Solutions

Step 1 – Ask FLS to review / reinstate drainage about the field system, there may be an option to drain much of this to a nearby stream.

Step 2 – Ask Highland Council to revisit options 2 & 3, but it likely that when set against competing schemes there will be a long waiting list, but if there was a commitment perhaps neighbours would consider step 3 as an interim solution

Step 3 – Ask the neighbours again if they would consider any type of attenuation at the Duck Pond.

Step 4 – A number of road gullies have never been uncovered by Highland Council (despite repeated asking) and one near The Beeches needs water to flow uphill – clearing of these would help reduce flows to Balmacaan / Lewiston but not the upstream flooding.

It was agreed to ask Gary Smith, (the Highland Council engineer working on the main village flood prevention works), FLS and Woodland Trust to meet to look at all the possible options again, to see if other options can be identified, and to meet with all the householders affected and get feedback, and then look at how it might be funded.  It was agreed that this should start now, while it is fresh in people’s minds.  Action – David Fraser

Culnakirk Road – lots of debris has been washed down and is blocking ditches and drains, water is running down the road, causing erosion to the roadside, and running down the hill into Milton.

Kilmichael – Water from Achmony hill is running down the back of the houses in Kilmore and also causing flooding within the fields below the hill.  It was agreed that the dredging work which had taken place in the River Enrick had greatly improved the flooding issues from the river.

Pitkerrald Road – flooding in this area has been a problem for some time, the water gathers at the speed bumps and now also pours over the top during periods of heavy rain, and gathers at the corner at the junction to the A82.  The gulley sucker has been out but made little difference.  Highland Council are aware of the issue.  

Fire Station - The water running down Druimlon gathers at the fire station and the drainage in that area requires work.  It was hoped that this would be rectified as part of the Springfield Homes development.  Scottish Water have also been contacted about their systems.  

Balnain – The drain at Balnain School / Balbeg road end, and the drain opposite the noticeboard at Balnain are both blocked, causing flooding along the roadside.  David Ferguson advised that he has reported these and a number of other drainage issues to Highland Council, but no action had been taken, and it was agreed that these be forwarded to George Cruickshank to pursue.  Action – David Ferguson   

Drumnadrochit Village Flood Prevention Scheme - David Fraser advised that the main scheme for the village has been moved back to next year, this is due to the wait for planning approval from the Scottish Government, resulting in missing a window to get work done in the summer within the river, and hence a move to summer 2021.  Margaret Davidson is continuing to pursue these works.  

Dick Beech advised the meeting about Floodflash an insurance and sensor for business properties affected by flooding.  Further information can be found at

GUCC will continue to work with agencies to find solutions to these issues.  Action – David Fraser

9. Roads


David Fraser advised that he had written to Transport Scotland, and a response had been received; they will look at removing the white lining on the roundabout at health centre; flooding at the  Fire Station will be looked at as part of the project work with Scottish Water;  Drum bridge resurfacing and white lining has been agreed but no date confirmed; 1.2 miles of resurfacing from Kerrowdown to Temple Pier has been scheduled to take place from Sunday 5th to Thursday 23rd April with night time closures.  No closures will take place on Friday or Saturday nights or during Easter weekend.  Closures will take place from 8pm (or 9pm tbc) to 6am, with amnesties to allow traffic through at 10pm, 12am, 2am and 4am.  Transport Scotland have advised that they may try and schedule this work to take place earlier, however if this is not possible remedial work will be undertaken.  John Duncan suggested that side access drainage gullies in this area would be more effective at keeping water off the road than the existing drains which are often not effective and have regularly needed replaced.  The roadside drains in the area from the Clansman to Abriachan have been inspected, and it was agreed that work is required, this has provisionally been scheduled for April / May.  The large hazardous rocks at side of the road will also be removed.  


Ongoing issues with potholes, blocked drains and culverts, and eroded gullies, these should continue to be reported via the Highland Council website.  There is also a feeling amongst some members of the community that wood lorries are travelling at excessive speed within the area, and this will be raised with FLS representatives when they are at the next GUCC meeting.    

