Strachur & District Community Council
Minutes of Ordinary Meeting
Held 19:30 on Wednesday 18th January 2023
Strachur Memorial Hall
Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Isabel McGladdery, Iain Wilkie (Secretary) and Kirstie Reid.
Also in attendance: Councillor William Sinclair and four members of the public.
1. Convener’s opening remarks:
Archie welcomed everyone to the meeting and requested that attendees adhere to the order of items on the agenda.
2. Apologies and declarations of interest:
Laura Walker and Barbara Watson (Hall Committee Chair) apologised for non-attendance. There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 14th December 2022 were agreed as accurate.
4. Matters arising.
a. Blocked drains: parking area in front of ‘Ashbank’ etc., Creggans.
Cllr Sinclair reported that ownership of the parking area was still being investigated.
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
Isabel had received complaints about the flooding from one of the affected residents. Cllr Sinclair advised that the resident should report this directly to Argyll & Bute Council.
b. Blocked drains: A886 from building site to start of raised pavement.
A member of the public informed the meeting that a gully pump had cleared some of the blocked clachan gullies on 11.1.23. He had subsequently sent a list of blocked gullies that had not been cleared to Argyll & Bute Council. He also wondered why Argyll & Bute Council did not appear to have an annual programme of gully clearing. Cllr Sinclair said he would make enquiries.
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
c. Manse Gardens.
In response to Iain’s request for an update, Ian Davie (Head of Development and Asset Strategy, Trust Housing Association) had replied:
“The update will be as the December update as our meetings with tenants and the Council’s Housing team are scheduled for after the Community Council meeting.”
Cllr Sinclair said that, since the last CC meeting, he had had a very positive meeting with Mr Davie and that he would be discussing Manse Gardens with an Argyll & Bute Council Housing Officer the following week. He would update the CC at the next meeting in March.
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
d. Dog mess.
Iain had reported the increasing problem of dog fouling to Argyll & Bute Council, but had received no response.
e. Human mess.
Iain had asked Argyll & Bute Council for advice on ensuring that further instances are treated with greater urgency, but had received only an automatic acknowledgement.
d. Footway on A815 at Glenbranter.
Iain informed Argyll & Bute Council on 3.1.23 about the overgrown vegetation on the footway. This had been subsequently cleared (confirmed on 15.1.23). A response from Argyll & Bute Customer Service (received 18.1.23) stated:
“Details have been logged in our system to be considered within a future works programme for prioritisation against other roads or lighting improvement schemes.”
e. Broadband speed.
Iain had received information on broadband speeds experienced by residents at different locations in the CC area. Reported download speeds varied enormously between residents (3.69 - 74.14 Mbps) and at different times in individual households (e.g. one resident recorded 22.19 Mbps for this survey but only 0.39 Mbps on Christmas Day). There was also significant variation between households in the vicinity of each other. It was suggested that several factors could contribute to the general variation (over and above any local faults there might be in the network) and that there was unlikely to be an overall improvement until analogue telephony network cables were replaced with fibre (BT Openreach has announced that copper will be phased out altogether by 2025). That being the case, it was agreed that the CC should take no further action.
f. Meeting with Lochgoil and other CCs.
The proposed meeting had been postponed due to the indisposition of the Lochgoil CC Convener.
g. A886 speed/volume survey.
i/ Iain had received the following response from Roads and Infrastructure Services on 16.12.22:
“Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to your enquiry relative to the A886 speed survey in Strachur. Unexpected long term absences have caused a small backlog in the team which we are currently working through to provide answers.
We have received £31,000 of funding from Transport Scotland to review all 20mph and 30mph speed limits across Argyll and Bute. This is welcome funding which allows us to recruit a specific officer for this role and to have the whole network reviewed in one exercise.
Until the assessment is complete no further speed surveys will be conducted and no further decisions made regarding speed limits on our network.
The assessment is expected to complete around the end of March with a full report ready for the summer.
We can provide further update to these requests following the report.”
ii/ Barbara Watson had sent Iain raw data from the survey (released in response to a FOI request) and her own analysis of the data. This showed: (1) average daily speeds over the course of the survey varied from 40.38 to 44.82 mph; (2) on seven of the nine days for which there were data, the peak recorded morning speed was 50 mph or above (the highest was 65 mph); and (3) the percentage of vehicles travelling at over 40 mph varied daily from 43% to 63%, the average being 50%. Whilst these statistics might help the case for reducing the speed limit to 30 mph, it was the view of CC members and other attendees that the communication from Roads and Infrastructure Services quoted above (especially the penultimate paragraph) indicated that further lobbying by the CC at this stage would be futile.
Cllr Sinclair offered to contact Roads and Infrastructure Services regarding the installation of “Smiley Face” Speed Signs at suitable locations on the 40 mph stretch of the A886.
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
h. Questions to Bute & Cowal Area Committee on Manse Gardens and deficiencies in care system.
Kirstie explained that, as a member of the Integrated Joint Board, she could not ask a question in person re matters within the remit of the HSCP, such as the care system. Cllr Sinclair suggested that she could put a question in writing on behalf of the CC.
5. Police Report (received from PC James Convery by e-mail).
Between 14/12/22 and 17/01/23 there had been 10 incidents actioned to the police in the Strachur council area: 6 in relation to Planned Shoots.
2 in relation to Road Traffic Collisions
1 in relation to a broken down vehicle
1 in relation to adverse weather conditions
No crime Reports had been generated.
