Archive for the ‘Minutes’ Category

Minutes, 10 June 2019

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 10th June 2019 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 12/08/2019

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary/Treasurer (MT), Andy Wright (AW),

Apologies: Buster Crabb (BC), Rob Pope (RP)

Also present: Vicky and John Denniston, Lee McNeish (LMN)

Police Scotland: No representative                                    Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright opened the meeting which followed directly after the AGM.

Item 3. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the April meeting were approved as a true and accurate record, proposed: Silvia Muras; seconded: Marion Turner.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Highland Council and Climate change. The CC has asked THC to declare a Climate Emergency. A motion on this subject was carried and a committee is being formed within THC. CC will monitor with interest. A local group, Planet Sutherland, has been set up aiming to spread awareness and action. At the April CC meeting Cllr Currie spoke about THC’s Waste Management plans. It was agreed that the Waste Management Officer should be invited to the next CC meeting. A list of specific questions will be sent to him with the invitation to the August meeting. BW Action. (2) Recycling point. The bins are back in place. (3) Development at Port of Cromarty Firth. No reply as yet from Joanne Sutherland. Fears remain regarding the increase in traffic to and from Ardchronie Quarry though it is understood some of the required stone will be brought in by sea. (4) Bonar straight speed limit. The Hub should be the organisation to push forward the call for the speed reduction. Chair will liaise with Chair at The Hub and will also chase up THC with regard to the promised traffic survey. BW Action. (5) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. No-one reporting back to CC. Secretary will write to MSP Gail Ross asking if any progress is being made. MT Action. (6) Ardgay toilets. The amenity is now open 24/7.

Item 5. Police report. No report received.

Item 6. Chairperson’s report. (BW) BW and MT recently met Richard Gale, Chair of Sutherland County Committee. Discussion covered the CC Review which refers to procedural matters only. Other relevant issues are of transport, funding, website costs, and use of highland.gov email address by CCs to ease financial burden. Poverty Scotland organised a Community Transport meeting which MT and BW attended. The Locality Plan has highlighted the huge and widespread problems. AW and BW also attended a CARES Conference where they encountered many positive and creative ideas coming from many small groups throughout the country. A Health & Wellbeing meeting will be held on June 18th at Tain Royal Academy; BW plans to attend.

Item 7. Secretary’s report. (MT) All relevant correspondence has been circulated.

Item 8. Treasurer’s report. (MT) The 30th May 2019 balance at the bank is £16,434.66 of which £16,413.91 are restricted funds. The CC Admin fund has a balance of -£20.54. The Windfarm Admin fund has a balance of £41.29. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet caretaking £644.70; BTWF Community Projects £1,298.66; Newsletter £1,536.17; BnO £12,763.98; E.ON Path £170.40.

Item 9. Correspondence/matters raised by local residents. (1) Christmas lights. AW will put a piece in the Newsletter appealing for a Christmas Lights group to be set up; both Lairg and Creich have similar groups which seek funding for lights, maintenance, etc. A suggestion was made that local businesses and residences could do their own decorations/lights – perhaps a competition could be held for the best decorated/lit up.

Item10. Regular updates: (1) Planning issues. Nil of note.

(2) Newsletter. Issue 44 will be delivered after 12th June. Editor is in ongoing discussions with KoSDT (see AGM report). She will attend Creich CC’s meeting in June to appraise the members of her plans.

(3) Broadband. Highland Wireless is working in the Strathcarron area.

(4) Windfarms. Sallachy. Next meeting is in August when it is hoped the community benefit agreement will be signed. If the KoSDT enters into the Shared Ownership agreement it may be seen as supporting the planning application and no longer considered neutral. Lairg 2. Another meeting in June. Coire na Cloiche. Commissioning has commenced.

(5) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. LMN explained his role as a researcher conducting an evaluation of the Trust, its effectiveness, and the various projects past, present and future. He has found people in the community are confused about the Trust and its aims. Projects dealing with social isolation and food poverty are being addressed. More, clearer communication is needed between the Trust and the community. There are many fragile people in the area, the elderly in particular but also younger age groups. Major transport issues highlighted. LMN will report to the Trust after three months; the CC should be able to access his report, details of which should be fed back to Scottish Government.

Item 11. Highland Council. No report in KC’s absence.

Item 12. Any other competent business. (1) (MT) Caithness & Sutherland Town Centre Strategy. In Sutherland this applies to Dornoch, Golspie and Brora and is open for consultation. Within the consultation is a reference to National Cycle Route 1 (NCR1). This well-established national cycle route currently comes along the B road behind Tain (the Scotsburn road) and then follows along the firth through Edderton to Ardgay. From there it goes to Culrain, over the viaduct to Invershin, past Falls of Shin to Lairg and then on to The Crask where there is an official marker post.  Local businesses benefit from the many cyclists who follow this route and these cyclists make a significant contribution to the fragile local tourist economy. One of the proposals for Dornoch threatens this. Statements on pages 21 and 22 suggest that NCR1 should be diverted from its current route through the Kyle of Sutherland onto the A9 to go through Dornoch thus cutting out our area. This proposal fails to recognise the damaging effects that taking cyclists from the main NCR1 would have on the communities of Ardgay, Bonar Bridge and others. (For example, we have a bicycle shop/repair shop which gets business from NCR1). There is also the real risk that diverting cyclists off the NCR1 at Tain onto the A9 to go to Dornoch may result in their then following the A9 route to JOG rather than going up through the centre and north west of Sutherland (NCR1).This could only exacerbate the current A9/(NC500) problems.  The Highland Council should not support diminishing the tourist assets of this area in order to support another, already tourist-rich, town. Secretary will highlight this issue to other local CCs and also write to the local Highland Councillors. MT Action. (2) CPR training. SM will liaise with Jason Gardiner, Scottish Fire Service to arrange a short refresher course. (3) Gledfield Primary School Parents group is concerned that the children have had seven different teachers in the last two years and that the current teacher will be leaving at the end of the teaching year, even though the teacher and parents are keen for her to stay. SM will keep the CC informed. SM Action. (3) It was suggested that the Kyle of Sutherland Gala Week should re-consider using a public vote via Facebook for the ‘Gala Queen’ as this does not encourage best online practice. (4) Carbisdale Castle. No recent contact with the CC; no-one aware of the progress or plans though it is good to see that the castle is being restored.

