Glen Urquhart Community Council
Glen Urquhart Community Council
Minutes of Meeting held on
Monday 22nd June 2020 at 8.00pm
via conference call
Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-
1. Present: David Fraser (Chair), Pam Lucas, Fiona Urquhart, David Ferguson, Dianne Fraser, Dominic Thierry, and Val Cooper
Also present: Councillor Margaret Davidson, Nicky Maclennan, Soirbheas, Ben Mackenzie, Ross Macdonald and Gordon Watson.
Apologies: Stuart Ross, Stewart MacLeay, and Councillor Helen Carmichael
Thanks were again passed to Dianne for setting up the meeting and to Dan Luscombe for his continued work in keeping the GUCC website up to date http://www.glenurquhartcommunitycouncil.org.uk/
2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 25th May 2020 were approved as a correct record. (Dominic Thierry / Fiona Urquhart)
3. Matters arising from minutes
Item 3 -
Item 3 -
Item 3 -
Item 3 -
Item 3 – Grass Cutting – Some areas have been attended to. Repairs to Old Kilmore cemetery wall are in the pipeline. Members were pleased to note that grass has been cut along the A831 but side roads have not yet been done.
Item 7 – Loch Ness Cycle Way – Discussion later in meeting.
Item 7 – Local Multi Use Paths – Working Group has been set up.
Item 8 – Men’s Shed / FLS Buildings – Letter has been sent to FLS from GUCC supporting the Men’s Shed interest in the FLS buildings. Reply received from FLS advising that it may be a couple of years before any changes are made to this site. The Men’s Shed group may therefore need to look at other options in the meantime.
4. Annual Report – David Fraser, Chair
“The Community Council meet 10 times a year on the 4th Monday of each month except January & July. All our meetings are open to the public. Due to the Covid Restrictions meetings are currently held on-
“The role of a community council is probably best defined by our objectives.
a) to ascertain, co-
represents, to liaise with other community groups within the area, and to fairly
express the diversity of opinions and outlooks of the people;
b) to express the views of the community to The Highland Council to public
authorities and other organisations;
c) to take such action in the interests of the community as appears to be
desirable and practicable;
d) to promote the well-
e) to be a means whereby the people of the area shall be able to voice their
opinions on any matter affecting their lives, their welfare, their environment,
its development and amenity”.
“These objectives are wide ranging, but at the heart of everything is public participation so please do take part in our activities”.
“The Community Council were saddened by the sudden death of Councillor George Cruikshank and our condolences to his family. George was a good supporter of the Glen throughout his time on Highland Council”.
“The Community Council work closely with a number of groups within the Glen. In particular GURCA, Soirbheas, Chamber of Commerce and Glenurquhart Care Project. This allows for flexibility as to which organisation takes the lead on an issue. It also ensures the community has a strong voice when we lobby for improvements. In March we were able to come together very quickly at the start of the Covid restrictions and coordinate the community response”.
“The range of items we have discussed and moved forward this year include “welcome to Glen Urquhart” signage on A82, A831 and A833, a height restriction barrier at Old Kilmore car park to stop use by mobile homes, discussions with Forest & Land Scotland including Craigmonie footpath restoration and arrangements for the Snowman Rally. The completion of many of these has been delayed by the lockdown. We also get updates on activities such as the Etape Race and proposed Loch Ness 360 event and from the local Police”.
“Road and drainage improvements for all routes in our area are a regular feature as are responses to planning applications”.
“On flooding the Drumnadrochit flood defence scheme is now approved and work is due to commence later this year. The issue of surface water flooding in the area of Balmacaan and Lewiston has been discussed with Highland Council and Scottish Water. It is hoped investigation works will commence before the autumn”.
“The major planning application this year was the proposed housing development by Springfield. At the time of writing no decision had been made by the Scottish Government Reporter”.
“Community Council elections were held in November 2019 and three long standing members stood down namely John Duncan, Peter Macdonald and Ken Fraser. Our thanks to each of them for the many years of voluntary work on behalf of our community. Ken in particular deserves recognition for over 45 years service on the community council, I doubt if that long service record will ever be broken. At the same time Pam Lucas stepped down as chair of the community council but remains a member. Our thanks to Pam for her many years leading the Community Council”.
“We have a number of significant projects that had to be postponed due to the Covid crisis these include A82 road safety issues near the Clansman Hotel, the pedestrian crossing at the Health Centre / Scotmid shop, and a community led planning exercise to take a long term view of development in the Glen. It is hoped these will get started soon”.
“Our thanks as always to Councillor Margaret Davidson who does a tremendous amount of work on behalf of the Glen and ensures Highland Council staff listen to proposals from our community”.
“The work of the Community Council is very much a team effort by members of the community council and others that provide support in different ways, my thanks to everyone involved”.
“Finally a brief word on the community response to the Covid crisis. I am sure this will be covered in greater detail in other reports. More than 100 people volunteered to assist and the liaison between the community groups and health professionals (Care Project, health centre and pharmacy) has been first class. Thanks to this tremendous support we were able to provide a range of measures, appropriate to Glen Urquhart, very quickly and maintain that support for a number of months. Our thanks to everyone who has assisted in this response”.
5. Treasurer’s Report
David Ferguson provided the following report:
The bank account holds funds for Community Council & Cnoc an Burraidh burial chamber restoration works. At our last meeting in May, the balance was £27,427.70. For clarity, the accounts have been split in to two parts;
Community Council funds total £10,111.68
Cnoc an Burraidh funds total £17,316.02
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 and Margaret Davidson will advise how and when to spend.
