Glen Urquhart Community Council

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Minutes of meeting held on

Monday 25th April 2022 at 7.30pm

in Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit

All attendees were required to comply with Covid guidelines

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

         Also present: Councillor Margaret Davidson, Tim Stott, Highland Council, Gavin Steel, Highland Council, Stevie Baird, Mackenzie Construction, Susan Clark, GURCA, and 10 members of the public.

Apologies: Councillors David Fraser and Helen Carmichael, and Iain Riddle.

2.       Conflicts of Interest
No conflicts of interest in relation to planning applications declared.

3.       Minutes of the last meeting
The minute of the meeting held on 28th March was approved as a true record (Fiona Urquhart / Dominic Thierry).

4.       Matters arising from minutes

West End Garage Cabin – Retrospective planning application to be made.  
Cycle Safety Signage – Request made, in progress.
Balnain Speed Sign – Updated, thanks to Highland Council for this work.
Fly Tipping Bill - Response in progress.
Balnain Site Interest – Registered interest with FLS.

5.       Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan

Tim Stott, Principal Planner, Highland Council was welcomed to the meeting.  Tim provided a powerpoint presentation (this can be viewed on the GUCC website) and the following points were highlighted / noted / discussed:

- Nearing the end of the plan process, on target, and currently at Public Consultation stage.

- 1400 comments received, 98% online, more young people engaging this time.  A record number of comments received.  All comments reported to relevant Council departments, and decisions made on which sites to pick for each area within the inner Moray Firth area.

- Site options for future development highlighted.  Full consultation with communities and community councils.  Map showing areas for development, core path networks, and areas to be protected (available within the presentation).  

- Now is the final opportunity to lodge any objections.  Officers and Councillors have made choices, and if the community doesn’t agree, now is the chance to say so.  If the centre of your home is within 50m of one of the coloured sites then neighbour notifications have been sent to each of these households.  

- The Council think there is sufficient housing development within the village at present and so some areas have been highlighted as not for development.  Comments on these areas can also be submitted.  All comments must be submitted by the deadline of Friday 17th June.  

- Any objections received are analysed and responded to, and considered at committee again.  The Council’s case and objector’s case get put to an independent government appointed person, the results of their consideration will take up to a year to be finalised.  There is a fair and independent hearing of all comments.  

- Details of the plan process have been within local press, as well as online videos with guidance.  A paper comments form is available for those not online.  

- Within GUCC area, Drumnadrochit is the main village, most growth is directed to the main settlement in each area.  Any big applications for areas outwith the main settlement eg Balnain, are unlikely to be supported.

- The overall target housing capacity is less than previous years, this is based on national projections.

- Hinterland boundary – there will be a clamping down on single houses.  Bunloit falls within the GUCC hinterland.  This allows for greater control on development of houses in the countryside.

- Views welcome on walking / cycling / wheeling routes, including any possible omisions.

- There is a general presumption against housing development in the areas marked pink on the map.  Members of the public are welcome to submit comments in support of the council’s plans.  No more than 100% expansion of a housing a group is the general rule of thumb.  In terms of any large scale applications in Bunloit, the applicant would need to have the means for upgrading water supply, own the land to achieve widening of the road etc.  Such a developer may wish to submit comments asking that the hinterland boundary is drawn back, this would require full information on the infrastructure and service networks associated with the area.  

- Sites already ear marked for development in the village should be close to facilities, thus using active travel as opposed to cars.

- Policy 11 Growing Settlements – refers to Balnain.

- The old shop site, is in housing developers ownership now.  This area did not feature within the 2015 plan, and there is a community feeling that housing on that site would restrict the sporting facilities of that area.  Comments of this nature can be submitted, the Council will argue that there are sufficient other sites on the map for mixed use, however all views are welcome and should be submitted and recorded.  Be specific about which part of the plan you wish to comment on, attach evidence and reasons, be clear, and include detail, say exactly what the change you want is.  

