Strachur District Community Council

Minutes of General Meeting

Held 19:30 on Wednesday 16th March 2016, Strachur Memorial Hall


Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), Isabel McGladdery (Treasurer), Ceci Alderton, Kirstie Reid, Iain Wilkie and Les Earle (Secretary).


Also in attendance: Police Inspector Ewan Wilson, Cllr Alex McNaughton, Bill Dickson (Vice Chair of the Strachur and District Community Development Company Ltd) and two members of the public.


1. Convener’s opening remarks: General welcome and it was agreed to take the Health Report first to allow Heather to get away.

2. Apologies and declarations of interest: Apologies from CCllr John Fleming. No declarations of interest.

3. Health Report: Heather Grier gave reports on the following;

a. Health and Social Care Integration (HSCI). The proposed merging of health and social care proceeds apace and the date for it going live remains 1st April – the final protocols are due for signing off by the Scottish Government later this month. Inevitably there will be things to be sorted out in practice. Audit Scotland reported late last year that even at this late stage across Scotland there were still critical points of concern to be addressed, for example:

* Lines of communication NHS/Local Authority lacked clarity.

* The role and input of unpaid carers in the system was still not clear.

* The controversy of paid carers contracts and travel time was not dealt with consistently across Scotland.

* Governance, indeed over-governance, was messy and could hinder rather than help HSCI.

Ultimately service users will need a continuation of help across the 1st April and will not be in a position to wait for the Local Planning Group to sort itself out.

b. The Strachur Hub. Kate Paton and the Patient Participation Group have successfully bid for funding for a health improvement scheme in the community. Out of £1.8m set aside by the Scottish Government, the Hub had secured £12,500 for the coming year which, with support from the The Bay shop (food and refreshments) and Cowal Befrienders (transport), has enabled the Hub to get started. It is a weekly initiative in preventative and support services and was launched in the Strachur Memorial Hall on Thursday, 10th March with over 30 people attending the first session. A healthcare professional supervises a series of events including: strength and balance exercises, Tai Chi and (weather permitting) a short walk. It is hoped that over a period of time the programme will be expanded to include: diabetic support, weight management and mental health support.
c. Surgery Funding. The subject of the continuing underfunding of the Strachur Surgery dating back to the death of Dr Wright looks as if it is finally reaching a conclusion and it is hoped that there will be better news in the future.


4. Minutes: Minutes for the meeting held on 20th January 2016 were agreed as accurate.


5. Matters arising:

a. Cllr McNaughton had previously sent word that the repairs to the church wall would not take place this financial year so we will raise this issue again in April.

b. Speed limit at the school crossing, Les reported that Stuart Watson (A+B, the person now said by Callum Robertson to have responsibility for this area of activity) had not replied to his correspondence, Cllr McNaughton said he would look into it. Earlier correspondence showed that they will not budge on our request for a 30mph limit in the area of the school crossing asserting that “The configuration of Strachur does not allow for it to be considered for a 30mph zone.” and blaming a general lack of resources to pursue amended traffic regulations.

Several suggestions were made by those present as to how to proceed, eg. collect examples of similar sites that did have 30mph zones.

c. From the CC’s submission relating to Regulation Orders (Clyde and Loch Fyne) a discussion arose as to the status and enforcement of the MPA currently in force on Loch Fyne. Iain was tasked to follow up on the questions asked as to the continued presence of trawlers on the Loch.


6. Police Report: Inspector Ewan Wilson reported that since our last meeting there had been 17 incidents reported to the police with only two being capable of a being defined as crimes in the nature of a breach of the peace and an incident of vandalism. The remaining incidents were predominantly road accidents, abandoned vehicles, etc. The level of activity in the area did not give rise to concern within the Force.

