Strachur Community Council

Minutes of General Meeting

Held 19:30 on Wednesday 17th January 2018

Strachur Memorial Hall


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


Also in attendance: Cllr Gordon Blair, Cllr Alan Reid, PC Donald Mackay.


1. Convener’s opening remarks:

Archie opened the meeting with a general welcome.


2. Apologies and declarations of interest:

Isabel McGladdery, Inspector Duncan MacLean and Cllr Yvonne McNeilly apologised for non- attendance. There were no declarations of interest.


3. Minutes.

Minutes for the meeting held on 18th December 2017 were agreed as accurate.


4. Matters arising.

a. Traffic monitoring at school crossing.

It was reported that monitoring equipment had been set up and was currently collecting data. It was expected that results would be available in around three weeks.


b. Erection of new road-sign at the A815/A886.

No progress. It was agreed that this and other outstanding signage issues (i.e. VMS at A815/A886 junction, disfigured sign at A886/Leanach road junction, weight restriction signs for the B8000 and ‘No overnight parking’ signs for A886) might best be addressed through a meeting between Local Councillors and Mr Nigel Potts, ABC Technical Officer, Roads Operations.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


c. Flooding at Strathlachlan graveyard.

Mr A. Dineley (ABC) had e-mailed (on 4.1.18) that they hoped to get to Strathlachlan graveyard soon.


d. Replacement of ‘No overnight parking’ signs.

See item 4b above.


e. Progress on signage to discourage antisocial camping.

Cllr Blair offered to liaise with other relevant CCs regarding signage requirements and possible sources of funding. He asked to be notified of suggested locations and number of signs needed.

ACTION: Iain, Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


f. Weight restriction signs for B8000.

See item 4b above.


g. Disfigured road sign at junction of A886 and Leanach road.

See item 4b above.


h. B8000 telephone line.

Cllr Blair reported that at an Environment, Development & Infrastructure Services meeting he had received assurances from Mr Iain MacInnes, ABC Digital Liaison Officer, that BT were well aware of the critical importance of the B8000 line and had been reminded that BT had a contractual obligation to maintain and repair the line and any future replacement.


i. Missing grit bins at Strathlachlan Community Centre and Strachur.

No progress. It was felt that, in view of recent weather conditions, the replacement of bins at Strathlachlan and Strachur (at the church and at Forest View – both removed at the time of the Queen’s Baton Relay), should be treated as a matter of urgency.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


j. Additional pedestrian crossing for A815 south of A886 junction.

Iain had received an e-mail from Mr Paul Farrell, ABC Technical Officer, Operational Services, pointing out that when the original survey was carried out to provide the safest crossing point near the A815/A886 junction, no suitable crossing point was identified to the south of the junction. Since there had been no subsequent change to the road layout and “given the current financial climate”, there would be no funding for a new crossing.


k. Memorial Hall plaque – missing names.

In the interest of avoiding duplication of effort, Iain had been in communication with Fiona Campbell. Fiona would continue to research Henry Simms’s Strachur connections and convey her findings to the Community Council.


l. Consultation on the disposal of unused police premises.

Iain had submitted an article for the January Newsletter.


m. Request for support for Army Cadet Force Battlefield Tour.

Iain had e-mailed Mr Stokoe for further information (on 4.1.18), but had received no reply. He would try again.



n. Strachur Police House: funding for control of Japanese Knotweed.

PC Mackay would continue to pursue this issue.



o. Adequacy of police call-out arrangements (in view of a recent incident in Strachur).

PC Mackay observed that authorisation to force access could not be given in advance of officers arriving at a locus. Delays caused by lack of knowledge of rural geography should be minimised as a result of the Deputy Chief Constable’s new policy of having all police vehicles fitted with satellite navigation equipment.


p. Cars parking in the bus lane at Dunoon Pier.

It was pointed out that this was not a police matter unless it involved obstruction of a highway. Possible solutions were discussed. However, it was agreed that this was a matter best dealt with by the Cowal Transport Forum.


q. Review of the Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils.

Iain would submit a response on behalf of the Community Council.



5. Police Report.

There had been 18 incidents since the last meeting, one of which (an case of livestock worrying) generated a crime report.

A three-month livestock worrying campaign was due to start on 1.2.18. This would be promoted via Rural Watch and it was agreed to publicise it further in the Newsletter and Facebook.



6. Health Report.

Kirstie submitted the following report:

a. Outpatient Appointments.

