Strachur Community Council
Minutes of Ordinary Meeting
Held 19.30 on Wednesday 13th March 2019
Strachur Memorial Hall
Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Ceci Alderton, John Fleming, Isabel McGladdery, Kirstie Reid, Iain Wilkie (Secretary).
Also in attendance: Cllr Alan Reid, PS Donald MacKay, Jeff Wilson (Strachur & District Community Development Company), Bob Darracott (representative for Ward 1 on the Board of the National Park), Sheena Dowse (Business Development Manager, Cairndow Family Centre), 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 and Cllr Yvonne McNeilly apologised for non-attendance.
There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 16th January 2019 were agreed as accurate.
4. Matters arising.
a. Old road from the school to Glenbranter: overgrown trees and flooding.
Regarding the vegetation overgrowth, Cllr Reid had been informed by Roads on 21st January that "To date the works have still to be carried out. We shall endeavour to attend as soon as practicable as resources allow, the tractor used for such works is within the workshop undergoing repair.” Roads had also reported that “Instruction TB174008-123483 was issued on 27/11/2018 to clear the blocked culvert and was completed on 07/01/2019.”
b. Speed limit on A815 through Strachur.
It was previously agreed that we would take no further action until we had received a response from the Local Traffic & Development Officer to our comments on the tight bend and crossing point near the A886 junction. Iain had e-mailed a second reminder to Stuart Watson (ABC Traffic and Development Manager) on 6th March and still awaited a reply. It was agreed that this should be followed up. It was also suggested that, in view of possible inaccuracies in the data produced by speed surveys conducted elsewhere in Cowal around the same time as the A815 surveys, there was a case for requesting repeat surveys at the school crossing and between the A886 junction and the Medical Practice.
c. Bridge at Lephinchapel: replacement of barrier.
There was still no barrier at either side of the bridge. Roads had informed Cllr Reid on 7th March that “The contractor has placed an order for the materials and construction of both upstream and downstream barrier should commence upon receipt.”
d. Glensluain Forest scoping consultation.
Iain had submitted comments on 18th January.
e. Request for CC funding.
Payment for financial year 2017/18 had been requested and received.
f. Damage to Tom-nan-Clach cup-and-ring-marked stone.
Concerns about the future protection of the stone had been communicated to the Strachur & District Local History Society and then to Historic Environment Scotland (HES). Iain had received an e-mail from HES, which included the following:
"The damage to the stone has been handled under our compliance procedures. As part of the resolution of the damage the owner undertook recording works…. The location of the scheduled monument and the scheduled area has now been confirmed with the owner and the site is now to be maintained within an open area and will not be replanted. Scottish Woodlands also undertook a review of their procedures as a result of this case to ensure that this will prevent any future recurrences of similar damage at scheduled monuments in the future."
5. Police Report.
Since the last meeting on 16th January there had been 7 incidents, one of which involved a crime report (a driver with no licence or insurance).
Rural Watch continued to be successful, with membership increasing at a rate of 20% per month and the recent metal theft and fly-tipping incidents showing that, though "free" to Police Scotland, it could improve detection rates. A new Rural Watch app and monthly Newsletter were being developed.
The Livestock Worrying Campaign was underway, with banners being posted and leaflets distributed.
The Dog-fouling Campaign would start at Easter.
There had been talks aimed at expanding the Operation Ironworks campaign to include April and September-October.
6. Health Report (Kirstie Reid).
a. Cowal Community Hospital (CCH).
An increasing number of residents are concerned about the hospice closing again and about bed numbers and availability in CCH, with some patients not getting admitted and being stuck in other hospitals across the water. The background to this is that in 1985 the new 30 bed Medicine for the Elderly Unit opened in Dunoon Hospital, taking the total number of beds to 100 (medical, surgical and maternity). The 'Dunoon Observer' front page of 8.2.19 states that this is now down to 7 acute beds and 4 hospice beds, all incorporated into one ward. Is this a consequence of the Quality and Finance Committee of the IJB agreeing to a cut of £500,000 from CCH's budget? The 'Dunoon Observer' of 29.7.16 quoted the then Locality Manager as saying that the budget for CCH would be cut by £500,000 and this would be achieved by taking action to reduce admissions, speed up discharges, and reduce outpatient follow-up appointments. Concern about the future of CCH was the focus of an emergency meeting of the Caucus of Cowal Community Councils on 8th March and resulted in a letter being sent to the HSCP, which also expressed concerns about the absence of meetings of the Communication and Engagement Group, Cowal Out of Hours Review Group and the Cowal Health & Care Forum.
b. Cowal Locality Planning Group (LPG).
Cowal LPG has been disbanded, the previous 9 LPGs in Argyll & Bute being replaced with 4, one of which will be Cowal & Bute LPG. This came about at an HSCP meeting held in Lochgilphead in October 2018. Because this was not well publicised, the public representatives only found out the night before the meeting and one group received no notification at all. It is also likely that there will be fewer public reps and Local Councillors on the new LPGs.
c. Waiting and appointment times.
Waiting times are still continuing to miss the Scottish Government targets for both appointments and diagnostic tests. The latest figures released for October - December 2018 show that these targets were missed for 18,000 patients. Weekend appointments in the NHSGGC Health Board area still continue to be a problem for many patients in our area. When one Dunoon patient attended a Saturday appointment at the RAI in Paisley, the consultant apologised that they could not be treated as nurses needed to assist but were not employed on a Saturday; this patient then had to wait over 13 weeks for a weekday appointment.
