Strachur Community Council

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting

Held 19.30 on Wednesday 17th April 2019

Strachur Memorial Hall


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


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


1. Convener’s opening remarks:

Archie welcomed everyone to the meeting.


2. Apologies and declarations of interest:

Isabel McGladdery, Bob Darracott, Les Earle and Cllrs Blair and McNeilly apologised for non-attendance. There were no declarations of interest.


3. Minutes.

Minutes for the Ordinary Meeting held on 13th March 2019 were agreed as accurate.


4. Matters arising.

a. Speed limit on A815 through Strachur.

Iain had contacted South Cowal Community Council regarding their questioning of recent speed survey results and had been informed that, in response to their concerns, the equipment had been checked by ABC and found to be accurate.


After a third reminder sent to Stuart Watson (ABC Traffic and Development Manager) on 9th April, a reply was received from Paul Farrell (ABC Traffic and Development Officer) on 10th April. This stated that (1) the position of the pedestrian crossing point at the A815 north of the A886 junctions had been decided after informal consultation with local users and local councillors; (2) data from the most recent volume/speed survey carried out near the Gate Lodge revealed that 6.7% of the traffic was large vehicles over 7.5 m in length; (3) it was the responsibility of owners of the private road to High Hall to maintain sightlines; and (4) he would provide more information after a meeting later in the month to discuss traffic management with Police Scotland. Cllr Reid agreed to request that signs be erected on the A815 to give drivers warning of the junction with the private road to High Hall.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


b. Cowal Out of Hours Review Group.

Iain had sent an e-mail to Phil Cummins (Interim Head of Adult Service East) on 14th March regarding the absence of communication about the Review Group. No reply had been forthcoming, but on 21st March notification had been received that the Group would be reconvened. The meeting would be on 1st May.


c. Ambulance response times: data for PA27.

Iain had obtained ambulance response time data for the whole of Scotland for January - November 2018. Three figures were recorded for PA27 during that period: 8:07 (March), 21:15 (May), and 42:26 (July), giving an average response time of 23 min 56 sec. Kirstie noted that, according to the Scottish  Ambulance Service, the response time from Dunoon Ambulance Station to Strachur is 25 min.


d. Consultation on Invernoaden Woodland Creation Areas.

Iain had submitted a response on 22nd March.


e. Twinning proposal from Sournia, France.

Iain had been in communication with Anne Liens, Sournia and had exchanged information about the two villages. He had also contacted the Head Teacher of Strachur School, who was supportive of the proposal, and Kilmacolm Community Council, which has a twinning arrangement with Mérignies in the north of France. See item 12 below.


f. Memorial plaque.

Archie had received quotations for mounting the plaque: £25 for mounting the plaque alone; £125 if a protective canopy was included. It was agreed that a canopy would be desirable.

ACTION: Archie


5. Police Report.

Since the last meeting there have been 13 incidents reported to the Police in and around Strachur. None of these incidents pertained to criminality.


Annual Livestock Worrying campaign continues and fortunately we have not had many issues to date. We ask dog walkers to be considerate and avoid fields with Ewes / lambs. We now have funding for local banners which should appear in the coming week or two.


In partnership with A&B Council, another Dog Fouling Campaign is also due to commence in the coming weeks. As usual, please inform me of any areas you wish covered around Strachur.


Operation Ironworks - regarding Wild Camping - commenced on the 5th April. Again, any areas of concern -please feed in and our increased patrols will cover said areas.


Police Scotland's "Shut Out Scammer" or "S.O.S" is also in process with its aim to prevent/reduce doorstep crime. [At the meeting leaflets and posters were handed over for local distribution].


Updates on all of these matters locally will continue through Rural Watch.


 6. Health Report.

Last month Kirstie attended the launch of the Carers' Strategy and Implementation Plan 2018-2023. Two of the main issues raised were:

1. Unpaid carers should be identified in a patient's medical records.

2. Unpaid carers should be listened to by professionals.

Unpaid carers in Scotland save the NHS £10bn (more than the whole Scottish NHS budget). Two thirds of people under care in Scotland are cared for in the community. The estimated number of unpaid carers in Cowal is 12,712, with an estimated 2,062 young carers under 16 years of age.

A young carer's statement (for those under 16) or a carer's support plan can be prepared with carers at their local Carers Centre. This helps to decide on any impact caring has on a carer's own health and well-being, i.e.(1) low or no impact; (2) moderate impact; or (3) critical or substantial impact.

