Strachur & District Community Council
Minutes of Ordinary Meeting
Held 19:30 on Wednesday 15th March 2023
Strathlachlan Community Centre
Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Isabel McGladdery, Iain Wilkie (Secretary) and Kirstie Reid.
Also in attendance: Four members of the public.
1. Convener’s opening remarks:
Archie welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked William McGladdery and Steve Mclaughlin for submitting applications for co-opted membership.
2. Apologies and declarations of interest:
Councillor William Sinclair and PS Eddie McGunnigal apologised for non-attendance. There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 18th January 2023 were agreed as accurate, apart from the incorrect wording of item 4e, 3rd line from bottom of paragraph (“copper” should be replaced with “analogue telephony”).
4. Matters arising.
a. Blocked drains: parking area in front of ‘Ashbank’ etc., Creggans.
Ownership of parking area.
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
b. Blocked drains: Clachan Brae.
Why does Argyll & Bute Council not appear to have an annual programme of gully clearing?
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
c. Blocked drains: A886 from building site to start of raised pavement.
Cllr Gordon Blair had forwarded the following comment from Roads and Infrastructure Services on 14.3.23:
“We understand the planning issue has still not been resolved, therefore there is no change in the status of this inquiry [cf. 30.11.22 report, added below].”
“The building contractor has agreed to upgrade the main drain line from the building site and connect to all the gullies. They have indicated the works should be completed within the next 2 months, although I understand that these works require an amendment to the planning agreement which must be approved by the planners before the contractor can carry out the works - this might affect the timescale for completion.”
d. Manse Gardens.
Cllr Sinclair had sent Iain an update:
“I have met the Councils housing officer Douglas Whyte. He will be meeting with the Scottish Government officials to discuss how we can use current housing framework funding to support the redevelopment of the units.
We need the SG to look at this in a similar way to a new house build, as that will unlock funding per unit.
The Council is working with the Housing trust but like many building and redevelopment projects it is now down too external funding to move this forward, once I have more information, I will be in touch.”
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
Iain had received the following information from Ian Davie, Trust Housing Association:
“We are taking a report to our Board on the 6th April 2023, presenting the findings of our Options Appraisal for Manse Gardens.
Following this we will be holding an in-person meeting with our tenants to provide them with an update.
I am happy to provide you with a further update following our tenant’s meeting, which we hope to arrange in mid-April.”
See also item l below: Question on Manse Gardens to Bute & Cowal Area Committee meeting.
e. ‘Smiley Face’ signs on 40 mph stretch of A886: request to Roads & Infrastructure Services.
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
f. St. Catherines issues:
i/ Layby near Poll Schoolhouse - access blocked by traffic cones.
ii/ Locked gate, Council-maintained road, southern approach to St. Catherines.
Iain had e-mailed Donna Lawson about these issues on 6.2.23 and Paul Farrell on 8.3.23. No replies had been received. Iain was advised to contact Nigel Potts (Roads Operations).
g. School Crossing Patrollers.
Iain had responded to the consultation and had publicised the request for volunteer Crossing Patrollers.
h. Loose drain covers, single track section of A886.
Iain had reported this to Argyll & Bute Council and had been informed that “Work on this fault was completed on 07/03/2023.” However, it was not clear what had been done. Some of the drain covers were still loose.
i. Information board at Recycling Site
Iain had asked Argyll & Bute Council for a bin-emptying timetable. He had been informed that the textile bin was emptied by a private contractor as and when required, and that the glass recycling bins were emptied fortnightly by the Council’s Helensburgh team. In the light of this information, it was debatable if a public notice would ameliorate the fly-tipping problems at the recycling site.
j. Information board near Post Office.
This board includes out-of-date information. Iain agreed to pursue this.
k. Dog-waste bin, Heron Park.
Iain informed the meeting that a new black bin enclosure had been installed at the Heron Park entrance opposite the Hall. This was intended for dog-waste and general litter.
l. Question on Manse Gardens to Bute & Cowal Area Committee meeting (7.3.23).
Kirstie had submitted a question asking if Argyll & Bute Council supported the redevelopment of Manse Gardens and what they were doing to ensure redevelopment goes ahead. The minuted response was:
“The short answer is yes, the Council is supportive of the redevelopment of Manse Gardens to meet identified housing need and demand. The Council has met with Trust Housing Association (HA) to discuss Manse Gardens and we are meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss funding options. It is not as straightforward as getting Capital Grant from the Scottish Government to build new houses as the project is a reconfiguration of an existing Trust HA asset.”
