Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of Meeting held on

Monday 24th January 2022 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, Stuart Ross and Val Cooper.

         Also present: Councillors David Fraser and Margaret Davidson, Dan Light, Community Development Officer, Jeremy Leggett, Kirsty Mackay and Dave Tulloch, Bunloit Rewilding Project, and 3 members of the public.

Apologies: Stuart McLeay and Councillor Helen Carmichael.

2.     Minutes of the last meeting
The minute of the meeting held on 22nd November was approved as a true record (Pam Lucas / Fiona Urquhart).

3.     Matters arising from minutes

Government Broadband Scheme – Information shared online, details also to be added to GUCC website. Action – Val Cooper
Etape Community Payment – Details of group to receive funds yet to be confirmed.  Action – Dianne Fraser

4.     Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following financial report, advising that during the past two months, there has been the following financial activity:

Cnoc an Burraidh

Pay All Round Signs £1,349.02 for signs

Pay A.M. Luscombe-Smith £1,200 for film work

Pay ABC Video Facilities £600 for film work

Pay D. Fraser £141.16 for stationary

Pay N. Kipfmiller £600 for final report

(total spend = £3,890.18)

Receive £3,217.0 from Soirbheas

New balance = £1,552.29 - £3,890.18 + £3,217.0 = £879.11

Community Council balance at previous meeting = £10,589.17, (£7,211.77 is “ring fenced” for Loch Ness Tourism Strategy / Glen Urquhart Place Planning).  Also “holding” £1000 from Etape for a community cause.  Actual Community Council fund = £2,388.65.

Pay Dan Luscombe £50.25 for website renewal

Pay Secretary’s annual fee £600

Receive £2,500 from Historic Environmental Scotland (for Community Action Plan funds)

Total Community Council balance = £10,589.17 - £650.25 + £2,500. = £12,438.92

Total Balance in our account = £879.11 (CaB) + £12,438.92 (CC) = £13,318.03

The online banking application is now complete.

5.      Police Report

The following report (covering the period 10/12/2021 to 25/01/2022) was received after the meeting:

Road Safety - On the 15th of December 2021 around 1815 hours there was a report of a hit and run incident near to Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit. A white vehicle travelling north veered into the middle of the road striking another vehicle travelling south. No one was injured. The white vehicle failed to stop and enquiries are ongoing to trace this vehicle.

Police believe it is connected with a red BMW reportedly speeding and driving erratically around the same time and location, possibly behind this white vehicle. If anyone has any information please contact police on 101quoting reference 2636 of the 15th of January.

On the 31st of December 2021 a 23 year old female was issued a fixed penalty for having no MOT on her vehicle in Drumnadrochit.

Public Protection – On the 27th of December 2021 there was a report of a man and woman causing a disturbance on the Fort William to Inverness Bus. The bus driver stopped in Drumandrochit and the couple refused to leave. Police attended and both were arrested

for their ongoing abusive behaviour. They are not from the local area. There is no wider concerns regarding this incident.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse – There has been no incidents of note.

Crimes of Dishonesty – On the 19th of December 2021 police received a report of a window being smashed at St Ninians Church, Balnain. No entry has been gained however the incident is believed to have happened in a short time frame between 1245 hours and 1400

hours on the 19th of December 2021. If anyone has any information please contact police on 101 quoting reference 2714 of the 19th of December 2021. Enquires are ongoing.

Members were aware of a spate of thefts in the Strathglass area, including a break in at Fasnakyle Church during which time a window was also broken.  Members of the community should remain vigilant and ensure their properties are secured.  

6.     Roads / Drainage

Water Mains Replacement – Work has commenced, ahead of the anticipated start date, on the replacement of the water mains through the village.  Information/notice cards were delivered to local households.  It was agreed that Dianne would liaise with Scottish Water to request information on their programme of works, so that informed discussions could take place with local businesses / Chamber of Commerce in terms of potential impacts on the tourist industry, and with the Etape organisers, to ensure both groups are content with the programme and also have the opportunity to consult on Easter holiday closure times.  