In 2018/19 the cost to Argyll & Bute Health & Social Care Partnership of implementing the Carers Act is £569,408; the cost allocated to Cowal being £97,500.

Kirstie can supply a copy of the plan to anyone who wishes one.


7. Secretary’s Report.

Since the last meeting articles had been submitted to the Newsletter on the National Park Camping Management Byelaws Survey and on the Armed Services Advice Project.


All correspondence is mentioned elsewhere in the minutes.


Iain had attended the second public exhibition on the Creag Dhubh wind farm proposal.


8. Treasurer’s report.

The bank balance stood at £2,161.60.


9. Transport update.

Cllr Reid commented on a meeting about the Dunoon-Gourock ferry service that was held on 16th April between Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, and various stakeholders. Mr Wheelhouse had confirmed that the ferry would be passenger only. The time period between a decision being made to build new boats and vessels being available for operation would be at least three years. There would also be improvements at the Dunoon and Gourock docking areas.


Archie Reid complained in the strongest terms about the adverse effect the ongoing ferry crisis was having on Dunoon's reputation and on the viability of local businesses. Public transport problems were taking money out of the town, putting off day-trippers, and making the Cowal Games less of an attraction.


10. Public Engagement.

There was nothing to report.


12. Twinning proposal from Sournia, France.

Whilst the Community Council was supportive of this proposal, it was felt that it could be successful only if there were enough groups and individuals in the community who were interested and enthusiastic about taking things forward. It was agreed that a special CC meeting should be convened to discuss the proposal. If there appeared to be enough interest, then the best strategy might be to set up a freestanding Steering Group or Society, which is how Kilmacolm had proceeded with its twinning arrangement.



13. A.O.B.

a. National Park update.

Bob Darracott reported by e-mail:
All pretty quiet on the planning application front - nothing major to report. In terms of significant applications within the NP - we have now commenced further consultation (for 28 days) on revised and updated information relative to the West Riverside, Balloch application - ‘Flamingo Land’. App No - 2018/0133/PPP. See web site for details. 


The Park’s Trees and Woodland Strategy is now out for consultation. Staff are holding Q+A Sessions in the Balloch HQ on 6th and 10th May. 


All forestry responsibilities were formally devolved to the Scottish Parliament on 1st April. The Commission being replaced with Scottish Forestry, and Forest Enterprises being superseded by Forestry and Land Scotland (the commercial arm of the organisation).


A public consultation is planned for 4th May (2-6 p.m.), on the Regional Marine Plan in the Lochgoilhead Village Hall. Details from -


PC Lyle MacAulay has joined up with the NP’s Visitor Management Team - he’ll be working with Park teams, partners and others to help coordinate Operation Ironworks this year. 


I am speaking with the Park’s Visitor Services Manager about improved ‘advisory’ signage along Loch Eck - advising on wild camping rules and referring to the fact that police and rangers will patrol the area. This is as a result of recent problems experienced at the southern end of the Loch. 


b. Bridge at Lephinchapel: replacement of barrier.

Jeff Wilson reported that a barrier had at last been erected on either side of bridge.


c. Strachur & District Community Fund.

Jeff Wilson informed the meeting that £300 had been awarded to Strachur Young Gardeners and that a letter of thanks had been received from five of the children.


d. Creag Dhubh wind farm: community benefit funds.

During the second public exhibition, Jeff Wilson had discussed the distribution of community benefit funds with Angus Elder, Muirden Energy LLP. Jeff pointed out that the existing constitution of the Strachur & District Community Fund would allow it to administer any income from the wind farm. A meeting between Angus Elder and representatives from the Community Fund Committee and the Community Council would be arranged in the near future.


e. New road signs at A815/A886 junction.

Iain reminded the meeting that, although the support poles were on site, the signs themselves had not materialised more than two years after replacements were first requested. Cllr Reid agreed to pursue the matter.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


f. Old picnic benches near Post Office.

A resident had asked if he could dismantle and dispose of the old picnic benches near the Post Office, in the interests of improving the appearance of the area. It was agreed that this would be permissible, as the benches had been originally supplied through the Community Council, though clearance of the vegetation would require the approval of the land-owner. Iain would convey this information to the resident.



g. Manse Gardens.

Archie had received complaints about antisocial behaviour at Manse Gardens, particularly with regard to the use of the common room. He would forward these complaints to Trust Housing Association Ltd.

ACTION: Archie


13. Date and location of next meeting.

The next meeting would be at 19:30, Wednesday 12th June 2019 in Strachur Memorial Hall.


Iain Wilkie

Secretary, Strachur Community Council