Strachur District Community Council

Minutes of General Meeting

Held 19:30 on Wednesday 17th August 2016, Strathlachlan Community Centre


Members present: Archie Reid (Convener), John Fleming, Isabel McGladdery, Kirstie Reid, Iain Wilkie, Les Earle (Secretary)

Also in attendance: Cllr Alex McNaughton and no members of the public.


1. Convener’s opening remarks: Archie opened the meeting with a general welcome.


2. Apologies and declarations of interest: None though after the meeting word was received from PC McGunnigal expressing his apologies, exigencies of service had prevented his attendance.


3. Minutes: Minutes for the meeting held on 8th June 2016 were agreed as accurate.


4. Matters arising:

a. Cllr McNaughton continues to be in contact with Stuart Watson (A+B, the person now said to have responsibility for this area of activity) and Lyndis Davidson re the promised traffic assessment in Strachur. Similarly the long promised traffic advisory board at the Bay is still “on the agenda”.

b. Regarding the cemetery Cllr McNaughton reported that work by officers continues – see Appendix 1.

c. No money had been allocated for the repair to the church wall, Strachur but Cllr McNaughton would continue to raise the issue with officers.

d. The lack of pavement in the Bay area (PO side of the road). Cllr McNaughton said that there was nothing to report at present (and that no money had been allocated to this project) but he would continue to monitor the situation.

e. There was some uncertainty as to whether the A+B officer responsible for liaising on “faster” broadband had been identified – Cllr McNaughton would check his records and pass on the name.

f. Lephinmore West Forest Plan: Les sent the letter of objection circulated at the last meeting and forwarded it to A+B Roads – the latter seemed unconcerned at the prospect of log lorries on the B8000 and continued to negotiate on the basis of permissible numbers rather than alternative (off-road) routes.

b. Boundary Commission Report: Les sent a letter of thanks to the Commission for having listened in part to our objections and wrote to the Minister to ask for the status quo to be maintained given the absence of a suitable alternative. Unknown to the CC was the fact that a deadline for representation had been imposed and some comments had been ruled out of time – not ours. A decision by the Minister (Joe Fitzpatrick, MSP) was expected late September, October.

c. Les took over Iain MacGregor’s correspondence with BT Openreach on progress to improve cabling along the B8000 and had yet to receive a reply, clearly something still to be learnt from the master.


5. Police Report: There was no Police report.


6. Health Report: Heather Grier had provided a comprehensive report by email, see appendix 2. Concern was voiced at the meeting as to the dire state of NHS funding that seemed to be evidenced by a range of cuts that might eventually undermine the role and purpose of the Hospital at Dunoon.


7. Secretary’s Report: Les had nothing to add to that mentioned elsewhere on the agenda.


8. Treasurer’s report: The balance before outstanding items was £2,413 and after, £2,327.


9. Transport update:

a. Archie would raise at the next meeting of the Forum the question of the long promised traffic advisory board at the Bay.

b. Also to be raised was the question of traffic management at Dunoon Pier bus stand. Taxis and cars had taken to wait for ferry-passengers at the stand (particularly at 17:50) blocking the buses and causing disruption to passengers. Tempers had frayed when buses, unable to pick up passengers at their allotted slot, boxed in the inter-loping cars and taxis.


10. Strachur By-election: Annually the CC is given the option of holding a by-election to fill any vacancies, Strachur has three out of ten at present. Les advertised the vacancies in the Newsletter and on facebook but, so far, had no takers. It was decided to inform A+B that we would wish to participate in the process in the hope that some candidates could be encouraged to come forward.


11. Any Other Business:

a. Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust had been in touch to enquire if we had any objection to our comments made in the consultation of November 2015 to January 2016 being made public. No objection was voiced.


12. Date of next meeting: 19:30, Wednesday 19th October 2016 at the Strachur Memorial Hall.


Les Earle, Secretary, Strachur District Community Council



Appendix 1

Progress on the Strachur Cemetery, A+B officer “work in hand” as reported to Cllr McNaughton:

  1. Make contact with Session clerk at Church to discuss moving roadway to out to fence, thus allowing an additional line of lairs to be used at edge of old burial ground adjacent to the sheds/garages, if plans show the site has not had burials in before that are not marked with headstones, this should provide 15 new lairs.
  2. Model access road to existing burial site to allow of use of ground currently sterilized by layout. This will provide woodland style burial lairs  
  3. Check with planning officer to ensure all and Argyll and Bute Council own has consent for use as burial ground.
  4. Landscape planting will create a natural division between the two sites. Works would be developed on ground currently in Argyll and Bute Council ownership reducing the need for protracted negotiation with others and retain traditional site as well.
  5. I plan to visit the site to check my draft measurement for all this and draw up plans to inform further discussion,

I trust this assists and I have noted to keep you informed as I progress.