Speed Limits – David Fraser and Margaret Davidson would be attending a Highland Council workshop to discuss 20mph zones later this week.  GUCC were fully in favour of any proposals for a blanket reduction to 20mph for villages, with 30mph limits imposed as exceptions.  A reduction to 20mph is often muted for Drumnadrochit, however the proximity/inclusion of the A82 makes this a less straightforward area to impose full restrictions on, however temporary schemes could be introduced as a possible alternative.  It was agreed that GUCC would write to Highland Council, copied to MSPs supporting a move to blanket 20mph limits, and further information would be available following the workshop.  Action – Dianne Fraser/ Bill Smart

Old Kilmore Car Park – Members were pleased to note that the transfer of ownership to Highland Council has now been progressed, and the car part will be closed for a couple of weeks for resurfacing and the installation of a height barrier.  Thanks were passed to David Fraser for continuing to press for this outcome.  

Winter Resilience – There was a general discussion around the Highland Council Winter Resilience Scheme, and whether or not there were members of the community who would be willing to sign up to this.  It was noted that some of the Bunloit residents already help each other out informally when required.  It was agreed that Dan Light would look at taking this scheme forward for the village.  Action – Dan Light

Village Officer - There was further discussion around involving more people in general village maintenance, eg grass cutting, emptying bins, gritting etc, and while this would be a good option, the logistics and management of it would not necessarily be straightforward.  In the past GUCC have discussed the need for a Village Officer and while this had always been desirable, there was no body with which this would naturally sit, however, now that GURCA has the Hub and employs staff, it was felt that this position would be something which they might be willing to consider.  It was agreed that Dan Light would raise this with GURCA.  Action – Dan Light

a)     A82 Road

Thanks were passed to David Fraser for addressing the issue of flooding at Temple Pier.

Clansman and Abriachan Sitting Water – David Fraser advised that all of the filter drains from Invermoriston to Inverness needed checked / replaced and investigation work on these was currently taking place.  Replacements would then be scheduled for the next financial year.  

Drum Bridge and Bellmouth – Once the flood prevention work and Scottish Water have completed their works, the road will be left for a period of settlement prior to resurfacing by Transport Scotland.  and will then get resurfaced.  

Balmacaan Road Drainage – The blocked drain at the bottom of Balmacaan Road was being looked at as part of the wider flooding issue affecting Balmacaan and Lewiston.  

b)      A831 Road

Pavement / Milton – The pavement from Drum Bridge to Milton has a lot of leaf debris and would benefit from sweeping.  It would also be useful in the overhanging vegetation at the Drum end of Milton could be cut back to help prevent blocking of the drain.  It was agreed that Dianne Fraser would contact Highland Council regarding pavement sweeping, drain clearing and vegetation cut back.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Kilmichael – The section of road from Kilmichael to Drum Bridge was almost certainly scheduled for resurfacing, however it would be good to contact John Taylor to request that if it is not already on the list, that it please be included.  

c)      Other Roads

Bunloit Road – It was confirmed that Highland Council had undertaken a road survey, and discussions have taken place with the two companies wishing to extract timber using this road.  It was noted that Jeremy Legget’s company would begin extraction soon, and the road would be monitored during this time.  Margaret Davidson and David Fraser were currently looking into alternative funding sources with a view to more major investment in the Bunloit road infrastructure, however it is not yet clear if Bunloit will qualify for this.   

7.    Planning Applications

a) Active Applications

21/05883/FUL – Conversion of unit to office space (Class 2), 2 Carrier’s Croft, Lewiston – noted.

21/05960/FUL – Proposed conversion of existing garage to form new study, 6 Culanlon, Kilmore – noted.

21/05982/MSC – Erection of house, Land 60m SW of Highmarch, Balnain – noted.

