Strachur District Community Council

Minutes of General Meeting

Held 19:30 on Wednesday 18th January 2017, Strachur Memorial Hall


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

Also in attendance: Cllr Alex McNaughton and one member of the public.


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


2. Apologies and declarations of interest: John Fleming apologised for non-attendance and there were no declarations of interest.


3. Minutes: Minutes for the meeting held on 14th December 2016 were agreed as accurate.


4. Matters arising:

a. Cllr McNaughton is in contact with Paul Farrell who still has not got to grips with the data collected re the traffic survey at the school crossing – when Paul has downloaded it Cllr McNaughton will forward it to the CC.

b. The road-sign at the A815/A886 junction has been raised with officers. It now has new stainless steel legs but is hard to read – a bi-lingual sign has been promised but in the meantime a wipe with a soapy sponge would be appreciated. It turns out that “proper” cleaning would be more expensive than putting up a new sign – the latter to be expedited.

c. No money had been allocated for the repair to the church wall, Strachur, but Cllr McNaughton will 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. The long-promised (January 2013) traffic advisory board at the Bay (to warn of road closures at the Rest) was raised by Cllr McNaughton and Archie at the Transport Forum and it is apparent that the responsibility for the provision and updating of the board is not yet settled. A further meeting took place in January and it is far from clear that responsibility for managing the sign has yet been accepted by BEARS or A+B.

f. The area of Clachan Brae prone to flooding because of blocked drains has now been attended to.

g. The partial flooding of the Strathlachlan graveyard has been raised by Cllr McNaughton. It seems that the drains were not rodded in the Autumn but he has now been assured that the work will be undertaken.

h. Archie had earlier raised 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 interloping cars and taxis. The Taxi Licensing committee will write to all taxi drivers warning them of their behaviour. Insp Wilson had thought it was a task that he could give to a probationary officer – no word yet as to progress though it was raised at the Transport Forum.

i. Les has attempted to take over Iain MacGregor’s correspondence with BT Openreach on progress to improve cabling along the B8000 and has yet to receive a reply despite raising it at an Openreach forum held in October. Iain had been in touch and suggested raising the matter with the CEO of BT, Cllr McNaughton asked to be copied in to the BT correspondence.

j. Les reported that he had been in touch with the DevCo re the setting-up of the Community Benefit Fund sub-committee and the first meeting will take place on Friday 20th January.

k. Les has written to Fyne Homes to ask for improved signage at Montgomery Place, Strachur. A locum Doctor had not been able to find the address of a house call without knocking on several doors. The sign has now been ordered.

l. Iain has been in touch with Roanna Clark (A+B Youth Participation Officer) as it had been hoped that she would be able to attend the CC meeting to give background and answer questions on the Young Scot Reward scheme. For whatever reason she has not been able to attend so it was decided that the CC would proceed in the terms laid out in earlier minutes.


5. Police Report: There was no report, in fact since March 2016 there has been but one report in six meetings of the CC.


6. Health Report: Heather Grier has submitted a written report covering surgery funding, HSCP integration, LPG’s, and the HUB - it is reproduced as Appendix 2.

Kirstie was able to report that the Locality Planning Group (LPG) had yet to accept her as a representative and it is far from clear yet how CC representatives are to disseminate their reports of LPG activity. Kirstie’s first meeting on the Health Care Forum is on Tuesday of next week.


7. Secretary’s Report: Les reminded the CC that in October he had reported that he was awaiting an email from the Smiddy on their need for volunteers to both run and manage the Smiddy. Computer problems meant that the email rested in the ether for a long time but it has now come to light and can be found attached to the minutes as Appendix 1. A request to circulate the information as widely as possible was made.


8. Treasurer’s report: The bank balance after the contribution to the HUB for a Boccia set now stands at £2,371.


9. Transport update: Effectively covered in Matters Arising.


10. Public Engagement – young people. As mentioned above it was agreed that we would get Strachur CC engagement officially recognised and credited on the Young Scot Rewards scheme. This scheme encourages young people to participate in activities that benefit themselves and their communities, as a result of which they collect points on their Young Scot Entitlement Card - also useful for their “personal statements” when applying to college or university.

Iain has been in contact with Roanna Clark (A&B Youth Participation Officer) and she looked into how CC engagement could be added to the list of creditable activities, he will contact her again to get some formal acknowledgement on record. Attempts to get Roanna to one of our meetings will continue so that she can fill us in on the detail of the scheme and answer questions. In the meantime we will press ahead by advertising on the Young Scot website, social media, and through the Cowal Youth Forum and Dunoon Grammar School (the pupils presenting the seminar that Iain attended suggested it could be included in the Daily Notices that go out at Registration).


11. Any Other Business:

a. The member of the public present raised his continuing concern over the speed of traffic, particularly lorries, on the A815 through Strachur – though what was said was equally applicable to the A886. Reference was made to the failure of A+B to get to grips with its own technology and release the results of the traffic survey (first promised 23rd March 2016 as part of a promise to “re-assess the safe routes to school”). Once the survey results are presented they will be compared with those already available from Police Scotland

The simple physical fact is that the A815 is narrower than modern standards and the pedestrians on the narrow pavements are, inevitably, closer to the often speeding traffic. Similarly two trucks passing, or log-lorries in convoy, put the pedestrians at great risk.

