Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 24th May 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 and Val Cooper.

 Also present: Councillors David Fraser and Margaret Davidson, Fraser Mackenzie, Susan Clark, Iain Riddle and 4 members of the public.

Apologies: Stuart Ross, Stuart McLeay and Councillor Helen Carmichael.

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minute of the meeting held on 26th April 2021 was approved as a correct record (Dominic Thierry / Pam Lucas).

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 3 – Littering in various areas, David Ferguson is continuing to liaise with Highland Council to progress resolutions.  David Fraser would also raise this at the forthcoming meeting on 14th June.  Action – David Ferguson / David Fraser

Item 3 – David Fraser will continue to liaise with Tullochs regarding works to be carried out prior to Highland Council adoption of the Old Kilmore car park.  Action – David Fraser  

4. Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following financial report:

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). The cheque issued for £99 in December, has now been deducted from the account, this was for the cycle survey.  Actual balance unchanged.

The accounts have been presented to Highland Council in advance of the annual grant payment.

Cnoc an Buraidh :   Balance = £13,196.28

Paid £7,200 for access path and cheque issued last month for £32.99 (paint) has now been deducted from the account.

Total balance £9101.91 + £13,196.28 = £22,298.19

Cheque signing has now changed to Dianne Fraser and David Ferguson jointly.  David Ferguson is still pursuing the possibility of moving to online banking.  Action – David Ferguson

5. Police Report

The following report was received in advance of the meeting:

Road Safety - 3 x Individuals arrested and cautioned and charged with drink driving offences.  A number of static road checks were carried out by local officers throughout the reporting period, however no major issues were identified.  We will look to continue with these checks as and when we can to discourage driving offences, especially as we enter the summer holiday season where our roads will no doubt get much busier.

Public Protection - Police are aware that the public toilets are now operational again and looking lovely!!  Thankfully there have been no reported incidents since re opening. We will continue to monitor the area to discourage any acts of vandalism etc.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – No incidents of note
Crimes of Dishonesty – No incidents of note

David Fraser advised that having met with the police in Dingwall they had confirmed that they would be carrying out speed checks around the Lewiston area.

6. Consultations

a) Local Development Plan

Dianne Fraser confirmed that a response had been submitted and an acknowledgement received.  More information would be available at the process continues.

b) Moray Firth Active Travel Master Plans

Members are encouraged to read the plan and submit any comments to Dianne Fraser who will collate these and submit a response on behalf of GUCC.  Action – All / Dianne Fraser

7. Roads / Drainage

a) A82 Road

David Fraser advised that he has continued to liaise with Transport Scotland to progress issues on the A82.  He and Margaret Davidson had also met with the roads policing department to discuss Clansman and Lewiston in particular in terms of speeding, they have asked for additional data but fully recognised the risks especially around the Clansman area.  Transport Scotland will attend to works on Drum Bridge once Scottish Water have completed their work and drainage work will take place on the A82 in September.  Traffic calming measures have been put in place for the approach to Lewiston from the Fort Augustus side and a request has been made to also have a flashing 30mph sign for traffic leaving the village to go in the opposite direction.

b) Other Roads

David Fraser advised that the Highland Council funding package will be confirmed later this week and thereafter they would have a better indication of the priority routes which will be addressed and any remaining funds would be used for other issues.  There will be more clarity over the next few months.

The water mains work at Kilmichael is nearing completion and then Scottish Water will be back in the autumn to commence the next section, which would pick up at the end of the current section and continue round and over Drum bridge.

There has been some speculation about how the current water mains situation affects the major housing developments in the village and Scottish Water have advised that when the current section is complete it takes away any restrictions on the next phase of the Loch Ness Homes (LNH) development, and then the next section in the autumn will mean Springfield can develop unrestricted.  An update on the development of future sections has been requested from LNH and they have advised that they will provide this in June.  Once this is received any arising actions will be picked up as necessary.

Oncoming traffic in the middle of the road signage for Culnakirk, as well as signage on the A82 encouraging vehicles to pull over safely if they can do so, should be kept on the list of works requested.  

It was confirmed that the Bunloit road site meeting which took place had been a localised discussion for a planning requirement, but did set a precedent for a link between future developments and road improvements.  The Roads Department are very aware of the condition of the road and proposed developments for the area.  An assessment of the road would be part of the process for any large planning developments coming forward.

