Strachur Community Council

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting

Held 19.30 on Wednesday 11th March 2020

Strachur Memorial Hall



Members present: Ceci Alderton, Archie Reid (Convener), Isabel McGladdery, Kirstie Reid, Iain Wilkie (Secretary).


Also in attendance: Cllr Alan Reid, Bill Dickson and Jeff Wilson (Strachur & District Community Development Company), Ian Asher (PPG), Bob Darracott (representative for Ward 1 on the Board of the National Park), four representatives from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Volunteer Unit, Strachur, and one member of the public.


1. Convener’s opening remarks:

Archie welcomed everyone to the meeting.


2. Apologies and declarations of interest:

Cllr Gordon Blair, Cllr Yvonne McNeilly and PC Laura Evans apologised for non-attendance. There were no declarations of interest.


3. Minutes.

Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 15th January 2020 were agreed as accurate.


4. Matters arising.

a. Road signs at A815/A886 junction.

Replacement signs were installed on 24.1.20.


b. Variable Message Sign at A815/A886 junction.

Cllr Reid had been informed by BEAR Scotland that “We have a member of staff looking at what needs to be done to get these signs hooked up to Traffic Scotland’s system and make them more robust power wise.”

[Nigel Potts (Argyll & Bute Council) had phoned Iain on 11.3.20. The VMS was not working because there was no power from its battery. BEAR would service it and intended to discuss a more permanent solution at the next Cowal Transport Forum.]


c. Road markings.

Cllr Reid said that lining work on the A815 had been completed, although 'Give Way' markings had still to be re-painted at the exit from Forest View. Roads had told him that:

 “As with most of the road marking queries we have, this location is on a schedule of lining works which is with a road marking contractor and we are now awaiting a suitable weather window to allow them to be installed.

Ideally we would be looking for a minimum 3 day dry weather period to include for time to allow for the surface to dry before applying the road markings. As you are aware there has been little let up in the poor weather this winter and little change to this pattern over the next week or so. We will be keeping a close eye on the weather and should a suitable weather window appear we will have the road marking contractor ready.”


d. Drain covers in Forest View are higher than the road surface.

Roads had told Cllr Reid that “Scottish Water are renewing the water main through the street in April, therefore this issue will be fixed at this time in April by Scottish Water.”


e. Roads capital works for this summer.

Reported by Cllr Reid:

A815 Strachurmore - Invernoaden £145,000 Pre Surface Dressing & Surface Dressing

A815 Dalinlongart - Sandbank £75,000 Pre Surface Dressing & Surface Dressing

B8000 Otter Ferry - Kilfinan    £100,000        Regulate & Overlay


f. Disturbances on school bus to Carrick Castle.

Cllr Reid said that Cllr Blair had raised this with Argyll & Bute Council and had received the following reply:

Our school transport team advise that they are aware of the incidents described in your correspondence from last year. These were dealt with at the time with the support of the school and operator, and involved pupils being banned from the bus for a period of three days.

I can confirm that the pupils in question have been reported to be behaving on the bus since this incident took place and we are continuing to monitor this service.

We do have the authority to ban pupils if their behaviour endangers pupils, drivers or other passengers, and will do so if the need arises. The schools are always consulted prior to any warnings or bans being issued.”


g. Scottish Water issues.

Iain had been informed by Scottish Water that their contractor intended to carry out necessary tree felling/growth maintenance work on 14.3.20. [This did in fact take place.]

In response to a further reminder to SW about pipe upgrade works at Forest View and High Hall, Iain had been told that this would be raised again with their investment planning team and he would be updated. This will be pursued as necessary.



h. Police Scotland: Special Constable recruitment and new call handling system.

Iain had submitted articles on these issues to the Newsletter and Facebook.


i. School crossing patroller vacancy.

This had been advertised again, with a closing date of 17.3.20. Iain had publicised the vacancy on Facebook and on the CC noticeboards.


j. Review of the Health & Social Care Integration scheme.

Iain had submitted comments on behalf of the CC.


k. Local Development Plan 2.

Iain had submitted comments on behalf of the CC.


l. Use of Variable Message Sign at A815/A886 junction to remind drivers of 40 mph speed limit.

Archie would bring this up at the next meeting of the Cowal Transport Forum.

ACTION: Archie




m. Community Speedwatch initiative.

Archie would bring this up at the next Caucus meeting.

ACTION: Archie


5. Police Report.

PC Evans had informed the meeting by e-mail that over the past two months there had been 31 incidents, 19 of which were road traffic-related. Two crime reports had been generated regarding drug possession and driving under the influence of cannabis.


6. Health Report.

Cowal hospital HSCP Future Working Group.

Kirstie reported that this group is made up of Head of Services, both NHS Highland and A&BC Estate Managers, four local councillors, the two locality managers, and Joanna McDonald Chief Executive of A&B HSCP. Kirstie explained that she had been invited to join this group regarding the future of the HSCP in Cowal. The group were first given a tour of both Cowal Community Hospital and Struan Lodge Care Facility, and a discussion took place after the tours to see how the group could help with the future plans for the NHS/HSCP. Kirstie would update the CC after each meeting of this group


Coronavirus epidemic.

A discussion took place on the fast moving situation, especially regarding the closure of the Strachur surgery. Kirstie had received several communications from elderly patients both in Strachur and further around Cowal who were concerned about the conflicting messages that were coming from Dr Coull's social media account and the HSCP; the elderly people of the village were getting upset because of the stories going around. Attendees at the meeting were alarmed at the scaremongering that had been taking place.