7. Secretary’s Report.
Since the last meeting articles had been submitted to the Newsletter on: New Sheep Worrying Campaign; Tesco Bags of Help centenary grants; A83 road closure; Creag Dhubh wind farm; National Park byelaws survey; Armed Services Advice Project; and consultations on HSCP Strategic Plan, Fireworks, and LDP2 Update.
Responses on behalf of the CC (in addition to any mentioned elsewhere) had been submitted on: Local Place Plan Survey; Community Planning Action Plan Survey; Police Scotland Survey; National Park Byelaws Survey; and consultations on Houses in Multiple Occupancy, Core Path Plan, and Blarghour Wind Farm (Additional information).
There had been correspondence with:
a. Local Councillors, re ABC's threat to withdraw funding from the School Crossing Patrol service in the 2019/20 budget.
b. Muirden Energy Ltd., re the Creag Dhubh wind farm proposal and their intention to hold a second public exhibition in the New Hall, 2.30 - 7.00 p.m. on 10th April.
The Cowal Out of Hours Review Group had not met since 5th September 2018, since the October, November and January meetings had been cancelled. As no information had been communicated to members of the group, Iain would write to Phil Cummins (Interim Head of Adult Services East).
8. Treasurer’s report.
The concessionary grant of £464.30 had been received. The bank balance stood at £2,226.73.
9. Transport update.
Kirstie summarised some of the proceedings of the last meeting of Cowal Transport Forum (11th March 2019).
a. VMS signs.
Concern had been expressed that the VMS signs at Kilmun and Strachur were not being used to alert drivers to A83 closures at night due to roadworks.
b. Traffic lights at Rest-and-Be-Thankful.
There were complaints that the frequency of the traffic lights was too short.
c. Dunoon Pier.
The current marshalling area would be laid out as a car-park and dedicated bus lane.
d. Dunoon-Gourock ferry.
There were further complaints about this ferry being cancelled whenever the Rothesay ferry has to dock at Gourock. It was recognised that this problem would persist until a proper berth was built for the Dunoon ferry at Gourock.
e. McGill's 907 Glasgow-Dunoon bus.
The discontinuation of this service was regretted. The feasibility of a shuttle service between Dunoon and Hunter's Quay was discussed, although this would seem to be unnecessary when West Coast Motors' 480 Dunoon Circular bus covered this route.
f. A83 Taskforce.
There was a request for relevant Community Councils to be represented at A83 Taskforce meetings.
10. Public Engagement.
There was nothing to report.
11. Family and Early Learning & Childcare Centre.
Sheena Dowse provided an update on this development at Cairndow, explaining the layout of the new centre and outlining its potential as a location for Health Service activities (such as clinics) and family services, as well as child care. This project has been in the planning for over five years and is hoped to be completed by October 2019. It has been funded by the Big Lottery, Scottish Government Regeneration Fund, The Robertson Trust, and local businesses, and through local crowdfunding and fund-raising. With a potential catchment that includes Inveraray and Strachur, there is every reason to be confident about the future success of this venture.
a. Strachur & District Community Fund.
Jeff Wilson reported that one application for funding had been received and would be considered at a meeting on 15th March.
b. Memorial Hall car park.
Jeff Wilson had received complaints about vehicles parking for prolonged periods of time in the Hall car park, which was private ground. 'No overnight parking' notices would be put up and an article submitted to the Newsletter.
Jeff Wilson observed that there had been a recent increase in dog-fouling and that the Environment Warden had been asked to advise.
In the light of the ongoing Scottish Government consultation on Fireworks, Jeff Wilson reported that the effects of fireworks on farms and farm animals would be discussed at a NFU meeting on 18th March.
e. WW1 Memorial Plaque.
Archie informed the meeting that the plaque would be mounted on the outside gable wall of the Memorial Hall, as a feature of the projected Memorial Garden. A local tradesman would be asked to provide a quotation for the necessary work.
Archie had also received a 'Thank you' card from Eric Large, who had constructed the plaque.
f. Antisocial camping.
Archie had sent photographs to the National Park and Forestry Commission Scotland to provide evidence of the increase in antisocial camping activities at Dornoch Bay, Loch Eck.
g. National Park update.
Bob Darracott reported that the National Park budget for 2019/20 would be presented to the next full meeting of the Board on18th March; revenue funds remained relatively steady compared with last year's, with a small increase in capital. There had been no relevant planning applications of note. All applications had been received regarding the reinstatement of Cameron House. There would be a consultation on the National Park's Trees & Woodland Strategy. Formal consultations on the upgrade of 17 km of the A82 north of Tarbet would take place later this year.
h. Ambulance response times.
In the light of recent incidents, Les Earle had attempted to get information on average ambulance response times for postcode PA27 by using a link provided by the BBC. The response had been "Not enough callouts to calculate a reliable average…" It was agreed that the Community Council should try to obtain the relevant data.
i. Consultation on Potential Woodland Creation Areas near Invernoaden.
The Community Council had been asked for comments on this proposal by 29th March.
j. Twinning proposal.
Iain had received an introductory e-mail asking if Strachur would be interested in twinning with Sournia, a French village of similar size to Strachur in the foothills of the East Pyrenees. After discussion, it was agreed that this should be followed up.
13. Date and location of next meeting.
The Annual General Meeting will commence 19:30, Wednesday 17th April 2019 at Strachur Memorial Hall and will be followed by an Ordinary Meeting.
Secretary, Strachur Community Council