Strachur Community Council
Minutes of Ordinary Meeting
Held 19.30 on Wednesday 14th August 2019
Strathlachlan Community Centre
Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), John Fleming, Isabel McGladdery, Kirstie Reid, Iain Wilkie (Secretary).
Also in attendance: Cllr Alan Reid and PC Laura Evans.
1. Convener’s opening remarks:
Archie welcomed everyone to the meeting.
2. Apologies and declarations of interest:
Ceci Alderton, Cllrs Blair and McNeilly, Jeff Wilson and Bob Darracott apologised for non-attendance. There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 12th June 2019 were agreed as accurate.
4. Matters arising.
a. Vegetation encroaching on A886 (single track section) and A815 (from filling station to Medical Practice).
Cllr Reid had been informed by Roads that (1) shrub cutting along the A886 had been completed during the first week in July; (2) there was no longer any vegetation obstructing the footway between the junction of the A886 and the Medical Practice; and (3) the scrub that had been obstructing the footway from the A886 junction up to the hall had been cut on 16th July.
b. A886 verges: request that, when the A886 verges are being cut, the Japanese knotweed is avoided.
Roads had informed Cllr Reid that “Japanese Knotweed, once identified, is left until the species has just flowered and is then dealt with. This is due to the fact that treatment at this time will draw the chemicals back into the root system of the Knotweed and will be a much more effective method of dealing with the species.”
Since this statement did not provide a response to the request that Japanese knotweed be avoided when the verges were being cut, Cllr Reid was asked to seek further clarification from Roads.
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid
c. Invasive Species Group: possible sources of funding.
Marina Curran-Colthart, Local Biodiversity Project Officer, had advised Cllr Reid that "there are unfortunately no grants for volunteers to treat Japanese Knotweed" and she had cautioned volunteers "to ensure they are aware of the implications in treating non-native, invasive species and … have the correct training as applicable". She had provided the following links for the volunteers to look at for additional information concerning the treatment of non-invasive and harmful plants: http://www.nonnativespecies.org/home/index.cfm and https://www.argyll- bute.gov.uk/planning-and-environment/invasive-and-harmful-plants#knotweed
Ms Curran-Colthart's views notwithstanding, Iain MacGregor had informed the CC that EB Scotland had agreed to fund the Invasive Species Group for another two years.
d. Electric vehicle charging points: when will rural areas be supplied with charging points for electric vehicles?
Cllr Reid reported that grant funding is available annually from Transport Scotland to install charging infrastructure and the programme for 2019/20 has been agreed as follows: The £150,000 grant offers from Transport Scotland stipulates that the following locations have been selected for new chargers:
2 x 50Kw charge points on Tiree, Coll or Jura;
2 x 22Kw charge points in Lochgilphead.
Cllr Reid was asked if he could find out how the annual charging infrastructure programme was decided and when the Cowal peninsula was likely to benefit from this.
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid
e. Speed limit on A815 through Strachur.
Iain had e-mailed Paul Farrell (ABC Traffic Development Officer) on 30.7.19 to ask for a break down of the latest speed survey figures. Mr Farrell had replied on 5.8.19: "The daily average speed information is used to establish if action is required as detailed in the council’s Road Speed Limit Policy Framework October 2014. Hourly and specific speed logs are not suitable to justify any changes to existing speed restrictions. Such information will not be provided."
Following discussion, PC Evans offered to put in a request for speed checks to be made at the Filling Station stretch of the A815.
ACTION: PC Evans
f. Twinning proposal: dissemination of information to potentially interested parties.
On 20.6.19 Iain had e-mailed the minutes of the special CC meeting and information on progress since that meeting to around 35 potentially interested parties. There had been little response to that and no further expressions of interest. There had been an exchange of e-mails between Strachur and Sournia Primary Schools before the school holidays, and also between local deer-stalking interests and the mayor of Sournia. Gordon Neish had contacted the local newspaper for the Sournia area, but had yet to receive a reply. There had as yet been no communication between The Strachur Hub and Le Club des Aînés de Sournia, although this was a potentially promising link.
g. Lephindrissach school site: enquiry about further clearance of site.
