Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting

held on

Monday 23rd Aug 2021 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: Dianne Fraser (Chair), Pam Lucas, Fiona Urquhart, David Ferguson, Dominic Thierry and Val Cooper.

 Also present: Councillors David Fraser and Margaret Davidson, Carolyn Wilson, GURCA, Nicky Maclennan, Soirbheas, Iain Riddle and 3 members of the public.

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

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minute of the meeting held on 28th June 2021 and the minute of the AGM also held on 28th June 2021 were approved (Fiona Urquhart / Dianne Fraser).

3. Matters arising from minutes

Item 8 – Benleva Licence Variation Request – Clarification about occupancy figures required  Action – Fiona Urquhart
Item 13 – Broadband – Dianne Fraser confirmed that she had collated information from the community relating to poor connectivity and had liaised with representatives from Stratherrick Community Council regarding their community broadband scheme.  BT Openreach would be undertaking updates from the end of August and Dianne would follow up on this issue thereafter.  Action – Dianne Fraser

4. Highland Council Access Ranger

Tim Francis, Highland Council Access Ranger was welcomed to the meeting.  Tim advised that he is one of 17 rangers appointed by Highland Council, and this role differs to that of Countryside Rangers who are overseen by Highlife Highland.  Tim is the Senior Ranger for a team of 8 covering the vast geographical area of the north Highlands.  Rangers work shifts, educating outdoor users on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, litter picking, reporting instances of fly tipping, recording overnight stays etc.  Particular hotspots are generally focussed on because of littering, fires, or unruly behaviour and Rangers work to engage with and educate individuals.  These are new roles but over time it is hoped for more engagement with local communities and user groups.  A report of activities to date is being compiled for the Highland Council Ward Manager and it is anticipated that this will cascade out to Community Councils.  More locally regular patrols take place at the Cover and Loch Meiklie.   Members of the public are reminded that they can report fly tipping and full bins on the Highland Council website here.  Further information and contact details for the Access Rangers can also be found on the Highland Council website here as well as through “The Highland Council Access Rangers” Facebook page.  Tim was thanked for his input and wished well in his continued work.

5. Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following financial report:

The bank account holds funds for GUCC and Cnoc an Burraidh burial chamber restoration works.  At the last meeting in June, the total balance was £21,010.21.       

Community Council

£7,211.77 is “ring fenced” for Loch Ness Tourism Strategy / Glen Urquhart Place Planning and Margaret Davidson will advise how and when to spend.  

Zurich Insurance has been paid £140.00 for the renewal of our Public Liability Insurance

£9,740.42 - £140.00 = new balance £9,600.42

Cnoc an Burraidh

£109.00 has been paid to Showtime & Hiscox insurance for Public Liability Insurance for Cnoc an Burraidh filming.

£1,000.00 grant received from Soirbheas.

£11,269.79 - £109.00 + £1,000.00 = new balance £12,160.79

Total balance; £9,600.42 + £12,160.79 = £21,761.21

David Ferguson also confirmed that a bank statement had been received confirming this amount, and that online banking is almost set up.

Public Liability Insurance has been renewed, it provides “cover” for us travelling to meetings and for occasional site visits, it can not be “added” to.

6. Police Report

No report received.  It was suggested that a further reminder be sent to the Seargent at Fort Augustus to ensure that these reports are received for each meeting.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Since the meeting, the following report has been received:

Report for 30/06/2021 to 30/08/2021

Road Safety – On the 7th of July 2021 a 54 year old man was found to be driving whilst under the influence of alcohol in Drumnadrochit. He was arrested and a report has been submitted to the PF for prosecution.
On the 26th of July 2021 a 47 year old man was found to be using his mobile phone whilst driving on the A82 at Drumnadrochit. He received a fixed penalty notice for this offence (3 points and £100 fine).
On the 2nd of August 2021 there was a report of a hit and run on the A82 near Urquhart Castle. Two motorbikes were stopped on the verge way due to a breakdown and a lorry struck them and failed to stop. The driver of the lorry has since been traced and a report has been submitted to the PF for prosecution.
On the 5th of August 2021 a 61 year old man was found to be driving without a valid MOT certificate for his vehicle on the A82 in Drumnadrochit. He was given a fixed penalty notice for this (£50 fine).
On the 8th of August 2021 there was a report of a hit and run to a parked motorhome within the car park at Urquhart Castle. It is possible this damage was caused by a lorry or other large vehicle due to the damage at the top of the vehicle. Enquiries are ongoing.
On the 9th of August 2021, around 1700 hours there was a report of careless driving on the A82, north of Drumnadrochit (about 1 mile). This was of a dark BMW passing cyclist too close and causing them fear and alarm.
On the 20th of August 2021 there was a report of a hit and run within the car park at CO-OP, Drumnadrochit. Enquiries are ongoing.
On the 27th of August 2021 a 28 year old man was found to be speeding, 42mph in the 30 zone of A82, Drumnadrochit. He was given a fixed penalty notice (3 points, £100 fine).
On the 27th of August 2021 a 51 year old man was found to be speeding, 45mph in the 30 zone of A82, Drumnadrochit. He was given a fixed penalty notice (3 points, £100 fine).
Public Protection – No incidents of note.
Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – On the 27th of July 2021 a 38 year old man was arrested outside the CO-OP in Drumnadrochit for disorderly and threatening behaviour. Staff at the shop had called police due to concerns. It was assessed he was under the influence of alcohol. He was kept in police custody until sober and a report was submitted to the PF for prosecution.
Crimes of Dishonesty - On the 9th of July 2021 there were two reports of suspicious persons loitering around the Lewiston area of Drumnadrochit claiming to be roofers and asking people if they would like work carried out. Police attended and the males were no longer in the area. Enquiries proved negative to obtain identification of these persons and there have been no further reports.

7. Roads / Drainage

a) A82 Road

David Fraser advised that he and Margaret Davidson have a meeting scheduled with Transport Scotland representatives with responsibility for maintenance and speed limits, and have a wide range of issues which will be raised with them again eg speed limits, routine maintenance, drainage etc and will report back at the next meeting.  Members were concerned about the number of walkers and cyclists on the A82 – and suggested that signage to warn of the dangers would be a good addition.  The forthcoming meeting with will look at general safety, which will include pedestrians and cyclists and additional safety measures which could be taken.  Improvements are needed where possible, and otherwise a reduction in the speed limit needs to be considered.  David advised that Transport Scotland are not generally minded to reduce speed limits but they will continue to press for this, and have a lot of supporting information and statistics which would support this.  An update will be available at the next meeting.  Action – David Fraser

b) A831 Road

Highland Council have bene busy with tarring, chipping and surface dressing which is all nearing completion and John Taylor has confirmed that they will look at what drainage can be attended to before the winter.  GUCC are appreciative of the work done in our area.

c) Other Roads

A section of the Drumbuie road is beginning to subside and Highland Council have this scheduled into forthcoming works.

8. Planning Applications

a) Active Applications

21/02991/FUL – Installation of Scottish Water Top up Tap, land 15m south of Oakdale, Drumnadrochit – noted

21/03496/PNO – Formation of temporary access. Land NE of Tich Nan Uiseagan, Bunloit –

GUCC Objection submitted.  This has been granted with delegated powers and includes a package of improvement works and traffic control measures, with planning re-approval required.

21/03214/FUL – Conversion and extension of garage to holiday letting unit; erection of garage, Creagach, Balnain – noted

21/03634/FUL – Alteration and extension, Dun Ban, Bunloit – noted

21/03612/FUL – Erection of 91 residential units and associated roads, landscaping and ancillary infrastructure, land at Drum Farm, South of Fire Station, Drumnadrochit – There was some confusion as to the status of this application; whether it was an amendment to an existing application, or a new application and as such would require submission of a full response from GUCC which includes comments previously submitted where these are still applicable.  David Fraser advised that he was awaiting clarification from Highland Council Planning Dept and would advise as soon as possible.  It was agreed therefore that if this is an amendment then additional comments would be submitted requesting that finishings on the affordable houses should not differ from that of the other houses, as the Highland Wide Local Development Plan states that these should be indistinguishable, and in this case should therefore have the same render and the same roof tile as the main houses.  If this is a new application then further community consultation will be required.  At this stage it was agreed to respond to the application advising that GUCC has focussed on the changes to the original application and has submitted comments on those, and if this is indeed a new application then we would require further time to submit fuller comments.  Members of the public can also comment on this application via the Highland Council website.  There followed a discussion about housing need locally, and Margaret Davidson would encourage anyone awaiting housing to ensure they are registered on the Highland Housing List and assistance is available from Highland Council’s Housing Officer if help is required in preparing applications.  Action – David Fraser / Fiona Urquhart

21/03786/PNO – Upgrade and formation of private way for timber extraction, land 305m SW of Goshem, 3 Grotaig, Drumnadrochit – Highland Council have made a decision that prior notification was not appropriate and a full application is required, this will therefore come back to GUCC in due course.

