Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 26th April 2021 at 8pm

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

          Also present: Councillors David Fraser and Margaret Davidson, Fraser Mackenzie, Susan Clark, Gordon Findlay, Iain Riddle and 8 members of the public.

Apologies: Stuart McLeay, Nicky MacLennan, and Councillor Helen Carmichael.

2.       Minutes of the last meeting
The minute of the meeting held on 22nd March 2021 was approved as a correct record (Pam Lucas / Dianne Fraser).

3.       Matters arising from minutes

Item 3 – List of litter hot spots has been provided to Highland Council.  Litter bin to serve Affric Kintail Way in Pitkerrald Road / Balmacaan area, as well as a bin in the layby beyond West End garage would be beneficial and a response to these suggestions is awaited.  David Ferguson will continue to pursue this issue, and it may be that an on-site meeting is required in due course.  Action – David Ferguson

Item 3 – David Fraser has provided an update to Tullochs asking for a height restriction barrier, surfacing of the carpark and improvements to drainage in advance of Highland Council adopting the car park, and is currently awaiting a response from them on this.  Action – David Fraser

Item 11 - Playparks – Thanks were passed to Margaret Davidson for moving this issue forward, and the playpark in Milton in particular had been very well used since the completion of these works.

4.       Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following financial report:

At the last meeting in March, the total balance was £29,246.18.  Since the last meeting there has been one bill to pay and one payment received from Soirbheas, both for Cnoc an Buraidh.

Community Council :  Balance = £9,101.91

£7,211.77 is “ring fenced” for Loch Ness Tourism Strategy / Glen Urquhart Place Planning (£288.23 was spent on the newsletter).

Cnoc an Buraidh :   Balance = £20,144.27

Paid out £32.99 for paint

Received £285.0 from Soirbheas

£20,144.27 - £32.99 + £285.0 = £20,396.28


Total balance £9,101.91 + £20,396.28 = £29,498.19

Proposal for a move to online banking system for the Community Council was agreed.  David Ferguson would make some initial enquiries and will report back.  Action – David Ferguson

5.       Police Report

The following report was received in advance of the meeting:

Road Safety - On the 25th of March 2021 two lorries collided when passing on the A82 a few miles north of Drumnadrochit. This was deemed a non-reportable road collision with no issues identified for either driver.

At the beginning of April 2021 there were several calls to the A82 in and around Drumnadrochit due to debris on the road, boulders and trees falling. These were all dealt with swiftly. We thank the public who take the time to report these matters to ourselves, the council and BEAR Scotland who maintain large sections of this road.

On the 11th of April 2021 there was a report of a lorry having gone off the road on the A82 just north of Drumnadrochit, spilling it’s load in the field. Police attended and found the driver to be over the limit. He was subsequently arrested for drink driving. No one was injured during this incident however the crash barrier was significantly damaged and this is being fixed by BEAR Scotland. The driver has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal and prosecution proceedings will follow.

Public Protection - On the 23rd of April 2021 there was a report of a 31 year old man stuck on the steep embankment by Urquhart Castle having gone down to rescue his dog. Colleagues at RNLI were able to launch a vessel and secure the man and his dogs, all uninjured, before dropping them safely at Temple Pier for police to carry out investigation. The man was in breach of COVID regulations and dealt with appropriately before being sent on his way.

There have been two reported incidents of fraud during this period from residents in the Glen Urquhart area. These relate to Bitcoin and Ebay frauds.

We urge the public to be vigilant with any online purchases. Please also be aware of unknown emails or phone calls. Unfortunately we are seeing a large increase in these crimes.

We ask if you have the time to research online scams to become aware of the potential signs. RBS have a great download called “The Little Book of Cyber Scams” in partnership with Police Scotland.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – No incidents of note

Crimes of Dishonesty – No incidents of note

Wildlife Crime - On the 29th of March 2021 it was reported to police by the water bailiffs of a 52 year old man fishing on Loch Ness in a boat using more than 4 rods. This is an offence under Section 3 (a) Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Con) (Scot) Act 2003. The man has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration of prosecution.

