Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 22nd November 2021 at 7pm

in Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

All attendees were required to comply with Covid guidelines.

1.      Present: Dianne Fraser (Chair), Pam Lucas, Iain Riddle, Fiona Urquhart, David Ferguson, Dominic Thierry, Bill Smart and Val Cooper.

        Also present: Councillor David Fraser, Susan Clark, GURCA, Kirsty Mackay and Dave Tulloch, Bunloit Rewilding Project, and 7 members of the public.

       Apologies: Stuart McLeay, Stuart Ross, Nicky MacLennan, Soirbheas, and Councillors Margaret Davidson and Helen        Carmichael.

2. Minutes of the last meeting
The minute of the meeting held on 25th October was approved as a true record (Dominic Thierry / Fiona Urquhart).

3. Matters arising from minutes

Community Broadband Issues – Dianne Fraser advised that there are Scottish Government initiatives relating to the roll out of fibre broadband and full details of these can be found at The Scottish Government have published a register of postcodes and an online check will advise if areas are on line to receive fast broadband by the end of 2021.  If not, then there are voucher schemes in place.  There are community meetings scheduled to take place, to look at community wide solutions, further updates will be available over the next few weeks, and other potential developments will be put on hold for the time being.  Action – David Fraser

Police Update – Request for monthly police reports to include issues of significance occurring in neighbouring community council areas.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Balnain Speed Limit – Awaiting software update.

Bunloit Road meeting – See item 6c.

Etape Community Payment – To be followed up.  Action – Dianne Fraser

4. Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following financial report:

Community Council: Balance at last meeting = £10,600.42 paid GURCA £11.25 for hall rent.  New balance = £10,589.17. Note, £7,211.77 is “ring fenced” for Loch Ness Tourism Strategy / Glen Urquhart Place Planning. Actual GUCC fund = £2,388.65.

Cnoc an Burraidh: Balance at last meeting = £9,501.23

Paid K. Fraser £3,955.20 for repairs to handrails

Paid C. Fraser £3,547.57 for civil works

Paid All Round Signs £246.17 for signage

Paid Highland Celtic Art £200 for artwork & voiceover

New balance = £9,501.23 – (£3,955.20 + £3,547.57 + £246.17 + £200) = £1,552.29

Total balance in our account = £10,589.17 + £1,552.29 = £ 12,141.46

The application for online banking is progressing.

Cnoc an Burraidh – David Fraser advised that he would like to use some of the ring fenced money to ensure the payment of invoices is not delayed, and until such time as further grant funding is received, this was agreed and David Fraser would liaise with David Ferguson in this regard.  An interpretation panel will be installed at the Community Hub and onsite, as will further signage.  Documentation is being collated with a view to creating history folders which will be available in the library and the Community Hub.  Filming is also currently taking place for 6 short videos, which will be available online, and will tell some of the stories associated with the chamber.  A community evening with the Heritage Group is planned for the new year.  

5. Police Report

The following report was submitted in advance of the meeting:

Road Safety – On the 24th October a 34 year old man was arrested for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and driving whilst disqualified and with no insurance after he crashed his vehicle on the A82, 2 miles north of Drumnadrochit.  He was held in custody for court.

Public Protection – No incidents of note.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – No incidents of note.

Crimes of Dishonesty - On the 31st of October 2021 there was a report of a theft of equipment from a property in Kerrydown, Drumnadrochit. Several hundred pounds worth of property was stolen between 15/10/2021 and 23/10/2021. If anyone has any information please contact police on 101 quoting reference 1813 of 31st of October.

6. Roads / Drainage

a) A82 Road

No specific issues discussed.

b) A831 Road

Balnain - Extension of the 40mph limit for Balnain was discussed, and it was agreed that Dianne Fraser would write to John Taylor, Highland Council, asking for a traffic speed monitor in the area, and noting safety concerns in relation to active travel and safe routes to school, as well as encouraging people to connect with the forestry.  It was further agreed that a reduction to 30mph could be requested in the same correspondence.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Milton to Kilmichael – It was agreed that a reduction from 50mph to 30mph in this area would be much safer.  David Fraser advised that Transport Scotland were undertaking footpath audits from Lewiston to Urquhart Castle and on an area from Invermoriston towards Fort Augustus, and this might be something that could be considered for pedestrian areas by Highland Council in future.  This should be kept in mind for Milton to Kilmichael, as well as from the Post Office to Temple Pier