Item 13. Date and time of next meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday 12th August at 7pm in Ardgay Hall.

Item 14. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Beinn Tharsuinn. Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust was awarded £2,000 towards continuing the Keep Active Together/Community Food Stop project, the award conditional on the success of the main funding application. The applicant and BTWF Company Secretary will be advised. MG Action.

Meeting closed 10.10pm.

2018 AGM Minutes

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Minutes of Annual General Meeting held on Monday, 13th August 2018 at 7.00pm in Ardgay Hall

Approved 10/06/2019


Present: Elected members: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Marion Turner, Treasurer (MT), Andy Wright (AW), Rob Pope (RP)

Also present: Highland Councillor Kirsteen Currie (KC), David and Patricia Hannah (DH/PH)

Invited guest: Martin Thomsen, Community Engagement Officer

Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder (MG)

Apologies: Vice Chair Silvia Muras (SM), Buster Crabb (BC)

Items 1/2.  Welcome/Apologies (see above) The Chair opened the meeting and welcomed all present, particularly DH and PH.

Item 3. Minutes of last AGM. The Minutes of the last AGM held on Monday 12th June 2017 were accepted as a true and accurate record.  Proposed: Marion Turner; seconded: Betty Wright.

Item 4. Chairperson’s report. (BW) The report is copied here:

I’d like to give a short summary of the work of the community council during the past year.  It is often a valuable task to take a step back & review what has been achieved, what is still a work in progress & identify those things that seem to turn into an oft- recurring theme.  Although with our excellent newsletter, we do have a good record of our undertakings.

But first, a few thank–yous: to my fellow councillors for all their voluntary efforts, attending meetings, delivering newsletters, and generally being concerned about  & wanting to give something back to their community;  to our treasurer/ secretary Marion who does a great job looking after our money & Leslie who was our secretary until she had to stand down for health reasons,;  to Linda one of our ward Highland councillors who puts in a lot of hours to attend our meetings – often driving through some pretty bad weather; to Silvia for producing our excellent newsletter; to Phil Olson who manages our website; and of course Mary, our marvellous minutes secretary.  This cc really would not function without her.  Also, thanks to members of our community who have raised various issues with us – that is why we are here!

But it’s not all thank-yous.  I must express my personal disappointment with the way all community councils have been treated by The Highland Council.  I feel their actions in cutting our budget by 50% is nothing short of an attack on the most local level of democracy.   Our grant this year from THC is not sufficient to run our cc.  I can only think that THC acted upon a poor understanding of the funds held by various ccs – the bottom line looks very healthy, but the vast majority of the funds we have in our bank a/c are restricted funds that have come from Windfarm community benefits, not to be spent on subsidising THC statutory functions.  We will discuss actual amounts later & also a proposal to reduce the number of times we meet to 6pa – the minimum required under the Highland Council Scheme of Establishment for ccs.  We can only hope that by the time we run out of Admin funds, THC will have realised our dilemma & re-instated our budget for next year.

So, what changes have we seen over the last 12 months?  There has been a huge impact on the centre of Ardgay with the completion of works on the Barn & stage 1 of Drovers square.  Not only has this greatly improved the appearance of the village, but several businesses are housed in the Barn providing much needed job opportunities.  Thanks to KoSDT for all their work on taking this & so many other projects forward on behalf of the local community.

Last summer saw the opening of The Hub which is now providing a variety of activities for children & families, including soft play area, café, youth clubs, gym, yoga classes.  This is an example of a project which brings together the 2 communities of Ardgay & Bonar Bridge.  The 2 villages are separated by a very fast stretch of road.  We were approached by a customer at the Community Food stop (several of the regulars come from Ardgay) asking about the possibility of providing a seat or two by the side of the pavement to make the walk less challenging for those with health or mobility problems.  I am happy to say that we now have permission from THC to install 2 benches & have the money from Beinn Tharsuinn Wind farm community benefit & look forward to their installation over the summer.  We are also pursuing the possibility of a speed restriction along the straight as this would greatly improve the walking experience & help bring the 2 communities closer.

We have addressed several issues around the village.  We are once again organising the caretaking of the toilets in Ardgay – thanks to Silvia & Marion for this & Sheena Shaw for her hard work; the flower tubs were watered by a small number of volunteers last summer – tubs have been removed for renovation & replanting by Jean Richardson & Steve Wilkinson.  The polling station was temporarily moved to Gledfield school, but we are confident that it will be back to Ardgay Hall for the next election.  There are now 2 defibrillators in our area – 1 outside the Hall in Ardgay & the other in the old telephone kiosk in Culrain.  We again had a Xmas tree on the green & arranged for the lights to be on during the day.  A lack of volunteers meant that there were no lights on lampposts as per previous years, but we are hopeful that these will reappear next winter.  The road up Kincardine Hill has been resurfaced & has new extended passing places to make it up to standard for timber extraction lorries – although whether this standard is high enough remains under discussion – I think it highlights the problems we have with our roads & ever-increasing size of lorries.