This answer was reported in the Dunoon Observer of 10.3.23.
m. Question on Care System to Bute & Cowal Area Committee meeting (7.3.23).
Archie had submitted a question asking what Argyll & Bute Council was doing to encourage people into the area to take on jobs in the Care System. The minuted response, delivered on behalf of the Health & Social Care Partnership, was:
“All Care at Home providers are promoting opportunities in social care. Carrgomm, who provide support in this rural area note good responses to recruitment and are actively recruiting by fast tracking applications. We are actively working with Human Resources and the Economic Development Team targeting opportunities in key areas especially those affected by depopulation. The Integration Joint Board (IJB) continues to note workforce as a strategic risk, the strategic workforce plan is monitored on a 6 monthly basis with work undertaken reported through the public papers of the IJB.”
A member of the public informed the meeting that ‘Here We Are’, Cairndow were having ongoing meetings with Social Care over the concern about the shortage of Carers for Cairndow and Strachur (i.e. the area covered by Strachur Medical Practice) to see what can be done to help with this.
5. Police Report (received from PS Eddie McGunnigal by e-mail).
29 Incidents reported from 17/01/23 until 15/03/23:
16 Planned shoots/Pest Control
10 Road traffic issues. (Animals on road, Deer Strike, Broken down vehicles, Road traffic collisions)
1 Concern for person
1 Abandoned 999 call
1 Alarm call.
No crime Reports had been generated.
‘Community Speed Watch’ was mentioned as a Current Initiative. This involves local resident
volunteers, in teams of 3 people, being deployed on risk assessed roads (30 mph, 40 mph and
50 mph) with speed detection devices to provide a visible presence to deter and identify
speeding motorists in hot-spot areas. Registration numbers of offending vehicles are recorded
and passed to police to provide educational letters to registered keepers. Copies of the
volunteers’ application form were distributed.
6. Health Report.
a. Code of conduct for IJB members.
Kirstie clarified the code of conduct for IJB members (of which she is one of two Unpaid Carers representatives) in relation to asking a question at the Bute & Cowal Area Committee.
b. Waiting times.
Several patients had approached Community Councillors regarding the waiting times to see specialists or consultants. The major issue seems to be having to wait longer than the waiting times advertised by the Scottish Government/Health Boards for each speciality and getting a repeat appointment; for example, a patient asked to return in 6 weeks but not getting an appointment for 25 weeks. One patient has not had an appointment after 32 weeks. Kirstie has written to both NHS Highland and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde with these and the other examples that have been brought to her.
c. Cost of living crisis.
At the Coalition of Carers in Scotland we were asked to write to our MSP and regional MSPs asking then to consider investing in an Unpaid Carers cost of Living Fund in the latest Scottish Budget. The official response from the Scottish Government stated that they estimate that there are 800,000 unpaid carers is Scotland and payments have been made to 141,565 unpaid carers via a Carer’s Allowance Supplement since 2018, meaning 658,435 carers have received no additional support.
7. Secretary’s Report.
Articles for Newsletter and/or Facebook.
Since the last meeting six articles had been submitted. These were on: Volunteer School Crossing Patrollers, Supporting Communities Fund, ‘Your Dog Your Responsibility’ campaign, Argyll & Bute Volunteer of the Year, Tesco Community Grants, and Consultation on Re-designed Blarghour Wind Farm.
The main correspondence (in addition to any mentioned elsewhere) had been with:
a. Argyll & Bute Council Planning Officers re: Public availability of documentation relating to Creag Dhubh Wind Farm, particularly the Construction Environment Management Plan and Traffic Management Plan.
b. Lord-lieutenant of Argyll & Bute re: Celebration of Coronation of Charles III.
c. Dunoon Observer re: Introduction of “wild hogs” to Strachur area.
d. Resident re: Manse Gardens.
Surveys and consultations.
