Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 26th October 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), Dianne Fraser, Pam Lucas, Fiona Urquhart, David Ferguson, Dominic Thierry, Stuart Ross and Val Cooper

    Also present: Nicky MacLennan, Soirbheas

    Apologies: Stuart McLeay, Fraser Mackenzie, and Councillors Margaret Davidson and Helen Carmichael.

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 28th September 2020 were approved as a correct record. (Pam Lucas / Fiona Urquhart)

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 3 - Glen Urquhart Signage – Russell Fraser progressing with Highland Council re locations and approval for contractors as well as working out costs and funding. Action – David Fraser

Item 3 - Old Kilmore Car Park – Margaret Davidson and David Fraser have arranged a meeting on site with John Taylor, Highland Council, to try and progress this to next stage. Action – David Fraser

Item 8 - Flood scheme letters were delivered by Craig Fraser and thanks were passed to him.  Residents had been raising concerns again recently about the flooding issues and the delivery of these letters was timely in this regard.  The letter can now be added to FB and GUCC website so the wider community are kept aware of the situation.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Item 9 - Reminder to Bear and Transport Scotland re drainage and rock removal on the A82.  David Fraser had sent correspondence which had also included the area at the far end of Lochend straight where the side road from Rose Cottage was washing out onto the A82 causing a potential accident spot.

Item 9 - Pavement work at Kilmichael has been pursued by Margaret Davidson and would be looked at with John Taylor on his next visit out to the area.

Item 9 – David Fraser has contacted Bear and Transport Scotland regarding surface water issues in the village and is awaiting a response, he will continue to pursue.  Action – David Fraser

Item 9 – An update on A831 gulley work will be addressed on site with John Taylor, to include the blocked drains at Balnain School road end at the pedestrian crossing.  Action – David Fraser

Item 9 - Pitkerrald Flooding issue will be pursued on site with John Taylor.  Action – David Fraser

Item 11 – A solution to the Kilmore bin issues were being considered for next summer however Margaret Davidson was continuing to pursue this issue.  It was further noted that litter was also a problem in the Milton layby.   A response to Dominic Thierry’s letter to Highland Council regarding littering issues has never been received and it was agreed that a reminder be sent.  Action – Dominic Thierry

Item 12 – Issues relating to the removal of public payphones had been picked up by Highland Council and GUCC was pleased to note progress on this issue.

Item 12 – The dead trees on Kilmore Road had been reported to Alan Johnson, it was agreed that this and the repairs to Divach bridge would be raised with John Taylor on his visit to the area.  

4. Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following report:

The bank account holds funds for Community Council and Cnoc an Burraidh burial chamber restoration works.  At our last meeting in August, the balance was £39,584.78.  The accounts have been split into two parts;

Community Council - £7,500 is “ring fenced” for Loch Ness Tourism Strategy / Glen Urquhart Place Planning & Margaret Davidson will advise how & when to spend – the balance remains at £10,060.19

Cnoc an Buraidh - We have had one bill from Harper & Allan Masonry, for work carried out at Cnoc an Buraidh (£4,817.34) and no money coming in, so the balance has changed from last meeting - balance = £29,524.59 - £4817.34 = £24,707.25

So new total balance is £10,060.19 + £24,707.25 = £34,767.44

5. Police Report

No report received.  It was agreed that these updates provide important information at statistics to GUCC and a request should be made for the outstanding reports to be submitted (September and October 2020).  Action – Val Cooper

Following the meeting the September and October reports were received as requested:

September 2020 – 52 Incidents reported to police over the reporting period.
Road Safety - 1 x male charged with drink driving offence, no driving licence and no insurance.  1 x fixed penalty for speeding.  1 x fixed penalty for bald tyres.  2 x vehicle defect tickets due to registration plate offences.
Public Protection – Police continue to monitor local compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines. There have been no reported incidents over the reporting period.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse - 2 x males reported for possession of controlled drugs.
Crimes of Dishonesty – No incidents of note.
October 2020 – 43 Incidents reported to police over the reporting period.
Road Safety - The police attended 12 reports of various road traffic incidents within the area during the reporting period. On each occasion these were resolved by advice / assistance provided at the scene.  Unfortunately there was a Fatal road accident on A82 at Borlum Farm.
Public Protection – Police continue to monitor local compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines. There have been no reported incidents over the reporting period.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse - There has been no incidents of note.  
Crimes of Dishonesty – There has been a further report of an attempted fraud within the area since the last meeting. The scam is believed to have generated from India.  The scam took place over the phone whereby the elderly victim was persuaded to transfer a sum of money into an unknown account via Western Union.  The victim was told that this was due to unpaid charges for the subscription to a business.  Thankfully this was stopped by staff at the shop in Inverness who recognised it as a scam.  The incident is currently being enquired into.  Please bear this incident in mind and be aware of fraudulent activity online or over the phone etc. Do not 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.

6. Glen Urquhart Paths Group

David Fraser advised that he and Margaret Davidson had met with representatives from Sustrans, Transport Scotland and Highland Council to discuss the proposals for an Inverness to Fort Augustus cycleway and a request for a feasibility study had been made.  

Dianne Fraser advised that the Glen Urquhart Active Travel and Cycleways group had now been renamed the Glen Urquhart Paths Group.  A funding application was currently being prepared for Soirbheas and discussions were taking place around signage.  GUCC had committed £75 for survey monkey use.  

Pam Lucas advised that the digger work was complete on the Craigmonie woodland section of the Affric to Kintail way, some remedial work at Shenval had taken place to make it safer for use until the final work is undertaken, and work is now taking place on the Dark Deer Section of the route.  There is an ongoing Crowd Funding appeal for these works.  It was further noted that the bridge connecting Craigmonie woodland to the Balnain track will be reinstated in approximately 3 weeks time.  

7. Forest and Land Scotland (FLS) Updates on Craigmonie and Balnain

It was agreed that David Fraser would contact FLS to request an update on the situation with regards the buildings at Balnain and the possible acquisition of these by the Men’s Shed.  Action – David Fraser

8. Flood Alleviation Schemes

a. Drumnadrochit Green Scheme – update received and a separate contract will be let for tree felling ahead of the nesting season.  Unfortunately the main works have been delayed by 2 months with an estimated contract award in May 2021.  GUCC have highlighted that this will be a crucial time for local businesses.

b. Balmacaan / Lewiston – Letters issued to residents.

9. Roads / Drainage

A82 – Bear and Transport Scotland have been asked for an update on the speed surveys at the Clansman and an interpretation of the results.  The removal of rocks on the roadside and an update on various areas of drainage had also been requested (see item 3 above).   A speed survey between Lewiston and the Scotmid would be taking place at some point in the future.

A831 – A request had been made for 30mph reminder signs to be located close to Achmony turn off and around Kilmichael area to remind motorists of their approach to the 30mph sections.  The 50mph section from Milton the bottom of Culnakirk to Kilmichael will be looked at in due course (although a recent speed survey had taken place in the area) and GUCC will continue to pursue this issue.  The results of the recent speed survey and how these are translated will be raised with John Taylor when he is next on site.  Action – David Fraser

Continuing drain problems – Balnain road end and the pedestrian crossing drains remain blocked and will be brought to the attention of John Taylor (see item 3 above).

Village Surface Water – (awaiting response as per item 3 above).

10. Local Development Plan

David Fraser advised that the Local Development Plan is scheduled to go to committee in early November with a proposal for community consultation to take place before Christmas.  GUCC members were in full agreement that this was not a sensible proposal in the current climate when communities cannot have meetings, and this is a critical planning document, which must have effective community consultation.  It was agreed to write to local councillors expressing dismay at this proposal.  David Fraser further advised that the Housing in the Countryside Policy is currently out for consultation.  Anyone wishing to view the document should go to the Highland Council consultation portal and read each section of the policy and then comment – it is not possible to read the whole document in its entirety and therefore consider it in context, and again there was no opportunity for community discussion.  Responses are requested by 18th December.  GUCC were in agreement that they would like this policy to include a clause which recognises Community Plans if and when they exist, so areas can end up with more detailed plans of what they would like to happen in specific areas, and are not just reliant on more high level policy documents.  Communities should have the opportunity to develop effectively their own local plans which feed into the Highland Council Local Development Plan and Housing in the Countryside Policy.  Many people locally are also unhappy that houses are being built on quality arable land, and policies make it difficult to build in wooded areas.  GUCC would generally prefer to see houses built in woodland than farmland.  It was agreed to put the consultation details onto the Facebook page and GUCC website and encourage people to submit comments over the next 3 weeks so that a community response could then be pulled together and submitted.  Action – David Fraser / Fiona Urquhart

