Strachur Community Council
Minutes of Ordinary Meeting
Held 19.30 on Wednesday 13th June 2018
Strachur Memorial Hall
Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), John Fleming, Isabel McGladdery, Kirstie Reid, Iain Wilkie (Secretary).
Also in attendance: Angus Elder and John Moisey (Muirden Energy LLP), Peter Roy and Jeff Wilson (Strachur & District Community Development Company), PC Donald Mackay and four members of the public.
1. Convener’s opening remarks:
Archie welcomed everyone to the meeting.
2. Apologies and declarations of interest:
Ceci Alderton, Cllr Gordon Blair, Cllr Yvonne McNeilly and Cllr Alan Reid apologised for non- attendance. There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 11th April 2018 were agreed as accurate.
4. Matters arising.
a. Traffic monitoring at school crossing.
As recorded in the minutes of the previous meeting, Cllr Reid had asked for the speed of the fastest vehicles, the numbers exceeding the speed limit, and a breakdown of the speeding statistics, including dates and times. This information was still awaited.
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid
b. Road sign issues.
Cllr Reid had received the following responses from Roads:
i/ A815/A886 Road Sign.
“Road sign is in store but due to lack of resources and other commitments we have been unable to install on site. This work has been instructed but will be done once resources become available.”
ii/ No Overnight Parking signs.
“The revenue maintenance sign budget is limited and, as such, the budget is focused first on replacement of safety signs & direction signs. However if, in the new financial year, funding is available we will consider ordering replacement signs.”
iii/ Disfigured road sign at junction of A886 and Leanach road.
“Intend to replace all the junction signs for upper A886/B8000 junction at Leanach from our revenue sign maintenance budget for 2018-19 provided there is sufficient budget to allow this to. The new sign will be bi-lingual.”
c. VMS Sign.
This was now in the right position and facing in the right direction, though still not displaying any messages. Cllr Reid had reported (by e-mail) that “At the Cowal Transport Forum yesterday [12th June], Roads said that it is Transport Scotland’s responsibility to switch the signs on and send the messages to them.” However, Archie was of the view that ABC wanted this to be controlled locally.
d. Progress on signage to discourage antisocial camping.
Iain had written to the National Park and the Forestry Commission. The National Park had expressed a willingness to assist, as long as the landowners were consulted. The Forestry Commission had eventually responded (on 12th June) with the information that additional signs had been put out on 2nd June, though the sign at Dornoch had subsequently disappeared.
e. Questionnaire for young people of Strachur.
This is covered in item 10 below.
f. Letter to ABC re speed limit on A815 through Strachur.
A detailed reply had been received from Stuart Watson, ABC Traffic & Development Manager. This was distributed at the meeting and discussed at length. It was agreed that Mr Watson’s reply did not take into account all the relevant factors and that these should be detailed in another letter.
g. Consultation on ‘A Connected Scotland’.
Iain had submitted a response on 24.4.18
h. Letter to ABC re line-painting and timber lorries on B8000.
The following reply had been received on 5th June from Jim Smith, ABC Head of Roads & Amenity Services:
1. The B8000 has benefitted from some surfacing works delivered in partnership with the Argyll Timber Transport Group and have a further program involving surfacing works north of Otter Ferry to be completed in the Summer months of 2018. Unfortunately we are unable to carry out resurfacing to the whole of the B8000. Argyll and Bute Council, like all councils in Scotland, has a significant backlog of maintenance work. The value of backlog maintenance work for Argyll and Bute is in the range of £100M and we currently have available just over £16M for this and next financial year. This means that whilst we are able to carry out significant resurfacing and maintenance works, we are unable to deal with all the maintenance backlog that we currently have.
2. Edge lines were re-painted on the recently re-surfaced sections of the B8000 and this is a standard approach in replacing markings where these types of works have been carried out.
[Cllr Reid was informed that the white lines had been included in the tender specification by mistake.]
3. We’re carrying out repairs across the road network in Argyll and Bute, including resurfacing work on different parts of the B8000. Our teams’ good intentions are greater than our budget. As a rule, where possible, we reline roads we resurface. We cannot line all 2,300km of our roads. We prioritise mandatory road markings such as stop, go and give way signs.
4. To date no start date has been confirmed by the forestry contractor for movement at Lephinmore Forest.
5. An updated Timber Transport Management Plan (TTMP) will be put in place, similar to previous ones, which at that time limited movements to 6no. per day over 5 days - maximum 30no. per week.
[The updated TTMP is now available.]
It was noted that the updated TTMP stated that the frequency of loaded vehicles travelling on would be restricted “to allow a degree of carriageway recovery”, which implied that damage was expected. As the repair of such damage would incur expenditure on the part of ABC (during a period of financial austerity), it was agreed that a letter should be written on behalf of Strathlachlan residents expressing their disappointment at ABC’s original decision to approve the use of the B8000 as a route for timber extraction traffic.
i. Strachur Police House: funding for control of Japanese Knotweed.
This is covered in item 5 below.
5. Police Report.
PC Mackay reported that in the last three months there had been 20 incidents, one of which involved a crime report.
The Livestock Worrying Campaign had gone well; three individuals had been reported for sheep worrying and two farmers had taken ultimate action to protect their animals.
The Dog-fouling Campaign had produced good results: there had been a 65% reduction in complaints, and 11 warnings and one fixed penalty had been issued.
The Rural Watch scheme now had over 11,000 affiliates. A Rural Watch/Crime Awareness Day would be arranged at Glenbranter, at which the Forestry Commission, RSPB and other agencies would be present.
