Archive for the ‘Minutes’ Category

Minutes, 13 August 2018

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 13th August 2018 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 8/10/2018

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Marion Turner, Secretary/Treasurer (MT), Rob Pope (RP)

Invited guest: Martin Thomsen, Community Engagement Officer (MTh)

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

Police Scotland: None present – report received by email during meeting              Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

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

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone, especially THC Cllr Currie attending for the first time, DH & PH, then introduced Martin Thomsen.

Item 3.  Guest speaker: Martin Thomsen, Community Engagement Officer. MTh explained he and two others have been in post, based at Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust Office, since December last year working with the Sutherland Community Partnership towards production of the new Ardgay (and other areas) Local Plan. Five areas in Sutherland have been designated as deprived: Golspie, Helmsdale, Brora, Creich and Kinlochbervie. Questionnaires have been sent to all Sutherland with follow up required. Responses from the five areas will feed into all the others. The main issues being identified are Care/Wellbeing, Children, Public Transport, Employment and Fuel Poverty. This information is an asset to KOSDT and will be available to all local groups. Additional areas highlighted are local economy and employment, Internet provision and housing.  Census figures from 2011 show Ardgay and District population as 627. 131 responses were received, approximately 20%. MTh’s team is planning more face-to-face engagement with posters being distributed from 14th August and a workshop to be held in Ardgay Hall on 27th August from 6 – 8.30pm. On the 28th a surgery will be held in the Barn between 12 noon and 8pm with half-hour one-to-one consultations available. Results will be sent to participants. After assessment, conclusions reached will be produced in a final document in October. MTh offered to attend the CC meeting at that time to present the findings. This offer was accepted. MTh to liaise with BW for agenda. Statutory bodies will have no obligations to act on these findings, but the results will be fed to all relevant groups and departments of THC. KC hoped that the new Locality Plan will help to address inequalities and aid better use of resources. AW expressed some concern regarding the methodology of the research/statistics. MTh agreed that this a problem for all service providers. This will provide a representative sample only. The team will try to reach out via the places vulnerable people go, e.g. health centres, chemist, shops, food stop, etc. KC indicated that the results will become a planning tool; it is not a resource tool. Ullapool is good example of Community Empowerment. Local development groups can make good use of this type of information. Chair thanked MTh and this item closed at 8.20pm.

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

Item 5. Matters arising. (1) Ardgay/Bonar straight. Plinths are ready. Benches to be installed with one facing each way. The response is negative so far from THC regarding the imposition of a speed restriction. Head of Roads Dept. Graham MacKenzie to be asked what criteria is used to assess the need. Scottish Government is pushing for healthy lifestyles, more active travel – speed restrictions on this section will encourage people to walk/cycle between the villages. As both communities are raising this concern, pressure will be put back on THC to reconsider. A speed count is to be undertaken by THC but evidence from locals must be taken into account. Chair will write to Graham MacKenzie. BW Action. (2) Defibrillators. The project is complete, and an evaluation report has been sent to the funders. The defibrillator seminar and CPR training session was very successful with twenty members of the public attending. It is hoped to offer refresher courses next year. Seven volunteers are now registered in the Community Heartbeat Trust Governance system to give bi-weekly reports on the Public Access Defibrillators (PADS). The devices are included in the Scottish Ambulance database and are ready to be used by members of the public or the emergency services, if needed.  (3) Plant tubs. Jean Richardson and Steve Wilkinson are working with the tubs, maintaining, planting, etc. A payment of £100 was agreed to cover costs. MT Action.

Item 6. Police report. Received by email during the meeting which mentioned only three incidents: one medical, one domiciliary and one concern for a person. It was unclear if this report referred only to the last month.

Item 7. Chairperson’s report. Discussion regarding how to organise meetings and stay within reduced budget led to the decision to reduce the number of meetings per year to six and to try to limit each to one and a half hours’ duration. Meetings to deal with community benefit will continue to be costed separately. THC is commencing a review of the CC scheme. All members are encouraged to respond individually to all communications, deadline end of September, and to attend any workshops/presentations in the area if possible. CC will write to THC to indicate that the timescale is too short to respond as a CC. This is a large and weighty consultation and the timescale leaves no opportunity for CC discussion. MT Action.

Item 8. Secretary’s report. All relevant email correspondence has been circulated. (1) Secretary has written twice to Debbie Sutton, THC, regarding payment of funding for the running of the Ardgay toilets but with no response. Checking on whether the payment has been received requires visits to the mobile bank within its specified hours, and the time involved in chasing up. Volunteers should not have to do all this. A&DCC has been running the toilets perfectly well for many years, but now have to operate with £100 less in funding and buy the consumables required. The cleaner attends specifically at times to open and close up the facility. None of this works under the Comfort Scheme. Cllr Currie will take back the issues to THC. KC Action.

Item 9. Treasurer’s report. The 24th July 2018 balance at the bank was £16,925.84 of which £16,846.66 are restricted funds. The CC Admin Fund has a balance of £-201.70 and the Windfarm Admin Fund has a balance of £280.88. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet Caretaking: £258.25, BTWF Community Projects: £3,811.22, Newsletter: £1,612.81, BnO: £10,993.98, E.N Path: £170.40.