- None of the current areas noted for development include self build sites.  A register of self build interest should provide evidence on local demand and build up the pressure on landowners and councils to allocate for that.  

- Affordable housing criteria – to refine the categorisations, which currently doesn’t allow local houses to be allocated to local people, would require a law change, the current point system does not favour locals specifically.  Private landowners can include a burden on any development to ensure houses are allocated to local people.  Would have to lobby housing associations and MSPs to try and favour particular housing types to make affordable housing more genuinely affordable.

Tim was thanked very much for attending and providing the update.  Full details, including policies and maps, can be found at

Dianne Fraser advised that the wall map and other information will be cited in the Loch Ness Hub for the community to view.  A reminder that all comments should be submitted by 17th June 17th.  Action – Dianne Fraser

6.       Scottish Water Update

Gavin Steel, Scottish Water, and Stevie Baird, Site Manager from Mackenzie Construction, were welcomed to the meeting, and the following points were noted:

- A Water Impact Assessment identified that the main spine of the village’s water system was getting to the end of its capacity and unable to cope with further development.  

- In undertaking works, the overall objective was that the more disruptive work would take place over the winter, and this is now completed.  The full length of the watermain has now been installed.  

- Contractors took a two week break over Easter, and are now back on site opposite the Green doing the connection there, this should be completed this week.  Efforts will be made to try and avoid disruption to businesses during the bank holiday weekend, so works will transfer to Druimloin area, and then recommence at Drum Green.  

- It is anticipated that works will be completed in 7 weeks, with the final phase of the work being the removal of the old water mains, taking away some of the infrastructure which will not be required in the future.  

- Disruption caused by traffic light faults was acknowledged but is unavoidable, especially in a three way system with a pedestrian crossing point.  The mobile number to contact the traffic light operator will be kept on site for use if there are any problems.  

- It was also acknowledged that where possible more notice should be given to the community in advance of works.  

- Where members of the community notice any issues with the sewage network, in first instance contact 0800 0778 778 or via the portal on the Scottish Water website How to Contact Us - Scottish Water.  For more longstanding problems these should be reported either through the Community Council or local councillors.

- Maintenance work and additional capacity work at the waste water works at Kilmore will commence in the coming year.  

- Arrangements are being made for a drinking water fountain to be installed at the Loch Ness Hub.

Gavin and Stevie were thanked for their attendance and update.  Members appreciated the very tidy and good standard of work being undertaken.  

7.       Treasurer’s Report

David Ferguson provided the following financial report:

In the last month, there has been some activity in our account, details as follows;

Community Council: Balance = £9,038.92

7/4/22 received £1,000 from Historic Environment Scotland (for the Hub)

11/4/22 paid GURCA £11.25 for Hall rent

12/4/22 paid the Hub £1,000

New balance = £9,038.92 + £1,000 – (£11.25 + £1,000) = £9,027.67

Cnoc an Burraidh: Balance = £3,039.11

21/4/22 Paid M Tait £142.60 for picture framing

New balance = £3,039.11 - £142.60 = £2,896.51

Total Balance in our account = £9,027.67 + £2,896.51 = £11,924.18

8. Police Report

The following report was received in advance of the meeting:

Road Safety - There were a small number of calls in regards to poor or what was perceived to be dangerous driving incidents. As summer brings in tourists, cyclists and motorbikes this is likely to increase. If you feel that a vehicle is being driven in a careless or dangerous way you can contact the Police on 999 if it is safe for you to do so or on 101 if it is not urgent.

Public Protection – There were a small number of public protection issues that came to the attention of Police.  These incidents were dealt with and any referrals required were made. It would not be appropriate to further comment on specifics in this report.

If you have concerns about members of your community then there are resources online

which can point you in the right direction about who you should report your concerns to if

you feel the person need assistance. Police Scotland are always available on 101 for advice

on non-urgent concerns or 999 if an incident is immediate.

Drugs / Alcohol Misuse - There were isolated incidents in regards to alcohol misuse, these were dealt with as public protection incidents.

