Strachur Community Council

Minutes of General Meeting

Held 19:00 on Monday 18th December 2017

Committee Room, Strachur Memorial Hall


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


Also in attendance: Cllr Alan Reid, Jeff Wilson (Strachur & District Community Development Company), and Patrick Gibb (Strachur Hall Committee).


1. Convener’s opening remarks:

Archie opened the meeting with a general welcome and apology for the postponement of the meeting scheduled for 13th December due to a weather warning.


2. Apologies and declarations of interest:

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


3. Minutes.

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


4. Matters arising.

a. Traffic monitoring at school crossing.

No progress.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


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

No progress.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


c. Church wall repairs.

Repairs had been completed.


d. Variable Message Sign for the A815/A886 junction.

  Cllr Reid had been informed by Transport Scotland that –

“The Signs are to be inspected and tested by a company called Solar Signs and this will happen in January prior to the signs being made available to Argyll and Bute and being deployed at the aforementioned locations. Protocols re messages to be displayed will be finalised in January 18 and we’ve targeted early Feb 2018 to have these signs in situ and fully functioning”.


e. Flooding at Strachur and Strathlachlan graveyards.

On 27th October there were site meetings at both graveyards attended by Mr A. Dineley (ABC), Cllr Reid, Iain and (at Strachur) Cllr Blair and Isabel. Mr Dineley informed us that rodding work would be done to ensure free drainage at Strathlachlan before the end of 2017 and that gravel would be laid over the drive down to Strachur graveyard, including the area where large puddles formed after heavy rain. The latter had been done, but (as of 18th December) no work had been done at Strathlachlan. On the advice of Iain MacGregor (currently in Australia), Iain had checked the outflow ends of the two pipes that drain the graveyard extension and found that there was no flow out of one of them, indicating that the pipe was blocked. This information (with photographic evidence) had been e-mailed to A. Dineley on 7th December. No response had been received as yet.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


f. Replacement of ‘No overnight parking’ signs.

No progress.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


g. Progress on signage to discourage antisocial camping.

No progress. It was suggested that any such signage for Loch Eckside should be the responsibility of the National Park.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


h. B8000 roadworks.

Cllr Reid had been informed that –

“Capital money is available to be spent between Melldalloch and Otter Ferry which is dual funded between A&B and Forestry Commission, this will pay for passing place improvements and limited structural overlays. There is also funding available to be spent on the North side of the B8000 between Barnacarry and Leanach, this is again dual funding. This work will hopefully be carried out between October and November 2017”.

Jeff Wilson reported that the bridge before Lephinchapel had been washed away subsequent to the temporary restriction order on part of the B8000 coming into force and that there needed to be another 3T Weight Restriction sign at the A886-Leanach road junction.

Archie noted that the B8000 was in very poor condition in some places.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


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

No progress.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


j. B8000 telephone line.

In the light of (1) the recent and ongoing remedial work on this line by BT and (2) the absence of any current problem, there was discussion about whether there was still a need for a letter from Argyll & Bute Council to BT. It was agreed that this was still necessary in order to highlight the dependence on this line of vulnerable residents and the need to maximise its resilience, and so that, in the event of any future incident (e.g. where a seriously ill resident could not communicate with the emergency services), BT could not say it had not been warned.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid


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

Iain had e-mailed ABC Roads and Amenities about this on 28th November and had received an automatic acknowledgement the same day but no further communication.

Iain had received an e-mail from J. Gritten (ABC Access Manager) regarding the missing footway at the start of the A886 and suggesting that this could be incorporated into a new viewpoint centred around an artistic feature like a sculpture or archway. This was noted and would be kept in mind.



l. Strachur Police House: Japanese Knotweed

See Police Report (below).


5. Police Report

a. Constable Mackay’s report (received by e-mail).

Since November's meeting there have been 18 incidents.

From these incidents, 2 crime reports were generated - 1 x Breach of the Peace with ongoing enquiries and 1 x male reported for drink driving on the A815.

The snow within the last week has caused some dangerous conditions on the road which the Road Policing have been monitoring. Road Policing have also issued 5 conditional offers for speeding through St. Catherine's in the past month.