We continue to communicate with ScotRail & HITRANS about our rail service re timetabling & possible provision of electronic signs at Ardgay & Culrain stations.

Windfarms & Community Benefit:  There has been an amount of activity over the last year.  Braemore WF obtained consent from Scottish government whilst Caplich – with whom we had signed an MOU re shared ownership – was refused.  There is a proposal going to planning from Meall Buidhe renewables for a WF on Croick Estate.  At present, A&DCC administers application to funds from BnO (£2,500 p.a.), Beinn Tharsuinn (£14,500 pa).  We also have 2 reps on SSE Achany & EON Rosehall panel (£130k between 3 ccs = £43k)

As part of our regular meeting, we often invite others to speak on issues of particular concern.  This year we welcomed: Helen Houston, updating us on the many projects of KoSDT; Reps from Muirden Energy re proposed WF at Meall Buidhe; Jason Gardiner from SF&RS – who is also a member of Sutherland Community Partnership.

Although we have not been involved directly in this, there is something we have talked about at every meeting – Broadband.  BT have delivered superfast broadband to Ardgay exchange & KoSDT are now working with a local provider on a scheme to provide wireless broadband to properties who do not benefit from BT’s provision by virtue of being too remote from a green cabinet.

This is a brief summary of some of the issues dealt with by your community councillors over the last 12 months.  There are full accounts of all our projects reported in our quarterly newsletter.  I would once again like to thank Silvia for the excellent job she does; together with all our contributors & those who deliver to all houses in our area.

Item 5. Treasurer’s report (MT). This report is copied here:

The 2017-2018 accounts show that the CC has a balance of £18,202.93 of which £17,892.93 are restricted funds.

Each year the CC is given two grants from THC.

  1. Toilet Caretaking Grant
    This HC grant is given to pay for caretaking the toilet.  A&D CC has been for some years organising the caretaking of the toilet in Ardgay.  In financial year 17-18 THC reduced the grant amount by £100. The balance in the Toilet account is £29.76. Discussions will be sought with THC regarding future arrangements.
  2. Admin Grant
    This grant is intended to cover the costs of running the CC.  In year 17-18, the CC received £896.16 from THC. This was fully spent.

Next year the Admin grant will be halved to £485.03.  The CC is conscious of how tight this budget is and has already reduced meetings to 8 per year.  Next year serious consideration will have to be given as to how the CC can fulfil the requirements of the Highland Council Scheme of Establishment within this severely reduced budget.

The balance in the Admin account is £310.88 which is what remains of windfarm community benefit funding drawn down in previous years and carried forward. The admin of the Beinn Tharsuinn and the Beinn nan Oighrean wind farm funds is paid for from this sum. In future to provide more clarity this will be shown separately as Windfarm admin. This will result in the CC Admin account starting the financial year 18-19 with a nil balance.

The balance of restricted funds is £17,892.05. The bulk of these restricted funds arise from the Beinn nan Oighrean windfarm benefit which is held by the CC for the community and is disbursed to community groups through the CC’s Small Grants Applications.  The balance in the Beinn nan Oighrean account is £11,810.73 The accounts show that in 2017-2018 four BNO awards were made totalling £891.47.  These are reported separately.

Other restricted funds: Toilet Caretaking, £29.76

Beinn Tharsuinn Community Projects Fund, £3178.15

Newsletter EON award + newsletter income, £2,203.01

EON Path fund, £670.40.

Item 6. Report re Beinn Tharsuinn community benefit fund. (RP) Unfortunately due to computer issues there was no printed report available for tonight.

& Beinn nan Oighrean community benefit fund. (MT) Beinn nan Oighrean community benefit is worth £2500 annually. It is disbursed to community groups through the CC’s Small Grants Applications. The maximum award from this fund is £250. Details of the fund and how to apply can be found on the A&D CC website and in the Ardgay & District Community Council Newsletter.

During the year 2017-1018 four awards were made totalling £891.47 The balance in this account is £11810.73

BNO awards made 2017-2018

  • The Hub – Staff development – £250
  • Ardgay Public Hall – Gents toilet refurbishment – £250
  • Invershin Hall – Balance bikes activity for children – £191.47
  • A&D CC – Newsletter art competition – £200

Item 7. Report from Newsletter Editor. (SM) This report is copied here:

This year we have continued growing. We have passed from 32 pages to 36 on the last three editions. We have welcomed new contributors, advertisers and, for the first time, we have subscribers who pay a yearly fee to receive the newsletter on the post. Also, we have consolidated our sale points (Ardgay Store & Cafe and Bonar Bridge Post Office).

In March this year we held our 2nd “Ardgay Newsletter Children’s Art Competition”, with 200 entries. Almost all children from the local Primary Schools participating in the contest and coming along to the exhibition. Thank you to Kirsten Macneil, Lisa Mackenzie, Marion Turner, Vicky Whittock, Doreen Bruce, and everyone else who helped or came to the event.

A very warm thank you to our volunteer distributors: David Hannah, Vicky Whittock, Jeannie Sparling, Anna Sutherland, Iain Worthy, David Ross, David Knight, Rhonwen Copley, Brigitte Geddes, Bob Sendall, Teresa Langley, Marion Turner and Betty Wright. A special thanks to Alan Lawrence, who has now moved South. His route on Strath Oykel is now covered by David Mackay, with assistance from Graham Charge. Thank you both for coming forward as volunteers to distribute our newsletter.