Crimes of Dishonesty - There are a number of websites that can assist with fraud prevention giving tips and advice and what to do if you believe you have been the victim of fraud.

Other crimes - The issue of flying drones has been raised. The legislation on drones is new and complex.  There can be privacy issues, public safety issues and general annoyance.

Most drones, not considered a toy, must be registered and the “pilot” licenced. Drones over

500 grams should not be flown within 50m of housing. There are smaller drones where this

rule does not apply and may only be barred from “flying over crowds”.  If you have concerns about the use of a drone then information is available from the Civil Aviation Authority. If you still feel an offence is being committed then contact Police Scotland and report your concerns.

It was noted that there have been ongoing incidents in Balmacaan Road.  Anyone experiencing issues is advised to report these to the Police.

9. Roads / Drainage

Dianne confirmed that she has received details of a Working Group for all Community Council on the A82, Monique Riddle advised that she would be interested in joining this group to represent GURCA to look at areas of joint interest.

It was noted that the national bitumen shortage was not impacting on the Council’s ability to patch the roads, but is impacting on costs.  Any issues with potholes etc should be reported on the Highland Council website Roadside problems | Roadside problems | The Highland Council.  It was noted that there is currently a lot of litter on the A82, Margaret Davidson confirmed that this is a Highland Council responsibility and will request an early morning run to address and clean up if possible.  Action – Margaret Davidson

Damaged drain cover between Drumbuie and Temple Pier.  Action – Margaret Davidson

10.       Planning Applications

a) Active Applications

22/01553/FUL - Erection of house and garage and siting of a yurt, land north east of Polmaily House Hotel, Drumnadrochit - noted.

11.       Community Action Plan

Now closed for comments.  Dianne passed on her thanks to CC members who attended the recent brainstorming session, the results of which have been submitted to the consultant.  The Working Group will be meeting shortly to discuss next steps, and an update will be available at the next GUCC meeting.

12.       Flood Prevention Scheme

Bill advised that the contractor should be off site imminently, works are complete, and arrangements are being made for a contractor for planting.  More school visits are planned.  GUCC were very pleased to see this work undertaken and completed.   

13.       Consultations

Residents around A82 near Temple Pier being consulted in relation to access paths to the Pier area.  A request will be made for fuller information and this will be circulated to GUCC members when available.  Action – Dianne Fraser

14.       Correspondence

Bhlaraidh Wind Farm Extension – Bill advised that he had made representation and objections to MSPs and received acknowledgment, he will continue to progress this issue as necessary.  Thanks were passed to Bill for all his work on this issue.

15.       AOCB

Cnocan Buraidh Film Night – Tickets available online, members of the community are encouraged to attend this event.  

Etape – 24th April – Very successful event.

Ultra X – 7th & 8th May – Date noted.

National Park Creation Group – Pam will circulate notes and update at next meeting.

Loch Ness Challenge Event 20th – 23rd May – Volunteers requested, no information at present regarding any community benefit.

Youth Issues – Dianne will contact high school re representation on GUCC.  Action – Dianne Fraser

Highland Rewilding Ltd – Representatives from the Bunloit estate advised that the organisation was now a mass ownership company, £7.5m had been raised in the first round and they now own 2/3 of the Bunloit site.  A crowdfunder is planned for later in the year, with the aim of anyone having the means to co-own the rewilding land.  The community will be kept informed of developments.  

Margaret Davidson Retiral – Members of the GUCC noted their immense thanks to Councillor Margaret Davidson, as leader of the Highland Council for the past 7 years, and as out local, passionate Councillor for 27 years.  Margaret’s sense of passion and sense of justice to get things done has always been very much appreciated, she has been a pleasure to work with, and an inspiration.  Margaret has been responsible for many developments, both seen and unseen, locally, and will be very much missed.  Margaret was presented with gifts from GUCC and wished all the very best for the next chapter in her life.    

16.       Details of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for Monday 23rd May, at 7.30pm in Balnain Hall.

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

Action List – April 2022