Strachur Community Council
Minutes of Ordinary Meeting
Held 19.30 on Wednesday 15th August 2018
Strathlachlan Community Centre


Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Ceci Alderton, John Fleming, Isabel McGladdery, Kirstie Reid, Iain Wilkie (Secretary).


Also in attendance: Cllr Alan Reid, Jeff Wilson (Strachur & District Community Development Company).


1. Convener’s opening remarks:

Archie welcomed everyone to the meeting.


2. Apologies and declarations of interest:

Cllr Gordon Blair, Cllr Yvonne McNeilly and PC Donald Mackay apologised for non-attendance. There were no declarations of interest.


3. Minutes.

Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 13th June 2018 were agreed as accurate.


4. Matters arising.

a. Traffic monitoring at school crossing.

Cllr Reid had been informed by Roads that a breakdown of the traffic speeds from the survey on the A815 at the school crossing was not available, but that they would carry out two traffic surveys on the A815 later in August, six days on the loch side stretch and four days at the school crossing. They also promised that full stats from these surveys would be made available. ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid

VMS sign at A815/A886 junction.

Council Roads officers had informed Cllr Reid that Transport Scotland has to enable this sign. Cllr Reid had e-mailed Transport Scotland and was awaiting a response.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


c. Speed limit on A815 through Strachur.

Iain had responded in detail to Stuart Watson’s letter of 24th April. Mr Watson (ABC Traffic & Development Officer) had then advised that a traffic survey would be carried out on the A886- Laurelbank stretch of the A815 at the end of August/start of September (see item 4a above). 

d. Timber haulage on B8000.

Iain had written to Stuart Watson on 4th July to express residents’ concerns about (1) possible damage to the B8000 caused by timber lorries and (2) the timing and lack of warning of the start of haulage operations. Mr Watson had replied at length to the first concern and included the comment that Argyll & Bute Council, acting as the Roads Authority, could, if necessary, pursue an Operator for damage to the road if they considered that any such damage was caused by heavy vehicles. Mr Watson had made no comment on the second concern. Jeff Wilson reported that, since the start of haulage operations, the road had started to break up between Inver Restaurant and Barnacarry. It was agreed that Iain should write again to Mr Watson regarding the lack of warning given to residents.



e. Enquiries to Scottish Water re removal of water from the public supply and Japanese knotweed at the Strachur head tank.

In reply to an e-mail sent by Iain on 4th July, Scottish Water had stated that water had been drawn from Strachur service reservoir to supplement tanks in Tighnabruaich, but that this had now stopped; a contractor had been engaged to provide a quotation for the removal of the knotweed.


f. Blarghour wind farm.

Iain had e-mailed a response to the consultation on Blarghour wind farm on 29th June.


g. Beacons of Light.

One member of the public had made a suggestion for an evening ceremony to mark the end of the First World War at 7 p.m. on 11th November. There was general approval of this idea and it was suggested that the Drama Club and Hall Committee should be approached with a view to taking it forward.



5. Police Report (received from PC Mackay by e-mail).

Since the last meeting in June there have been 25 incidents with the majority of these relating to road traffic matters. Of these incidents, two crime reports were raised:

  One male was arrested and reported for drink driving.

A driver is also sought for a case of road rage on the B8000.


Wild Camping has been an issue during the spell of good weather with displacement noted and passed to Paul Barr of the National Park - in order to gain extend patrols. During my patrols I have noted tents and other camping associated litter but unfortunately no offenders have been present or identified.


I attended the Rural Watch summit last week in Edinburgh and our area is performing well in terms of affiliation and communication between the Police and residents. I am in the process of forming a steering group with Lucy Sumsion of the NFU, looking to work with partners to further tackle rural crime and community safety - updates to follow, and all Community Councils will be invited to pass on concerns in their areas when the group is in place.


 6. Health Report.

Kirstie submitted the following report:

a. Health and Care Forum.

A successful meeting of the forum was held in June and all members agreed there was a need to keep this forum going. The first thing we are going to look into is comparing outpatient clinics held in Cowal Community Hospital (CCH) 3-5 years ago and now, and the impact this is having on patients, i.e. having to travel to Inverclyde or Paisley Hospitals and the increased use of Patient Transport Service (PTS). A letter was received from a resident of Strachur saying a few months ago he was going to be referred to Audiology at CCH but this is now another outpatient service that has been withdrawn with patients having to travel to hospitals across the water.


b. Waiting Time Figures.

As we are aware from previous meetings, the waiting time from referral to appointment is supposed to be 12 weeks and this is regularly breached. To try to combat this, NHSGGC are doing catch-up clinics on a Saturday and Sunday. I pointed out to them that the main area of Cowal doesn't have public transport on a Sunday and was told that failure to attend would go down as refusing an appointment and you would be put to the bottom of the list. I also found out that PTS don't work weekends and so, even if you qualify for this transport, they can't help you get to your appointment. 


c. Ambulance response times.