20/05073/FUL - Notice of appeal to Scottish Ministers, land 2180m SE of Challenger Lodge, Tomich – GUCC comments already submitted.

b) Highland Housing Alliance / Old Shop Site

Demolition works have started and a planning application will be at Highland Council’s September committee.

c) Loch Ness Homes

David Fraser advised that a new developer will most likely come forward soon and it is anticipated that this will involve a new planning application.  GUCC will continue to press for the pedestrian way between the Care Centre and the Scotmid to be created as early in their works as possible.  R House Contractor have now cleared from the site.  

9. Community Action Plan

Dianne Fraser advised that tenders for consultants have been submitted, and this is being led by GURCA, responses are requested by 16th Sept.  The project has been split into two pieces, with the community action plan being dealt with in the first instance, and funding had been received to cover the consultancy costs involved, and thereafter the place planning aspects will be included later in the process.  An update from the Steering Group will be available at the next meeting.  Action – Dianne Fraser

10. Flood Prevention Scheme

Works are continuing to take place, and while there have been some delays the contractors are confident they will complete within the fish sensitive time by the end of September.  It is anticipated that the whole works will be finished by Spring 2022.  Works at Kilmichael have not yet started and it was hoped that an update would be available for the next GUCC meeting.  An invitation has been extended for 6 members of GUCC to have a tour of the works during the week beginning 13th September, and any members who are interested in doing so should contact Dianne Fraser.  Action – Dianne Fraser

11. Consultations

a) Flood Risk Management

Circulated to GUCC members and it had been agreed that Bill Smart would assist with the GUCC response.  Action – Dianne Fraser and Bill Smart

b) Proposed Gaelic Medium Catchment Area

Circulated to GUCC members.

12. Correspondence

Notification of FLS timber extraction and resulting restrictions on the A82 - details to be circulated.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Red John Project Update received.

Notification of enforcement notice served on MOWI by Highland Council to move their fish farm on Loch Ness to within the permitted area.

13. AOCB

Local Boundary Commission – Dianne Fraser advised that she had met with Stratherrick representatives and would respond to the consultation requesting that they remain as part of the same Ward.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Patient Transport – Dominic Thierry advised that he and his wife had assisted by providing transport to appointments for members of the community during the pandemic.  There has been some confusion arising from the role of the Care Centre, insurance requirements, and NHS patient transport, and it was agreed that clarity was required as soon as possible to ensure that those in need are able to access the support they require.  It was agreed that details of the NHS patient transport system would be passed to the surgery so they can advise patients, and that Dominic would contact Jack Meredith, Chair of the Care Centre Directors, copied to Margaret Davidson, with a summary of the issues and a request for clarity on their policy for volunteer transport.  Nicki MacLennan advised that Soirbheas were hoping to revisit their OpenNESS inlusive communities project and this was an area which could be included, and she would set up a meeting to see how this could be moved forward.  Action – Dianne Fraser / Dominic Thierry / Nicky MacLennan

Patient Participation Group – It was agreed that this group should endeavour to meet soon, to resurrect their role in working with the surgery and to look at post Covid recovery of services including visiting practitioners.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Soirbheas – Nicky MacLennan advised that following the earlier discussion she would set up an OpenNESS planning meeting in September.  The community larder was still functioning at Café 82, and the community is grateful for support and donations.  The various Soirbheas funding streams are now fully open again and applications are being welcomed.  The apprenticeship scheme is still open for applications, and ebikes are available for hire.  The recent photo competition was very successful, and a local community calendar produced, with all proceeds from the sale of this going back to the community.  

14. Details of Next Meeting
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 27th September at 8pm, details to be confirmed.  

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