The funding awarded in April 2016 (Beinn Tharsuinn) and December 2016 (E.ON Rosehall) is now into its 3rd year. A new funding application is being put forward to cover these last months of our 3-year project. The revenue from donations, sales and advertisings has been slightly bigger than predicted, which means the grants have gone a longer way. I hope this will encourage our funders to renew their support.

Thank you all for your continued support to the newsletter.

Item 8.  Election of Office Bearers 2017-2018. All members of the Community Council stood down and Councillor Currie took the chair for the purpose of electing the Chair.  KC said how pleased she was to be attending Ardgay CC and chairing the election

Betty Wright was proposed to continue as Chair; proposed: Marion Turner; seconded: Andy Wright.

Silvia Muras was proposed to continue as Vice Chair; proposed: Betty Wright; seconded: Marion Turner.

Marion Turner was proposed to continue as Treasurer; proposed: Andy Wright; seconded: Rob Pope.

Marion Turner was proposed to continue as Secretary; proposed: Andy Wright; seconded: Betty Wright.

Sylvia Muras was proposed to continue as Newsletter Editor; proposed by Betty Wright; agreed by all.

Mary Goulder was proposed to continue as Minutes Secretary; proposed: Betty Wright and agreed.

Two representatives to the SSE/E.ON Achany Panel will be Silvia Muras and Rob Pope.

One representative to KOSDT will be Andy Wright.

One representative to Beinn Tharsuinn Windfarm Company will be Rob Pope. He indicated that he will be unable to attend the next meeting of the company on 18th September.

Item 9. Dates of meetings for 2018-19. Following the THC budget cuts, A&DCC will reduce the number of meetings held to the minimum requirement of six per year, meeting therefore every other month on the second Monday. The next meeting will be in October, followed by December, February, April and June, which will be the AGM. Owing to these date changes the new deadlines for applications to Beinn Tharsuinn and Beinn nan Oighrean windfarm funds will be clearly indicated in future editions of the newsletter. (SM Action)

Item 10. Any other competent business. DH and PH expressed thanks to the CC on behalf of the community for the ongoing work with a special mention for the excellent newsletter which is now being circulated as widely as the USA, New Zealand and Kurdistan.

Item 10. Date and time of next AGM. This will be on 10th June 2019.

Meeting closed at 7.37pm.

Minutes, 08 April 2019

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 8th April 2019 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 10/06/2019

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary/Treasurer (MT), Andy Wright (AW), Rob Pope (RP)

Apologies: Buster Crabb (BC)

Also present: Highland Councillor Kirsteen Currie (KC), David Watson, Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust (DW), Anna Patfield (AP)

Police Scotland: No representative
Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright opened the meeting.

Item 3. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the February meeting were approved as a true and accurate record, proposed: Marion Turner; seconded: Rob Pope.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. Secretary has had a reply from Amanda Ophoff, Forestry Commission Scotland stating that FC had met with estate factor who is to produce a revised plan and meet with local residents to discuss their concerns. A local resident reported that there are no Red Listed bird species nesting on the land at present. (2) Recycling point. THC Waste Manager has indicated that THC will resurface the area and, hopefully by the end of March, replace the bins at the South Bonar Industrial Estate. (3) Development at Port of Cromarty Firth. Secretary will now write to THC Acting Head of Roads, Joanne Sutherland, as no information has been forthcoming following her previous correspondence. (4) Bonar straight speed limit. As in (3) Acting Head of Roads will be contacted. Police and THC will be asked again regarding the speed survey. BW Action. (5) Ardgay toilets. Facility is open for the season, damaged lock and light fixed. THC will provide the consumables and bill CC. SM and MT were thanked for their efforts in getting the facility up and running.

Item 5. Police report. The police report, received by email after the meeting showed one fire call, eleven fixed penalties, one theft, two road safety matters and three domestic incidents.

Item 6. Newsletter. SM was thanked for her updating information on her proposal for a new local magazine. Two more issues of the A&DCC newsletter will be produced after which SM will stand down from the post of Editor. Further thanks and praise were recorded for her work in producing such an excellent publication over the last five years. Talks continue with KoSDT as to how the proposed magazine will come together, content, funding, etc.

Item 7. Chairperson’s report. (BW) Jean Richardson will be asked if she is willing to take on the flower tubs again this season. £100 will be paid by the CC towards the costs for replanting, etc. BW/MT Action.

Item 8. Secretary’s report. (MT) All relevant correspondence has been circulated. (1) Discussion regarding the BnO guidelines agreed to amend to include up to four grants of £250 per year towards training costs. The details will be ratified at the AGM in June. BW/MT Action. (2) Details recently sent by THC regarding CC elections in November will be published in the Newsletter. SM Action. (3) Deadline for CC Scheme Review is 31st May. MT stressed the importance of maintaining the current format for submission of annual accounts and will write to THC. MT Action. (4) Community transport Meeting to be held on 25th April. DW plans to attend if possible; BW may also. Transport is considered the biggest problem facing the area; many issues involved.

Item 8. Treasurer’s report. (MT) The 26th March balance at the bank is £17,227.06 of which £17,088.26 are restricted funds. The CC Admin Fund has a balance of £53.76. The Windfarm Admin Fund has a balance of £85.04. The THC Toilet caretaking grant of £800 for April to August has been received. THC paid £440 in error which has to be repaid.

The balances of the restricted funds are: £1,284.70 Toilet Caretaking (includes the £440 to be repaid); £1,441.53 -BTWF Community Projects; £2,281.25 Newsletter; £12,763.98 – Beinn nan Oighrean; £170.40 – E.ON Path. KC advised that the annual grant for the coming year will be as last year, but the Ward Discretionary Budget will be larger. Treasurer advised that the annual end of year figures will be done following the receipt of the next bank statement.