Appendix 2

Health Report, Heather Grier, Wednesday, Aug 17, 2016.




Surgery Funding:


At the patient meeting on the 25th July, 75 patients plus 6 PPG members attended. The purpose was to obtain support for the actions being taken by the PPG with NHS Highland. Feedback received is  many patients were surprised by all the facts and evidence presented.  As a result, patients unanimously supported proposed actions by the PPG and that the PPG should seek further support from other patients by way of a support petition which states the course of action suggested by the PPG. 


We have 253 signatures has been obtained so far.  Some patients felt we should involve our MSP now but the PPG members felt we should conclude matters with NHS Highland first as it had not fully responded to correspondence.  Patients are seeking that NHS Highland restore the associate funding so our practice is on a level playing field with the other 3 rural Cowal and Arrochar practices.


The questions we are asking are:


  1. Why did NHS Highland fail to respond in writing to Dr Tittmar’s letter of July 2010?

  2. Why did NHS Highland not carry out an open review after the death of Dr Wright when Dr Tittmar was advised this would take place?

  3. Why did NHS Highland fail to confirm in writing discussions that took place between Dr Coull and senior managers regarding associate funding withdrawal subsequent to Dr Tittmar’s original letter.

  4. Why has NHS Highland allowed 3 other rural Cowal practices (plus Arrochar) to be treated on a more advantageous basis by retaining all their funding yet have similar circumstances with changes of personnel and OOH involvment?

  5.  Why has associate funding not therefore    been restored to the practice when evidence indicates the same fate has not befallen other Cowal rural practices?

  6. Why as NHS Highland continually subjected the patients of the Strachur Medical practice to an unfair and unequal system?

  7. Why has our request for reasons for non-reinstatement not been answered more fully regarding subsequent actions with other practices?  Were they reviewed’ in isolation’ too?

  8.  Will NHS Highland  now reinstate the associate GP funding for the Strachur Medical Practice?


In this regard, I have prepared a draft letter  to NHS Highland, and after discussion at the PPG meeting on the 15th August ( Monday night) it was agreed that subject to several changes, the 3 PPG members present approved the letter.


Health and Social Care Partnership: Integration:



(a) The Integration Joint Board (IJB) met on the 22 June, and again on the 4 August 2016.  At the most recent meeting, I raised several matters, the principle area of concern related to the £1.580m shortfall in the council’s part of the integrated budget.  The IJB were informed the Council would not be making good that amount. I feel  the reasons were unclear and indeed is unacceptable.  I have asked the chief financial officer for more information regarding an alleged cost underspend of £2m in 2015/16, where that currently stands and what is the position regarding the Council's revenue reserves. 


This shortfall has necessitated several items detailed areas for review at a later date have been brought forward, which in turn opened doors for criticism regarding no consultation with the public and adverse press publicity.


The other area related to a COSLA paper presented for June regarding direct payments relative to the Scottish Living wage. I had been advised at the June meeting the council were reviewing their rate for personal assistants, a positive response was given but this information was missing from the minutes.  I have asked for an amendment to include this point.


A new chairperson Cllr K Green had been appointed for the IJB and would be taking over on the 1 September 2016 as current chair, Cllr Correy had been elected as a list MSP.


I have been elected to serve on the audit committee for the IJB and attended its first meeting on the 3 August where the internal auditors and a representative from Audit Scotland, the external auditors had been present.


( b) Locality Planning Groups (LPG)


Strachur is still not represented on the Cowal Group. I have expressed a view that locality planning groups were struggling with the new responsibilities and ways of working.  I feel communications at that level is very poor, as highlighted in the negative local publicity regarding closure and redesign of Thomson Court on Bute and Struan Lodge in Dunoon. 


(c) Strachur Hub:


The Hub was growing in popularity and was working well.  Core of 27 attendees weekly.  It had been agreed that different activities would be introduced as it developed, but the ‘buzz’ at the Hub was showing signs that the participants were enjoying the activities and ‘chat’.  No further meeting with the Improving Care Fund ( ICF) ‘supervisors’ had taken place since the beginning of May. 


The next round of applications for continuing funds is October 2016.