A discussion was held on ambulance response times where various cases were cited, one involving an unconscious elderly diabetic lady who had to be eventually taken to hospital by private car after lying in Argyll St. for almost an hour, and another case where they wouldn't send an ambulance to Argyll St. for an elderly man bleeding from a head wound because the callers were holiday-makers and didn’t know the postcode (though they could tell them the names of the pubs and shops etc. near him). 


d. Response from HSCP.

The HSCP had responded at last (on the afternoon of 15th August) to an e-mail sent some months ago by myself and Cllr Reid raising various points and. This would be brought up at the next CC meeting.


7. Secretary’s Report.

Since the last meeting articles had been submitted to the Newsletter on: Special Constable recruitment, Creag Dhubh wind farm, Results from the questionnaire for young people, Consultations on Rural Growth Deal and on Improving transparency in land ownership, new Community land management scheme, and Fake LinkedIn e-mails.

Iain had responded to a consultation on Blarghour wind farm and a pre-planning consultation on a Smart Meter Network.

There had been correspondence with:

a. Argyll & Bute Council regarding the speed limit on the A815, timber haulage on the B8000, and a resident’s concerns about building work at Plane Tree Cottage.

b. The National Park regarding a temporary mast that has been erected at Cambusdhu.

c. A resident regarding his Facebook comments on communication between the Community Council and general public.

d. Bob Darracott, who represents our area on the Board of the National Park and wishes to attend a meeting of the Community Council.

Iain had attended the Development Company AGM on 2nd August and a meeting, also on 2nd August, between interested parties and Allan MacDonald (ABC) regarding Strachur graveyard (see item 11a below).


8. Treasurer’s report.

The bank balance stood at £2,079.43.


9. Transport update.

There was nothing to report.


10. Public Engagement.

There was nothing to report.


11. A.O.B.

a. Strachur graveyard.

Allan MacDonald (ABC Amenity Services), Cathie Montgomery, Isabel and Iain met on 2nd August to discuss Cathie’s concerns about the number of lairs remaining in the graveyard. There are currently 12 unused lairs, which could be used up in five to ten years. Mr MacDonald expressed the view that 12 more lairs could be created to the left of the path near the entrance gate, but that there was a need to extend the graveyard in the longer term, which obviously had cost implications. This is now a widespread problem across Argyll & Bute and it was suggested that our Local Councillors might help in ensuring that the necessary funding is allocated by Argyll & Bute Council before the situation becomes critical. On a separate issue, Mr MacDonald agreed that the woodland burial area needed to be tidied up and gave an assurance that this would be done by the end of the year.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


b. Church boundary wall.

This is bulging in places and elsewhere is being damaged by trees that are rooted in the masonry. The trees needed to be killed, not just pruned back, and the masonry needs to be properly repaired and stabilised before a serious collapse occurs.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


c. Correspondence from Helensburgh Community Council.

This concerned ABC’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee and HCC’s opinion that, due to its composition, the PPSLC cannot adequately represent local interests. During the discussion it was noted that four of the 15 Local Councillors on the PPSLC, including the Chairman, represent Helensburgh and one represents Lomond North. It therefore seemed that, as one of the four administrative areas in Argyll & Bute, Helensburgh & Lomond was more than adequately represented. Cowal & Bute, for example, has only three representatives on this committee. Whilst there was full support for the principle that the PPSLC should take into account the views of Community Councils and other community groups, the general feeling was that the current consultative mechanisms and channels are satisfactory.


d. Strachur District Community Facebook page.

In response to a formal request from Les Earle, the status and operation of the Strachur District Community Facebook page were discussed. Members agreed unanimously that this should continue to operate primarily as an electronic noticeboard rather than a forum for debate and that its administration should not become the responsibility of the Community Council. The Community Council was very appreciative of Les’s stewardship of the Facebook page and hoped he would continue to act as administrator.


e. Ardtaraig wind farm.

A consultation request notification had been received with regard to an application to erect seven wind turbines to the southeast of the Cruach Mhor wind farm. Available information indicated that the turbines would be seen only from the tops of the highest hills in 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.



f. New noticeboard at Post Office.

Iain reported that the proprietor of Bay Cottage Shop and Post Office was intending to install a new CC noticeboard, the old one being in a state of disrepair. It was agreed that the CC should offer to pay for this.



g. Correspondence with PPG.

A letter to the PPG voicing patients’ concerns about the Medical Practice and a response from Dr Coull were summarised by Archie. Draft comments on Dr Coull’s response would be prepared for discussion.



h. Pavement from A886 junction to Medical Practice.

It was noted that pedestrians using this stretch of pavement were being inconvenienced by overhanging branches and the encroachment of the grass verge across the footway. Cllr Reid offered to report this.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


i. B8000 issues.

Jeff Wilson informed the CC that, although the bridge at Lephinchapel had been repaired, the job had not been completed, because the old dyke had not been replaced with a fence or other safety barrier. He also noted that the grass verges had not been cut between Inver Restaurant and Lephinchapel. Cllr Reid offered to follow up these issues.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


12. Date and location of next meeting.

The next meeting would be at 19:30, Wednesday 17th October 2018 in Strachur Memorial Hall.


Iain Wilkie

Secretary, Strachur Community Council