Item 10. Correspondence/Matters raised by local residents. (1) All received emails have been circulated. (2) Carbisdale trails work day. Volunteers are required for this; the date is yet to be decided. RP expressed local concern regarding signage at the Castle; one indicating a private road and others covering up the speed bumps warning signs. Core Paths must be accessible. Awaiting a reply from Matt Dent. (3) Siting of recycling bins at The Hub. It is understood that the bins will be re-sited. Chair will liaise with Andy Hume, THC Waste Management. BW Action. (3) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. Balnagown Factor is aware of the Core Path and archaeology on the hill. No planning application has been made. Secretary will write to the concerned locals. (4) Dropped kerb opposite Ardgay Stores. KC chased up on this today and the work should be done asap. She will continue to monitor. KC Action. (5) Private water supplies. Private water supplies were failing during the hot weather. A statement was posted on Facebook. The drinking water quality regulator has instructed Scottish Water to provide bowsers or bottled water to properties with private water supplies which have failed due to the hot weather. This will be funded by Scottish Government and co-ordinated by local councils. To access this help, contact the Highland Council Environmental Health service point on 01349 886606, state that you require assistance with your water supply. An officer from Environmental Health will then contact you and take you through the process of accessing the help available. (6) Liz Cormack wishes to install a seat in memory of her husband Sandy, on the bank in front of Oakwood Place. THC has indicated that there is no objection. MT will liaise with Liz prior to next meeting when further discussion will take place. Agenda item. (7) DH attended tonight to advise that he is standing down from several boards – HSCHT, VGES and CAB – after having served as the A&DCC representative for ten years. Chair recorded grateful thanks to DH for his commitment to the community over this time and asked if he would write a short piece for the newsletter. While there is no obligation on the CC to be represented at these organisations it is most beneficial to have this involvement. BW suggested that someone with relevant experience, as DH had, should fill this position, perhaps from KOSDT. SM to be asked to have an item in the newsletter. SM Action. KC reported Highland Third Sector Interface (HTSI) is facing a major redistribution of funding with all administration being centred in Dingwall threatening the continuation of the smaller offices in the area. VGES in Golspie would be greatly missed by many groups and individuals who benefit tremendously from the services provided. PH noted that removal of such support for the community flies in the face of the move towards community empowerment being promoted by Scottish Government.

Item 11. Regular updates:

(1) Planning. (1) Tain 3-18 Campus. Deadline for comments regarding the site is 4th September. CC would support the Craighill site over a cramped TRA site, especially with a campus-style development. The view was reiterated that the campus will disadvantage the local satellite primaries. KC stated that Highlife Highland and THC Transition Team need to work more on this. Concerns have been raised regarding educational quality. The model is working well in Aberdeenshire. Sharing of information and experience is required to ensure a smooth transition for the outlying primaries. (2) Coul Links. This is a controversial issue. Support exists for the development but there is no evidence available as to the strength of that support. A statement was approved and will be submitted to Scottish Government with whom the application currently rests. The text follows:

A&DCC was approached by the developer & asked to add our support to the
development.  We replied that he was welcome to come & address our meeting
to inform local residents of proposed development & this might give an
indication of support, or opposition in our local area.  We received no
response to the invitation & so have not given any opinion on this issue
to date.
Since then there has been a lot of claims in the media & on twitter from
the developers about the ‘overwhelming support of the local community’ for
this development.  We know of no robust data gathering that has occurred in
Ardgay area so we can assume this is mere conjecture.
The proposal to develop has been objected to by RSPB, Buglife, Butterfly
Conservation Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, the Marine Conservation
Society, the National Trust for Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
There have been calls from international bodies for Scotland to protect
its internationally designated conservation areas.
Highland Council north planning committee voted against the advice of its
planning officials to grant planning permission.  The Scottish government
now have the option to call-in the application and make the decision at
Scottish ministerial level.  We would urge them to do so.

(3) Newsletter. Copy date for contributions and adverts is Thursday 23rd August. It is hoped that the August edition will be distributed during week commencing 10th September. As forecasted in April 2016 a funding application to Beinn Tharsuinn Community Benefit Fund is now needed to complete the three-year project.

(4) Broadband. The local project with Highland Wireless is progressing.

(5) Windfarms. (1) Chair signed the updated MOU for the SSE/E.ON Achany Panel. (2) CC is still talking with Sallachy in regard to community benefit. (3) Meall Buidhe, Croick, is expected to hold public meetings in Ardgay, Wednesday 19th September 2.30 – 7.30pm, and Rosehall, Tuesday 18th September 2.30 – 7.30pm. (4)  Coire na Cloiche is nearing completion of construction phase. A cycle and walking route now exists between Struie and Strathrusdale.

(6) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. AW recommended the Trust website for news and blog, press releases, group summaries. Much information available. Helen Houston is retiring at the end of September. The post has been advertised. MT enquired as to the whereabouts of the panels which were briefly in place in Drovers Square. They should be replaced. If not, the framework to house them should be removed.