Item 10. Correspondence/matters raised by local residents. (1) Nil of note.

Item11. Regular updates: (1) Planning issues. Lairg 2 windfarm has submitted a full Planning application; 14 turbines and battery storage area.

(2) Newsletter. See Item 6.

(3) Broadband. Highland Wireless is planning to erect two transmission stations in Strathcarron and hopes to begin taking orders within the next few months.

(4) Windfarms. (1) Sallachy. Discussions continue regarding Community Ownership. KoSDT will assess the MOUs for both Community Benefit and Community Ownership thanks to funding to employ an expert. Next meeting in June. (2) Meall Buidhe, Croick. CC is not necessarily interested at this time in Community Ownership. DW will be given contact information for Angus Elder. BW Action.

(5) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. (DW) AGM was held last week and the annual report is available. The Trust and the community have felt severely the loss of the energy advice service due to lack of continued funding. The Trust is taking steps to improve its method of operating and communicating with the public.

Item 12. Highland Council. (KC) Cllr Currie recently attended the European Summit in Bucharest for the Committee of Regions. The knock-on effect of Brexit in Sutherland is worrying for European nationals living and working here. The Summit provided useful insights into European thinking on what may/may not happen. Scottish Government is working on a Rural Areas Bill. Concerns abound as most jobs are project, not core, funded meaning there are no careers. The rural areas need sustainable jobs. As yet there is no real evidence, other than anecdotal, of the benefit to the area of the NC 500. The issues with poor infrastructure, the quality of the roads, throughout Highland are being felt. There seems to have been no real understanding of the condition of the roads prior to the launch of the route. The number of second homes has greatly reduced those available for locals. KC also reported that THC has agreed to lobby the Scottish Government to build more nuclear reactors in Highland.

Lengthy discussion in Item 12 led into extended talks regarding the climate emergency. CC has produced and will submit a statement asking THC to declare a climate emergency. AP called on the CC to help pull local people/organisations together to brainstorm ideas, promote education, formulate energy saving schemes, etc. KC agreed to support such a plan; DW suggested windfarm companies could be encouraged to use innovative thinking and to invest in smart local energy use. SM will publish an item in the newsletter. AP will write to various local groups suggesting an initial meeting to gauge support and gather ideas/momentum. KC advised that THC have plans for a new waste facility at Longman site in Inverness.  THC said “The Council is proposing that the Materials Recovery Facility proposed at the Longman within the current Planning Application will receive approximately 83,000 tonnes of green bin waste from throughout the Highlands. Recyclable material will be removed from this waste where possible, and the remaining waste material will be transported to Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities in either the Central Belt of Scotland or the North East of England for final disposal..

.. we are investigating building our own Energy from Waste facility at the former Longman landfill site. However, I must emphasise that no decision has been taken on this, and there are a number of issues that will need to be addressed before any decision can be taken.”

Item 13. Any other competent business.  Questions were asked if any progress has been noted with work at Carbisdale Castle and the vague plans for benefits to the community which were proposed following the last change ownership. KC will make some enquiries and report back. KC Action.

Item 14. Date and time of next meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday 10th June at 7pm in Ardgay Hall. This will incorporate the AGM.

Item 14. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Beinn nan Oighrean. At the private session following the main meeting application by Hair at the Barn was approved with an award of £200 towards training costs. CC has revised the rules concerning training costs allowing for up to four awards in any one year. The Ardgay Christmas Party application received funding of £250. Beinn Tharsuinn. £535 was awarded to the Kyle of Sutherland Gala Week towards this year’s event; Ardgay & District Community Council’s Small Projects Fund also receive funding of £2,000. The Kyle of Sutherland Hub awarded £1,000 towards Hub Holiday and After School Clubs. MG/MT Action.

Meeting closed 10pm.

Minutes, 11 February 2019

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 11th February 2019 in Ardgay Public Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 08/04/2019

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary/Treasurer (MT), Andy Wright (AW), Rob Pope (RP)

Apologies: Buster Crabb (BC)

Also present: Highland Councillor Kirsteen Currie (KC), MSP Gail Ross (GR) and 7 members of the public (listed at foot)

Police Scotland: No representative                                    Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright opened the meeting, welcoming everyone to the first meeting in 2019. Thanks were expressed for the award of £200 from THC Ward Discretionary Fund which will allow for this and the next meetings to be held. The CC greatly regrets that funds from this small budget had to be accessed to make up for the loss of funding caused by the cut to the annual grant.

