Strachur & District Community Council
Minutes of Ordinary Meeting
Held 19:30 on Wednesday 16th August 2023
Strathlachlan Community Centre
Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Lizzie MacDonald, Isabel McGladdery, Steve Mclaughlin, Kirstie Reid and Iain Wilkie (Secretary).
Also in attendance: Councillor William Sinclair, Peter Roy (Secretary, Strachur & District Development Company) and five members of the public.
1. Convener’s opening remarks:
Archie welcomed everyone to the meeting. On behalf of the Community Council, Archie extended sympathy to the family of Paul Farrell (Argyll & Bute Council) who died recently.
2. Apologies and declarations of interest:
William McGladdery apologised for non-attendance. There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 14th June 2023 were agreed as accurate.
4. Matters arising.
a. A815 and A886 speed limit issues.
Cllr Sinclair said that all communities were concerned about speeding and speed limits. Argyll & Bute council was looking at the possibility of changing some 30 mph zones to 20 mph across the Local Authority area, but money would be an issue in facilitating any changes. Steve thought it would be better to trial 30 mph to 20 mph changes in a few areas rather than across the whole region. With regard to the A886, Peter Roy asked if a 20 mph speed limit could be set specifically for HGVs. In the light of the strength of feeling expressed by Community Councillors and members of the public at the meeting, Cllr Sinclair requested the CC to send him a letter outlining what we wanted done with regard to road safety in Strachur.
b. School warning sign, A815: not in operation.
Cllr Sinclair agreed to follow this up.
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Sinclair
c. Speed limit sign obscured by vegetation.
Steve had reported this to Argyll & Bute Council. The vegetation had been cut back.
d. Lizzie MacDonald’s co-option form.
Iain had sent this to Argyll & Bute Council.
e. Layby at St. Catherines blocked by traffic cones.
Iain had e-mailed Nigel Potts (Argyll & Bute Council) on 20.6.23 and 31.7.23 but had received no reply. Archie offered to speak to Mr Potts in person.
f. Faded road markings at A83/A815 junction.
Iain had reported this to BEAR Scotland and received the following message on 20.6.23:
“We will investigate and address the issue as quickly as possible - the more information you provide in relation to the issue and location the better. A member of the team may be in touch to clarify details if required.”
The road markings had still not been repainted.
g. Letter of support for Strachur Men’s Shed.
Iain had sent a letter of support to Bill Dickson.
h. Vegetation growing over A886 crash-barrier.
Iain had reported this to Argyll & Bute Council. The vegetation had been cut back.
i. Poor driving on A886.
Iain had e-mailed PS Eddie McGunnigal. PS McGunnigal had informed Iain:
“I have sent out a request to all the shifts and Road Traffic asking for extra attention in the area of A886”
j. Depute Community Facebook page administrator.
Iain told the meeting that William McGladdery had agreed to take on this role.
5. Police Report (received from PS Eddie McGunnigal by e-mail on 8.8.23)
Between 16/06/23 and 08/08/23 there had been 13 incidents reported in Strachur Beat LB51:
3 Road traffic issues. (Broken down vehicle, Oil on road and vehicle mirror knocked off by passing lorry)
7 Abandoned 999 calls (5 Pocket dials, 2 Children playing with phones, All in order)
1 Neighbour Dispute
1 Assist Member of Public
Two crime Reports had been generated:
S170 Road Traffic Act 1988 (Fail to report an accident) (Enquiry Ongoing)
Police are still looking for volunteers to engage in a local Community Speed watch. If anyone is interested can they please complete the [application] form and return it to Sgt. McGunnigal at Dunoon Police Office.
6. Health Report. [From Kirstie]
I attended the AGM where they set out their plans for the next year. Thanks to Argyll & Bute Council who put a leaflet in every council tax letter this year, there has been an increase in awareness of Crossroads and the other Carer Centres in Argyll & Bute, which are all reporting an increase in Unpaid Carers coming forward for help and advice resulting in more Adult Support Plans and Young Carer Statements being prepared. A quote from an Unpaid Carer: "Nurses, Doctors, Teachers, Train Drivers, etc. all have Unions looking out for their wellbeing. Well, Crossroads is our UNION looking out for us to enable us to continue in our caring role day in and day out". Information has been sent to every GP in Argyll & Bute about the local Care Centres in the hope carers can either see the information or are given it by medical staff.
A paper on the current situation in Cowal is to be given at this month’s IJB (Integration Joint Board) meeting. Questions have been asked why the dental suites at local hospitals are not being used for NHS dental treatment. Both dental practices in Dunoon now offer Dental Plans or ‘Pay as You Go’ options, but no adult free NHS treatment. An update will be provided as soon as possible.
c. Coalition of Carers Meeting.
I attended the meeting this week at which representatives from all areas of Scotland suggested topics to bring to our forthcoming meeting with the Scottish Government Minister for Health & Social Care. Concerns were raised about the lack of carers. It is not only the rural and remote areas that are struggling to recruit carers; urban areas and cities have the same problem. One of the reps suggested it was the pay rate of £10.90 set by the government that is partly at fault, as you can earn more in fast food outlets or supermarkets without the responsibility involved in being a carer. Another suggested that, as it was five years since the implementation of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, we should add that for personal care it should be a same-sex carer to protect the patient’s dignity.
Articles for Newsletter and/or Facebook.
Since the last meeting six articles had been submitted. These were on: Provost’s Certificate; and Consultations on - Argyll & Bute’s Unpaid Carers Strategy, Permitted Development Rights, Empty Property, Visitor Levy Bill, and Effective Community Engagement.
