Strachur Community Council
Minutes of Ordinary Meeting
Held 19.30 on Wednesday 12th December 2018
Strachur Memorial Hall
Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Kirstie Reid, Iain Wilkie (Secretary).
Also in attendance: Cllr Alan Reid and one member of the public.
1. Convener’s opening remarks:
Archie welcomed everyone to the meeting.
2. Apologies and declarations of interest:
Ceci Alderton, John Fleming, Isabel McGladdery, PC Donald Mackay, Bob Darracott, Jeff Wilson, Cllr Gordon Blair and Cllr Yvonne McNeilly apologised for non-attendance.
There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 17th October 2018 were agreed as accurate.
4. Matters arising.
a. Speed limit on A815 through Strachur.
Iain had sent an e-mail to Stuart Watson (ABC Traffic and Development Manager) on 29th October, which reiterated the argument for reducing the speed limit to 30 mph. In his reply of 11th December Mr Watson had not conceded there was a case for changing the speed limit. He had referred our comments about the tight bend and crossing point near the A886 junction to the Local Traffic & Development Officer. It was agreed that further action would be deferred until a response to these comments was received.
b. VMS sign at A815/A886 junction.
BEAR Scotland had informed Cllr Reid that the sign was now working. It was noted that the orientation of the sign had changed (it was now facing north) and it was not clear if this was intentional or had been caused by high winds. [On 16th December Iain discovered that the display board could be rotated manually. This was reported to ABC Roads and BEAR Scotland.]
c. Strachur graveyard: funding for extending the graveyard.
Cllr Reid had been informed that Amenity Services would be carrying out work this winter to develop a further 12 lairs. In their view, these, together with the remaining unused lairs, should accommodate new burials for the next 25 years. The site would be available for re-openings after this. Future policy would define how the burial needs for Argyll & Bute Council would be met. “This is likely to be driven by capital and revenue budget levels.”
d. Strachur church boundary wall: repair and stabilisation.
Amenity Services had informed Cllr Reid on 9th November that “Amenity Services put through a request to Facility service (30th August 2018) to carry out a full survey/inspection of the integrity of the cemetery wall. We await their report and any corrective action required following this report.”
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid
e. Pavement adjacent to A815 from A886 junction to Medical Practice: encroachment of vegetation.
Roads had informed Cllr Reid on 9th November that “Due to staff shortages we have been unable to get the letter sent out. This will be done ASAP and hopefully we will get a response from the property owners.”
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid
f. B8000: verges between Inver Restaurant and Inverchapel and barrier at Lephinchapel bridge.
Cllr Reid had received a response from Roads on 22nd October that was identical to that received on 4th September (see minutes of 17th October meeting, item 4f). Therefore there had been no progress.
Jeff Wilson had reported by e-mail that the barrier at Lephinchapel bridge had still not been replaced. This continued to represent a danger to road users.
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid
g. Old road from the school to Glenbranter: overgrown trees and flooding.
Roads had informed Cllr Reid that “A lot of this isn't our ground but we will get operatives to attend and cut from the school down to the end of the houses towards Glenbranter. We intend for these works to be carried out before 21st December 2018. There have been plant issues that we need to have resolved before these works are carried out.” Cllr Reid had still to follow up the flooding issue.
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid
h. Broadband at St. Catherines.
Iain had been informed that the internet service at St. Catherines had been upgraded and was now producing 22-25 Mbps on WiFi from site masts (in contrast to the previous 1-3 Mbps).
i. National Park planning applications.
Iain now forwarded weekly lists to Archie.
j. Bob Darracott.
Iain now forwarded CC agendas and minutes to Mr Darracott.
k. Consultation on Polling Districts and Polling Places.
Iain had submitted an article on this consultation to the Newsletter.
l. Commemorative event on afternoon of 11th November.
Archie had organised this successful and well-attended event, and had commissioned a commemorative plaque from Eric Large, Dunoon, which was unveiled during the course of the afternoon.
m. Waterfalls path at Glenbranter.