Members were also aware of issues relating to HGVs on narrow spots and corners of the Culnakirk Road and were in agreement that signage warning of oncoming HGVs in the middle of the road would be a good addition, it was agreed that Dianne Fraser would pass on this request to Highland Council.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Duncan Macdonald-Haig advised that he had received notification of works on Borlum Bridge however the GUCC were not aware of this.  Since the meeting David Fraser has received confirmation from Highland Council that Bear Scotland will be upgrading the cathodic protection system on the bridge in the summer, these works will take place below the structure and there will be no need for any disruption to traffic.


6.       Consultations

A)       Local Development Plan

Dianne Fraser confirmed that she and Pam Lucas had met to agree a GUCC response to the Local Development Plan.  Dianne Fraser will collate all the comments and submit these to the Highland Council.  Action – Dianne Fraser

7.       Roads / Drainage

A)      A82 Road

David Fraser advised that following the recent response received from Transport Scotland in relation to a number of issues requiring attention on the A82, he and Margaret Davidson had met with the Transport Scotland manager.  In relation to the Lewiston Junction, it was agreed that traffic is going too fast, and the traffic survey results are supportive of that, Transport Scotland have designed some road markings and signage to slow traffic down when approaching from the Borlum side, however some measures are also required for traffic from the village, and David Fraser has requested that they also include flashing 30mph signage and then monitor it again once these things are in place.  There had been a proposal to resurface Drum Bridge this month, but because Scottish Water will be digging it up in the autumn they will leave resurfacing until after that, and will do from the Post Office out to Duart Lodge, but will however repair potholes in the meantime, as well as renew the white lines at the bus stops.  A report will be put to them with proposals for locations for north bound laybys on A82 to allow slow moving traffic to pull in, this will include the stretch of road from Fort Augustus to Inverness.  The proposal for a speed reduction at the Clansman would require Police support, and Margaret Davidson and David Fraser will therefore be meeting with representatives from the Police Roads Department in Dingwall to discuss this, traffic behaviour on the A82, as well as additional signage.  Plans for resurfacing between Drum and Temple Pier are scheduled for next month, and improvements to drainage in a number of areas will also take place.  

b) A831 Road

David Fraser advised that Highland Council are finalising budgets, and this will determine which schemes within our area can be attended to.  He and Margaret Davidson meet with John Taylor on a regular basis and will wait to see what his proposals are, this will hopefully include drainage work on Culnakirk.  The extension of the 40mph at Balnain is still on the list, and will require a traffic speed survey at some point.  The newly installed flashing 30mph sign at Balnain will be adjusted as it is in a 40mph zone, and a further flashing speed sign will also be installed at Kilmichael in due course.  Resurfacing at Kilmichael, once the current works are completed, will also be scheduled.

There was a discussion about speeding in the Balmacaan Road and Lewiston area, and it was noted that the implementation of restrictions in any village, on an ad hoc basis, takes a long time to implement.  Highland Council are presently trying to gain powers so that the default speed limit for all built up areas would become 20mph, and authorities would be able to approve some areas as 30 or 40mph.  Village traffic is an issue, and should be kept live.  

The forthcoming full road closure of the A82 south of Drum from 17th -19th May has been pushed back to a 9pm close at the request of GUCC to ensure the road remains open for NHS / shift staff travelling home.   

The tree leaning on the telephone wires at the old Bank of Scotland has been reported and is scheduled for removal by Bear Scotland.

8.       Planning Applications

A)      Active Applications

21/00915/FUL - Conversion and alteration of farm buildings to form maintenance, visitor and educational facilities, Easter Bunloit, Drumnadrochit – A number of members of the community, primarily from the Bunloit area were present at the meeting, and there followed a discussion relating to various concerns in respect of this application.  The Press and Journal from today had included an article in which the applicant referred to development of a much larger scale than this application, and this too raised of number of concerns.  An assurance was given that local councillors are aware of the issues in the area, particularly in relation to the road and its condition and capacity.  While all the concerns were acknowledged, at present all GUCC could do was comment on the application presented, and in this regard it was agreed to submit a response objecting to this application until the concerns of the residents have been addressed and GUCC’s own long standing concerns on the road condition and water and waste issues have also been addressed.  GUCC members were unanimous in this decision.  Action – Fiona Urquhart  

