Minutes 14 September 2020

Minutes of meeting held on Monday 14th September 2020 on Zoom at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 12/10/2020

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary (MT), Andy Wright (AW), Bill Knott (BK), Buster Crabb, till 8pm (BC)

Apologies: John Denniston, Treasurer (JD), Rob Pope (RP)

Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1 & 2. Welcome & apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright welcomed everyone to this Zoom meeting booked as a two-hour slot to ensure enough time to work through the agenda.

Item 3. Approval of August minutes. The minutes of the August meeting were approved as a true and accurate record. Proposed: Bill Knott, seconded: Andy Wright.

Item 8. Jubilee trees. This item was moved up the agenda to ensure enough time could be given to the discussion as to whether the CC should submit a complaint to the Ombudsman regarding the handling of the CC complaint to Forestry Land Scotland or raise the concerns about the consultation process with the elected representatives (Highland Councillors, MSPs). The case for each action was strongly made by several members highlighting the failure of FLS to engage with the CC and local residents as well as failing to follow its own procedures, as was the position that the CC had negotiated a satisfactory outcome for the local community. After much debate it was agreed that the Secretary would write to the Ombudsman, giving a simple outline of the issues raised and ask if this is something which he/she would take forward. Further discussion can take place once that opinion has been received. MT Action/agenda item.

Item 9. Regular updates. (1) Planning. Consideration of application 20/02659/FUL Meall Buidhe wind farm. This item was also moved up the agenda owing to time considerations. Lengthy and detailed discussion presented the varied opinions of members regarding the development itself, the pros and cons for the area environmentally and financially and the position of the CC as a Statutory Consultee charged with representing the views of the community. Agreement was reached that, as has been the position in the past, the CC must remain neutral at this stage of the Planning procedures in order to represent the wide-ranging views held strongly in the community. BW/MT Action.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Speeding and visibility of signs near Gledfield school. Secretary to request a site meeting with the police. The recent presence of a police speed camera van in two different locations in central Ardgay was noted but nothing near the school or the contentious corner. MT Action. (2) Coire na Cloiche CB funds. An item soliciting community views has been placed in the upcoming edition of the Kyle Chronicle. (3) Update on Bonar straight. To date there have been over seventy emails sent to Highland Council and the police seeking a conclusion to this request by the community to reduce the speed limit on the straight. Attempts have been made to involve various local groups. The Hub gathered approximately one hundred signatures on a petition. No progress has been made and it is felt that the wishes of the community have been ignored. With the proposed development of an organised campervan park at Stonehenge by the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust that organisation should be involved to attempt to seek a satisfactory outcome. BW Action. MT was thanked for her tenacity with her continued efforts on this issue.

Item 5. Chairperson’s report. (BW) Nothing to add.

Item 6. Secretary’s report. (MT) Nothing to add.

Item 7. Treasurer’s report. (JD) JD had compiled the report ahead of the meeting. The 28th August balance at the bank is £44,188.01. This comprises Restricted funds of £43,485.32, CC Admin fund of £562.44, and the Windfarm Admin fund of £140.25. The balances of the Restricted funds are: Beinn nan Oighrean £21,289.61, Coire na Cloiche £19,810.00, Beinn Tharsuinn Community Projects £2,275.83, E.ON Path £73.20, and Toilet caretaking £36.68.  No expenditure noted since 30th July. Income since 30th July: £1,347.00 from CnC. Approved expenditure not yet at bank: £2,000 to KoSDT and £225 to Ardgay Public Hall from BTWF.

Item 9 cont.(2). Climate issues. (BW) This is Climate Week. A list of online events was given. The depressing lack of governments translating talking into action was noted. Discussions with Creich CC and KoSDT regarding future handling of community benefits and the best ways forward to achieve maximum benefit to the wider community. Community benefit payments could continue to be administered by CCs but with options such as community buy-ins being dealt with by the Trust. (3) Windfarms – Meall Buidhe (see above). (4) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. (AW) No update. No meetings in current situation. Congratulations passed to SM for the excellent edition of the Kyle Chronicle just published.

Item 10. Any other competent business. (1) CC received an inquiry from AbilityNet re possibility of offering support in the area – it was suggested they contact KoSDT as they may already be engaged with this support. (original email from 07/09/20). (2) SM raised the subject of when village halls may be reopening for meetings, etc. No knowledge as to what local hall committees are thinking. (3) BK suggested a new invitation to the police to attend CC meetings.

Item 11. Date of future meetings. – AGM. The next meeting will be held on Monday October 12th, following the AGM, no meeting in November then 14th December. 

Item 12. Applications to Beinn Tharsuinn, Beinn nan Oighrean community benefit funds. No applications received.

Meeting closed at 8.30pm

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