The main correspondence (in addition to any mentioned elsewhere) had been with:
a. Residents and NatureScot re presence of more feral pigs in the Strachur area.
b. Resident re conditions on A886.
b. Callum Robertson (Argyll & Bute Council) re proposals for new cemetery and footpath.
c. Local businesses re Visitor Levy Bill.
Surveys and consultations.
No responses had been submitted.
a. On call as Resident Liaison Officer for Argyll Rally 2023 on 23rd and 24th June.
One complaint was received before the rally from a resident at Lephinmore concerning the inconsiderate driving of competitors conducting a reconnaissance of the Loch Fyne stage on 22.6.23.
Iain asked the meeting if anybody had received comments from residents after the rally. Archie reported a complaint about rally cars going up Clachan Brae. This led to a discussion about the desirability of rally cars using this route between or after the closed road stages. One opinion was that this was unacceptable on the grounds of noise and safety, whilst another was that it was a spectacle that would be welcomed by residents. It was agreed that, in anticipation of Argyll Rally 2024, we should conduct a poll to find out the prevailing view in the community.
ACTION: Iain and Lizzie
8. Treasurer’s report.
The bank balance stood at £2,446.35.
9. Transport update. [From Kirstie]
a. Inveraray bus to Dunoon.
The bus now leaves Inveraray slightly later to meet connections with the Glasgow. It leaves Inveraray at 14.15 and leaves Strachur at 14.53.
b. Gourock-Dunoon ferry.
Please be aware that some of the earlier boats have changed times. The 7.50 now leaves at 7.35, the 8.20 at 8.15, and the 8.50 at 8.45, due to a change in Scotrail train times. Train times are now 12 minutes and 42 minutes past the hour.
c. Ferry cancellation figures.
While the ferry cancellation figures are better for some in the latest 6 month period of reporting, for Dunoon/Gourock they are worse. These are the figures from the Clyde & Kintyre Ferry Stakeholder Group Report for 24th October 2022 to 30th March 2023:
Colintraive/Rhubodach: 447 cancelled sailings; DOWN 127.
Rothesay/Wemyss Bay: 197 cancelled sailings; DOWN 825.
Dunoon/Gourock: 1,180 cancelled sailings; UP 238.
d. Cowal Transport Forum.
I will be attending the Cowal Transport Forum on the 13th September. If you wish anything on transport raised, please get in touch.
10. National Park Update.
Cllr Sinclair had nothing to report.
11. Road safety - junction between school road and A815.
Archie had received an e-mail from residents who had recently moved to Strachur and were concerned about the limited visibility resulting from the bend in the A815 at the junction with the school road. This issue will be addressed in the letter for Cllr Sinclair (see item 4a above).
12. Visitor Levy Bill.
In view of the large number of local enterprises that would be affected by the introduction of a Visitor Levy, Iain had publicised the current consultation on the bill in the Newsletter and Community Facebook page. He had also e-mailed five local businesses that accommodate overnight visitors, to canvass their views. The one business that had replied was not in favour of a Visitor Levy. It was agreed that this should be the basis of the CC’s response to the consultation.
a. Closure of Bank of Scotland, Dunoon.
The Community Council had received an e-mail from a resident concerned about the decision to close this branch on 5th December. Whilst the meeting felt that it was highly unlikely this decision could be reversed, the CC would submit an objection. It was also noted that individual customers could express their views by completing a complaint form in the branch.
b. Letter from Dunoon Community Council re ‘Dunoon Gourock Ferry Action Group’.
Archie had responded to this and would represent the CC at meetings of the group.
c. Road and pavement safety.
A member of the public brought up the following issues.
i/ She informed the meeting that drivers were not sticking to the 20 mph limit in Forest View, which was endangering children who were playing outside. She asked if speed bumps could be installed. It was suggested this might not be acceptable to the emergency services. However, it was agreed that the issue of road safety in Forest View should be included in the letter to Cllr Sinclair (see item 4a above).
ii/ She asked if another two ‘smiley face’ signs could be installed - on the A886 near the A815 junction, and on the A815 north of the school road junction. The general feeling was that, as the existing sign had been ineffective in encouraging adherence to the speed limit, there was not a strong case for installing another two.
iii/ She asked if the start of 40 mph limit could be moved further south, so that there was a longer distance between this and the school crossing point. It was agreed that this suggestion, and the desirability of having a 20 mph limit at the start and finish of the school day, should be included in the letter to Cllr Sinclair (see item 4a above).
iv/ The A815 pavement was very uneven between the High Hall and Strachur House road junctions. Cllr Sinclair agreed to follow this up.
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Sinclair
The same member of the public raised concerns about the condition of the Forest View playpark. Iain asked her to send him details of what was wrong with the playpark and her opinion on how this should be rectified. She also asked for the CC’s view on the possibility of a new play area being created adjacent to the Sports Pavilion. It was suggested that she should take this idea to the Development Company in the first instance.
Steve pointed out that the disposing of bags, boxes etc. at the already full bin at the recycling site was dumping, as the public bin near the Hall got little use and so people were not looking for alternatives. He reminded Cllr Sinclair that many of the offenders had their names and addresses on their dumped rubbish, which had been reported to the Council online. Steve asked Cllr Sinclair if he could find out how many prosecutions for fly-tipping there had been In Argyll & Bute in the last year; prosecutions were both a deterrent and a source of recoverable income. Cllr Sinclair said he would look into this.
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Sinclair
f. Missing ‘Give Way’ sign.
It was reported that a ‘Give Way’ sign had disappeared from the Forest View junction with Clachan Brae. Iain offered to report this.
14. Date and location of next meeting.
The next meeting would be at 19:30, 11th October 2023 in Strachur Memorial Hall.
Secretary, Strachur & District Community Council