Inspector Wilson took questions from the meeting:

a. Kirstie said that, in Dunoon, Pub Watch has proved successful but Shop Watch had fallen by the wayside, was there any chance of a relaunch? Insp Wilson felt there was scope for an informal trial if it was trader-led and agreed to accept the “old” list of participants to see what might be achieved.

b. At an earlier meeting it had been reported that a plan to have a “PC on a bike” in Strachur during the fortnightly visit of the mobile office was delayed awaiting “authorisation”. It was clarified that it was not a matter of authorisation so much as equipment, Dunoon station was awaiting the appropriate safety gear to arrive/be purchased.

c. Concern over speeding traffic in Strachur (in part related to the Matters Arising discussion, above) led to Insp Wilson saying that public concern was a key motivator for enforcement exercises. He clarified that Traffic Police were responsible for enforcement in areas where the limit was higher than 30mph whereas all officers (using hand held speed monitors) could, and did, enforce speed limits up to 30mph.

d. A comment was made that in Dunoon a good deal of the reported incidents of vandalism related to car damage. Could not an officer “sit in wait”? Insp Wilson explained that this would amount to an act of surveillance and require special authorisation under RIPA legislation. However, if there was a known problem area there was nothing to stop officers visiting more frequently and keeping their eyes open – anyway, a regular presence was the best deterrent.

e. Insp Wilson was told that his officers who attended the previous CC meeting (PC’s Cawley and Campbell), should be congratulated on their very speedy follow-up to matters raised at the meeting.


Archie thanked Insp Wilson for attending the meeting and answering the questions raised so comprehensively. In turn Insp Wilson promised continued support in the form of police reports to CC meetings, emergencies excepted.


6. Secretary’s Report: Les reported on two items of correspondence:

a. The Strachur and District Youth and Drama Group thanked the CC for the reimbursement of costs relating to the turning on of the Christmas lights (formerly a CC responsibility).

b. A member of the public had raised concern over a projected shortage of space for burials locally. Les reported that last year (February, 2015) A+B had approached the CC for clarification as to land ownership adjacent to existing cemetery and assistance had been given. Les had sent an email this Monday to the relevant officer to see what progress was being made.


8. Treasurer’s report: The current balance stands at £1948.


9. Transport update:

a. The experiment of running the Strachur/Dunoon bus down Ardenslate Road had demonstrated that this was a bad idea and the old route had been reinstated allowing people easy access to the Co-op and Library. On the return journey Ardenslate Road is used but there is no objection to this.

b. The electronic info sign scheduled to be installed at the A815/A886 junction has now been removed from the St Catherines depot (having fallen over twice). A+B and BEAR are agreed as to its installation (assuming it still works!) but not agreed as to responsibility for its operation and updating.


10. Invasive Species Review: Iain MacGregor reported that the Group have received funding from the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) for a further two years. The support goes toward the purchase of Roundup and appropriate equipment (Hozelock have already provided some equipment). The letter of support for the Group from the CC was much appreciated and was a big factor in the awarding of the grant by LCF.

Concern was raised by a bee keeper as to the potential danger to bees, already in low numbers locally, of the spray used and whether exclusion zones could be established or a delay in spraying the flowers. It was pointed out that Himalayan Balsam needed tackling before flowering as the seeds, once set, spread explosively.

Timely action in earlier years has virtually eliminated in our area the particularly unpleasant Giant Hogweed that is a danger to public health.

Iain will be in touch with Scottish Water to ensure that they keep up their work in the area of the Strachur head tank – they usually need reminding, sometimes frequently.

Iain advertised the wider remit of the LCF and the possibility of grant aid for community projects (eg. foreshore tidying).


Archie expressed thanks to the Invasive Species Group for the work they undertake to keep the nuisance under control.


11. Any other business:

a. Kirstie reported on attending the Community Partnership meeting of 16th February 2016. At the meeting it was announced that at the next meeting there would be details of opportunities for community groups to take on responsibility for low level maintenance in their areas (eg. grass cutting, public toilets, etc). Said community groups would be paid for this work – further details to be reported as they arrive.

b. Iain Macgregor reported on his continuing battle with BT Openreach, another engineer expressing shock at the quality of the cable connections (aluminium instead of copper) and the way in which the telephone cables were strung along the trees at Strathlachlan and along the shoreline elsewhere. No action required from the CC at this moment.

c. It was reported that the Old Road from Clachan Brae to the Hall was becoming pot-holed, Cllr McNaughton said he would raise this with officers.

d. The CC was thanked for having raised the subject of trees overhanging the pavement on the approach to the Hall.


12. Date of next meeting: 19:30, Wednesday 13th April 2016 at the Strachur Memorial Hall. The meeting will commence with the AGM and then proceed with an ordinary meeting.


Les Earle, Secretary, Strachur District Community Council