To be agreed at the meeting of 6th August 2014

Strachur District Community Council - Minutes of General Meeting
Held at 19:30 on Wednesday 11th June 2014, Strachur Memorial Hall

Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Isabel McGladdery (Treasurer), John Fleming (Vice Convenor), Jean Donaldson and Les Earle (Secretary).


Also in attendance: Cllr Alex McNaughton and five members of the public.


1. Convener’s opening remarks: Archie welcomed those attending the meeting and thanked Les for having minuted the previous, at times fractious, meeting.

2. Apologies: None.

3. Declarations of interest: None.

4. Minutes: Minutes for the meeting held on 16th April 2014 were adopted as accurate.

5. Matters arising:

a. The wall around the church is in need of repair. It is an A+B responsibility and it has now been surveyed by them. Cllr McNaughton will continue to monitor the actual commencement of repair.

b. The land to the rear of 62 Forest View persistently floods and local residents want to know who owns the land to seek a remedy. (First raised 22/1/14). Cllr McNaughton says that he is still awaiting confirmation from ACHA.

c. A member of the public asked if the trees either side of the road from the Hall to the church could be pruned as they interfered with the street lights and buses/lorries in the centre of the road forced cars into the insecure (and now muddy) edge of the road. Cllr McNaughton reported that the pruning would take place as soon as the equipment (already on scheduled use) was available. The Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) will now pass that way and Cllr McNaughton said he will draw this to the attention of those responsible for schedules.

d. Under Health Report at an earlier meeting Iain McGregor suggestion that the proposed whistleblowing code of conduct be fully notified to NHS staff. Heather Grier offered to chase-up and report. (First raised 22/1/14). As previously reported a series of temporary placements had prevented Heather Grier progressing this item. She will now raise it with Christine West.

e. Iain McGregor raised the following outstanding points:

i.   Roadside ditch on Strathlachlan Hall brae (first raised Jan 2012). To be addressed when the watermain (iii, below) has been sorted.

ii. Strachur headtank Japanese knotweed infestation (first raised at CC10/10/12, but taken up with Scottish Water since at least 2010). Les raised this in his letter to the Chairman as noted below. Now awaiting contact from the officer allocated. Iain has had some contact and his complaint of inaction has been logged.

iii. The new water main, Strathlachlan (burst again in recent weeks). A circular argument of inaction has taken a grip. The 4” water main is not deep enough and keeps bursting, the lack of depth makes it unsuitable for driving through a new liner, only trenching and burying is appropriate but this would lead to an unwanted road closure. Some residents were concerned at the thought of road closure Cllr McNaughton stated that no such closure could take place without consultation. Les wrote to Scottish Water and in the absence of a reply wrote to the Chairman who has allocated a minion to respond, nothing so far. Separately, Iain was now having some success in at least getting his complaint acknowledged.

iv. Strathlachlan roadsigns, (first raised at CC meeting on 10/3/10. Cllr McNaughton says that the job had now been allocated.

f. Jean had raised the prospect of a Glenbranter Residents’ Association meeting to discuss, with interested bodies, the future of the Glenbranter hydro scheme but, as yet, it had not proved possible to fix a date.


6. Health report: Heather Grier gave a report on the following issues.


a. Members of the Patient Participation Group (including Anne MacLachlan, Practice Manager) and Dr Coull had two meetings with George Morrison, Director of Finance, Highland NHS, to discuss the perceived under-funding of the Strachur Practice when compared to other Cowal surgeries. It appears that a previous GP had not addressed the funding allocation at the time of national review in 2004 and the decisions made subsequently could not be changed. However, moves were afoot for a national review. In the meantime GM was sympathetic to the case put and the preceding level received for the late Dr Wright would be reinstated.

b. A paper is due to be presented to A+B Councillors on 26/6/14 drawing together A+B’s and the NHS’s responsibility for Social Care Integration (including Self-directed Support, Reshaping Care for Older People and Health and Social Care). All this to be in place by 1/4/15! Plans for communication protocols to be in place by November!!

Leaving aside the ambitious timetable for implementation it was apparent that the contracts let by A+B to “care providers” were far from effective in terms of geography and general employment law, eg. carers not paid between jobs, paid less than the minimum wage for sleepovers, rigid timetabling of visits, suspicion of zero hours contracts and carers paid an uneconomic 15p a mile for use of their own transport. Scepticism was expressed as to the likelihood of this being better monitored under the new arrangements.


7. Police report: PC Eddie McGunnigal was not in attendance, there was no report.


8. Secretary’s report:

a. The current position regarding the works associated with the school crossing was explained. The road markings were now in place. Les had written to enquire what had happened to the promised dragons’ teeth and moving the 40mph limit 100 metres south. Dragons’ teeth are to be painted this month. The moving of the limit was taking more time. The relevance of this is that once the markings are in place fresh traffic survey information can be taken to check the effectiveness of the improvements and to meet with road engineers to press for the further improvements originally outlined in the letter of 26/1/14.

b. Assistance has been provided in making the grant application to Celebrate (the National Lottery) to fund the QBR Gala Day. Despite initial wobbles the application was successful.

c. As noted above Les had been in contact with the Chairman of Scottish Water.

d. Les wrote to CI Gary Stitt, Police Scotland, for details of the traffic survey conducted at the school crossing in October 2013. He was amenable to supplying the data.

e. The Forestry had “consulted” on the harvesting of Letters Forest over the next 20-30 years and Les put an article in the newsletter. He replied to replied to the consultation outlining the concerns drawn to his attention (essentially water run-off).


9. Treasurer’s report: The current balance in the bank is £2443. A donation from the Strachur Fundraisers had been received to further the aims of the QBR gala day.

10. The Emergency Plan: Jean Donaldson is leading on this item and she reported that the draft had now been completed and would be published/submitted Monday, next week.


11. Community Action Plan: Since the last meeting the Community Agent had been appointed and she was progressing with the analysis of the survey forms as well as the interviewing of key individuals in the community. The aim was to have a draft plan available for the end of June and a display/presentation at the QBR gala day, 13/7/14.


12. Transport update:

a. A complaint has been raised that McGills had not produced a timetable showing the times of buses relevant to hospital visiting times. Cllr McNaughton and Archie will raise this at the regular Transport Meeting.

b. The weeds and bushes alongside the single track section of the shore road (A886) have now grown to the point at which it is difficult to see approaching cars. Similarly growth on the bank near the Creggans impeded the view of traffic pulling on to the A815. Les will write to the roads department.


13. Any other business:

a. The Post Office still have not got back to Archie re the “temporary” status of the Bay Office. He will chase them for a reply. He was now trying to get the MSP involved.

b. The single 55m wind turbine application for Sir Charles MacClean generated a single objection from the public.

c. The improved Forest View play-park is now open though smaller than originally that which it replaced.

d. The gabion basket breakwater at St Catherines has not yet been removed. Presumably the enforcement notice is being appealed.


14. Date of next meeting: 6th August 2014, 19:30, Strathlachlan Community Hall.



Les Earle, Secretary, Strachur District Community Council