Iain had been informed by Susan Gaffney, Chairperson of the Strachur & District Local History Society, that, following completion of the bridge repair works at Lephinchapel, Argyll & Bute Council would undertake no further clearing of stone from the site of the school.
[On 16.8.19 Iain, Susan Gaffney and Donnie McVicar of Lephinchapel Farm met at the site. Mr McVicar indicated the location of the foundations, part of which had been clearly visible before the recent bridge repair works but were now covered by a deep layer of stones. It was agreed that the CC and the History Society should submit a formal complaint to Argyll & Bute Council and inform Historic Scotland of the situation.]
h. Scottish Water issues: signage at the B8000/Leanach junction and excessive growth of shrubs at the pumping station at the A815/A886 junction.
Iain had informed Scottish Water of these issues and had been assigned a case number by their Customer Engagement Centre on 30.6.19. Since there had been no further response, Iain would follow this up.
i. WWI Memorial plaque.
The Hall Committee had formally approved the installation of the plaque and protective canopy. Archie would inform the local tradesman who had supplied a quotation.
j. Manse Gardens.
Since the last CC meeting the CC had received a joint letter signed by 17 tenants of Manse Gardens, which summarised their concerns about recent events. CC and PPG representatives (including Dr Coull) had also attended a meeting with Gail Gourlay, Director of Customer Services, Trust Housing Association, on 24.6.19. Although Ms Gourlay had stated that she would make the THA Board fully aware of the concerns expressed and of the request that the change of status of Manse Gardens from sheltered to amenity housing be reconsidered, no response had been received from THA and Archie had been informed by Rhona McLeod (THA CEO) that there was no need for another meeting with the CC/PPG.
The situation at Manse Gardens had not improved, with more tenants leaving and eight police calls to the premises in July (see item 5 below).
PC Evans observed that THA could ask Police Scotland for a pro-active disclosure for Manse Gardens tenants. If appropriate, THA could then enforce antisocial behaviour legislation.
It was agreed the CC should write to THA to ask if they had requested a pro-active disclosure from Police Scotland.
5. Police Report
PC Evans reported that there had been 19 incidents in July, eight at Manse Gardens. There had been two crime reports: one regarding a Section 38 incident at Manse Gardens and the other a firearm license holder with extra ammunition.
PC Evans also informed the meeting that the livestock worrying campaign was still active.
6. Health Report.
Concerns had been raised with Kirstie regarding situations where the duty doctor has to cancel clinics to attend to police contract matters. Because NHS24 is not available until 6 p.m., patients who had made an appointment due to being unwell were then left with no option but to go to A&E. Patients had reported that, while they couldn't fault the level of care provided, A&E staff promoted the message that they should have seen their GP first. Patients who are generally unwell are thus faced with the dilemma of either waiting a few days for a new appointment or being told off by A&E staff.
A campaign is being developed re patients overstocking medication and where to go for medical advice when neither a GP appointment nor attendance at A&E is appropriate.
Kirstie had had a meeting with the Disability Access to Work Officer and had arranged contact between her and the Practice Nurse, Sister Kate Paton.
1000 Voices and Age Scotland have arranged a ‘Silver Shindig’ in Oban on Tuesday 1st October, 11.45 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. There will be information stands, discussions, music and afternoon tea. A bus will be leaving Dunoon at 9 a.m. and returning to Dunoon at approximately 5 p.m. A space on the bus (cost £10) should be booked by Friday 23rd August by phoning Jessica on 700100.
There will be a ‘Community Connexions’ information event on Tuesday 10th September at 1.30 to 3.30 p.m. in the Burgh Hall, Dunoon.
7. Secretary’s Report.
Since the last meeting eight articles had been submitted to the Newsletter on: grants for small-scale tree-planting; Argyll & Bute Council's waste strategy survey; a new Clinical Response Model; proposed changes to local policing; an update on the twinning proposal; A83 Rest and Be Thankful phase 2 resurfacing; and Strachur's payphone (two articles).
A response on behalf of the CC was submitted to Argyll & Bute Council's taxi survey.
The main correspondence (in addition to any mentioned elsewhere) had been with:
a. Anne Liens in Sournia, re the twinning proposal.
b. Strachur residents re the payphone.
c. The Local History Society re the Lephindrissach school site.
