Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 25th May 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, and Val Cooper

Also present: Councillor Margaret Davidson, Carol Masheter, Soirbheas, Gordon Watson, Ben Mackenzie and Debbie MacWhirr.  

Apologies: Stewart MacLeay, Councillor Helen Carmichael, Nicky Maclennan, Soirbheas,

Thanks were again passed to Dianne for setting up the meeting as a video conference call.  Thanks were also passed to Dan Luscombe for his continued work in keeping the GUCC website updated

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 27th April 2020 were approved as a correct record. (Fiona Urquhart / Pam Lucas)

              3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 3 - Glen Urquhart Signage – Approved, Russel now working through the planning conditions with Transport Scotland / Highland Council – specific detail on signs and permission to erect.  GUCC will continue to monitor progress and assist where we can.  Action – David Fraser

Item 3 - Old Kilmore Car Park – Highland Council confirmation of adoption awaited, a site meeting will be held as soon as staff are available, and agreement will be reached on what needs to be done before Highland Council take over the area.  Any work required, including a height restriction barrier, will be undertaken by Tulloch.  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 and recommencement of work after lockdown has ended.  Action – Pam Lucas

Item 5 – Online Fraud – Details posted on the GUCC website.

Item 7 – Roads / Drainage – issues will be picked up once lockdown has lifted.

Item 8 – Culnakirk Woodland – A response was submitted, and a further consultation will be held in the summer.

Item 8 – Highland Housing Alliance – response from local groups in relation to the proposed development on the old Scotmid site have been collated and sent to Highland Housing Alliance.   

Item 8 – Grass Cutting – Agreement had been reached through discussion with GURCA that the community would not be willing to take on the grass cutting without support from Highland Council.  Complaints were now being received from the community, especially in relation to the graveyards.  Highland Council were running below their staffing capacity and would be attending to graveyards which are in use.  It was agreed that David Fraser and Margaret Davidson would work together to ensure this is progressed as a matter of urgency now.  Areas within graveyards are strimmed in advance of burials.  Highland Council had confirmed that verges would be cut once this year, however it was hoped that corners and junctions may get attended to more frequently.  Members of the community who might be willing to cut / maintain Corrimony graveyard would be welcomed.  Action – Margaret Davidson / David Fraser

4. Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following report, and recorded his thanks to Peter Macdonald for his help and handover of the accounts:

At our last meeting in April, the balance was £26,027.70.  Our Bank account holds funds for, Community Council and Cnoc an Burraidh burial chamber restoration works.  For clarity, the accounts are split in to two parts;

Community Council funds total £10,111.68

Cnoc an Burraidh funds total      £15,916.02

In the last month, we have had some movement in our account details as follows;

Community Council (balance = £10,111.68 )

£7,500 is “ring fenced” for Loch Ness Tourism Strategy / Glen Urquhart Place Planning & Margaret Davidson will advise how and when to spend.  There have been no bills to pay / money going out, therefore, balance held by Community Council = £10,111.68 - £7,500 = £2611.68

Cnoc an Buraidh (balance = £15,916.02 )

Pay Tom Nelson £3,600.00 for stonework.  Received £5,000 from Historic Environment Scotland, so new balance for Cnoc an Buraidh = £15,916.02 - £3,600.0 + £5,000.0 = £17,316.02

New total balance is as follows; £10,111.68 + £17,316.02 = £27,427.70

Latest Bank statement issued 14th May 2020, the balance is £27,712.70

Reason for the difference is that a cheque for £285.00 (Amanda Luscombe-Smith), has not been paid in / deducted from our account.

I submitted the Community Council yearly accounts to Highland Council last week and have just received notification that they have paid us our yearly grant of £638.51, obviously, this is not in the Bank statement.

5. Police Report

No report received.

6. Glen Urquhart Helpline

The helpline continued to be well used, mainly for requests for help with prescription collection and shopping.  The Centre support for service users is also ongoing.  The Steering Group were currently looking at various ways of helping people who may be in a hardship situation, although it is not known if there is a demand for this locally.  The Blythswood food parcels have had very little take up, however it may be that people would like a more anonymous means of receiving support, this was being looked at, with possible locations around Drum and up the Glen being considered for food supplies.  It was agreed that the helpline and the services provided may need more of a presence online.  Thanks were passed to all those volunteers who continue to support the helpline.