Bob Darracott had been informed by Sue Morris (FES) that the path was expected to be fully open by the end of November, though poor weather conditions might delay repair work (see item 11e below).
5. Police Report (received from PC Mackay by e-mail).
Since the last meeting on the 17th October there have been 56 incidents in the Strachur area.
Of these incidents, a number related to weather issues taking effect on the roads and Deer Stalking with the shooting season commenced.
One notable incident was the recovery of a large WW2 mine on the shores of Loch Fyne half way to St. Catherines. This was disposed of accordingly by E.O.D. [Explosive Ordnance Disposal]
Of these incidents there were three crimes recorded:
1 - A male was reported for anti-social behaviour.
2 - A vehicle was vandalised in Forest View, Strachur - enquiries are ongoing.
3 - Two McNaughton Tipper Lorries parked near to the Memorial Hall were vandalised last week to a point of making them dangerous if driven. Enquiries ongoing.
Any information on either of these vandalisms can be passed via 101 or Rural Watch.
Although outwith the Strachur area - but noted by many - the abandoned vehicle north of Dunans Castle was disposed of accordingly by the Local Authority.
Otherwise, Rural Watch continues to be in the ascendency with over 1,200 affiliates in the area now. This will be particularly helpful during the winter months in relation to road safety/closures and general crime prevention with the opportunity for thefts of fuel and bogus callers during the shorter/darker days.
I attended a meeting a fortnight ago with the Local Authority and the NFU regarding Livestock Worrying. We will be looking at joint protocols for instances in Argyll ahead of the 2019 lambing, along side the SPARC campaign which commences in January.
Our local management will completely change come the end of the year. Inspector Duncan MacLean has retired and his successor - Fiona Davidson - has started at Dunoon. Chief Inspector Paul Robertson retires on the 18th December and his replacement will be Douglas Wilson, who has policed the area for many years. He lives rurally and has an awareness of the diverse needs of Cowal. Both have intimated their intention to come along to community council meetings in the New Year to introduce themselves.
The meeting of Argyll Rural Crime Partnership that had been due to take place in Inveraray on 22.11.18 had been cancelled and would be rescheduled for a later date.
It was suggested that, in the light of recent incidents around Strachur, articles should be published on the Community Facebook Page and in the Newsletter to remind residents to keep doors locked, maintain alarms and security lights in working order, and be generally vigilant over the Christmas and New Year period.
ACTION: Les Earle and Iain
6. Health Report.
Kirstie gave an update on the closure of paediatric cancer wards at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow and how they will be closed for a further year in order to carry out a £1.25m upgrade of the ventilation system to bring it up to a standard to allow children to return for both day and inpatient treatment. In the meantime the patients will be treated elsewhere.
Kirstie gave an update on the problems caused by the closure of the Cowlairs Decontamination Unit, including the cancellation of operations and medical procedures adding to already long waiting times.
Kirstie read out a reply from the Health Minister to various health issues, including delays in ambulance response and appointment waiting times, and patients calling NHS24 being told the call would be answered within a period of up to 20 minutes but not to hang up or they would lose their place in the queue.
7. Secretary’s Report.
Since the last meeting articles had been submitted to the Newsletter on: Remembrance Sunday; Armistice Centenary Commemoration Afternoon; the Supporting Communities Fund; and consultations on (1) Argyll & Bute Council budget, (2) Polling Districts and Polling Places, (3) Unconventional Oil and Gas, (4) Regulation of Finfish Aquaculture, and (5) Review of Core Paths Plan.
Iain had responded to the consultation on Polling Districts and Polling Places.