Iain had attended:
a. The formal handover of the community bus on 20.6.19.
b. The meeting at Manse Gardens with Gail Gourlay, THA on 24.6.19.
8. Treasurer’s report.
The bank balance stood at £2,545.90.
9. Transport update.
a. VMS sign.
During the recent closures of the A83 and A815 the VMS sign at Strachur had been non-operational due to a fault in the solar panel. BEAR Scotland had said they would repair the sign. Cllr Reid would write to Transport Scotland to seek assurance that the sign would be repaired as a matter of urgency. It was also noted that Argyll & Bute Council controls the sign and can decide what information is shown; this is not restricted to closures of the A83 due to landslides at the Rest and Be Thankful.
ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid
b. Use of A814 when A82 is closed.
Cllr Reid reported that Police Scotland and Argyll & Bute council would be meeting to agree a policy on the use of the A814 when the A82 is closed south of Tarbet. One possibility would be to allow vehicles other than HGVs to use the A814.
c. Bus service on Cowal Games Saturday.
Archie had been informed that West Coast Motors would not be providing a late service bus to Strachur on Cowal Games Saturday. If a bus to Strachur was wanted, it would have to be hired at a charge of £270. As we had been previously informed that West Coast Motors could provide a service bus, Archie would bring this up at the next meeting of the Cowal Transport Forum and the CC would write a letter of complaint to West Coast Motors.
ACTION: Archie and Iain
10. Twinning proposal update.
See item 4f above.
11. National Park Update (received by e-mail).
The National Park has issued an opinion regarding the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with respect to the proposed fish farm at Ardentinny. As fully expected, an EIA is required by the Planning Authority. No formal Planning Application has, as yet, been lodged.
a. Strachur public payphone.
Iain reminded the meeting that BT was proposing to remove the public payphone in Strachur, but had delegated the final decision to the Local Authority. Argyll & Bute Council had asked the CC for a response by 18.8.19. The CC had also received a letter signed by local residents, which made a case for retaining the payphone. After discussion it was agreed that the CC would object to the removal of the payphone and would write to the Council to support the case for its retention.
b. Antisocial camping at St. Catherines.
A resident of St. Catherines had asked the CC for advice regarding recent incidents of antisocial camping. He had been advised to inform the police. PC Evans offered to alert her colleagues to this and mentioned the Scottish Motorhome Wild Campers Facebook page, which could be used to direct potential campers to acceptable locations. It was agreed that the CC should ask Argyll & Bute Council to erect 'No overnight parking' signs at appropriate locations in St. Catherines.
ACTION: Iain and PC Evans
Cllr Reid informed the meeting that Scottish Government has awarded a grant from the Timber Transport Fund for road strengthening work, which would include the B8000 from Barnacarry to Strathlachlan.
d. Strachur & District Community Fund.
Jeff Wilson had notified the CC that the next round of applications for the Community Fund would be open until 28.8.19. No applications had been received as yet.
e. Recycling point.
Isabel reported that, because of the small size of the general rubbish bin at the recycling point, it filled up quickly, resulting in black bags of rubbish accumulating on the ground beside it. It was agreed that the CC should ask Argyll & Bute Council for a larger bin.
f. Heron Park.
The CC had received complaints about a derelict motorhome which had been left in the car park. PC Evans said that the police had received calls about it, but could not intervene as it was on private land. The CC would accordingly write to the Development Company.
g. Forest View road repairs.
Cllr Reid said that the road repairs at Forest View would involve planing of the existing surface and laying of a new surface.
h. How good is your place?
Community Councils had been asked to complete the 'How good is your place?' online survey, which will provide Argyll & Bute Council with information that will be used in the preparation of Argyll & Bute Local Development Plan 2. Iain gave the other Community Councillors a paper copy of the survey questions and asked them to return these with answers added (in the form of scores). He would then submit an online response using the average score for each question.
ACTION: All Community Councillors
13. Date and location of next meeting.
The next meeting would be at 19:30, Wednesday 16th October 2019 in Strachur Memorial Hall.
Secretary, Strachur Community Council