Item 3. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the December meeting were approved as a true and accurate record, proposed: Andy Wright; seconded: Marion Turner.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Secretary has written to Graham MacKenzie, Head of THC Roads Dept, regarding the transport plans for construction traffic during the building of the new pier in Invergordon. Issues with lorry traffic arose the last time stone was being moved from Ardchronie to CFPA on the circular route using the B9176 Struie road and the A836 Tain to Ardgay. There has been no agreement on this. Mr MacKenzie advised that the letter of concern had been passed forward appropriately in the Inverness office but to date there has been no reply to the CC. MT Action. (2) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. In October 2018 representatives from the public attend the CC meeting at which Chris Gordon, Factor, Balnagown Estate, outlined plans for replanting on the hill. Revised plans were issued in December. A public meeting with Forestry officers took place last week which did not resolve any issues concerning land use. Local residents wrote to the CC and their letter of complaint has been forwarded to Nick Richards, THC. No response so far. CC will submit its objections ahead of the deadline, based on the strength of local feeling. Many issues were raised from the floor including the misleading and inaccurate information on the FCS website, the strong opposition locally and from the wider community, inadequate timescale allowances for objections/approvals, lack of communication and clear information, and the process followed by FCS in reaching this stage. GR and KC will enquire. The CC stressed its role of representing all views in the local community and that it supports tree planting in appropriate areas. BW/MT/GR/KC Action. (3) Recycle bins. The road surface within the industrial estate is in very poor condition with many deep potholes. THC has no funds to repair. A local contractor had previously made an offer to one of the businesses at the industrial estate to resurface the area, but this offer was not taken up. CC will enquire if the offer still stands. It is essential that the bins are returned to this area. BW/KC Action. (4) Local Community Plan. This has been circulated. No further comment made. (5) Croick Church maintenance. Mary Stobo, Session Clerk, advised that the Church is in consultation with various bodies seeking assistance to look after the church building. A full survey has been done by an architect, a major refurbishment was carried out in 1980s and maintenance/ painting etc is done on a regular basis. A professional survey is done by the Church of Scotland every ten years. A bow in the roof is not expected to lead to a danger of collapse. Trees are an ongoing issue with a dispute as to whether they belong to the church or THC. The pine trees are now so old they could easily come down in any bad storm; there is no tree protection order in place. The viewing platform for the etched window is rotting and in need of replacement. The local Heritage Society has also offered to help publicise the church which is open every day, an annual communion service is held and a summer service once a month on the second Sunday, May– September. The building enjoys an international interest, is part of the Clearances Trail and part of the Telford Trail, as a testament to the strength of the local people at that time. It should be preserved and maintained as fit for purpose for occasional use. Various ideas are forthcoming to promote the church more widely as a cultural tourism venue. CC applauded the work being done and will support in any way possible. MS was warmly thanked for bringing the matter to the attention of the CC and the public.

Item 5. Police report. The police report was received by email after the meeting along with apologies that duties had made it impossible for an officer to attend. In the last month there were fourteen reported issues: two communication calls, three advice calls, three road traffic matters, two false calls, one fraud, one loud music call, one fire and one sudden death.

Item 6. Chairperson’s report. (BW) BW wished to bring to members’ attention two grass roots environmental organisations taking actions recently. Strike action is being taken every Friday by school children in Lochaber and Ullapool High Schools in an attempt to help highlight the issues of climate change. This action is being taken nationally, highlighting ‘There is no Planet B.’ A Junior Shark Ambassador has been appointed from Ullapool. The CC appreciates the efforts being made, though difficult to support the lost education hour. Another group is ‘Extinction Rebellion’ which has been organising actions throughout the UK to raise awareness of our global emergency due to climate breakdown and biodiversity loss. An agenda item will be listed at the next meeting to discuss the issues further and perhaps ask THC to declare a Climate Emergency. GR advised that the Scottish Government has a Stage 1 debate due with a Transport Bill dealing with emissions legislation. Agenda item. BW Action.

Item 7. Secretary’s report. (MT) All relevant correspondence has been circulated. Electronic information signs are to be installed at Ardgay Station and a Request Stop push-button system will be in place at Culrain Station. Secretary will write to Frank Roach to ask if the fall in passenger numbers at Culrain since 2015/16 is due to the change in the 06.18 train from Wick which no longer stops by request at Culrain. MT Action.

Item 8. Treasurer’s report. (MT) The 25th January balance at the bank is £17,230.31 of which £16,946.75 are restricted funds. The healthier balance in the CC Admin fund is due to a successful application for £200 to the Ward Discretionary Fund giving a balance of £161.02. It is hoped that this may cover CC admin costs for the rest of this financial year. Regret was again expressed at having to apply to this source. The Windfarm Admin Fund has a balance of £122.54. The balances of the restricted funds are: £44.70 -Toilet Caretaking; £1,516.42 -BTWF Community Projects; £2,201.25 Newsletter; £13,013.98 – Beinn nan Oighrean; £170.40 – E.ON Path.

Item 9. Correspondence/matters raised by local residents. (1) A Health & Wellbeing Partnership meeting will be held in Tain Royal Academy on March 28th at 7.30pm. Everyone was encouraged to attend if possible. (2) GR advised she is seeking information regarding Mental Health Service issues in the area. KC confirmed that THC has agreed a motion to be ‘trauma informed’ regarding ‘difficult behaviour’. Better understanding is sought of mental health problems in children from an early age; understanding is an issue in schools believed to be worse, and often hidden, in Sutherland.

(3) A Flood Forum is to be held in Perth, date not yet available.

Item10. Regular updates: (1) Planning issues. CC supported an application for glamping pods at Poplars Farm

(2) Newsletter. The Spring edition of the newsletter will be out for delivery around the 15th of March. The copy date for contributions to this issue is Thursday 21st February. There are still funds to produce a Summer and Autumn edition.

The Editor, SM, has had further talks with David Watson, Kyle of Sutherland Trust Manager and David Knight, from Business Gateway, who are helping to develop a 5-year plan.

The intention of the editor is to create a separate entity, possibly a limited company, which will continue publishing the magazine even in the event of no Community Council being formed in the future. Public funding will be obtained through the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. In this new stage, the newsletter will enlarge its scope to cover Creich CC area, which will allow also for more revenue from advertising.

The Editor wished to reassure Ardgay & District Community councillors and residents stating that the format will be very similar, there will be pages for CC business and, if the CC still wishes to do so, it can obtain copies that can then be distributed for free using the same voluntary distributors. It was agreed to discuss the matter further at the next CC meeting. Agenda item. BW Action.