Our yearly grant from Highland Council has been received (£638.51). We have had no bills to pay / money going out, therefore, balance held by Community Council = £10,111.68 + £638.51 = £10,750.19
Cnoc an Buraidh (balance = £17,316.02)
Received £14,440 from National Lottery
So new balance for Cnoc an Buraidh = £17,316.02 + £14,440. = £31,756.02
The new total balance is as follows; £10,750.19 + £31,756.02 = £42,506.21
Latest Bank statement issued 12th June 2020, the balance is £42,791.21 (Reason for the difference is that a cheque we issued, has not been paid in / deducted from our account). David Fraser advised that Cnoc an Buraidh work will commence soon, and he will check re the recipient of the uncashed cheque. Action – David Fraser
6. Police Report
The following report was submitted in advance of the meeting:
Road Safety -
Public Protection -
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse -
Crimes of Dishonesty -
Please can we remind all Community Councils to pass any requests/information to the section email address HighlandsandIslandsBeaulyFortAugustus@scotland.pnn.police.uk
If members of the public have any issues which we can assist with then please inform the Community Council who will pass them on to us.
7. Glen Urquhart Helpline
David Fraser advised that the community helpline was still receiving calls, which are generally now from the same group of people needing support in terms of prescription pick up and shopping. It was noted that there had been very little demand for the Scotmid food order and delivery service. Nicky Maclennan advised that the food larders have now been det up, the one at the TIC has been quite busy, the Balnain one is very quiet. Soirbheas are trying to discourage members of the public from leaving bric-
8. Cycle Ways – Loch Ness and Local
A first meeting of the Working Group has been held and a second meeting is scheduled to work on producing initial trail maps. The group is working with GURCA to submit a funding bid which would include improvements to the Balmacaan to Health Centre right of way, and bike racks / electric charging points at the Tourist Information car park (Soirbheas are looking into electric charging points for cars). The Inverness to Fort Augustus cycle way was discussed and it was felt that this would be well used. Margaret Davidson advised that she had written to the Minister Michael Matheson and to local MSPs, Kate Forbes had indicated her support and has been encouraged to speak to the Minister in the hope of instigating a feasibility study. It was also agreed to liaise with Sustrans, the charitable organisation working on making it easier for people to walk and cycle, and also with the Inverness Courier walking/cycling columnist. It was further suggested that FLS could be encouraged to install bike charging points in Balnain forest. It was agreed that all these items would be taken forward at the next meeting of the working group. Action – Dianne Fraser
9. Roads / Drainage
The following points were noted:
10. Planning Applications
20/01946/FUL – Erection of holiday log cabin, land 50m south of Bearnock Lodge, Glenurquhart – It was agreed to wait and see if there are any neighbour comments before GUCC may or may not comment. Action – Fiona Urquhart
Polmaily Development – There was a discussion of the properties which were in various stages of construction between Polmaily Hotel and Achtemarack road end, and it was agreed that it would be useful to have an update on the status of this development. Following the meeting it was confirmed that 23 properties are currently available for sale as holiday accommodation or permanent residencies.
Evening Licence request from Historic Environment Scotland for Urquhart Castle – 6pm to 8pm – noted.
Scotmid Site – The latest draft of the proposed development at the old Scotmid site was circulated to GUCC and is scheduled to go to the Highland Council Planning Committee next week. Members were disappointed to note that there had been very little change to the original plans. It was agreed that Margaret Davidson will go back to the housing development team to advise of the GUCC discussions and suggest that a meeting is held to discuss a way forward and reach a more acceptable proposal for all parties. David Fraser will contact Highland Housing Alliance advising that the proposed 3 storeys is still too high, requesting conformation of the size of the playpark and the potential to explore other financial situations which would make the most of the number of houses on the site and the unit cost more feasible. GUCC cannot support the proposal in its current format. Action -
Bhlaraidh WindFfarm – email received regarding extension and comments requested by 15th July.
Flood Prevention Scheme – It was noted that this is now progressing and it was hopeful that work will commence later this year, in the autumn. GUCC welcomed this major piece of infrastructure for the community.
Scotmid Shop – Members of the community had raised concern that 2m social distancing is not easy within the Scotmid shop.
COVID 19 Restrictions – Members discussed the plans for returning to school and opening the area back up to tourists. Businesses around the village are working hard to ensure that when visitors do come back to the area, that social distancing will be implemented while also ensuring that the community feels safe. If any businesses are opening up before the guidelines permit, the police want to be informed so they can deal with it accordingly. Many of our local attractions are out of doors which is an advantage however it is still important to build confidence and protect people as well as we possibly can. The possibility of providing safe meeting places with sanitisation so people can feel protected while beginning to meet up was discussed, to help those who are beginning to feel trapped and suffer from feelings of isolation. The local Reliance Group will be looking at the possibility of hand sanitiser being readily available in more areas eg bus stops around the village, and other ways of making it easy for people to do the right thing. The High School are working on a range of scenarios for returning to schools, and if the distancing is dropped to 1m by August this could make a big difference to the time children are able to spend in school. The main issue affecting the High School is transport and it is hoped that parents will be able to help where possible.
Affric Kintail Way – Members were pleased to note that the bridge has now been installed at the top of Kerrow Brae.
Soirbheas Photo Competition – Members of the community are encouraged to vote for the entries submitted, these will be available via the Soirbheas webpage and social media.
13. Details of Next Meetings
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 24th August 2020, arrangements to be confirmed. GUCC will continue to deal with planning applications and other issues over the summer.
There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.30pm.