Strachur District Community Council

Minutes of General Meeting

Held 19:30 on Wednesday 19th October 2016, Strachur Memorial Hall


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

Also in attendance: Cllr Alex McNaughton, Insp Ewan Wilson and three members of the public.


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


2. Apologies and declarations of interest: None.


3. Minutes: Minutes for the meeting held on 17th August 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” (Archie would also raise this with the Transport Forum as there have been two instances recently where prior notice of road closure would have assisted motorists.)

b. Regarding the perceived lack of capacity at the cemetery, Cllr McNaughton reported at the last meeting that the situation was now resolved. Those originally expressing concern had now expressed their satisfaction with the proposal.

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. 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. The matter would be raised at the Openreach forum to be held next Thursday.

f. Archie reiterated 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. The precise status of that bit of tarmac was discussed at the Transport Forum and it was thought that A+B would have to adopt it in order to impose regulations. Insp Wilson expressed interest in this item feeling that the issue might be one that could intrude on police jurisdiction (public order and impeding the highway). He asked that this item be marked as an “action point” for himself as it was a suitable project for probationary officers to take on.


5. Police Report: Insp Ewan Wilson was in attendance and he was able to report that there had been 34 calls on the police since our last meeting in August – predominantly road traffic issues. There had been one instance of an attempted housebreaking in our District and given that there had been three similar instances in Dunoon the Community Council was asked if it could use its resources to advertise the danger of leaving property inadequately locked. (Les would do so through facebook and the Newsletter).

Insp Wilson reported that a mixture of personal career development and a review of the Police Scotland estate meant that we in the Strachur District were going to lose our resident constable and the police house was to be sold. It was generally accepted that the constable’s workload was now predominantly Dunoon based. Insp Wilson said that he would ensure that the constables based in Lochgoilhead and Kames would adjust their travel to ensure that the public would continue to have the reassurance of occasional police visibility.


6. Health Report: Heather Grier had provided a comprehensive report by email, see appendix 1.

The subject of Locality Planning Groups (LPG) was discussed at some length balancing the argument that “without membership could we complain?” against Cllr Breslin’s argument for resigning given in the local paper, “no power to influence decisions” – an argument given extra weight by the shoddy lack of consultation over the proposed closure of Struan Lodge. Kirstie (nobly) volunteered to represent the Strachur district of Cowal though her attendance is dependent on the timing of the meetings.


7. Secretary’s Report: Les reported that;

a. he was expecting an email from the Smiddy Committee asking for more volunteers and that they were due to have a vacancy for the positions of Chair and Secretary.

b. as instructed at the last meeting he had written to the Scottish Minister responsible for our ward boundary review arguing for the status quo and while it would be nice to claim that the letter had tipped the balance, many others had argued the same.

c. the phone box in the Clachan, due to be decommissioned by BT, had attracted a good deal of attention (1300 viewings on facebook) but nobody had come forward with a suggested use. Discussion then moved on to a base for a defibrillator (as per Glendaruel and several other places). It seems that Strachur has three units in the surgery and it was decided to investigate if one of these could be utilised, similarly a good place to mount one might be the Hall. Les was asked to place a “holding reply” with BT while investigations continued.

d. the road sign on the A815 after the A886 junction (north bound) has new stainless alloy legs (the old ones having rusted through) unfortunately they reinstated the old sign without so much as the wipe of a wet sponge. Cllr McNaughton said he would take this up as the sign was due for replacement with a bilingual sign.

e. credit where it is due – a report of fly-tipping at the bottle bank was received one evening and Les attended the next morning to assess the size of the load, sent off an email at 10:00 and the rubbish was gone by 11:00. Excellent service by A+B officers.


8. Treasurer’s report: The balance had been £2,309 but after Strathlachlan Community Centre expenses and Les’s travel to a workshop in Oban the balance was now £2,255.


9. Transport update:

a. Archie would raise again at the next meeting of the Forum the question of the long promised (January 2013) traffic advisory board at the Bay.

b. As noted above he would ensure that the question of traffic management at Dunoon Pier bus stand remained on the agenda. 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. Public Engagement – particularly young people.

Iain had recently attended on behalf of the CC a seminar on Youth Engagement. Leaving aside the potentially awkward proposal of CC members “engaging” young people as they waited for the school bus (!) some of the other ideas were viewed more positively.

Iain proposed that we have a standing item on the agenda: ‘Young people’s issues’, and that this “innovation” is advertised in the newsletter and facebook etc. together with an invitation directed at local youth and the usual general information on the role of CCs.

A further suggestion was to get CC engagement officially recognised and credited in 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 will contact Roanna Clark (A&B Youth Participation Officer) as she is looking into how CC engagement could be added to the list of creditable activities. Once this is done, it would be advertised 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).

Iain mentioned that A&B Youth Services would organise a consultation on young people’s issues, if the CC wanted that.

* Kirstie mentioned that through family connections she had some experience of the Young Scot scheme and commended its activities to the CC. In addition, some years ago, the introduction of a late bus to Strachur during the Cowal Games had come about almost entirely through young people lobbying A+B councillors in a thoughtful and thorough manner.