7. Cycle Ways – Loch Ness and Local

It was noted that Margaret Davidson had requested that the proposal for a low level cycle way from Dochgarroch to Fort Augustus be reinstated on the Transport Scotland Capital Plan, and Community Councils had also written in support of this.  It was agreed that Margaret and David would discuss this further with an aim to pushing it further up the political agenda.  Action – Margaret Davidson / David Fraser

Members of the community with a particular interest and knowledge of cycling locally were welcomed to the meeting and there followed a discussion on linking up roads within the forest, improving existing tracks, and signposting various routes locally, with the aim of raising awareness of the possible routes which could be used by locals and visitors, and possibly producing leaflets, maps and guidance.  It was agreed that a working group comprising Carol Masheter, Debbie MacWhirr, Ben Mackenzie, Gordon Watson, David Fraser and Dianne Fraser be set up to draw up plans and propose a way forward.  It was noted that funding may be available through the Safe Routes to Schools initiative for some of the village routes.  It was also noted that the proposals for routes must be multi-use, and could also include a heritage trail element too.  Action – Dianne Fraser and David Fraser

8. Mens Shed – Possible Location

David Ferguson advised that the Mens Shed, currently meeting, on a temporary basis, in the Housekeepers Cottage at Blairbeg Hall, had become aware that the Forestry Offices at Balnain would at some point in the future be coming up for disposal by FCS.  David had made enquiries on behalf of the Mens Shed and had been advised that FCS were working out a strategy for the buildings and would get back in touch with David in due course.  David had also been in dialogue with FCS with regards to the possibility of asset transfer.  Once lockdown has lifted, David will meet with FCS representatives and have an inspection of the buildings.  GUCC discussed this situation, and were in agreement to write to FCS in support of an application for asset transfer from the Mens Shed.  It was also noted that such an application would be judged on community benefit, community support and sustainability, and as such, other partnerships / proposals would need to be considered alongside an application.  It was further agreed that a community consultation should take place in Balnain once lockdown has lifted, to gauge interest and support.   It was agreed that in the first instance David Ferguson and Dominic would draft a letter, and send this to David Fraser and Margaret to then send to FCS on behalf of GUCC.  Thanks were passed to members of the Mens Shed for bringing this opportunity to the attention of the community.  Action – Dominic Thierry / David Ferguson – David Fraser / Margaret Davidson

9. Roads / Drainage

Ongoing issues with drainage in various areas was noted, and it was agreed that once conditions allow, a meeting will be set up with Highland Council to progress these various issues.

It was also noted that the footpath between Drum Bridge and Temple Pier was in need on maintenance, however the pavement was the responsibility of Highland Council, the vegetation was the responsibility of Bear Scotland, and the wall was the responsibility of the landowner, and so progressing repairs and maintenance would take time and co-ordination, and would depend on the availability of manpower at this time.  It was noted that emergency works to roads were mounting up, and it was therefore difficult to predict when work would recommence at Temple Pier.  

10. Planning Applications

20/01639/FUL - Demolition of chalet, erection of house, Shangri-La, Milton, Drumnadrochit - noted

20/01778/FUL - Change of use of building from stables to garage / workshop, Lochletter Farm, Balnain - noted

20/01788/FUL - Construction of path extension from current path to new pontoon access gangway and associated infrastructure Castle and Visitor Centre, Urquhart Castle - noted

20/01726/PIP - Erection of housing and formation of access, land 70m NE of Benleva Hotel, Kilmore Road, Drumnadrochit – it was noted that there are a number of issues associated with this application, it was agreed to wait and see what other community responses are received, and then make a decision on the GUCC response.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

Glen Affric / Kintail Way – Planning how now been given for the Corrimony to Cannich section of the Affric to Kintail Way this is a major breakthrough and something which GUCC would wish to support.

11. Correspondence

No additional correspondence

12. AOCB

13. Details of Next Meetings
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 22nd June.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.25pm.