Responses had been submitted to the following consultations:
a. School Crossing Patrollers.
b. An Suidhe Substation.
c. SEPA 2023 Opinion Survey.
a. Attended Argyll Rally Community Council Liaison Meeting on 20.2.23.
b. Delivered Argyll Rally 2023 letters to properties beside Loch Fyne stage, B8000 (Barnacarry to Old Schoolhouse, Otter Ferry) on 2.3.23.
8. Treasurer’s report.
The bank balance stood at £2,100.64.
9. Transport update.
Kirstie attended a meeting with Neil Stewart of West Coast Motors to discuss various issues relating to the bus timetable affecting Strachur. Neil also informed us that the Pingo Service will now have a dedicated number of staff in the call centre answering the phone and therefore making it easier to book for those not able to use the computer app.
Kirstie also attended the Cowal Transport Forum meeting held on Microsoft Teams where various transport issues were discussed from RDs to Ferries and bus connections. (Minutes are available on the Argyll & Bute Council website).
10. National Park Update.
Nothing to report.
11. ‘Joint Efforts’ Update.
Laura had provided the following update by e-mail:
“We've finished the pop up, completing 5 successful services. The Christmas session was cancelled due to poor weather and no heating in the hall.
With that allocated budget, the team and I have agreed to spend it on giving the garden at the at the hall a bit of a tidy up and adding bits and bobs. We plan on working on it this month. I've cleared it with the funding officer, he agreed as long as it serves community cohesion and working with young people, he's happy to approve the changes in activity.
I'm working on completing an impact assessment which will offer insights into the project, and how the 10k contributed to making a significant contribution to the community.
I've also been successful in securing £1.5k from Tesco, we won the Community Care Grant.
I'm having a think how to spend that money, again as long as community is at the heart of it we've scope to be creative.”
12. Co-opted members.
Two residents had stepped forward as candidates for co-option to the CC. Steve Mclaughlin was proposed by Iain and seconded by Isabel, and William McGladdery was proposed by Iain and seconded by Kirstie. Both candidates received a unanimous endorsement from attending CC members. The candidates’ co-option forms would now be sent to Argyll & Bute Council’s Community Council Liaison Officer.
a. Overgrown vegetation at Bay sewage treatment facility.
A complaint had been received from a Bay resident about the need for the bushes to be cut back at this location. Iain agreed to report this to Scottish Water.
b. Speed limit sign near Clachan bus stop.
A complaint had been received about this sign being obscured by garden vegetation. Iain agreed to follow this up.
i/ A member of the public suggested that more defibrillators should be installed in Strachur, for example at the Sports Pavilion and school. It was agreed that this would be a good idea, although, since organisations such as the British Heart Foundation and St. John Scotland provided only part funding, the remaining amount would have to be obtained via sponsors or fund-raising activities.
ii/ It was also suggested that, in the light of the incident in June last year involving a RTA at the A83/A815 junction, the procedure for accessing the defibrillator at the Hall should be changed to the normal method involving a key-code obtained by dialling 111 or 999. There was general agreement to the proposal and Iain offered to forward a formal request to the Hall Committee asking them to consider this.
d. Dogs in graveyard.
A member of the public reported instances of dogs being off the lead in the graveyard when their owners were using this as a route into Strachur Estate. They were also leaving their sticks (and no doubt other items). It was agreed that this was disrespectful and that an article should be submitted to the Newsletter to remind dog-owners to keep their dogs on a lead in the graveyard and “pick up” their dog-waste.
e. E-mail from Bute Community Council.
Iain reported that Bute CC had sent an e-mail to all Argyll & Bute CCs to find out if there was interest in submitting a joint letter to Argyll & Bute Council regarding the Council’s budget process. The main concerns were that (1) there was a need for more community engagement at an earlier stage in the process and (2) risks associated with the Council’s proposed cuts had not been costed. CC members expressed no strong views on these issues but agreed the CC should be represented at any forthcoming discussions.
f. Donation to Hall Committee.
Iain reminded the meeting that the CC had agreed to make a one-off donation to the Hall Committee for the upkeep of the Memorial Garden during the Hall’s centenary year (minutes of 17.8.22 meeting). It was agreed to defer further discussion until the next ordinary meeting in April.
14. Date and location of next meeting.
The Annual General Meeting will commence 19:30, Wednesday 12th April 2023 in Strachur Memorial Hall and will be followed by an Ordinary Meeting.
Secretary, Strachur & District Community Council