Les commented that this being election year gives the voters in Strachur the most power to influence the new Council to put in place road safety measures that have been a major concern to residents for nearly a decade.

b. Isabel raised with Cllr McNaughton the condition of the road surface/drainage covers in Forest View.


12. Date of next meeting: 19:30, Wednesday 15th March 2017 at the Strachur Memorial Hall.


Les Earle, Secretary, Strachur District Community Council




Letter from the Smiddy management committee


On Sun, Oct 16, 2016 at 12:10 PM,

For the attention of Strachur Community Council


Strachur Smiddy Museum has just closed its doors on its 20th season. It is 24 years since a group of dedicated enthusiasts from the Strachur and Lochgoilhead area, led by Cathie Montgomery,  got together to raise money and apply for grants to bring the derelict Smiddy back to life as a museum and craft shop. It is testimony to the loyalty of that group that a number of them are still acting as Trustees and volunteers in the day to day running of the Smiddy. I have been involved over the past ten years, currently as Chairperson, and the reason I am writing is to highlight to you our worries about the future.


Like most small organisations these days, we struggle to find volunteers to man the Smiddy seven afternoons a week from Easter until the end of September but to date we have always managed. Our visitor numbers are modest but our visitor book testifies to their enjoyment of and interest in the Smiddy experience. This year both Cathie and I are leaving the organisation and another Trustee will go next year. We hope very much that others will come forward to take on the running of the Smiddy but this is not at all certain.


Strachur Smiddy is unique, ‘a wee gem’ and the repository of a great deal of Strachur district’s history, tradition and culture. It would be a great loss to the community if it had to close its doors and I am hoping that by including this note in the minutes you circulate, it won’t be a case of ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’.



Elizabeth Fairbairn


Appendix 2







1. Surgery Funding:



Following the report for the October Community Council meeting, I wrote again as chair of the Patient Participation Group to NHS Highland’s Feedback Team on the 12 December 2016 and copied in the Chief Executive, Elaine Mead. The contents of that letter is as follows:


‘I refer to my letter of the 3 November 2016 and your letter of 8 November 2016 which did not address the points raised.

Please now find attached a post card from the office of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman who have noted that the complaint has not been dealt with and advising me to re-contact them if no response is received within two weeks of the 8th December 2016, ie 22nd December 2016.

We have no confidence is your complaints process, it is weak, we do not believe this matter is being dealt with fairly, competently or transparently. We were informed a senior manager would investigate, give a report and a decision taken. We first raised this issue under a FIO over 12 months ago. This continuing procrastination from 18 August 2016 when you decided it was a complaint just indicates the amount of respect NHS Highland with the local Health and Social Care Partnership, public bodies, have for the patients of the SMP. Further the brochure you issued to me on your complaints process is inaccurate according to the SPSO’s office.

Therefore, we now are logging this protracted processes as a complaint about the handling of the complaint. In other words, we would allege, you cannot even deal with your own complaints processes timeously and fairly and that is unacceptable to us.

The longer this continues to drag on, the reputation of both public bodies continues to deteriorate in the eyes of the patients. I would not have thought that was in either body’s best interests.

If there is no response between now and 22nd December 2016, we will be taking the matter up with our MSP as a first step. We have no confidence in your process and our patience has now run out.’


On the 13 December Christina West, the chief officer of our local Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) advised me she was sending a report and a response up to the Chief Executive, NHS Highland and confirmed Ms Mead would be writing to me.


On 7th January I received a response, written on the 29 December 2016.


Needless to say, the reply is far from satisfactory. It is lacking in evidence and therefore I wrote yesterday (16th) asking for a copy of the investigator’s report and all the evidence referred to within the letter.


We await the next instalment!






2. Health and Social Care Partnership: Integration:


The Integration Joint Board (IJB) met on the 30 November but I was unable to attend. The main focus was the Quality and Financial Plan workin towards the budget for 2017/18 and how much of a shortfall there may be to be carried forward from 2016/17.


As most of you will be aware, there was a public meeting on the closure of Struan Lodge in Dunoon and Thomson Court in Bute. Following that meeting, the IJB put a pause on the proposals in order to engage with the public. These events are happening now, and there will be an event in Strachur Memorial Hall on 24th January 2017 between 2.00pm to 5.00 pm. One of the areas raising concern is the reduction of beds in our community hospital and how Struna Lodge can be used in the future.



3. Locality Planning Groups (LPG)


Public representation on the local group is not as good as it should be. It is likely that contact details are not held centrally thus information about meetings is not reaching out to the rural areas.


Communications still remains poor.


We have a replacement for locality manager but Ms McKerracher will not be in place until end of March 2017.



4. Strachur Hub.


The Hub was growing in popularity and was working well. We have some people from South Cowal Community Council visiting on the 26th January, and on 2nd March the Public Health Manager from the HSCP is coming to see what we are doing and how it is working for us. We are making a film to promote our activities.


Heather Grier