Strachur District Community Council - Minutes of General Meeting

Held at 19:30 on Wednesday 12th March 2014, Strachur Memorial Hall


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


Also in attendance: Cllr Alex McNaughton, PC McGunnigal and six members of the public.


2. Apologies: Rita McKellar.


3. Declarations of interest: None.


4. Minutes: Minutes for the meeting held on 22nd January 2014 were adopted as accurate.


5. Matters arising:


a. The wall around the church is still in need of repair. It is uncertain as to who has responsibility, Church or Council? Cllr McNaughton is to follow-up. (First raised 16/10/13). Cllr McNaughton is still awaiting a reply from A McDonald, Environmental Services, A+B. He will chase-up.

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 is enquiring into this.

c. Iain MacGregor raised topics touched on at an NHS meeting on 29/10/13. First was the case of ambulances and address/postcode confusion, Derek Leslie, NHS, had promised to send information to the Secretary of the CC (none received, also see below for Royal Mail’s reaction). Derek Leslie has since retired. PC McGunnigal was able to report that improved technology, in the form of locator transmission on handsets enabled greater guidance from base. No doubt if the problem persists it will be raised again.

d. Second, was the suggestion that proposed whistleblowing code of conduct be fully notified to NHS staff. Heather Grier offered to chase-up and report. Heather was due to meet with Derek Leslie 23rd January. As reported Mr Leslie has now retired, Heather was due to meet with the temporary replacement, George Morrison, 13/3/14 and would recommence enquiries.

e. Loch Fyne - Marine Protection Zone (the Scottish Government’s consultation). Archie has made the representations formerly agreed and he is to liaise with Crawford Grier who is co-ordinating a wider range of responses. It has so far not proved possible to meet up with Cairndow CC as they have only just had their first meeting. Archie reported that he had written to the relevant CC’s and had now spoken with Lochgoilhead CC who expressed their support of the principle of a protection zone.

f. A member of the public had offered to compose a directory of house names as against OS map coordinates because of continued problems experienced by residents both as to deliveries and the emergency services. It seems that A+B will not/cannot release the data it holds. Archie said he would raise the matter with Shirley McLeod at A+B. Archie reported that A+B are adamant that Data Protection prevents the release of their data. It was pointed out by a member of the public that A+B “local view” was available to the emergency services but PC McGunnigal added that emergency service would not have the time, within performance targets, to refer to “local view”. See above for note on improved technology.

g. Strathlachlan roadsigns, (first raised at CC meeting on 10/3/10) Cllr McNaughton says that the roadsigns had now been agreed (no date as to commissioning yet.)

h. Iain McGregor raised the following outstanding points:

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

ii.   Newton road end, dangerous culvert (first raised at CC 13/6/12). Cllr McNaughton reiterated that he would raise this with the individuals concerned.

iii. Strachur headtank Japanese knotweed infestation (first raised at CC10/10/12, but taken up with Scottish Water since at least 2010). Cllr McNaughton says this will be done at the appropriate season – those nearby will have to monitor and raise the alarm if not started.

iv. The new water main, Strathlachlan. 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. Instead spot repairs (leading to road closure!) are undertaken. Iain is to attend a site meeting 13/3/14 and will report back.


6. Health report: delivered by Heather Grier.


a. An 81 page draft plan has been written jointly by the NHS and A+Bbased on the Scottish Gov’ts strategy for supporting the over 65’s called ‘Reshaping the Care of Older People (RCOP) and it will form the basis for implementation to take place on 1/4/15. Heather expressed concern that insufficient public involvement and communication had been given to this, so far. The Local Authority is not compelled “inform and consult” as is the NHS. (Certainly everyone present went blank when asked if they’d heard of RCOP, Self-Directed Support or Health and Social Care Integration). A decision has yet made as to whether the delivery of care in A+B will be via a body corporate, ie jointly, or two lead agencies, one for adults and for children and families.

b. The Patient Participation Group (PPG) had had a meeting on 3rd March. One item discussed was what is perceived as the funding imbalance of the Strachur surgery when compared with other (smaller) practices. The potential adoption of the Inverary practice was also discussed and Heather reported that she wanted to check some facts and discuss some points with the Scottish Health Council before making any further comment.


7. Police report: PC Eddie McGunnigal was in attendance and reported as follows:


a. Since 22/2/14 there had been one offence of speeding in Strachur reported.

b. There have been reports of itinerant sellers operating from vans in the area. Any suspicious vans should be reported using the 101 number. (A member of the public spoke in praise of the new 101 number. A suspicious incident was reported and within ten minutes a report came back the activity, although suspicious, was legitimate.)

c. PC McGunnigal again urged residents to sign on to the Rural Watch to promote the continued communication between villagers and the Police to share intelligence and heighten awareness. The CC is to advertise Rural Watch in the newsletter.