Item 10. Highland Council. THC Community Council Review is under-way and all members were encouraged to complete individually. The two-month deadline is impossible for many CCs to meet owing to summer recesses. Issuing the survey at the same time is inappropriate showing that THC fails to understand how CCs work. There has been no prior consultation/liaison. The structure of the Review is important, and THC must make it relevant. Moves to amalgamate CCs is totally impractical in many rural areas which cover large geographical regions. KC and MT will each write to Alison Clark, Acting Head of Policy. KC/MT Action. The item to address GDPR will be added to the next agenda. Agenda item.

Item 11. AOCB. None raised.

Item 12.  Date and time of next meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday 8th October 2018 at 7pm in Ardgay Public Hall. Meeting closed at 10.10pm.

Private Session. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. BTWF. Application by Kyle of Development Trust had been approved by email during the summer recess with an award of £1,125 towards Post Office Improvements.  Application by Ardgay & District Community Council Newsletter was approved with an award of £2,000 to complete the three-year project.  BnO. Application by Kyle of Sutherland Gala Week had been approved by email with an award of £241.75 to assist with running two events during this year’s Gala Week.        Meeting closed 10.15pm.

Minutes, 14 May 2018

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 14th May 2018 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 13/08/2018

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

Also present: Highland Councillor Linda Munro (LM), Highland Council Ward Manager Phil Tomalin (PT)

Police Scotland: None present – report received by email                                    Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Apologies: Andy Wright, (AW), Leslie Pope (LP)

Items 1. Welcome/Apologies (as above). Acting Chair Silvia Muras welcomed everyone.

Item 2.  Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the March meeting were approved as a true and accurate record, proposed: Marion Turner; seconded: Betty Wright.

Item 3. Matters arising. (1) Ardgay/Bonar straight. Quote received last week. This has been submitted with application to Beinn Tharsuinn Fund for both Ardgay and Creich CCs. (2) Plant tubs. Meeting held with six volunteers. Tubs have been removed for replanting and return to display. A volunteer came forward to help with Christmas lights later in the year. (3) Defibrillators. Both defibrillators are now installed, in the Ardgay Public Hall and at Culrain phone box. Once registered with Scottish Ambulance they will be fully functional. Weekly checks will be required to maintain efficiency. Scottish Ambulance with Scottish Fire & Rescue Service will hold a seminar on 24th June covering both CPR and defibrillator training. As soon as the equipment is activated a photo shoot with subsequent press release will take place. SM/MT/BW Action. (4) Ardgay toilets. The amenity is open for the season. Thanks due to MT, BW, LM and Debbie Sutton, THC Amenities Officer. New supplies are in place. SM was thanked for sorting out stocks and maintenance. It was agreed to purchase two metal money boxes to allow for donations by users of the toilets with appropriate notices to be displayed indicating that the amenity is community run and needs support to continue. SM Action. (5) Banking services. Complaints to both Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland following attempts to have the mobile banking units stop in Ardgay have both failed to achieve a positive response. No further action is anticipated. (6) Broadband. The recent presentation in Bonar Bridge by Highland Wireless was very positive with orders now being taken for Stage 1 of the roll out. Full details can be found on the Highland Wireless website. It is hoped to commence Stage 2a during the summer with Stage 2b to follow as soon as possible thereafter. (7) Polling station review. CC welcomed the announcement that the polling station will be returned to Ardgay Public Hall for future elections. This is a very good outcome. MT will write with thanks. MT Action. (8) Sutherland Community Partnership Locality Plan.  Ongoing concerns raised regarding the confusion over the status of Ardgay and Creich in locality planning. Locality planning was decided on the basis of data gathered and reported in SIMD and SEPS reports. However, the geographical areas used by SIMD and SEPS are based on data zones which do no split clearly into Ardgay & District and Creich areas. A large part of the Creich Community Council area, from Inveran through Rosehall to the Altncealgach, is in fact in the same data zone as Ardgay. The data zone which includes Ardgay is named Rosehall. This raises concerns about the validity and fairness of the process of locality planning. It is important that these errors are corrected as this data will be used as the base for many future decisions for services, etc. These issues will be discussed at the upcoming pre-meeting on 2nd June and at the following meeting in public on 15th June.. He was asked to ensure that A&DCC is invited via

Item 4. Police report. Received by email this afternoon the report itemises twenty-eight incidents over the past two months, comprising six road traffic offences, five of which were of speeding with one hit and run. The remaining calls were seven for information, one wildlife crime, two lost property, two animals, one concern for person, one fire, two thefts, three assistance, two damage and one alarm activation. Nothing was noted to pass back to the police.

Item 5. Chairperson’s report. BW reported that Tain CC has made comment that it is unhappy about the proposed Tain Academy 3-18 campus proposals. The Parent Council of Gledfield Primary School is represented on the stakeholders group and the CC will leave this matter to the school and the Parent Council’s attention meantime.

Item 6. Secretary’s report. All relevant email correspondence has been circulated. (1) THC head of Roads Dept Graham Mackenzie has responded re the complaint concerning the lack of top-dressing on the new surface of the Kincardine Hill road. The top-dressing will be applied after the appropriate time lapse to allow the new surface to settle. RP asked if ‘Slippery Surface’ signs can be erected to advise of the sometimes dangerous condition meantime. MT will contact John Clark, THC TECS. MT Action. (2) Change to Post Office times. SM will insert a piece in the next newsletter giving details. SM Action. (3) The Road Report will be a topic at the next Sutherland County Committee meeting on 23rd May. She will send a copy to MT when it is available. LM Action. (4) The VG-ES updates will no longer be circulated. Those wishing to remain on the mailing list should advise VG-ES as individuals.