(3) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. AGM is planned to take place in April, date to be confirmed.

Item 11. Highland Council (KC) Budget discussions taking place this week. Chair expressed the CC wish to be able to return to holding ten meetings per year. This was reduced to eight and is now only six due to lack of funding by THC. There is much concern that without proper funding, the CC may well cease to exist, new people will not be encouraged to stand for election, due this November. Without funding, having no power and, increasingly it seems, little influence Community Councils across the region may well disappear. THC must listen to the CCs which do work and which hope to continue. KC advised that a new THC Chief Executive is now in post.

Item 12. Any other competent business. None raised.

Item 13. Date and time of next meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday 8th April at 7pm in Ardgay Hall.

Item 14. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Beinn nan Oighrean. At the private session following the main meeting application by Culrain & District Hall Committee for £210 towards replacement Christmas lights was ratified. This application had been approved by email decision during the recess period. Application by Ardgay Public Hall received an award of £250 towards the costs of renovation of the fire escape pathway. Secretary will amend the address shown on the form for postal applications. MT Action.

Beinn Tharsuinn. Gearrchoille Community Wood Ardgay applied for £900 to help with running costs for 2019-20. The CC is pleased to continue support for this popular local amenity. All applicants and BTWF Company Secretary will be advised. MG Action.

Meeting closed 9.36pm.

Public attendees re Jubilee Hill issue: Bill Knott, Irene Knott, Helen Pollock, Chris Ladley, Alison MacGregor, Iain MacGregor, Mary Stobo

Minutes, 10 December 2018

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 10th December 2018 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 11/02/2019

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary/Treasurer (MT), Rob Pope (RP), Buster Crabb (BC), Andy Wright (AW)

Invited guest: Alan MacIntyre, Energiekontor (AM), Martin Thomsen, Community Engagement Officer (MTh), Valerie Houston, Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust (VH), David Watson, Trust Manager KoSDT (DH)

Police Scotland: PC 864                       Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Apologies: Highland Councillor Kirsteen Currie (KC)

Items 1/2/6. Welcome/Apologies (as above)/ Police report. Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone. The police report showed thirteen incidents comprising one domestic, one missing person – traced, two assistance to members of the public, one medical death, two public nuisance, two planned shoots/pest control, one alarm and two advice calls. The public were warned against a winter surge in petty crime, also to be aware of computer scams by phone or email which could access confidential information, bank details, etc. The regular drink driving campaign is underway as is usual at this time of year. Chair advised that she will contact Sgt Allan regarding the campaign to introduce a 40mph speed limit on the Ardgay-Bonar Bridge straight. BW Action.

Item 3.  Guest speaker: Alan MacIntyre, Energiekontor. AM began with a brief introduction to the company and its plans for the extension to the Lairg Windfarm. The company started in Bremen in 1990, has built 118 windfarms and currently operates 34. Office in Glasgow, opening one in Edinburgh and possibly one in Inverness. Two years ago, a 24-month bird survey on the proposed Lairg extension site began. The site is owned by Lairg Estate. Meetings with consultees such as MoD, NATS, SNH, etc took place in May of this year. In June presentations were made to Common Grazers, meeting with Highland Council and pre-planning application was submitted. July saw Phase 1 of the peat depth survey. In August meetings took place with various local CCs. The 24-month bird survey finished in September. Public exhibitions were held in Rogart and Lairg. In October the site design was finalised, and a presentation made to Dornoch CC. Further CC presentations/updates are planned in December. Planning application is expected to be submitted in February/March 2019 with more public exhibitions arranged at that time. As well as the bird survey, peat depth, ecology, aviation, noise, and shadow flicker surveys have all been undertaken. The access is planned to be from the Mound on the A9, via Rogart on the A939 to Lairg, then on the A836 to utilise the existing windfarm access via Torroble. Discussions are ongoing with CCs regarding community benefit. The company will offer the maximum of £5,000 per megawatt in line with government guidelines. A shared ownership scheme will also be established allowing local investment. AM will supply further information to be circulated to CCs leading to further discussion in the New Year.

Guest speaker: Martin Thomsen, Community Engagement Officer. As arranged at the CC meeting in August, MTh returned to update the CC regarding the work carried out on the Community Plan. The questionnaire sent out locally saw one hundred and thirty-one responses which identified four key areas of local concern. Transport, work/economy, housing, and digital communications. Workshops held have further noted the transport issues with the distances to key services and the lack of community transport. A liaison group has been set up to look into this. Employment issues highlighted the insufficient job opportunities and the lack of appropriate child care provision as well as there being no job centre within reasonable travelling distance. A need for more affordable housing was identified, also heating costs being too expensive. Care/sheltered housing is required. Internet and mobile provision are too patchy. Under 18s highlighted lack of places to go or how to get to those that are, and poor sports facilities. Over 18s gave jobs and housing as their main concerns. Workshop at the Bradbury Centre threw up issues for the elderly including the need for more policing, NHS drop-in clinics and improved out-of-hours health care, poor service from mobile banking, especially re access and the facility’s capabilities. Tourism – more cycle tracks and water sports were suggested. The Community Plan is available via the KoSDT website and could be useful tool for groups seeking funding. Editor will place an item in the next newsletter. SM Action. Health issues raised are disturbing with a higher than average suicide rate, hospital admissions due to alcohol/drug misuse. The many areas addressed in the Plan all require much further thought and action

Item 4. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the October meeting were approved as a true and accurate record, proposed: Marion Turner; seconded: Silvia Muras.