21/01345/FUL - Installation of two bike storage shelters and erection of signage, Loch Ness Hub, Drumnadrochit - noted

21/01533/FUL - Erection of house, land 35m NW of Pembroke, Drumnadrochit – Noted, and GUCC note that Transport Scotland are aware of issues relating to access to the A82.

b) Highland Housing Alliance / Old Shop Site

The contract has been awarded for demolition of the old shop, and it is anticipated that the contractor will be on site in June.

c) Windfarms

Chràthaich Wind Farm - EIA Scoping report for a potential wind farm development on Corrimony Farm, approximately 7km southeast of Cannich submitted by Chràthaich Renewables LLP.  On 31 March 2021, Muirden Energy LLP on behalf of Chràthaich Renewables LLP (the Applicant) submitted a request for a scoping opinion from the Scottish Ministers for the proposed section 36 application for the Chrathaich Wind Farm. The proposed development is for 17 wind turbines with a blade to tip height 180 metres in line with regulation 12 of The Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017.  Comments in response to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Scoping Report are requested by 17th May 2021.  It was agreed that Dianne Fraser and Pam Lucas would work together to provide a response to this on behalf of GUCC.  Action – Dianne Fraser and Pam Lucas

Blaraidh Wind Farm – This has been passed to Soirbheas for comment on behalf of GUCC.

Loch Liath Wind Farm – A virtual exhibition is scheduled for 21st May and the developer has asked to attend a future GUCC meeting.  It was agreed that rather than attending a GUCC meeting, that the developer be asked to consult via a full community consultation including a public exhibition as lockdown is relaxed.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Springfield Development – No update received.

Drumnadrochit Flood Prevention SchemeNo further updates received, however residents have received a letter indicating that it is likely that work would be proceeding this year.  Following the meeting confirmation was received that the contract for the riverside works would be awarded to the approved tender imminently in the hope that work would commence in May / June, once this is confirmed a further update will be sent to residents.  The update will advise of the selected contractor, indicative dates for works starting on site and identification of the process for ongoing communications throughout the works.  

9.       Community Action Plan / Place Plan

Dianne Fraser had attended an initial meeting with Susan Clark, Carolyn Wilson and Carol Masheter.  It was noted that plans for the community action plan had been drafted 3 years ago, and agreement was reached to review these and put a community action plan in place.  In addition, the following was agreed:

 Steering Group to be formed with two members from GUCC / GURCA / Siorbheas.  It was agreed that Dianne Fraser and Dominic Thierry would represent GUCC.

 Follow up and liaison with neighbouring community councils on estimated costs for scoping work and consultants used etc to avoid duplication of effort and to ensure our plan ties in with theirs.  

 t was hoped that there would be good community engagement with this process.  Local Councillors should be kept in the loop and will contribute and assist where possible.  There is a need to also liaise with local planners and public agencies to ensure the plan has the relevant status and standing.   Members were in agreement with a £300 payment from GUCC to assist with the costs of this project.  

10.       Correspondence

Water Main Upgrade – Notification from Scottish Water of works upgrading 400m of water main on the A831, beginning at the end of March and lasting for approximately 4 months.  It was noted that the traffic lights at these works were faulty at weekends, and it was agreed that Fiona Urquhart would bring this to the attention of the workforce.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

11.       AOCB

Public Toilets – It was noted that work to the public toilets at the Hub was now complete and the completion certificate was awaited.  This facility, along with the motor home facilities will be really valuable to the area.  As part of the same funding package the Hub had put skins around the bins in the car park, making the gap for inserting rubbish smaller in the hope of discouraging people from using the bins for residential or commercial use.  

Milton Bridge - Thanks were noted to Tom Nelson and Bruce Nelson for their work in replacing the Milton footbridge.

12.       Details of Next Meeting
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 24th May at 8pm, arrangements to be confirmed.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 10pm.  

Action List – April 2021