7. Secretary’s Report.

Since the last meeting seven articles had been submitted to the Newsletter, on: Police Scotland call handling; Special Constable recruitment; new road signs at A815/A886 junction; grant-assisted insulation scheme; community councillor recruitment; consultation on National Planning Framework 4; Go Wheelie Slow initiative.


The main correspondence (in addition to any mentioned elsewhere) had been with:

a. A holiday home-owner in St. Catherines who was interested in supporting the CC. As her main interest was helping with funding applications, Iain had directed her to relevant organisations within the community.

b. Chief Inspector Douglas Wilson and Paul Farrell (Argyll & Bute Council) regarding traffic speed on the A815 in the light of recent speeding incidents. In response to a letter from the CC, Chief Inspector Wilson had informed us that he would arrange for additional patrols and for a police traffic survey to be conducted. Mr Farrell had been asked by e-mail on 4.3.20 if the Local Authority would consider installing 'Doctors Surgery' signs; this request was supported by a letter from Dr Coull. A reply was awaited. This will be pursued as necessary.



Manse Gardens.

On 12.2.20 Iain had attended a meeting at Manse Gardens with Ian Asher and Heather Grier (PPG) and four tenants. The aim had been to determine the tenants' views on the future of Manse Gardens and the outcome was a letter expressing those views, which was sent to Rhona McLeod (CEO Trust Housing Association). On 17.3.20 Ms McLeod would meet with Manse Gardens tenants and PPG and CC representatives to give "an update on progress".


Creag Dhubh wind farm.

The consultation documents had been made available to the public in the Memorial Hall on four Tuesday mornings in February. The consultation had closed on 28.2.20. Comments had been submitted on behalf of the CC. A total of 14 individuals had submitted comments: one supporting and 13 objecting to the application.


Go Wheelie Slow.

An article (assembled mainly by PC Laura Evans) had been published in the Dunoon Observer. Iain had distributed 40 mph bin stickers on 13/14.2.20 to residents who leave their bins beside the A815 and to the Filling Station. Not all of these were in use yet. Residents beside the A886 had expressed an interest in obtaining stickers. Iain still had a number of unused stickers and it was agreed that these should be given to A886 residents.



Emergency Plan.

In view of the coronavirus epidemic Iain was in the process of updating the Emergency Plan.


[The updated plan has now been uploaded onto the community website.]


8. Treasurer’s report.

The bank balance stood at £2,223.90.


9. Transport update.

There was nothing to report.


10. Twinning proposal update.

There was nothing to report.


11. National Park Update.

Bob Darracott reported that the National Park would be responding to the consultation on the Creag Dhubh wind farm planning application, probably in April.

There were no other major applications within the Strachur area.

Regarding the Dawnfresh fish farm proposal for Ardentinny, no formal application had been submitted yet.

The Cameron House application had been approved, as had the application for the conversion of a barn at Carrick Castle into a brewery, café, bar and shop, as well as various applications associated with the Cononish Gold Mine, Tyndrum.


a. Recruitment of part-time fire-fighters.

Representatives from Strachur Fire Station expressed concern about the difficulties they were experiencing in trying to recruit new part-time fire officers. There were six in the current team and they could not answer a call with a crew of under four. Not all volunteers worked in the village and so there were occasions when too few were available to respond to a call. If this happened too often, there was a danger that Strachur Fire Station would become unviable and be closed. There were two potential recruits, but another two or three were needed. A major problem was that the same standard of fitness was required as for full-time fire officers, and a number of potential recruits had failed the eyesight test.


All agreed that the local fire service was vital to the village and should be supported. Ways to publicise the service and attract new recruits were discussed. Suggestions included holding an Open Day at the Fire Station and asking the Dunoon Observer to run an article on the local service, its benefits to the community, and the recruitment problem. The CC would produce an article for the Newsletter.



b. Creag Dhubh wind farm meeting, 27.2.20.

This meeting was attended by Archie, Isabel, Kirstie, Jeff Wilson (Strachur DevCo), Angus Elder (Muirden Energy LLP), and two representatives from Lochgoil CC - Elizabeth Bain and Tim King. Archie said the meeting had been friendly and had gone very well. Lochgoil CC had been suggested by Muirden as a beneficiary of Community Benefit arising from the wind farm because a small part of the site location is in their area. It was agreed that funds should be administered separately by Strachur and Lochgoilhead, the split to be decided at a subsequent meeting. A Memorandum of Understanding between Strachur and Lochgoilhead would be agreed.


c. Pot holes on the road through the clachan from the A815.

These were getting worse and needed urgent attention. Cllr Reid offered to follow this up.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


d. CC interim by-elections.

Iain reminded the meeting that nominations should be submitted between 1st and 23rd April. Nomination packs would be available from 30.3.20 and information had been posted on Facebook and the CC noticeboards. No expressions of interest had been received so far.


e. 'How Good is Your Place' consultation results.

17 residents had submitted responses. Priority areas for improvement were public transport, housing & community, and work & local economy.


f. Residential housing development opposite the Post Office.

An updated design statement was available. The number of properties with red roofs had been reduced to three.


g. Recycling point.

It was noted that, following the CC's request for a larger general waste bin, a second smaller general waste bin had been installed.


13. Date and location of next meeting.

The Annual General Meeting will commence 19:30, Wednesday 15th April 2020 at Strachur Memorial Hall and will be followed by an Ordinary Meeting.


Iain Wilkie

Secretary, Strachur Community Council