Item 5. Matters arising. (1) Locality/Community Plan, (see above). (2) Recycle bins. BT Openreach are due to inspect the overhead wire to the HUB to establish if it can be removed to allow the siting of the glass recycling bins in front of the Fire Station. (3) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. CC will have an opportunity to comment in due course. (4) Ardgay/Bonar straight. See Item 6 at start of these Minutes. (5) THC Community Council Review.  All CCs encouraged to complete the questionnaire individually and return to THC. At a recent meeting with Donna Manson, CEO, many CCs within Highland reported similar problems/issues. All have no cash. There is little appetite to accept any further responsibilities; CCs would like THC to listen and be more responsive. (6) Ardgay toilets. Facility now closed for the winter. Recent good meeting with Debbie Sutton, THC; possibility of keeping the toilets open 24 hours next season, assurance received that maintenance will continue, electric hand driers may be installed.

Item 7. Treasurer’s report. (MT) The 26th November balance at the bank it £18,393.87 of which £18,186.26 are restricted funds. The CC Admin fund has a balance of £33.82 and the Windfarm Admin fund a balance of £173.70. This meeting will be the last which can be funded from THC Annual Admin grant. The balances of the restricted funds are: toilet Caretaking £50.31; BTWF – Community Projects £1,516.42; Newsletter£2,955.15; BNO £13,494.98; E.ON Path £170.40. Until further funding is received, future alternate monthly meetings will open and close at 7pm with an empty agenda. This will satisfy the requirement to hold six meetings per year. A closed session will take place to administer the community benefit funds; those discussions will be paid for from the windfarm admin fund. Concerns raised that the difficulties caused by the cut in finances may make it more likely that the CC may fail to form following the next election due in November 2019.

Item 8. Chairperson’s report. (BW) Relevant items covered through the agenda.

Item 9. Secretary’s report. (MT) All correspondence had been circulated by email.  For future meetings if and CC member wishes to raise anything from the correspondence they should flag it up to the Chair before the meeting.

Item 10. Correspondence/Matters raised by local residents. (1) All received emails have been circulated. (2) Winter Maintenance Plan received. (3) Trees at Croick Church. Editor has received a letter of concern regarding the overgrown trees which are damaging both dykes and the structure of the building. Some roof damage was mentioned. Church of Scotland is responsible for the upkeep of the building; THC is responsible for the trees. SM will liaise with the writer, also advise KoSDT as the building is a valuable asset as an historical tourism attraction. Heritage Lottery might be approached for window repair/restoration. SM Action.

Item 11. Regular updates:

(1) Planning. Nothing relevant this month.

(2) Newsletter. Latest edition has 36 pages and includes an E.ON Rosehall newsletter to share distribution which is expected around the 15th December. As the current funding for the newsletter will run out by mid 2019, consideration should be given as to how to take the newsletter forward. (Ghost) agenda item.)

(3) Broadband. Highland Wireless is now connecting customers in Rosehall.

(4) Windfarms. (1) Sallachy. Discussions on target to sign off agreement re community benefit.

(5) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. David Watson, newly appointed as Trust Manager, introduced himself and outlined his priorities for taking the Trust forward. His main aim is to improve the communication between the community and the Trust as he feels that often the community learns about what the Trust is doing but not the reasoning behind decisions. He also hopes to raise more private sector income with sustainable projects which will allow the Trust to work better for the good of the area. He is encouraged by the excellent record of the Trust since its inception and the exceptional projects which have been successful. The two issues which are showing as being the most challenging are child care and transport, both of which will be given due attention in the coming months. CC agreed that two-way communication will be essential in moving forward and welcomed ideas such as a monthly Open Afternoon when the public can call into the office to discuss any/all relevant matters and ideas. Transparency and seeking to remove any mystery are top of the plans.

Item 12. Highland Council. Nothing added to topics already discussed and noted elsewhere in these Minutes.

Item 13. AOCB. (1) It was noted that Marine Scotland is planning an extension with another berth in Invergordon. This will entail thirty-six weeks when trucks will travel between Invergordon and Ardchronie Quarry making fifty-four trips per day carrying stone for the construction. Peak traffic times are to be avoided with loaded trucks using the bottom road to the A9 and returning empty via the Struie. Concerns raised regarding this increase in heavy traffic over the B9176 Struie road where the several bridges already suffer considerably from overuse by heavy vehicles. Secretary will write to Head of Roads Department, THC, Graham MacKenzie and will liaise with other local CCs which will be affected. MT Action.

(2) Flow Country World Heritage Site. SM has been in touch with Joe Perry and has details of the proposals to be put forward in support of this application. (3) Christmas tree. All involved were warmly thanked for the supply and erection of this year’s tree in the village. This became a community event and was enjoyed by all present. There are no plans this year to use the lights which the CC currently has in store.

Item 14. Date of next meeting. The next meeting will be held on Monday 11th February at 7pm in Ardgay Public Hall. As already indicated this meeting will have a strictly limited agenda. On conclusion, any windfarm business, applications, etc will be discussed.

Meeting closed at 9.50pm.

Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean discussion. Following the closure of the main meeting the private session considered three applications. Beinn Tharsuinn – The Friends of the Bradbury Centre application was awarded £500 towards music and alternative therapy sessions. The same awards had been approved by Creich and Lairg CCs subject to match funding from all three local CCs. Phil Tomalin, Company Secretary, and the applicant will be advised that full approval has been granted. MG Action.

Beinn nan Oighrean. Application by Invershin Village Hall for £150 towards running bike maintenance sessions was approved. Application by Gearrchoille Community Wood Association was awarded £120 towards the costs of reprinting information leaflets. MG/MT Action.

Meeting closed at 10pm.