11. Planning Applications

20/03633/PIP – Erection of house, land at Incheachart, Glen Urquhart – GUCC comment submitted, “Glen Urquhart Community Council object to this application until all the neighbour issues of the path, access location, soakaway and wildlife have been addressed.  We would ask that if permission is granted then conditions are attached to the PIP in order that the design and location of the house fit with the settlement pattern in that area.  The Community Council would not wish to see further development in the field owned by applicant”.

20/03759/FUL – Alterations and erection of extension of house, Achdubh, Drumnadrochit – noted

20/03782/FUL – Erection of house 2 Enrick Crescent, Drumnadrochit – noted

20/03791/FUL – Additional glazing to gable and erection of car port 3 Balanstrachan, Drumnadrochit – noted

20/03855/FUL – Erection of fencing (retrospective) Eden House, Milton – noted

20/03966/FUL – Installation of motor home waste disposal facility, Tourist Information Centre, Drumnadrochit – Noted.  It was noted that consultation had taken place with Scottish Water to ensure that the sewer system could cope with this and confirmation was received that this was the case.  Daily volume and maximum volume limit meters will more than likely be applied to this facility.  It was felt that this facility might increase the likelihood of overnight campers, however Highland Council had plans for parking charges which would include controls, including encouraging camper vans to move to another site.  Members were in agreement that this was a much needed facility for the area.

It was noted that there was signage at the Polmaily forestry road end encouraging campers and vans to move to the Balnain forest area, and it was agreed that an update from FLS on this situation was required.  It was agreed therefore to write to FLS for clarification of their policy for campers and vans for Polmaily, Balnain, and other areas of the Glen.  Action – David Fraser  

Springfield – Date for decision on the development was last week but no update on the website as yet.

Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) / Scotmid Site – David Fraser advised that HHA are ready to submit a planning application for 17 homes on the site of the Scotmid shop, which will not include any of the car park or play area, and will consist of a two and a half storey building with a pitched roof, significantly higher than existing shop.  The community had made a proposal to work with HHA to develop the area in line with the community aspirations for the site, and a response to this proposal was awaited.  GUCC thanked the Shinty Club and GURCA for support in putting forward the alternative suggestions.

12. Littering

See item 3 above.

13. Correspondence

Soirbheas AGM – 7.30pm on Thursday 29th October, AGM followed by monthly Board Meeting.

Update from Skye Builder re Access Path between shop and supported housing – A response has been received from Skye Builder that they are unable to give a date for site completion and path installation due to water supply issues.  GUCC have written to Scottish Water asking for clarification on the water supply restrictions (if any).

Old Kilmore Cemetery – Outstanding wall repairs, as well as another section which has recently fallen have been reported to Highland Council.

Remembrance Parade – notification of cancellation due to COVID situation.

Bunloit Rewilding Proposals - Response received to questions and invitation to visit site.  Dominic Thierry and Fiona Urquhart to arrange visit.  Action – Dominic Thierry / Fiona Urquhart

14. AOCB
Local Boundary Commission – A consultation is imminent which proposed changing the number of councillors in some areas ie one councillor for every 2,800 constituents, and also proposes removing part of the south side of the Loch Ness Ward to become part of Inverness.  It was agreed that GUCC would submit a response to this consultation when invited to do so.  Action – David Fraser

Date for AGM It was agreed that the AGM take place directly before the next meeting on 23rd November.

Glenurquhart Bulletin – 2020 Bulletin available for sale at Lewiston Garage and the Post Office

15. Details of Next Meetings
The next meeting, and AGM, was scheduled for Monday 23rd November at 8pm, arrangements to be confirmed.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.30pm.