Kilmichael to Post Office – It was confirmed that while the current road surface is of a poor standard, it would be resurfaced once all works in the area, including the installation of the new water mains by Scottish Water, are completed.  Any particular issues in the meantime can be reported through the Highland Council website.  It was also noted that a flashing speed limit sign had been requested for this area, but was no longer included in the works schedule.  It was agreed that Dianne Fraser would also raise this with John Taylor.  Action – Dianne Fraser  

c) Other Roads

Bunloit Road – David Fraser, Margaret Davidson and Dianne Fraser met with various representatives from Highland Council roads and planning departments to discuss the questions around Bunloit Road and proposed timber extractions from the area.  The following points were noted:

Felling and timber extraction is manged by Forestry Scotland. 

Landowner must notify Highland Council of proposed use of public road, but Highland Council have limited powers for road restrictions, or objecting to the extraction.

For timber extraction purposes, roads are classified as (1) Allowed routes, (2) Consultation routes, (3) Severely restricted routes, and (4) Excluded routes.  Bunloit is classified as a Consultation Route.

Highland Council can enter into Timber Transport Management Plans with applicants and that can restrict the number of loads per day and configuration of vehicles (low pressure tyres).  For Bunloit, currently two applicants.

o Scottish Woodlands / Bunloit Estate – proposal to limit to 4 vehicles per day

o Galbraith – consultation ongoing and restrictions yet to be agreed.

Highland Council looking at any road work required ahead of commencement of main extraction next year (Feb 2022?) and undertaking a baseline road survey

Ask for assistance from community to monitor, highlight and report any damage. 

May look at some small improvements ahead of the work.  Any damage has to be made good by the company responsible.

Timings yet to be finalised.

There was some discussion about the current and future timber extraction, damage to the road by haulage and construction vehicles, potential damage to buildings on the roadside, verge damage and resultant surface water issues etc.  These issues had been noted by the Highland Council representatives on their recent inspection, however, it was very much agreed that the best solution was for the residents of the Bunloit area to highlight and discuss any issues with the Bunloit Estate / Galbraiths as these arise, and also for staff from their companies to be alert to issues and repair them before they become hazardous or problemtatic.  Any particular issues could also be reported as normal via the Highland Council website. A note of issues, including photos could also be sent to the Chair of the Community Council if necessary.

It was also raised that the gritter does not always go to the end of the Bunloit road.  This can also be reported on the Highland Council website, and recent correspondence from Highland Council regarding winter gritting routes would be circulated.  There was also the option for members of the community to volunteer to help with gritting and snow clearing in some areas.  This might also be an option for pavements in the village.  Action – Dianne Fraser

20 is Plenty Initiative – New guidance is awaited, and David Fraser will update when available.  Action – David Fraser

7. Planning Applications

a) Active Applications

21/05156/FUL – Formation of bellmouth and access road, land 55m south of 125 Balmacaan Road, Drumnadrochit – noted

21/05334/FUL – Installation of 2 glamping pods, The Rowans, Balmacaan, Drumnadrochit - noted

8. Community Action Plan

Dianne Fraser advised that she and Dominic Thierry had attended a meeting on 2nd November, this was the groups second meeting with the consultant who had been appointed to lead the consultation.  The official launch is scheduled for 11th January, this will be in the form of a draft for the community to input comments on the three main themes; people, place, planet and what does Glen Urquhart mean to the community. Everyone is encouraged to get involved in the consultation process, there will be a series of events targeting different groups from within the community, there will also be an online process.  

9. Flood Prevention Scheme

Bill Smart provided an update on the flood prevention works.  All construction is currently on schedule, the downstream concrete wall is in and will be clad with masonry after Christmas.  Work at the back of the Post Office is almost complete, there just remains the tying in of the embankment with the A82, the area will be seeded in the Spring.  Traffic management scheme remains in place at Kilmichael, a working road has been put in at the back of the sheet piling to minimise disruption during construction.  Once this area is complete they will move on to installation of the concrete wall around the compound area.  The contractors are aware of the culvert under the road in this area, and will ensure that it passes through the concrete wall which goes around the compound.  Residents in the area are reminded to be careful when joining the stream of traffic whilst the lights are in place.  The sites will be closed from 24th December for 2 weeks and work is currently on schedule.  Scottish Water will commence replacement of the water main thereafter.  The current intuitive traffic lights in place cut down on traffic waiting times and it was hoped that a similar style could be used by Scottish Water.   The estimated cost and the final cost of the flood prevention scheme is not known, however David Fraser confirmed that he would ask for this information.  Whilst it was recognised that this was undoubtedly a costly construction, the community were grateful to now have such a scheme in place.   Action – David Fraser