21/05645/FUL – Erection of house and 4 holiday lodges, Willow Lodge, Kilmartin – Noted, include comment to request retention of public access, noted. Action – Fiona Urquhart

22/00050/FUL – Erection of 2 holiday letting glamping pod installations and associated drainage, Land 170m NE of 1 Upper Drumbuie – Noted, include comment relating to road condition and mid Drumbuie.  Action – Fiona Urquhart

It was noted that Iain Riddle would be taking on the role of Planning Secretary and would have a handover period with Fiona Urquhart.  Thanks were passed to Fiona for her time in this position.

8.    Community Action Plan

It was noted that the consultation period was now live, and a number of responses had already been received.  There will continue to be regular social media updates and in person community engagement opportunities (eg Soirbheas Tattie Sale on 5th March) however everyone is asked to encourage as many members of the community as possible, from all demographics, to engage with this process.  It was also felt important that members of the youth community be included through targeted sessions at the schools, this could also provide the opportunity to inform them about GUCC and encourage attendance at meetings.  

9.    Flood Prevention Scheme

Bill Smart advised that the scheme in on schedule and on budget.  The Kilmichael works are currently ahead of schedule.  Community compensation money from the scheme has been used for tree planting in the village.  A school visit has been scheduled for 9th February.  Ongoing issues with potholes on this section of road were noted, and these can be reported by any member of the community through the Highland Council website (Roadside problems | Roadside problems | The Highland Council)   There are some drainage issues at Kilmichael and it was agreed that Bill Smart would advise Susan Veitch, Highland Council.  Action – Bill Smart

10.    Consultations

Outdoor Access Paths – Representatives are sought from all community councils in the Ward 12 area for a Working Group looking at access paths for the area north of Loch Ness, from Kirkhill, Beauly and Abriachan to Glen Urquhart and Strathglass.  An opportunity for funding is available to employ someone to do a feasibility strategy for outdoor access across the Aird.   Iain Riddle and Bill Smart volunteered to be representatives for GUCC.

11.    Correspondence

Bhlaraidh Windfarm Extension – GUCC comments were submitted and a response received from SSE and circulated to GUCC members.  It was agreed that further comments be submitted to Highland Council ahead of the planning application.  Action – Dianne Fraser / Bill Smart

Scottish Forestry re Divach Timber Extraction – comments relating to clarification on timber transport plan, and impact on private water supplies submitted.

Scotmid Site – Comments submitted to the Reporter in relation to planning appeal.

12.    AOCB

Snowman Rally – 5th March – David Ferguson met with the Snowman Rally representative and provided an update for the event.  There will be two stages in the Glen Urquhart forest and the organisers are hoping that the community will arrange car parking and catering.  It was agreed to offer this fundraising opportunity to Shenval residents, Balnain Hall Committee and Balnain Primary School Parent Council in the first instance.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Etape – 25th April – Date noted.

Ultra X – 7th & 8th May – Date noted.

Bunloit Rewilding Project – Jeremy Legett was welcomed to the meeting and provided an update on research which has been taking place including their report submitted to the recent Climate Summit, and feedback from this has been very positive.  Work is also taking place with visits from Glen Urquhart High School pupils, and liaison with Scottish universities.  Work is ongoing and visits from members of the community who may wish more information are always very welcome.  Now in their third year of operation, the Project need to start generating income, which requires infrastructure, ie accommodation for visiting scientists and stakeholders.  The project hope to apply for planning permission for 5 temporary structures in this regard.  GUCC welcomed this update and requested that representatives from the Project provide full information and opportunity for questions on the planning application to GUCC ahead of submission.    

Highland Council Loch Ness Ranger – GUCC are invited to submit a note of any particular areas / jobs they would like the local Ranger to address.  Details to be passed to Dianne Fraser.  Action – All / Dianne Fraser

13.    Details of Next Meeting
The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 28th February at 8pm in Balnain Hall.  

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 – Jan 2022