11. Any Other Business:

a. The Remembrance Sunday service will take place on 13th November this year, commencing at the Memorial Hall at 10:45 (time to be confirmed). Les is to put notices in the Newsletter and on facebook.

b. It was reported that a locum Doctor was not able to find Montgomery Place without knocking on several doors. Les was asked to contact Fyne Homes to ask that they put up adequate signage.

c. Just north of the Creggans the road-sweeping machine was doing a left turn to the A815 and missing out the houses opposite the car park. Cllr McNaughton said he would report this omission to A+B.


12. Date of next meeting: 19:30, Wednesday 14th December 2016 at the Strachur Memorial Hall.


Les Earle, Secretary, Strachur District Community Council



Appendix 1






  1. Surgery Funding:



Following the report for the August Community Council meeting, I wrote as chair of the Patient Participation Group to NHS Highland on the 18th August 2016.


On the 23rd August 2016 the letter was acknowledged, but now stating NHS Highland were treating the contents as a ‘Complaint’ but with no explanation as to why it has been moved from a Freedom of Information enquiry. On the 25 August 2016 another letter was sent by NHS Highland asking for 40 workings days to investigate rather than the statutory 20 working days, and that the matter had been passed to a senior manager to investigate.


After discussing these points, on the 10 September 2016 I wrote back stating we thought 40 workings days was an inordinate length of time and secondly, the PPG were concerned about the status of the investigating manager as we did not have confidence in impartiality if the senior manager appointed worked within the former Argyll and Bute CHP. Some are the very people who have failed to deal with this issue since April 2010.


On 22nd September I received a response asking for more time to investigate.


In the meantime, on the 21st September I received a phone call from the manager involved. I do not wish to name this person at present as I do not wish to prejudice the investigation. However, I can assure you that the manager appointed is not a member of the former Argyll and Bute CHP, but is involved as a senior manager (male) within the Health and Social Care Partnership.


I agreed to meet the manager the following day. During the discussion it was very clear that he had not been sent all the relevant correspondence. At the meeting I spent an hour with him. I covered events from our perspective and agreed to meet on the 4th October (He was on annual leave before that).


Ian Asher and I attended. We brought copies of all the correspondence and the evidence file we presented at the patient meeting. We had a very frank discussion. He listened carefully and took notes. He asked for another 15 working days to investigate. We agreed. That will take us to the 25 October 2016.


Today (17/10/16) I spoke to NHS Highland to advise them that we had agreed the 25th October as deadline date, and then we would expect a decision from NHS Highland by the 14 November. The officer concerned will contact me to agree thee timings after she has spoken to the investigating manager.



  1. Health and Social Care Partnership: Integration:


The Integration Joint Board (IJB) met on the 28 September 2016. At the most recent meeting, I raised again the principle area of concern relating to the £1.580m shortfall in the council’s part of the integrated budget. I am not satisfied with the explanations being proffered. I have asked again for more information.

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. The amount of adverse publicity this invoked was not without justification. There was no prior communication and engagement with communities or proper consultation with staff or residents.


At the meeting, Michael Russell, MSP asked the Chairperson of the Integration Joint Board (IJB) to re-consider. A jointly signed letter signed by Cllr Walsh, Michael Russell and Brendan O’Hara our MP was recently sent to the IJB chairperson.This letter is now under review, a temporary hold on implementation is in place and a special meeting of the IJB will be held early November.


  1. Locality Planning Groups (LPG)


Strachur is still not represented on the Cowal Group. A voice is needed and the preferred route is via Community Councils. I have previously expressed a view that locality planning groups were struggling with the new responsibilities and ways of working. In a response at the same public meeting referred to above, a question on the status of LPG’s was asked. The Chief Officer responded that they are not actually in control of decisions. That remains with the IJB. Following that statement, there is now even more confusion as to their purpose and clarity is now being sought as to what ‘locally owned. locally driven and managed’ actually means!


Communications remains very poor. I have re-joined the Cowal Communications Group. It met last week and we have agreed a plan for communicating and engaging with our citizens. We are meeting again on Thursday 20 October 2016 to discuss how we now deal with Struan Lodge and Thomson Court in particular, and how can we recover from the undoubted damage the adverse publicity has caused.


Viv Hamilton. Locality Manager, has now retired. There is no replacement as yet. Interviews are taking place on the 21 October 2016.



  1. Strachur Hub.


The Hub was growing in popularity and was working well. We had a visit from the CEO of Argyll and Bute Council Cleland Sneddon on the 21 September 2016. He had heard about the Hub. Archie attended along with myself and Ian. He has agreed to actually come along to a session at a future date.


We are starting a shorter session as of Tuesday 1st November with exercises and some games. We will see how well that is supported before making it permanent.


We have been successful in obtaining a second year of Improving Care Fund (ICF) funding as of 1 March next year. We will have to ensure we have a plan for sustainability thereafter. That is on our agenda.