Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 27th April 2020 at 8.00pm

via conference call

Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19, and in line with government guidelines, the GUCC business was discussed and agreed via conference call.  Until restrictions are lifted the Community Council will aim to produce a monthly agenda and report using the standing timetable. If anyone wishes to join the next meeting via conference call please contact any member of the CC.

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

Also present: Councillor Margaret Davidson, Nicky Maclennan, Soirbheas, Gordon Findlay, GURCA and Gordon Watson.

Apologies: Councillor Helen Carmichael, Susan Clark

The GUCC note with sadness the sudden death of Councillor George Cruikshank on 5th April.  George ran the West End Garage in Milton for many years before becoming a Highland Councillor in May 2017.  He was elected to serve Aird and Loch Ness, alongside councillors Helen Carmichael (Inverness Provost), Margaret Davidson (Council Leader) and Emma Knox.  He served on the Council’s City of Inverness Area Committee, Highland Licensing Board and Highland Licensing Committee; Pensions Board, and South Planning Applications Committee.  Our condolences are passed to his family.  Margaret Davidson added that she too was most saddened to lose George who had been a good companion and a good colleague.

Thanks were passed to Dianne for setting up the meeting as a video conference call.  Thanks were also passed to Dan Luscombe for the significant amount of work he was doing in keeping the GUCC website updated

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held via email in March 2020 were approved as a correct record. (Pam Lucas / Fiona Urquhart)

             3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 3 - Glen Urquhart Signage – These are likely to be approved for a period of 10 years.  Action – David Fraser

Item 3 - Old Kilmore Car Park – Highland Council confirmation of adoption awaited.  Action – Margaret Davidson

Item 3 - Beechwood Access – This has been approved, and work will commence once lockdown has ended.  Action – David Fraser

Item 3 - Craigmonie Paths – Await update after lockdown has ended.  Action – Pam Lucas

Item 3 - Etape Community Donation – Consideration of the £1k donation from the Etape will be considered again once the re-scheduled event has taken place (September 2020).

4. Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following report:

At our last meeting in March, the balance was £19,147.19.  Our bank account holds funds for, Community Council & Cnoc an Burraidh burial chamber restoration works.  Community Council funds total £2,497.68 and Cnoc an Burraidh funds total £16,649.51.  In the last month, we have had some bills to pay & have had some money coming in, our account details are as follows;

Paid Highland Council £101.  For Planning Application fee (reduced amount) for Glen Urquhart sign

Received donation of £215.  From Balnain Primary School & Glen Urquhart Care Centre, as part of the total raised at the Snowman Rally.

Received £7,500 from Highland Regional Council Ward Fund, for Loch Ness Tourism Strategy / Glen Urquhart Place Planning, this has been “ring fenced” & Margaret Davidson will advise how and when to spend.

So new balance for Community Council = £2,497.68 - £101. + £7,500. + £215. = £10,111.68, comprising of £740 in reserve & £9,371.68 in useable funds.

Cnocan Burraidh

Pay for materials to paint handrails ( paint, thinners, brushes ) £114.89

Pay for work done on Play  ……………………………………………………. £285.

Pay for Cope (wall) materials…………………………………………..…….£3,933.60

Received from Highland Council ……………………………..…………….£3,600.

So new balance for Cnocan Burraidh

= £16,649.51 – (£114.89 + £285. + £3,933.60 ) + £3,600. = £15,916.02

So new total balance is as follows; £10,111.68 + £15,916.02 = £26,027.70

Latest Bank statement issued 14th April 2020, the balance is £30,246.30

Reason for the difference is that it does not include, work done on the play £285. or cope materials   £3,933.60 = £4,218.60

5. Police Report

The following monthly report was submitted in advance of the meeting:

Road Safety – There have been no incidents of note.

Public Protection – There have been 11 reports of persons not adhering to the government guidelines in relation to the Coronavirus.  Each of these incidents were minor in nature and were resolved without any issues.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their assistance and understanding during this very difficult time for us all and would ask that you please continue to adhere to the very important guidelines set out by the Scottish Government.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse - There have been no incidents of note.

Crimes of Dishonesty – There was one incident of an online fraud within the area since the last meeting.  The scam is believed to have generated from India and was simple in nature. Due to information provided by the victim online the fraudster was able to remove a large quantity of money from the victim’s bank account.  Please bear this incident in mind and be aware of fraudulent activity online.  Don’t provide any personal details over the phone or online.  If you are unsure of what to do or how to spot a fraudulent scam, please look on the Police Scotland website which has lots of information and advice on the subject.

Please can we remind all Community Councils to pass any requests/information to the section email address  This is monitored by all section staff so any correspondence should not be missed.  If the public have any issues which we can assist with then please inform the Community Council who will pass them on to us.

GUCC were concerned to note the recent online fraud and it was agreed that guidance be added to the GUCC website, and to the community helpline volunteers and newsletter.  Action – David Fraser

6. Glen Urquhart Helpline

The helpline has been very well supported by the community in terms of volunteers with much of the work being co-ordinated by the Glenurquhart Centre. There has been nearly 100 requests for assistance mainly with shopping and pharmacy collections.  There is a foodbank service for those in need and that is run by the Centre in conjunction with Blythswood, and this service is also accessed via the Helpline.  The Glenurquhart Centre are also providing hot lunches to around 20 people per day.  The services are co-ordinated by GURCA, GUCC, Soirbheas, Councillor Davidson and the Centre Manager Pam Poston, and supported by the Health Centre and Pharmacy.  GUCC thanks are passed to everyone involved.  The Helpline is for everyone, young and old, who find themselves affected by the Covid-19 emergency.