Item 7. Treasurer’s report. The 25th April 2018 balance at the bank stands at £18,223.93 of which £17,970.05 are restricted funds. The Admin/General Fund has £253.88 available to carry out the business of the CC. The balances of restricted funds are: Toilet caretaking – £29.76, BTWF Community Projects – £3, 178.15, Newsletter – £2,291.01, BnO – £11,810.73, E.ON Path Fund – £670.40. The accounts for the year 2017-18 are finished, awaiting the auditor to sign them off ready for presentation at the AGM in June. The THC annual grants/budget cuts remain a contentious issue and will be an agenda item at the AGM. Agenda item/BW Action.

Item 8. Correspondence/Matters raised by local residents. (1) All received emails have been circulated. (2) New signage for the station will be in place soon.

Item 9. Regular updates:

(1) Planning. Nothing requiring discussion.

(2) Newsletter. Next copy date is Wednesday 23rd May. The success of the Children’s Art Exhibition and prize giving event, with both Primary Schools involved and most participants attending will be detailed in the next edition which should be due for distribution around 10th June.

(3) Windfarms. (1) Caplich development has been rejected by Scottish Government. The Wild Land issue was decisive.  (2) Shared ownership schemes. KOSDT is represented on the Scottish Government Community Benefits and Shared Ownership Steering Group. (30 No Ring of Steel (NoROS). Letter will be sent stating the CC’s neutral stance on all matters relating to windfarms. (4) Garvary. Scoping. (5) Sallachy. No confirmation of the time of a proposed meeting was received.

(4) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. Apologies received from AW. He will circulate a report.

Item 10. Highland Council. (1/2) Newly back in place as Ward Manager, Phil Tomalin was welcomed and thanked for attending. On cuts to CC annual grants he stated that East Sutherland Councillors plan to consider cases of hardship will be considered for top-up payment from the Ward Discretionary Budget. LM advised that North West and Central Sutherland Councillors are not in agreement on this. The new grants are agreed as part of the budget; CCs must look at how they administer their business and workload. Six meetings per year are required; ADCC currently meets eight times. Methods of speeding up meetings must be considered. The use of windfarm community benefit is suggested by THC. ADCC already receives an admin grant in this way. LM pointed out that in Ward 1 although six CCs do administer community benefit the remaining five do not. PT stated there are huge variations across the region in the amounts of honorariums paid for secretarial services. BW reminded the meeting that THC is due to review the CC Scheme starting this month. Further discussion of future meeting arrangements/costs to be scheduled for next meeting. Agenda item/BW Action.

Item 11. AOCB. Culrain. RP stated that there is not enough interest in the project for a new community hall in Culrain. The present hall is not fit for purpose, presenting health hazards. The Forest Trust has also closed down. Relevant matters can be directed through the hall committee meantime. There is no updated local information regarding Carbisdale Castle.

Item 12.  Date and time of next meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday 11th June 2018 at 7pm in Ardgay Public Hall. This will commence with the AGM and be followed by the regular monthly meeting. Meeting closed at 8.40pm.

Private Session. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. BTWF. Application by Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust was awarded £2,000 towards the community broadband project; Heart of Sutherland Tourism (HOST) was awarded £1,000 towards website development; Ardgay Public Hall was awarded £1,260 towards heating and signage enhancement; A&DCC was awarded £1,278.60 towards installing seats on the Ardgay/Bonar straight; Kyle of Sutherland Hub Ltd was awarded £750 towards its Children and Youth Activity Programme. BnO. Kyle of Sutherland Cinema Club was awarded £125; Ardgay & Culrain SWI received £250; Ladybird Club £200. E.On Path Fund. £495.37 was awarded to the Gearrchoille Community Wood Ardgay towards path upgrades.

Meeting closed 9.20pm.

Minutes, 12 March 2018

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 12th March 2018 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 14/05/2018

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

Also present: Highland Councillor Linda Munro (LM)

Police Scotland: PC Angus Morrison
Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Apologies: Leslie Pope (LP), Buster Crabb (BC)

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies (as above)/ Police report (Item 5). Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone, then invited the police officer to give his report. This was very brief with the only calls received in the recent period were all weather related. Nothing else of note.

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

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Ardgay/Bonar straight. Prices for seats have been circulated; quotes are awaited for the concrete bases. Nothing new regarding the proposal to amend the speed limit. LM Action. Chair will forward to LM the signatures collected by The Hub in favour of amending the limit. BW Action. (2) Plant tubs. An item is included in the newest edition of the Newsletter encouraging volunteers to take on the setting up and maintenance of the floral displays. A meeting will be held on March 27th at 5pm in Ardgay Hall for all those interested to find out more. If interested but unable to attend volunteers can email BW on or phone 01863 755316. (3) Defibrillators. Funding application to Beinn Tharsuinn submitted. If approved the project is ready to go ahead. The Culrain phone box has been cleaned but not yet repainted. (4). Mobile banks. Royal Bank of Scotland has responded saying there are no plans to include a scheduled stop in Ardgay.