10. Consultations

a) Scottish Forestry – Tree felling at Blairmore Forest Plan Application – comments requested by 2nd December 2021.  Area has been felled, suggest multi use footpaths and joining to the Abriachan area, installation of horse / bicycle / pedestrian gates and locking of main gates to deter fly tipping.  Dianne Fraser will share the site to log comments.  Action – Dianne Fraser

b) FLS Visitor Strategy- How to make forests more open and accessible - comments requested by 6th January.  Dianne Fraser will share the link.  This is a national strategy and we should request localised consultation to ensure relevance to our area and involvement of community at an early stage to ensure the best possible outcome.  Issues which might be raised include clarity over the regulations for overnight parking, and route map signage in various locations including Balnain.  Dianne Fraser will share the link for logging of comments.  Action – Dianne Fraser  

c) John Fraser land consultation – The next draft of the Local Development Plan will come back to the community in Spring 2022, it may be that this site is raised for consideration again at that point.   

11. Correspondence

Balmacaan Track – Note from Ross Watson advising of fallen trees.  These have now been removed by the Woodland Trust however it is proposed that a tree safety survey be carried out in the area.  Bill Smart will take this forward with Ross Watson.  Action – Bill Smart

Bunloit Affordable Housing Proposal - David Tulloch advised that he was happy to contact Dianne Fraser to arrange a meeting to discuss this proposal.  

Bunloit Rewilding Project – Email correspondence received from Jeremy Leggit relating to his perception that GUCC are averse to works he is proposing.  The issues which GUCC have commented on relate to the roads, drainage and the amount of building proposed for the area.  The planning application submitted had been objected to based on these issues and the fact that it had been for use as a visitor centre, which would undoubtedly have caused increased traffic flow on the Bunloit road.  While this may not have been the case, and the proposed facility may have been for researchers and estate workers, this was not clear from the planning application.  GUCC can only comment on the information presented to them, and also on comments received from members of the community.  For any future applications it is recommended that the Project have a full community consultation and make it very clear what their plans and aspirations are.  GUCC welcome the attendance of representatives from the Project at their meetings, and would always encourage face to face discussions to ensure clarity and openness.  GUCC is an elected group with a statutory responsibility, the way the community council functions, regardless of the views of individuals, it can only represent the views of those who have made representation to it.  The Project are encouraged to start building relationships with the community and neighbours, and to host an open forum event.  There is nothing in the Local Development Plan for the Bunloit area, and therefore nothing for people to gauge it against, fuller information would be welcomed.

12. AOCB

Cnoc an Burraidh – Thanks were passed to David Fraser and everyone involved in the restoration of Cnoc an Burraidh, none of which would have happened without David’s leadership and drive.  

Girvan Windfarm Consulation – This event had been attended by some representatives from the GUCC, and had been very informative.

Path to the Shop – David Fraser confirmed that when R Homes pulled out of the site, the land reverted to Loch Ness Homes who are in the process of completing the sale to another builder, who will then have to re-apply for permission for the other houses.  It is understood that the new builder will undertake roadworks and installation of the path at the earliest stage possible and then commence work on building the houses.  The number of houses for the site will remain the same, but they will be of a different design to those already in situ.  This has still to go through planning, and so it could realistically be the summer before the path is installed

13. Details of Next Meeting
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 24th January at 7pm, in the Craigmonie Centre. Change in start time to comply with Craigmonie Centre closure times for additional cleaning requirements.    

Reserved business - Iain Riddle is not on the electoral role and cannot therefore be a member of the community council.  Members therefore unanimously agreed that Iain be invited to join GUCC as an associate member, with no voting rights.

There was no further business and the meeting closed at 9pm.  

2022 Meeting Dates
all meetings commence at 8.00pm (currently 7pm for Craigmonie)

Monday 24th January  Craigmonie Centre

Monday 28th February Balnain Hall  

Monday 28th March   Blairbeg Hall

Monday 25th April  Craigmonie Centre

Monday 23rd May  Balnain Hall

Monday 27th June AGM Blairbeg Hall

July    no meeting

Monday 22nd August  Craigmonie Centre

Monday 26th September Balnain Hall

Monday 24th October  Blairbeg Hall

Monday 28th November Craigmonie Centre

December   no meeting

                       Action List – November 2021