Rural Watch continues to grow and I appreciate the affiliation from the Strachur area. In the past month we have seen a 10% increase in affiliation over the Cowal area. I would encourage further sign-ups as we strive to keep in contact with rural communities and those harder to reach.

December traditionally sees a rise in acquisitive crime and as such can I advise everyone, particularly in rural areas, to maintain high levels of personal, home and vehicle security in order to prevent crimes of dishonesty. There has been nothing of note reported as yet in Argyll but let’s be on guard with incidents of rural crime in West Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde occurring over the past 48hrs. This includes an attempted break-in to a farm near Langbank whereby individuals tied ratchet straps to a barn door and connected same to a transit van in an attempt to rip off a roller door to the barn which contained 3 x ATV's.

 In relation to the Knotweed at the Police Station - I am aware that it will be off season fro spraying now. As yet I have still had no response from Property Services regarding the Community Councils and Iain's discussions earlier in the summer. I will continue to seek answers and hopefully have a clearer position come the spring when it maybe time tackle the issue again.



b. Les informed us that on the morning of 14.12.17 a couple of Strachur residents were concerned that an elderly neighbour’s curtains remained unopened. Although they had a key it was ineffective as the householder’s key was in the lock – this added to their concern and at about 9:30 the police were summoned, the full address being given and the circumstances explained. Two officers arrived three quarters of an hour later without the relevant authority to force access. Reports from other residents some streets away suggest that the officers were “lost” and asking for directions.

Four years ago there was a spate of incidents in which the emergency services had failed to attend addresses in Strachur in a timely manner and the CC was given assurances that the then new call-out arrangements would eliminate the problem.

Obtaining the authority to force an entry took a further half hour by which time local residents had manipulated the interior key to allow the “spare” to work. The elderly resident was found on the floor in pain and later diagnosed with a broken hip. An ambulance was summoned (see item 6b below).



6. Health Report.

a. Kirstie reported as follows:

i. Missed Appointment Letters.

Several Strachur patients have received letters saying that they have not shown up for appointments at various clinics in Dunoon Hospital. The first they have known about the appointment is when they and the surgery receive a letter saying they have not turned up and require Dr Coull to re-refer them to the clinic. I have taken this up with the locality manager and await her reply, although I have spoken to Medical Records and their answer was the computer sent the original appointments out.

ii. Resignation of Health and Care Forum Chairman.

Regarding the resignation of the chairman of the H&CF, a meeting was going to be called in January to see where we go from here but I hope we could continue as I feel we have achieved some good throughout the year. I have been attending despite the lack of answers the Forum was getting to basic questions they had asked i.e. about bed occupancy and availability at Cowal Community Hospital, clinics held past and present ,and most importantly their input into various papers put to us.


b. Continuing on from item 5b above, Les stated that it took the ambulance nearly three hours to arrive. Enquiry into other incidents suggests that the policy of almost automatic transfer of patients from Dunoon to Inverclyde has stretched current vehicle resources beyond a safe system of operating.


c. Further to the report in the minutes of 18th October, 2017 (Appendix 1, item 2.6), another case of an elderly patient being released without proper enquiry into the existence or adequacy of a care package being in place has come to the attention of the CC. In October it was reported that, “[the incident] would not have been logged or dealt with by the HSCP unless a complaint had been raised.” In the current case (or the one above in item 6b) it is unlikely that the patients will be able or willing to raise a formal complaint. Does this mean that the statistics produced on complaints bear little resemblance to the reality experienced by NHS patients in Cowal?


d. Manse Gardens.

Iain had sent a letter to Ms C. West, (CO HSCP) on 25th October asking why a “bespoke solution” had not been developed for Manse Gardens (as had been done for Glen Iosal, Mull). Ms West’s reply (8th November) cited the number of empty tenancies, the “low level of assessed care needs” and “best value” at Manse Gardens as being factors that explained the different approaches. No additional cost to HSCP would be involved and no funding from HSCP had been allocated to maintain the warden service at Glen Iosal.