Item 5. Police report. After the departure of PC Morrison, the issue of ‘invisible’ pedestrians was raised. Incidents have occurred with drivers at night only becoming aware of pedestrians or animals at the last minute, owing to the lack of hi-vis clothing/attachments, especially concerning on the many poorly/unlit roads which are often also without pavements. Highlight this matter to the Police; perhaps also in the Newsletter. Police Action/SM Action.

Item 6. Chairperson’s report. All relevant points covered during the meeting.

Item 7. Secretary’s report. All relevant email correspondence has been circulated. (1) Information received via LM that it is hoped that electronic signs may be installed at Ardgay and Culrain stations. Awaiting follow up. LM Action.

Item 8. Treasurer’s report. The 9th February 2018 balance at the bank shows no change from the report last month when the balance was £21,545.77 of which £20,667.04 are restricted funds. The Admin/General Fund has £ 878.73 available to carry out the business of the CC. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet Caretaking – £29.76, BTWF – Community Projects – £5,098.15, Newsletter – £3,013.00, BnO – £11,855.73, EON Path – £670.40. No statement was issued by the bank due to there being no transactions recorded.

Item 9. Correspondence/Matters raised by local residents. (1) All received emails have been circulated. (2) Kincardine Hill road surface. A letter has been received on behalf of residents on Kincardine Hill regarding the resurfacing of the road in preparation for the timber extraction due at Garvary Forest.  The new surface is very smooth and in icy conditions becomes dangerously slippy. During the recent bad weather there have been six accidents and three near-misses, many of which could have been far more serious if traffic had been present on the main road. Local residents have had to grit the road each morning as the gritter has not arrived before most people leave for work. As there are no pavements, the problem makes it impossible for pedestrians to walk on the road. Residents are calling for an urgent review of the surface and have contacted THC accordingly. CC will also write to Graham MacKenzie, Head of Roads Dept seeking urgent action. MT Action.

Item 10. Regular updates:

(1) Planning. No issues raised.

(2) Newsletter. The Spring Edition #39 is now in circulation. Thirty-two pages with the main article announcing the winners of the 2nd Ardgay & District Community Council Newsletter Children’s Art Competition. An exhibition and prize-giving event will be held in Ardgay Public Hall on Wednesday 28th March from 1pm – 3pm. Entry is free and all welcome.

(3) Broadband. Nothing to report this month.

(4) Windfarms. (1) Braemore. Reply from developers states they are not yet ready to discuss possible community benefit. (2) Coriolis proposals at Garvary now at scoping stage.

(6) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. Nil of note.

Item 11. Highland Council. (1) THC Budget Cuts. All CCs registered their feelings of being insulted and undervalued by THC. The sweeping cuts will make it impossible to meet the statutory duties. All members are volunteers with no-one claiming expenses, although they are allowed to do so. The new grant will not cover the CC to run the statutory number of meetings per year. If operating on a reduced number of meetings, many consultation deadlines will not be met nor will the views of the community have a vehicle through which to approach THC. LM explained the cuts to both CC grants and the Ward Discretionary Budget, reduced from £64,000 in 2007 to £15,000 in this budget. Possibly a new model needs to be found. There are eleven community councils in this Ward. If these can work together perhaps change can be brought about. LM is giving the situation urgent consideration and is willing to work with any/all CCs to find a way through these difficult times. Secretary will write to the Ward Manager seeking guidance as to how THC believes the CC can go forward in these circumstances. The removal of funding to run public toilets is also a major issue which LM will fight against. In an area where tourism provides such a high proportion of income it is inconceivable that facilities are to be removed. If any grant is forthcoming for the provision of the public toilets in Ardgay this season it will already be a month late by the time it is received resulting in the late opening of the facility.

Item 12. AOCB. None raised.

Item 13.  Date and time of next meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday 14th May 2018 at 7pm in Ardgay Public Hall. BW/AW submitted apologies. SM to draw up agenda and chair the meeting.SM Action.

Private Session. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Application by Sutherland Agricultural Society was rejected. Application by Gearrchoille Community Wood Association received an award of £900 towards running costs. Application by A&DCC for £1,880 was approved towards the costs of installing two defibrillators locally in Ardgay and Culrain. Applicants and Alex Macmanus will be advised. MG Action.

Meeting closed 8.55pm

Minutes 12 February 2018

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 12th February 2018 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 12th March 2018

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

Police Scotland: PCs Angus Morrison, Steve MacKenzie                  Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Apologies: Highland Councillor Linda Munro (LM), Leslie Pope (LP)

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies (as above) Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone, then invited the police officers to give their report. This was very brief with only one advice call, one fixed penalty road traffic offence, one lost property and one external force entry. There were no matters raised by the CC.