7. Roads / Drainage

A comprehensive list of drainage issues has been prepared and Councillor Davidson will take these forward when restrictions are lifted. This list includes Drumnadrochit and the wider Glen Urquhart area.

Potholes continue to be an issue and the Council are attending to serious holes only at this stage.  Any dangerous potholes should be reported via the website but details should also be passed to David Fraser and Margaret Davidson so these can be followed up.

When the emergency is over GUCC will engage with Highland Council on how the backlog of issues will be addressed.

A82 - Keith Black of Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) had hoped to attend the meeting, and provided the following update - FLS intend to re-start tree felling operations at Bark Sheds / Grotaig, above the A82, in October this year. This will require the use of traffic control to allow safe working for the public and workforce.  This will mean delays at traffic lights for people using the A82 between Invermoriston and Drumnadrochit.  He would be interested in receiving feedback.

A82 Repairs – the work towards Temple Pier had to be stopped during the lockdown, and no date for restarting has been agreed. Other work such as drainage near Abriachan Nursery will follow in due course.

Pedestrian Crossing Shop / Health Centre – Work should be ready to commence when restrictions are lifted.

8. Planning Applications including pre-planning proposals for old shop site

20/01307/PIP - Erection of house Land 30M SE Of Oakbank East, Milton, Drumnadrochit – there is still an outstanding land issue on this application - noted

20/01090/FUL - Extension to form studio, toilet and office and extension to garage Glencoe, 3 Kilmore Road, Drumnadrochit - noted

20/01473/FUL - Erection of house Land East Of Sonas, Balnain – Comments submitted regarding surface water and its impact on neighbouring properties, plus deterioration of an already poor road leading to flooding across the A831

Springfield Development – GUCC have submitted a response on the planning appeal, Springfield have until 4th May to respond to the Reporter.

Creation of Woodland located at Culnakirk, north of Drumnadrochit.

“The current proposals will see a mix of native and commercial woodland planting. Native woodland will encompass the majority of the site providing conservation benefits to the area as well as safeguarding the adjacent designated sites (SSSI and SPA). To the south of the site commercial species will be established to provide a longer term timber resource. The combination of the two planting types seeks to achieve a well-balanced woodland achieving wide reaching objectives from the enhancement of conservation, biodiversity and landscape to ensuring the preservation of a future timber resource”.  

“Bird and mammal surveys have been conducted both of which complement these objectives. Similarly an archaeological assessment has been undertaken and although numerous features are present they can all be accommodated, and safeguarded, within the scheme proposals. These surveys complement wider site assessment underpinning the potential for woodland development”. 

GUCC discussed the proposal, and were in agreement that a response be sent to the developer advising that they are supportive of the creation of new woodland, and in keeping with the wider development strategy for the area, would request the inclusion of amenity paths through the woodland, so that areas of heritage and local interest can be visited.  It was also agreed that the addition of a small car park would be welcomed.  It was agreed that David Fraser would write a response to the developer noting the comments agreed at the meeting.  Action – David Fraser

Pre-planning Proposals for old shop site
Members discussed the proposed plans which had been submitted by Highland Housing Alliance for development of the old Scotmid site.  This is a pre-planning consultation and will include comments from GUCC, GURCA, and GU Shinty Club.  While GUCC welcomed the addition of more affordable housing for the village, it was felt that the proposed plans were not right for the location, the building was too big and prominent from all angles, and might be better located alongside the existing housing of Balmacaan Road, with the playpark and car park being relocated to the old Scotmid site.  There was a need to ensure that the local plan and the conditions of sale imposed by Scotmid were met, but it was hoped that some sort of compromise could be met.  This was an extremely prominent site in the village, and one of the most significant developments the community would be making a decision on in the foreseeable future, it was therefore important to get this right for everybody involved.  It was agreed therefore to seek the views of GURCA and the shinty club, and then request a meeting with Highland Housing Alliance to discuss what options are possible.  Action – David Fraser

Grass Cutting
During the current crisis, where Highland Council resources are stretched, GUCC discussed the possibility of taking over temporary responsibility for grass cutting public areas within the GUCC area.  Various options were discussed, and it was agreed that where possible, the proposals should be kept simple and local.  In order to progress discussions it was agreed that David Fraser would contact Highland Council to request a note of all the areas currently maintained by Highland Council, including area and frequency of cutting.  Once this information has been received we will be in a better position to seek local companies who may be able to take this work on, and how this might be funded.  It was agreed that time was of the essence given the growth season is upon us.  It was agreed that a working group comprising Gordon Watson, Gordon Findlay and Pam Lucas be set up to take this forward.  In the meantime, David Fraser would contact Highland Council to request the details required from them.  Action – David Fraser / Gordon Findlay / Gordon Watson / Pam Lucas

9. Correspondence

No additional correspondence.

10. AOCB

10.1 Soirbheas Funding – Nicky Maclennan advised that Soirbheas have an emergency community fund which local organisations can apply to for support.  The normal grant application process is also continuing to run as normal.  

13. Details of Next Meetings
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 25th May.  

                   Action List – April 2020