               10. Planning and Licensing Applications

Application for major variation of premises licence, Loch Ness Inn, Drumnadrochit – application to start serving alcohol at 11am 7 days a week including on a Sunday (currently 12 noon), and extending hours on a Saturday to 1am – noted
20/00617/PIP – Erection of house, land 30m SE of Oakbank East, Milton, Drumnadrochit – object until clarity on the status of the Rivermill Annex is provided and seek Section 75 order that if permission for the new house is granted there will be no further development on the land that goes with it.  Action – Fiona Urquhart
20/00586/FUL – Change of use to hot food takeaway, 4 Carrier’s Croft, Lewiston, Drumnadrochit (Unit 4, Scotmid) -  It was agreed to submit comments  – signage should be more or less in keeping with the Scotmid signage, provision should be made for litter and odour control and improvements to car parking. Action – Fiona Urquhart
20/00381/PIP – Erection of dwelling, land 55m south of 125 Balmacaan Road, Drumnadrochit, and 20/00382/PIP – Erection of dwelling, land 60m SE of 125 Balmacaan Road, Drumnadrochit – neighbour objections submitted, GUCC agreed to submit a comment in support of the comments submitted by neighbours, and would ask that these matters be fully addressed eg both sites need Section 75 notices to prevent sub-division of the gardens in the future; the 15m woodland strip – could be wider and should not form part of the garden of these houses. It would also be good if Highland Council could explore the possibility of a path leading through this new woodland to connect with the Lewiston to Balmacaan right of way. Action – Fiona Urquhart
19/05461/FUL – Erection of extension, 17 Culanlon, Kilmore, Drumnadrochit – noted.
20/00151/FUL – Re-alignment of access track, land 240m NW of Balnalick Steading, Balnain – agreed submit general comment, it is understood that the road will go through an area with protected species such as adders and as such an Environmental Impact Assessment should be carried out. In addition GUCC would ask that a ground survey is undertaken to check for archaeological remains prior to any ground clearance taking place. Action – Fiona Urquhart

Fasnakyle Windfarm - The developers for the Fasnakyle Windfarm had provided a note of the number of attendees at each of their local exhibitions (Cannich 84, Drumnadrochit 35, Glenmoriston 5).  Their website includes a note that discussions took place about community ownership of one of their turbines, and GUCC have asked for clarification of this.

Pontoon at Urquhart Castle – The next GUCC meeting will consider the application from Historic Environment Scotland to put in a pontoon beside the existing jetty at Urquhart Castle, both will be operational, and open for use by the general public.

Short Term Bus Park – Recognising that there is an issue with excess buses parking in the community, GUCC have contacted Cobbs, Nessieland, Exhibition Centre, Historic Environment Scotland and Jacobite to discuss bus parking in the short term.  All local businesses have come back with agreement to have a discussion about working better together.  Jacobite have opted out of discussions at this stage of the discussions.  David Fraser is liaising with these groups to confirm a meeting date.  Action – David Fraser

11. Correspondence

No additional correspondence.

            12. Presentation to retiring Community Councillors

Dominic Thierry presented Ken Fraser, Peter Macdonald and John Duncan with gifts to recognise their many years of service, Ken being a founding member of GUCC.  They have all represented our community in an exemplary fashion, always spoken up to represent their concerns on behalf of the community, and admirably demonstrated what being a Community Councillor is all about.  Their knowledge and skills will be greatly missed.


Private Trailers at Recycling Centre – Highland Council have advised that they will re-look at their decision to ban the parking of trailers with 2 axels and larger within the Tourist Information car park.

Pedestrian Crossing at the Roundabout – Approval has been received from Bear Scotland and Transport Scotland, Highland Council is now awaiting quotes for the work, and it is hoped that the crossing will be installed before Easter.

Youths at Health Centre – There has been some instances of youngsters being disruptive  around the area of the Health Centre, the police have been involved, and it is important that members of the community are aware that this is not an acceptable area for loitering.

14. Details of Next Meetings
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 23rd March in Blairbeg Hall, Drumnadrochit.  This meeting will include guests Graeme Ambrose, Loch Ness 360 and Malcolm Macleod, Highland Council.  

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