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

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Ardgay/Bonar straight/where to site seats. Two sites identified as satisfactory to provide seating at roughly the third-way points. If possible, seats could be set to face both ways to allow for best views. BW will price seats and concrete base installation and share quotes with CCs. She will also ask Creich CC if they wish to contribute to project costs.BW Action. (2) Defibrillators, Ardgay and Culrain. Discussion with BT now complete and community will go ahead with plans to site defibrillator in Culrain phone box. SM shared quotes with CC and will submit application to Beinn Tharsuinn for project match funding. SM Action. (3) Christmas lights newsletter article. AW will submit an article seeking local opinions and volunteers for next December. AW/MT/BW plan to erect the tree as last time. AW Action. A separate article may be submitted regarding the continuation of providing floral displays. (4) Polling station review. MT made online submission with views of CC.

Item 5. Police report. See above (Item 1).

Item 6. Chairperson’s report. (1) Plant tubs. BW will speak with Jean Richardson regarding possible arrangements for floral displays. BW Action.

Item 7. Secretary’s report. All relevant email correspondence has been circulated. (1) Information received from Zurich Insurance regarding administration changes as the company takes over CC cover. It is understood that payment of the premium will continue to be deducted by THC before payment to CC. (2) It has been reported that street lighting in the parking area at the station are not working. CCs were reminded to advise locals of the facility on THC website to report such faults. A small item to this effect will be placed in the Newsletter. LM/SM Action.

Item 8. Treasurer’s report. (MT) The 3 January 2018 balance at the bank was £21,545.77 of which £20,667.04 are restricted funds. The Admin/General Fund has £ 878.73 available to carry out the business of the CC. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet Caretaking – £29.76, BTWF – Community Projects – £5,098.15, Newsletter – £3,013.00, BnO – £11,855.73, EON Path – £670.40.

Item 9. Correspondence/Matters raised by local residents. (1) Received emails have been circulated. A request to invite RBS and Bank of Scotland for the mobile bank to have a stop in the new square has been put to the banks. The response indicates that the schedules are full and no extra stops can be added at this time. Secretary will write formally to the banks asking that the schedules be reconsidered to allow this stop. MT Action. (2) THC’s draft Core Path review is now open for comments on updates made to the original plan. There have been additions to the path network around Ardgay, including new paths at Glencalvie.

Item 10. Regular updates:

(1) Planning. No issues raised.

(2) Newsletter. (SM) Copy date for next issue is 21st February with distribution expected in the week beginning 12th March. Contributions are already being received and new advertisers are booking. The entries for the A&DCC 2nd Children’s Art Competition have been collected. Winners will be chosen very shortly. Awards will appear in the next edition along with the date of the exhibition. This year the intention is to organise the event on a week day to give the pupils the opportunity to attend as a school activity.

(3) Ardgay Regeneration. A charging point for electric vehicles has been placed in the Square but is not yet operational.

(4) Broadband. BT personnel have been in Culrain with residents being advised that rewiring is to be done to bring faster Broadband to the village.

(5) Windfarms. (1) Braemore. Nothing heard from Braemore regarding community benefit. Chair will write again. BW Action. Croick. Nothing further. Sallachy. Conversations with Creich and Lairg CC are ongoing.

(6) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. At the recent AGM, MT stood down from the Trust. Grateful thanks were given to her for her years of service since the early days of the Trust and her work in helping progress the various exciting projects which have already reached fruition. It was proposed that AW, who is already a Trust director, should take on the role of CC representative as well. With approval of all present, AW accepted.  He then advised that the Trust website has not been kept up to date recently due to staff illness but that a new person is now in post so the site will be updated and maintained. This will help with keeping the public informed of Trust activities. Anyone with questions is encouraged to call into the new office in The Barn at any time.

Item 11. Highland Council. (1) Temporary Ward Manager Garry Cameron is moving to a new position with Phil Tomalin returning to take up the manager’s post. Secretary will send message of thanks to GC for his help and support while covering this job. (2) Cllr McGillivray’s 6% Plan. In response to Cllr McGillivray’s email the CC will write suggesting several items which could qualify for Capital Budget spending. (3) Notice has been received of some of the proposals in THC Budget, to be approved on 15th February which includes the proposed reduction of CC annual grants by 50%. Secretary will write to the three local councillors clearly stating the financial position of the CC, explaining the Restricted Funds and making the case for the outgoing expenses which are incurred simply to keep the CC functioning.  She will also mention the way in which the CC operates the Ardgay public toilets and state how well this system has worked. MT Action all points.

Item 12. Any other competent business. (1) Sutherland Community Partnership. Three people are now based in the offices at The Barn working on locality plans. The CC was not made aware of this and will write to Peter Allan to ask what the remit for this is. MT Action.

Item 13. Date and time of next meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday 12th March 2018 at 7pm in Ardgay Public Hall.

Private Session. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Application by Invergordon Academy for funding to help support a World Challenge Expedition to Nepal was rejected.

Application by the Invershin Hall for a grant of £45 to run further Balance Bike sessions was approved with an award from BnO. Applicants will be advised. MG Action.

Meeting closed 8.55pm

Minutes 11 December 2017

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 11th December 2017 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 12/02/2018

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

Invited guests: Jason Gardiner, Station Manager Sutherland, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (JG)

Also present: Highland Councillor Linda Munro (LM)

Police Scotland: PC Dave Thompson (DT)                  Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Apologies: Buster Crabb (BC), Leslie Pope (LP)

Items 1/2. Welcome/Apologies (as above) Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone and quickly passed the meeting over to Jason Gardiner who was introduced by SM.