As you will recall it has come to light in the last few months that quite a few Strachur patients have received a ‘Did Not Attend’ letter from Cowal Community Hospital and are adamant that they never received the original appointment letter. After speaking with Dr Coull I was asked to look further into this. I have phoned and emailed the locality manager since November until as recently as Saturday 13th January and still have had no reply, and so started doing a bit of looking into the problem myself and found the following information.


Information presented by Stephen Whiston, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance:

Patients in Argyll and Bute usually access outpatient secondary care services in the following ways - (1) within NHS GGC Hospitals: 53,000 appointments per year;

(2) outpatient clinics in Argyll and Bute Hospitals: 30,000 appointments per year.


Outpatient 12 week breaches have increased from 532 in 2015/16 to 1,120 in 2016/17 (an increase of 111%) and it is forecast that in 2017/18 this will rise to 4,719 (an increase of 320from 2016/17).  If this trend continues without significant action and investment, Orthopaedics, ENT, Ophthalmology, Pain Management and Respiratory will breach the outpatient waiting times targets consistently, with some specialities exceeding 26 weeks from September 2017.


The IJB acknowledge that within the current service profile and financial resources it is not possible to meet waiting time targets. THIS WILL RESULT IN CLINICAL RISK TO PATIENTS.  With current demand on outpatient clinics, aligned with NHS GGC’s difficulties in meeting its own targets, this will mean that waiting times in the HSCP will routinely exceed the 12 week target in 2017/18 (source of information: IJB Briefing papers Nov 29th 2017).


(Two examples from a number given at the CC meeting: (1) one patient waited 31 weeks for an eye clinic appointment at RAH; (2) one patient waited 19 weeks for an orthotics appointment at CCH but received a DNA letter so had to be re-referred by Dr Coull and is still awaiting a new appointment.)


b. Waiting times for Mental Health Services.

I was asked to highlight that the current waiting time for children and adolescents in Cowal to receive Psychological Therapies or Treatment is 2.5 years although the current target is a maximum wait of 18 weeks


c. Patients having to stay within NHS Highland region.

There was a worry that, due to the current situation, Cowal residents might be asked to stay within the NHS Highland region for appointments and treatment. Belford Hospital in Fort William is 108 miles (216 round trip) from Dunoon and Raigmore Hospital in Inverness is a 172 miles (344 miles round trip) from Dunoon. We have been informed that one Cowal resident has already been referred to Belford Hospital for rehabilitation.


d. Bed numbers.

In the last five years the number of beds in hospitals across Scotland has decreased by 2,000 as care in the community is being pushed forward, while at the same time we don't have enough home carers. In the Greater Glasgow area since March 2015 1,100 patients have died in hospital awaiting the necessary care and accommodation arrangements to be put in place.  


7. Secretary’s Report.

Since the last meeting articles had been submitted to the Newsletter on: Disposal of unused police premises and Advanced notice of CC elections.

There had been correspondence with Argyll & Bute Council on flooding at Kilmorie graveyard and on an additional pedestrian crossing near the A815/A886 junction, and with Forest Enterprise Scotland on their Loch Eck Land Management Plan.

Iain had attended the third Cowal Out of Hours Review Group meeting on 19th December.


8. Treasurer’s report.

The bank balance stood at £2,346.25.


9. Transport update.

There was nothing to report.


10. Public Engagement.

There was nothing to report.


11. Any Other Business.

a. Loch Eck Land Management Plan.

A letter and concept map had been received from Forest Enterprise Scotland regarding a Land Management Plan for the National Forest Estate woodland around Loch Eck (document distributed at meeting). We had been asked if there were any issues we would want to be taken into account when specific plans were drawn up. Community Councillors agreed to send comments to Iain by 29.1.18 and he would submit a response on behalf of the CC.

ACTION: All Community Councillors


b. Planning (Scotland) Bill.

The Development Company had received official notification of a call for written evidence (dated 15.12.17) as part of the Stage 1 scrutiny of the above Bill. The CC had received no communication on this matter, though the Scottish Parliament website stated that “Organisations and individuals” were being invited to participate and one particular innovation (Local Place Plans - document distributed at meeting) was of direct relevance to Community Councils. Iain had contacted Melissa Stewart (ABC Area Governance Officer) and was informed that she had received nothing from the Scottish Government to distribute to CCs about the call for written evidence. She had suggested that this might be because of the politically sensitive nature of the Bill. Cllr Blair offered to produce a briefing guide for CCs, which would clarify their role in the consultation process.

ACTION: Cllr Blair


12. Date of next meeting.

The next meeting will commence 19:30, Wednesday 14th March 2018 at Strachur Memorial Hall.


Iain Wilkie

Secretary, Strachur Community Council