6. Health Report.
Kirstie said that the scheduled meeting she and other Carers Reps were to have with Kevin Stewart, Minister for Mental Wellbeing & Social Care, had been cancelled for the sixth time). Hopefully the next meeting arranged for 20.2.23 would go ahead as there is a lot of concern about unpaid carers and the lack of paid carers.
b. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde survey: Getting you Home for Lunch.
The Health Board was seeking patients’ feedback and experience of being discharged from hospital. The survey would be active until 30th January but could be completed via a link that would only be available to patients. There was more information on the ‘Home for Lunch’ campaign at https://www.nhsggc.scot/your-health/person-centred-health-and-care/home-for-lunch/.
7. Secretary’s Report.
Articles for Newsletter and/or Facebook.
Since the last meeting two articles had been submitted. These were on dog fouling and Argyll Rally 2023.
The main correspondence (in addition to any mentioned elsewhere) had been with:
a. Ailie Law (Argyll & Bute Council Community Development Officer) re: Improving Lives Survey for “non-digital” residents.
b. Residents re: Strachur recycling point.
A886 speed survey.
Surveys and consultations.
No responses had been submitted.
a. Attended Argyll Rally Community Council Liaison Meeting on 16.1.23.
8. Treasurer’s report.
The bank balance stood at £2,184.64.
9. Transport update.
Kirstie stated that she had e-mailed and sent a Facebook message to West Coast Motors regarding their reply to a point raised by herself and South Cowal Community Council on the subject of the reduced bus timetable.
She highlighted information relevant to our area from the Clyde, Kintyre and Islands Ferry Stakeholder Group of which she is a member. Between 25.3.22 and 23.10.22 Colintraive/Rhubodach had 47 sailings cancelled and Rothesay/Wemyss Bay had 46 sailings cancelled, whereas Gourock/Dunoon had 1,110 cancelled sailings.
Councillor Sinclair commented that he was in the early stages of discussions with SPT (who own Buchanan bus Station) about the possibility of introducing a direct Dunoon-Glasgow bus service (which would take in Strachur). Community Councillors and other attendees expressed strong support for this initiative.
10. National Park Update.
Cllr Sinclair reported that discussions were under way concerning the further tidying up of byelaws that affected high speed boats, in view of the changing pattern of usage of lochs by the general public (such as an increase in wild swimming and canoeing).
11. ‘Joint Efforts’ Update.
Laura had informed Iain that she would circulate an update once her personal circumstances allowed. She had budget remaining and would like to create some sort of community event in February.
a. School Crossing Patroller Service.
The CC had received a letter from Hugh O’Neill (Network and Standards Manager, Argyll & Bute Council) stating that removal of the School Crossing Patroller Service would be considered by the Council as a cost-cutting measure. The CC was asked for views on “the impact the proposal… would have in respect of any socio-economic disadvantage and reduction in equalities of outcome” and also whether we could “identify suitable individuals to carry out this role voluntarily.”
After much discussion it was agreed that the CC should make a case for retaining the service, at least at locations where there was a serious risk to children (as at Strachur), and that we should enquire if the Council would consider conducting individual risk assessments to gauge the potential impact of withdrawing the service.
It was also agreed that the CC would publicise the request for potential volunteer Crossing Patrollers, although it was felt this would be a waste of time, given that there had been no responses to recent advertisements for the paid position.
b. Argyll Rally 2023.
Iain reminded the meeting that Argyll Rally 2023 was being planned for the evening of Friday 23rd June and all day on Saturday 24th June. As far as Strachur and Strathlachlan were concerned, the routes and road closures should be the same as for Argyll Rally 2022. On 23rd June, after three initial stages, the cars will regroup at Strachur Memorial Hall from around 8.45 p.m. In the final stage, the cars will drive south down the B8000 and over the Bealach to Glendaruel: the road will be closed to other drivers from a point south of Inver Restaurant to Glendaruel from 9.19 p.m. to 2.39 a.m. On 24th June cars will drive north along the B8000 and the road will be closed to non-competitors from Largiemore to south of Inver Restaurant from 9.35 a.m. to 6.35 p.m. There will be an “access window” from 1.25 p.m. to 2.20 p.m., when the road will be open to allow residents to access or leave their property
c. A886 drain covers.
A member of the public raised a complaint about loose drain covers on the residential stretch of the A886. These presented a danger to pedestrians, because on occasion they were propelled into the air by passing vehicles. Iain agreed to pursue this.
d. Information board at recycling site.
A member of the public suggested it would be helpful if an information board was installed at the recycling site to inform the public when the recycling bins are emptied and the location of other recycling bins in the area. This might help to reduce the amount of rubbish being dumped outside bins when they are full. Iain agreed to look into this.
e. Layby at St. Catherines.
A complaint was raised about the permanent presence of traffic cones that prevent the public use of a layby on the southern approach to St. Catherines. Cllr Sinclair offered to investigate this.
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
f. Locked gate on Council-maintained road.
Another complaint was raised about the presence of a locked gate blocking access from the A815 to the old loch-side road on the southern approach to St. Catherines. It was suggested that, as this is a Council-maintained road, it should be accessible to the general public. Cllr Sinclair offered to investigate this.
ACTION: Cllr Sinclair
g. Bench at A815 layby opposite Strachur House lodge.
A member of the public reported that this bench was disintegrating, but that a local resident was interested in replacing it. This was noted and it was suggested that the land-owner’s approval should be sought before this is actioned.
h. Information board near Post Office.
A member of the public pointed out that the small information board near the Post Office includes a section describing the history of a rowan tree arch that no longer exists. The CC was asked for their views. Iain agreed to look into this.
14. Date and location of next meeting.
The next meeting would be at 19:30, 15th March 2023 in Strathlachlan Community Centre.
Secretary, Strachur & District Community Council