Item 3. Jason Gardiner to address the meeting. JG outlined his role as Station Manager for Sutherland covering Bonar Bridge, Lairg, Dornoch, Helmsdale and Durness. This area employs seventy-five retained firefighters across the area. A recruitment drive is currently ongoing in addition to many changes being looked at and implemented in how the Service operates and can best meet the needs of an ever-changing world. The model in place is still based on that instituted in the 1940s although the needs of the public and the demands on the Service have drastically changed in the intervening years. Details of how the transformation of the Service is being considered can be found on the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service website.  A main change is due to the number fires being down 40% on twenty years ago due to safer household appliances, education, smoke detectors etc, with the incidence of road traffic collisions requiring Fire Service assistance also being greatly reduced due to changes in design and safety features in vehicles. The Service is now able to consider other ways of offering support to the community and other public service bodies. All retained fire fighters are highly trained not only in all aspects of firefighting but also in CPR, first aid, use of defibrillators, etc. Often a Fire Service vehicle can reach an emergency call faster than police and ambulance crews can, depending on area and staff available in all the services, and may therefore be able to provide an initial assessment and care. To do this type of work, new equipment is needed with smaller vehicles appropriate to the rural area. The role of the Service is changing and in rural areas in particular it must change to deal with the widely varying types of incident as opposed to those in cities and urban situations. It is hoped to improve staffing resources as the 24/7 needs in the rural areas require a different approach. Sutherland now has two full time paid officers in post and it is hoped to increase that number. JG stressed that he and the local stations are happy to provide full support to the community and the CC in any training events they wish to run, most especially defibrillator, CPR and first aid training. The recruitment challenges are immense with the understanding by the public of what is asked and can be given often misunderstood. For example, stay-at-home mums can slot into the six hours of daytime cover which is often difficult to find. The training does involve being away from home but thereafter being ‘on the spot’ can be an immense advantage to a local station. Flexibility is essential in rural areas but ideally firefighters should live within nine minutes of a station to meet response requirements. Anyone over the age of eighteen is eligible and there is no upper age limit. A reasonable level fitness is acceptable – fire fighters are not ‘super human’. A fear of heights can be an issue if it cannot be overcome. JG is hoping to achieve a level of investment in the local station at Bonar Bridge to provide better facilities, in particular the provision of separate male/female changing facilities. JG appreciates the difficulties faced by small local businesses in employing part-time retained fire fighters as it can be too onerous to allow for a member of a small team to be called away. With regard to the local training for using the defibrillators to be installed in Ardgay and Culrain, JG and SM will work together. Once all fire fighters are trained they will be in a position to spread that training further into the community. He stated the Service will be happy to support one or two CPR training events and to involve local schools and parents. With thanks from the CC, JG left the meeting at 7.40pm.

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

Item 5. Matters arising. (1) Defibrillators. See Item 3. SM will gather quotes for various models for discussion at February meeting. The funding is in place. It was noted that at the onset of recent Storm Caroline, the SSE Resilience listing came into operation with the CC being notified of help and support available. (2) Xmas tree and lights. MT, AW and BW succeeded in erecting the village Christmas tree complete with lights. THC Lighting Dept was most helpful in arranging the connection of the lights which will remain lit throughout the seasonal period. Thanks were expressed for this help and LM will pass on the CC’s appreciation. LM Action. It was agreed that further discussion should take place in the New Year with a view to attempting to establish a Christmas Lights Group to take on responsibility for all the seasonal lighting, assuming there is a demand from the community to have such lights in place. Agenda item. Feb/March. (3) Ardgay/Bonar straight. LM will push again for THC Roads Dept to take on board the serious concerns of the community regarding the speed restrictions on this road section. With The Hub in full swing and children often walking to and from the facility there is no doubt that this stretch should carry a 30mph limit with the rest of the straight having a 40mph. As long as it continues to be a 60mph, drivers will constantly be entering the area outside The Hub at speeds well in excess of 30mph, even if they are gradually slowing down from the derestricted stretch. The community at large is expressing concern over the safety issues around The Hub. The overall safety of pedestrians on the longer stretch is also of concern, as many people walk this, not least those from Bonar who are using the train station in Ardgay and have to walk to and from Bonar. This matter can be taken up with Scottish Government if agreement cannot be reached through THC. BW will forward to LM her letter to THC Road Safety Unit which to date has received no reply. BW Action. (4) Rail issues. Emails today between LM and Hitrans indicate an application has been made for new information signage on the FNL and for the infrastructure to automate stopping services and ‘request stops only’ to help improve service reliability. The project depends on securing match funding from Transport Scotland. Frank Roach is the local contact. LM will monitor this and the CC will write to MSP Gail Ross while also liaising with LM. LM/MT Action.

(5) Polling station review. The deadline for this is 31st January 2018.Secretary will submit the CCs request on behalf of the community to keep the polling station within Ardgay Public Hall. MT Action.

Item 6. Police report. PC Dave Thomson had arrived at 7.15pm during the discussion with Jason Gardiner. This month’s police report noted only five incidents: one community safety, one destruction of a fire arm, one assistance call, one child protection, and one noisy neighbour. The seasonal campaigns regarding drink/drugs driving are underway. DT left the meeting at 7.40pm.