8. Planning Applications

a) Active Applications

21/01752/FUL - Erection of house (amended design to 19/00703/FUL), land 150m NE of Larisa House, Bunloit, Drumnadrochit - noted

21/02135/FUL Erection of extension to house, Tigh Na Allt, 1 Lower Balmacaan, Drumnadrochit - noted

21/02193/ADV - Advertisement of the following types: Fascia Sign, 4 Carrier's Croft, Lewiston, Drumnadrochit – noted.  Noted also that change of use application will be required.

21/01961/FUL – Erection of house, land 20m south of Ardwell, Lewiston, Drumnadrochit – noted.

b) Highland Housing Alliance / Old Shop Site

21/02124/FUL - Erect 15 no 2 and 2.5 storey blocks of 2 bedroomed flats with associated parking and services, located at Co-Operative Retail Services Ltd, Balmacaan Road, Drumnadrochit, application from Highland Housing Alliance – Discussion of this application resulted in a unanimous decision to object strongly – noting that there is very little difference from the original application and disappointment that the developer has not listened to the views of the community; it is a very dense and extremely prominent proposal and not in keeping with the village; the glass frontage facing the shinty field will undoubtedly cause problems with stray shinty balls and the potential for insurance issues as previously discussed with the developer; GUCC are aware of housing shortages in the village but this does not tick the right boxes; it compromises shinty which is an integral part of the village, and any development should not challenge what is already in place and being enjoyed by the community, this is the only sports field in the area and it is being compromised and thus undermines the opportunity for existing and new sport to develop.  The response should also be submitted with reference to the existing Local Development Plan and members of the community are also encouraged to submit comments if they so wish. The community are trying to create a vision for the area and this does not fit with it.  GURCA will also make comment that the right of access to the field requires to be maintained.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

c) Windfarms

Loch Laith Wind Farm – The virtual exhibition is now live and can be accessed via the projects website This exhibition will be live until 14th June and will include a series of online chat sessions.

Chràthaich Wind Farm – Response to the Environmental Impact Assessment submitted.

Blaraidh Wind Farm – Extension proposal - GUCC cannot comment on this until it comes forward as a planning application.  Ongoing community consultation to be held.

Bill Smart, who is a structural and civil engineer with experience of wind farm developments, was present at the meeting, and offered to assist GUCC with future responses to windfarm proposals, and this offer was appreciated.

9. Community Action Plan / Place Plan

Dominic Thierry and Dianne Fraser attended a recent meeting with representatives from GURCA and Soirbheas, and a steering group, draft terms of reference and draft tender document for consultation on the place plan have been progressed.  Dianne Fraser also advised that she had had informative and helpful discussions with Highland Council Planners on the importance of place planning, which will be used to inform their tiered planning structure.  It had also been helpful to look at the place planning which other communities had undertaken.  A further update will be available at the next meeting.  

10. Affric / Kintail Way Update

Pam Lucas advised that work is proceeding to a very high standard and feedback from members of the community who have been using it have been very positive.  The next step will be endeavouring to secure funding for the next phases as they develop, this being the section from Millness up through Buntait and then back down through Shenval.  The crowd funding section of the website is a permanent feature and all donations are very welcome.  A more detailed update by Jim McAuley is attached as appendix 1.

11. Correspondence

Comment from Jeremy Leggit to GUCC’s response to the planning proposal to which Dianne Fraser will respond.  Action – Dianne Fraser

12. AOCB

Kimore Playpark – Some repair work has been undertaken but the park is still fenced off.  It was thought that some woodwork was still required to make the park safe however David Fraser would find out the latest situation and report back.  Action – David Fraser

13. Details of Next Meeting
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 28th June at 8pm, it was noted that this would also be the AGM, arrangements to be confirmed.  Margaret Davidson advised that the guidance from the Scottish Government on resuming face to face meetings is ambiguous and Highland Council are awaiting a clear statement on this before advising that Community Councils might recommence meetings in person.  

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9.20pm.  

Phase 1

Build Cost: £108284.40

Funded by:

Scottish & Southern Energy  £40000

Soirbheas    £29700

Forestry & Land Scotland  £18750

Strathglass Community Fund  £10000

National Lottery   £  7500

Crowdfunding    £  1983.97

GASMA    £    350.43

 To date

Total cost of project to date as of end of March 2021 is £118403.40