Iain had e-mailed Ms J. Wallace (THA Head of Housing and Support Services) on 10th November about the future of the common room. According to her reply (received 17th November), the common room would remain available to tenants and the logistics of access and security would be in place by March 2018. No discussions with local partners had been required “as the Trust Board have given the commitment to provide this”.


7. Secretary’s Report.

Since the last meeting articles had been submitted to the Newsletter on: Creag Dhubh public exhibition, LDP2 Main Issues Report consultation, ABC’s ‘Planning our Future’ consultation, NHS complaints procedures and ABC’s Supporting Communities Fund.

There had been correspondence with HSCP and THA (on Manse Gardens) and Muirden Energy Ltd. (on the Creag Dhubh public exhibition).

CC responses had been submitted to the ‘Camping in the National Park’ survey, the MIR consultation for LDP2 and Tilhill on the woodland creation plan for Succoth Glen.

Iain had attended the second Cowal Out of Hours Review Group meeting on 26th October.


8. Treasurer’s report.

The bank balance stood at £2,451.25.


9. Transport update.

a. At the Transport Forum meeting of 6th December Archie had expressed disappointment at the time it was taking to get the VMS signs in place (see item 4d above).

With regard to the delay in the Dunoon to Gourock tendering process, Archie had emphasised the need for a reliable passenger service in the town and the reliance of businesses on people coming to the town. The current passenger-only service was not reliable or acceptable.

The Transport Forum had been informed that B8000 sea wall repair works were ongoing and there might be short periods of lengthy delays.


b. There were still problems with cars parking in the bus lane at Dunoon Pier. This presented a potential danger to both bus passengers and pedestrians.



10. Public Engagement.

There was nothing to report.


11. Memorial Hall plaque – missing names.

The CC had been alerted to the absence from the WW1 Memorial Plaque of the names of two individuals with local connections and had received relevant information from Fiona Campbell. It was agreed that the case for including Archibald McFadyen was compelling but that more evidence was needed to establish that Henry Simms had resided in the area. It was suggested that this might be obtained from the HLI Regimental Museum. The Hall Committee would be informed, once a final decision had been made.



12. Consultation on the disposal of unused police premises.

The CC response to the consultation was discussed and decided. It was agreed that Iain should complete the consultation form on behalf of the CC and submit an article to the Newsletter alerting residents to the consultation.



13. Any Other Business.

a. Missing grit bins.

Les observed that the cancellation of the CC meeting scheduled for 13th December at the Strathlachlan Community Centre proved a wise decision. Even three days later the B8000 was still icy and the car park at the Centre was a sheet of ice. Members of the Centre Management Committee had asked if Les would raise the subject of the missing grit bin, which was removed by ABC some years ago. Isabel reported that the grit bin at Strachur similarly needs to be put back. Cllr Reid said he would make enquiries about replacement.

ACTION: Cllrs Blair/McNeilly/Reid



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

Iain had e-mailed the amended Scheme to all CCllrs on 11th December. ABC wanted comments by 19th January. It was agreed that CCllrs would submit any comments to Iain by 12th January.

The provisional date for Community Council elections was 26th April 2018.

 ACTION: All CCllrs


c. Community Fund.

Jeff Wilson reported that they had received four notes of interest and one application.


d. Army Cadet Force Battlefield Tour, October 2018.

Iain had received an e-mail from Mr M. Stokoe, Company Sergeant Major Instructor of D Company, Argyll & Southern Highlanders Battalion of the Army Cadet Force, who plans to take 42 cadets on a tour of the French and Belgian battlefields to commemorate the end of WW1. He asked if the CC could assist with a cash donation or a raffle or tombola prize. This request was viewed sympathetically. Iain was asked to find out if any of the cadets came from the Strachur area.



e. CC representatives.

Les would be replaced by Archie in the Hall Committee and by Iain in the Community Fund panel.


14. Date of next meeting.

The next meeting will commence 19:30, Wednesday 17th January 2018 at Strachur Memorial Hall.


Iain Wilkie

Secretary, Strachur Community Council