8. Treasurer’s report: The current balance in the bank is £2455. Since the last meeting travel expenses had amounted to approx. £49 and repair of the bench at the church and the shop noticeboard amounted to £120.


9. Secretary’s report:

a. Forest View playground. It was apparent that the current status of the playground is a matter of some confusion. The one certainty is that the gates are locked and the equipment inside has in part been damaged by a fallen tree. It was agreed that the Community Council write to the Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA), the presumed owners of the site. The intention being to clarify the terms of ownership and then the intentions for the site and the plan to bring it back into use. ACHA, in a public announcement, have agreed to take responsibility for the running of the Park which will reopen before the summer.

b. A member of the public asked if the Community Council could approach the Hall Committee to improve/reinstate the lighting around the Hall for the benefit of users. At a Hall User Group meeting last week it was announced, “The external lighting on the Memorial Hall is to be upgraded by Alistair Mirrlees; this comprises lights at the corners of the building, two external lights either side of the door, and repairs to the post lantern at the main door, all operated by sensors.”

c. A group of worried parents addressed the last meeting to express their concern over the failure of A+B to provide cover during the temporary absence of the school crossing warden. The matter was considered even more pressing now that the school had responsibility for the pre-fives as well as the primary school children. The discussion widened to consider the broader issue of safety at that point of the road, especially when approaching from Loch Eck. (See letter for full details.) The A+B reply outlined what they had done to fill the vacancy when the emergency cover arrangements had not met the needs of the temporary absence. Also outlined were the environmental improvements made or in hand: improved lighting, scrub clearance, widened pavements, pedestrian fencing, extending the 40mph limit 100 m south, the adoption of rumble strips, the monitoring of speed before and after the introduction of a temporary driver feedback sign. Disappointment was expressed that a 30 or 20mph limit was not to be introduced, that pinch points were discounted and that it was not possible to move the crossing. It was was agreed that the CC should write thanking A+B for work done and request details of the precise criteria applicable to 30mph limits and for details of a traffic survey conducted over four days in October 2013.


10. The Emergency Plan: Jean Donaldson is leading on this item and she reported that the risk assessment portion of the exercise was underway and that she hoped to have the draft plan prepared within six weeks. At a meeting with the Memorial Hall Committee last week it was agreed in principle that the Hall would fulfil the role of “hub” in the event of a crisis.


11. Community Action Plan: The CAP steering group would be meeting with the National Park to finalise the survey form and parameters on 19th March.


12. Local hydro schemes:

a. Archie and Les were due to meet with Gilkes (developers of Coire Ealt) to discuss progress with the plan but the meeting had to be abandoned.

b. It is hoped that Sir Charles MacClean will be available to address a future meeting on his proposals for two wind turbines to operate in conjunction with his hydro scheme.


13. Transport update:

a. Last week’s closure of the Rest demonstrated (yet again) the need for modern electronic signage at the Bay so that vehicles had ample warning of the closure and alternatives could be considered. The “manual” sign was late in arriving and late in leaving – though effectively turned-off by being face down on the floor.

b. The Saturday morning bus from Strachur to Dunoon is to be reintroduced as a 7:55 service.


14. The Queen’s Baton Relay: Gordon Neish is leading on this topic.

a. Due to take place on Sunday 13/7/14 the Baton will be met at the pontoon and taken to the Memorial Hall for a send-off through the village to the shinty pitch. The event will be televised on the One Show and presumably on BBC Scotland.

b. A Gala Day will be organised to celebrate the rare honour.

c. A meeting has been arranged for Tuesday 25/3/14, 20:00, Memorial Hall for anyone with ideas/willing to take part or simply interested in what’s going on.

d. The CC is to assist in a grant application – A+B have already promised £500.


15. Any other business:

a. Concern was expressed that space might be running out at the graveyard but Cllr McNaughton was able to offer reassurance that the situation was being monitored actively and there were deemed to be sufficient reserves.

b. Road signs in Strachur are in a filthy state. It was agreed that the CC would write to A+B and request that they be tidied – particularly as we might be on the telly.

c. The Post Office have not got back to Archie re the “temporary” status of the Bay Office. He will chase them for a reply.

d. An inspection (under the auspices of the Scottish Government’s Directorate of Planning and Environment Appeals) of the breakwater and bollards off the Shore Road (opposite Kildonan) took place 5/3/14. Representatives of the applicants and concerned residents were in attendance. The building of the breakwater is the subject of an appeal to the refusal of a retrospective planning application. The result is expected in a few weeks and will be reported.

e. The relative of a person with links to, and a fondness for, Strachur had asked if it was possible to donate a bench or have a plaque on an existing bench. The meeting was sympathetic to the request and asked the CC to look into regulation and guidance on this topic.


16. Date of next meeting: 16th April 2014, 19:30, Strachur Memorial Hall. It will be the constitutionally required Annual General Meeting.


Les Earle, Secretary, Strachur District Community Council