Operation Ironworks (collaboration between Police Scotland, the National Park and Forest Enterprise Scotland) would be underway again at the end of June. Following the introduction of the Management Zones in the National Park, there appeared to have been displacement of irresponsible camping activity to Strathlachlan.
As a result of the new Rural Road Safety Campaign, more traffic police and rural response police would be in evidence.
Strachur Police Office had been approved for sale. Japanese knotweed was still present in the garden. This information had been conveyed to the Chief Inspector.
6. Health Report.
Kirstie submitted the following report:
a. Health and Care Forum
An EGM is to be held to re-establish this forum and look for a new Chairman. Letters to be sent out to previous members.
b. Sexual Health Clinic
This has not been running in Cowal Community Hospital since the Nurse running it left and the nearest one is held in Port Glasgow where you need an appointment. This is causing various problems to the people of Cowal, who can go there in private without having to go through their GP. It also affects females who have chosen to have the Birth Control Implant, as there is now nobody in Cowal qualified to insert or remove this device, which leaves girls having to travel to Port Glasgow Health Centre.
c. Health Visitors
There are currently 144 unfilled Health Visitor posts in Scotland, which is 10% of the total. This is a vital service for young children and new mothers and fathers, especially with today’s concerns about childhood obesity, illness etc.
d. Choosing the right service
Across NHS Scotland there is ongoing publicity to try to direct people needing assistance to the correct medical or social service rather than going straight to A&E
7. Secretary’s Report.
Since the last meeting articles had been submitted to the Newsletter on: Consultations on licensing regulations and on water & waste water services, new Community Council, Questionnaire for the young people of Strachur, Relay car theft warning, and Consultation on Potentially Vulnerable Areas.
Iain had responded to the consultation on ‘A Connected Scotland’.
There had been correspondence with:
a. Argyll & Bute Council regarding B8000 issues and the speed limit on the A815;
b. Forestry Commission and National Park on signage to promote responsible camping.
The Questionnaire for the Young People of Strachur had been distributed and collected back in.
Iain had attended meetings of the Cowal Out of Hours Review Group on 13.4.18 and 31.5.18.
To comply with the new Data Protection legislation, Strachur Community Council was now registered as a Data Collector with the Information Commissioner’s Office and Iain was the designated Data Protection Officer.
8. Treasurer’s report.
The bank balance stood at £2,292.40.
9. Transport update.
There was nothing to report.
10. Public Engagement.
A summary of the results of the questionnaire survey for the young people of Strachur is given in Appendix 1. The number of completed questionnaires (15) was disappointing. However, these indicated emphatically that inadequate public transport is a major issue.
11. Approval of governance documents.
The following documents were approved:
i/ Declarations of interest policy (Appendix 2).
ii/ Model complaints procedure (Appendix 3).
iii/ Register of processing (Appendix 4).
iv/ Privacy notice (Appendix 5).
12. Beacons of light.
ABC had asked Community Councils if they wanted to participate in commemorations of the end of the First World War by lighting a beacon or bonfire at 11 p.m. on 11th November. This was discussed at length and it was agreed that, whilst the lighting of a beacon or bonfire would be avoided, some kind of ceremony involving switching on a bright light or lights would be appropriate, perhaps in the Memorial Hall car park or garden, and with refreshments available in the Hall. Community Councillors and members of the public were invited to submit ideas.
ACTION: ALL COMMUNITY COUNCILLORS
13. Creag Dhubh wind farm.
Angus Elder and John Moisey of Muirden Energy LLP provided an update on the Creag Dhubh wind farm proposal. They had submitted a Scoping Report to ABC and had received a Scoping Opinion in December 2017. This had identified visual impact and ornithological factors as major issues. In response to the former, Muirden Energy would prepare landscape visuals from more viewpoints, including Crarae Gardens, Inveraray Castle Watch Tower, and Furnace. Suggestions for other viewpoints were invited. Peat surveys and ecological surveys were ongoing; a bird survey had been in progress for 18 months. The intention was still to construct nine turbines at the locations specified previously, although the heights of individual towers might be adjusted to mitigate their visual impact. Similarly, modifications might be made in the light of the results of the bird and other ecological surveys. Wind speed data would be obtained by remote sensing LIDAR equipment, which uses laser beam technology. Muirden Energy would be offering shared ownership of 10% to an interested group. A second public exhibition would be held in the Autumn.
a. Kilmorie graveyard.
Iain MacGregor commented that, although material had been cleared from the inflow end of the drainage system, no rodding had been done from the outflow end and one of the pipes was still blocked. This emphasised that a watching brief should be maintained, especially after prolonged periods of heavy rain.
b. Removal of water from public supply.
It had been reported that tankers were filling up from the public supply at the Bay. Archie offered to investigate this.
c. Japanese knotweed at Scottish Water header tank.
Iain MacGregor remarked that a contractor had previously sprayed the JK around the header tank, but that it was still growing. This should be reported to Scottish Water.
d. Invasive species group.
The ISG was embarking on another programme of spraying and was asking to be kept informed of JK infestations.
e. Heron Park.
Heron Park had now been refurbished. Archie had received a card from the resident who originally expressed concerns to the CC about the condition of the park, thanking the Community Council and Development Company for their respective roles in the restoration work.
f. Notification had been received of an application to construct Blarghour wind farm between Glen Aray and Loch Awe. The information supplied indicated that the turbines would be seen only from elevated locations around the Strachur area. It was agreed that Iain should respond by stating SCC’s interest and wish to be kept informed at all stages in the application process. ACTION: Iain
15. Date and location of next meeting.
The next meeting would be at 19:30, Wednesday 15th August 2018 in Strathlachlan Community Centre.
Secretary, Strachur Community Council