There had been correspondence with Argyll & Bute Council regarding:
a. Strachur CC’s contribution to a brochure on Armistice Day events.
b. Mess left at Strachur Recycling Point. [ABC subsequently cleared this up. It has since been messed up then tidied up again.]
c. Disposal of plasterboard. A resident had reported that ABC recycling centres would no longer accept plasterboard. Following an e-mail enquiry to Alan Millar (ABC Performance Manager - Waste management), Iain had been informed that ‘Renewi’ (formerly ‘Shanks’), which has the waste collection contract for most of mainland Argyll, had introduced this policy unilaterally. After subsequent discussions between ABC, SEPA and ‘Renewi’, Mr Millar confirmed that ‘Renewi’ would accept small quantities of plasterboard from residents, but not “commercial loads”.
The last two meetings of the Cowal Out of Hours Review Group had been cancelled.
8. Treasurer’s report.
The bank balance stood at £1,853.43.
9. Transport update.
There would be a meeting of the Transport Forum on 17th December. It was noted that the VMS sign at Kilmun had not been used to warn drivers of a recent road blockage further north on the A815. It was suspected that this might have been due to a failure of communication between ABC and BEAR Scotland.
10. Public Engagement.
There was nothing to report.
a. Christmas tree.
Strachur CC was responsible for obtaining the Christmas tree. Whereas in the past FES had supplied trees free of charge, the policy had changed and this year we had been charged £55. It was agreed that the CC should avoid such expenditure in future and should investigate other sources.
b. Lauder memorial.
‘Friends of Loch Lomond & the Trossachs’ had obtained funding to restore the memorial, paint the railings, and expand the car park.
c. Core Paths Plan.
Les Earle asked if the CC could request that hard copies of the Core Paths Plan be made available to the public at Glenbranter.
d. Kilmorie graveyard.
Iain had received a telephone call from Iain MacGregor on 13th November regarding the flooding issue at Kilmorie graveyard. Mr MacGregor had suggested that ABC be reminded of the need to rod the blocked outflow pipe in order to reduce the likelihood of future flooding problems. Iain (Wilkie) had visited the graveyard on 14th November and found no evidence of recent flooding or waterlogging (though one of the two outflow pipes was still blocked). After discussion it was agreed that ABC was unlikely to accede to this suggestion, as they had ignored a similar request a year ago and since no flooding had been reported over the course of 2017. However, the situation would continue to be monitored.
e. Supporting Communities Fund.
Cllr Reid noted that the Supporting Communities Fund was open for applications of up to £2,500. The closing date was 6th February. See https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/council-and- government/third-sector-grants.
f. Report on National Park issues (received from Bob Darracott by e-mail).
Mr Darracott had attended the Community Partnership meeting at Lochgoilhead on 28th November, at which a range of issues was raised, including camping displacement and camping management, the extent of the ongoing litter management review being undertaken by the NP, and the scope for better coordination of the core paths in the area. The consultation on the revised Core Path Plan was now 'live' and available for comment on the NP's web site - lochlomond-trossach.org.
Mr Darracott subsequently had a meeting with Jim McLuckie and Stewart Miller as regards the Loch Lomond & Cowal Way with a view to understanding their current position and where and how the NP might support this initiative. There was hopefully some scope to assist in path maintenance works in the coming year.
The bridge repair works etc. at Glenbranter were now under way, though the recent weather may have interfered with progress. Concerns mentioned at the CC meeting of 17th October about the accessibility problems at Glenbranter were raised with Stuart Chalmers - Forestry Scotland's local manager.
The NP Board Meeting, held on 10th December, dealt with, amongst other matters, nominations for various Committees. Ellen Morton (Argyll & Bute Councillor) was appointed Chair of the Planning & Access Committee and Mr Darracott was appointed her Depute. Two other matters of note were: (1) the Cononish Gold Mine application has proceeded well in recent months, with the majority of Reserved Matters now being agreed with the NP (most notably the Restoration Bond), and work is expected to commence in the New Year; and (2) the NP has recently received a planning application relating to the full refurbishment of Cameron House Hotel, Loch Lomond.
12. Date and location of next meeting.
The next meeting would be at 19:30, Wednesday 16th January 2019 in Strathlachlan Community Centre.