Item 7. Chairperson’s report. (1) Plant tubs. Various ideas put forward to allow for floral displays in the village in the coming year. For further discussion at February meeting. Agenda item. (2) It was agreed to make application to BTWF for £400 to assist with the Administration/secretarial costs incurred by the CC in administering community benefit funds. MT Action.

Item 8. Secretary’s report. All relevant email correspondence has been circulated including the Weekly Planning Lists. Regarding the issue of adopting the Culrain phone box it is understood to be the wish of the community that this should go ahead with the box being used to house the new defibrillator. THC will install the power point. Secretary will advise THC Ward Manager. MT Action.

Item 9. Treasurer’s report. (MT) The 30 November 2017 balance at the bank is £19,537.89 of which £18,784.31 are restricted funds. The Admin/General Fund has £ 753.58 available to carry out the business of the CC. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet Caretaking – £29.76, BTWF – Community Projects – £2,098.15, Newsletter – £3,783.80, BnO – £12,202.20, EON Path – £670.40.

Item 10. Correspondence/Matters raised by local residents. Received emails have been circulated. Nothing to follow up. (Phone box at Culrain – see Item 8.)

Item 11. Sutherland Community Partnership. LM outlined the Scottish Government’s directive for the running of Community Partnerships and the strategic levels of Services involved, i.e. Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, Highland Council, NHS, HIE (and locally added 3rd Sector Volunteer Groups). At the next level are the Area Community Partnerships which include Highland Councillors. Communities are invited to engage via their elected representatives and via the Highland Council website where comments may be fed in ahead of meetings. Questions posed in this way should be addressed at the following meeting, although there is debate about how extra time can be allowed. The meetings are already lengthy. Although is not laid down as a procedure, Chair here does always allow questions from the floor. The process is still at an early stage and ways are being sought to improve the use of time and engagement with communities.

Item 12. Regular updates:

(1) Planning. EE mast at The Craigs BT exchange. No objections. Secretary will submit a positive response. MT Action.

(2) Newsletter. (SM) Issue 38 is expected to be ready for delivery on 12th December. The 32-page Winter 2017-18 edition features a wide range of articles. People have freely contacted the editor for the first time and some of these volunteers have offered to write or send photos to the newsletter regularly. A total of forty-two individuals have participated in the issue, from thirty-one different organisations which indicates the growing popularity of the newsletter with each edition.

(3) Ardgay Regeneration. The Barn is open and occupied. CC recorded a hearty vote of thanks to the Trust for the transforming effect of the Square and the very positive effect on the centre of the village.

(4) Broadband. Highland Wireless is continuing its work towards roll-out of services in the various local straths, hoping to begin signing customers in the first quarter of 2018. Public meetings will be held in Rosehall, Bonar Bridge and Ardgay as soon as it is possible.

(5) Windfarms. (1) A meeting was held recently with representatives of all three local CCs to discuss the proposal to work together on community benefits from all future commercial windfarms within the boundaries of each CC, benefitting all concerned. If an agreement can be reached it is suggested that community benefit payments would be received by a fund management organisation, such as Foundation Scotland, to be managed at a local level by a panel of representatives from each of the three communities. The most obvious vehicle of this would be the ‘Achany’ panel which already operates in this manner on behalf of the three communities for two local developments. As it is always difficult to find panel members for such groups this would negate the need to set up a new panel and could draw on the existing expertise available.  Fine tuning, such as number and length of panel meetings, etc would need to be done. BW will take comments back to the pilot group for discussion. An important advantage of such an arrangement would be that all the communities would speak with one voice in discussions with developers. BW Action.

(6) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. See (3) above. All other projects progressing well.

Item 13. Highland Council. (LM) (1) Councillors are awaiting the papers prior to discussions ahead of the budget in February. (2) THC has announced it is dropping the Dornoch Sports Barn project from the Capital Plan arousing strenuous disapproval from local councillors. This project has already been hit by delays and has taken ten years to reach this stage. Without the THC funding other funding will be lost and the project is in jeopardy. There is no similar facility anywhere near this and the loss of the project will be greatly felt throughout should it fail. (3) LM reminded CCs that THC will pay expenses for CCs attending THC meetings – car sharing is obviously required, payment is per car.

Item 14. Any other competent business. (1) Asked about the recent meeting of the Culrain Hall Committee, RP advised that local opinion approved the demolishing of the old hall which is unfit for purpose and replacing it with a new smaller hall which could be extended at a later time if required. A committee with three trustees is in place. It has been established that the land was gifted to the community. A meeting to begin the process will be held in the New Year. (2) BW raised the issue of the number of THC services which now require online access, e.g. registering for THC pension for retired employees. In an area with almost non-existent Internet this is nigh on impossible for many and for a large number of elderly residents who do not use computers, the system is totally unworkable. BW will discuss further with LM. BW/LM Action.

Item 15. Date and time of next meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday 12th February 2018 at 7pm in Ardgay Public Hall.

Private Session. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards.

Application by the Ardgay & District Community Council Newsletter received an award of £200 from BnO towards the running of the 2nd Children’s Art Competition in 2018.

Meeting closed 10.05pm.