Posts Tagged ‘Minutes’

Minutes 10th February 2020

Monday, March 9th, 2020

Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 10th February 2020 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 09/03/2020

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary (MT), John Denniston, Treasurer (JD), Rob Pope (RP), Andy Wright (AW), Bill Knott (BK)

Apologies: Highland Councillor Kirsteen Currie (KC), Brookfield Renewables

Also present: Anna Patfield, Planet Sutherland

Police Scotland: Report received by email                                                                    Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1/2/3. Welcome/Apologies. As above – due to weather conditions. Presentation. Brookfield Renewables will be advised of the dates of the next two meetings to rearrange attendance. Chair Betty Wright opened the first meeting of the year and since the tragic accident on the Ardgay straight. A short period of silence was observed in memory of Rhona MacFarlane. The thoughts and condolences of the CC for the extended family were recorded. BK expressed thanks from the family for the unbelievable support from the community, which continues even now.

Item 4. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the December meeting were approved by Rob Pope seconded by Marion Turner.

Item 5. Matters arising. (1) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. Amanda Ophof of Scottish Forestry has been in touch with MT. Although she had nothing to send yet to the CC, she confirmed that Forestry Scotland has met the Estate factor and understands that a regeneration scheme is planned, not a planting one, with fencing along the back of the site. Amanda Ophof hopes to have an update for the next CC meeting. BK has a copy of the Nick Richards’ map and if the new plans are in keeping with that then it is likely things could move forward. CC agreed that it is important that new plans are presented to the community promptly, especially with regard to previously agreed boundaries. (2) Strathy Ward, Migdale Hospital. It is understood that the ward has reopened although no-one has heard more regarding staffing issues.

Item 6. (1) Discussion regarding the campaign to reduce the speed limit on the Ardgay straight. CC has been attempting to progress this with THC but with little or no response over the last six months. A speed survey was promised but no-one aware if it took place or if there were any results if so. There are many factors indicating that the current derestricted stretch is dangerous with concerns raised by The Hub and many local residents. BK stressed that the police investigation into the recent accident is ongoing, but that speed has not been mentioned as a major factor. He requested on behalf of the bereaved family that their names are not used as leverage in any campaign. Chair will contact Cllr Currie and Joanna Sutherland, Head of THC Roads, again outlining the many dangers seeking urgent responses and requesting a meeting on site. The Police, local Councillors, Gail Ross, MSP and Jamie Stone, MP will be copied into correspondence. BW Action.

Item 7. Police report. MT will enquire if there is any follow up information regarding points raised at the December meeting. Report included two lost dogs, two disturbances, one fatal RTC, one suspect person, one abandoned vehicle and one other RTC.  Once again speeding issues, especially pick-ups on the approach to the school with obstruction problems being caused by roadside parking. MT Action. (2) Dog fouling on the roadside route from Ardgay to Gledfield Primary School. Recently 89 incidents of fouling were counted along this route which is used by children as a route to school. Signs will be considered as reminders of the offence and fine. THC Dog Warden will be advised. SM will ask the Head Teacher if the children might choose to submit a short article on the subject for the Kyle Chronicle. Pink paint will be used to highlight areas where dog fouling is evident. SM/BW Action.

Item 8. Chairperson’s report. (BW) (1) Arrangements for CC items for Kyle Chronicle. SM advised that CC should submit a piece covering matters of interest from CC meetings since the previous edition. The Chronicle is not a replacement for the Newsletter, but extra space may be made available when there are matters of specific importance. Copy date for next issue is 21st February. BW Action. (2) CC representation. RP and SM will continue as the CC reps to the SSE Achany and Rosehall Windfarm Panel with David Hannah and Catriona Hill the current community representatives. RP continues as rep to the BTWF board and AW the rep on the KoSDT board. He will advise the CC when the Trust AGM date is agreed. AW Action. (3) Xmas lights have now been taken down and stored. Around half of the lights need to be replaced at an expected cost of around £300-£500. As in Bonar Bridge and Lairg a Christmas Lights group should be established. It could seek funding for improvements, upkeep and storage as well as organising the erection and removal of the lights each year. (4) The electronic display boards at Ardgay station are not always functioning. ScotRail has a messenger alert on Facebook where regular users can sign up via ScotRail website to receive messages if their train is delayed. Possible item for Kyle Chronicle. BW/SM Action.

Item 9. Secretary’s report. (MT) (1) All relevant correspondence has been circulated. (2) Report from Gala Week indicated there was £25 unused from their recent grant award. It was agreed that the group should retain the sum and use towards the next project. (3) THC has announced a consultation period regarding the possible introduction of car parking charges though no communication has been received by the CC. KC to be asked when the CC will be consulted. The CC does not meet again till 9th March and is unlikely to have enough time to discuss the issue. MT Action. It was suggested that the cost analysis report for the proposal should be circulated to CCs for evaluation. (4) Ardgay toilets. CC agreed to lobby HCs and the Ward Manager regarding the continuation of the comfort scheme. The facility, although in desperate need of refurbishment, is well used and appreciated by the public, evidenced by the donations received towards supplies and maintenance.  The CC encourages THC to continue the arrangements which have worked well in the past. MT Action. BK enquired about the possibility of community ownership of the toilets, perhaps with a much-upgraded facility. AW agreed to raise ideas at the next meeting of KoSDT. AW Action.

Item 10. Treasurer’s report. (JD) (1) The 20th January balance at the bank is £ 21,464.93 of which £ 20,829.22 are restricted funds. The CC Admin fund has a balance of £348.41 The Windfarm Admin fund has a balance of £287.30.

The CC Admin fund was granted £330 top-up from the Ward Discretionary Fund. The Toilet Fund finished the season with a balance of £36.68. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet Caretaking £36.68; BTWF Community Projects  £2,410.03; BNO £ 18,212.11; EON Path  £170.40.  (2) Scottish Ambulance advised that spare pads were required for the defibrillator following a recent incident. Treasurer has paid the cost of £154.20 charged. (3) Core Paths Officer Matt Dent has requested more stones for the Oakwood path. Agreed that funds can be taken from the E.ON Path Fund. BW Action. (4) Invoices for secretarial services will be submitted to the Treasurer, copied to after which the Treasurer will arrange BACS transfers for payment.

Item 11. Correspondence/matters raised by local residents. Covered throughout meeting.

Item12. Regular updates: (1) Planning issues. RP recorded thanks from Culrain Hall committee for the CCs assistance with a recent planning application which resulted in a substantial saving for the committee.

(2) Climate issues. (AP) Happy that Planet Sutherland will have a regular slot on the standing CC agenda. She thanked the CC for funding for the apple tree planting project which has completed with all trees allocated and planted, giving rise to an excellent social event which also helped to raise the profile of Planet Sutherland. The group is now considering several ideas for its next phase of action. A newsletter has been published; a small sub-committee will be formed to review progress so far and consider future stages. Planet Sutherland is working with KoSDT and Lairg Learning Centre to promote an area meeting, a business survey is in progress, work towards changing of land use across Scotland is ongoing. RP proposed the setting up of moss benches where tree planting is not possible. AP agreed to provide regular updates to the CC. AP was asked to consider taking Associate Member of the CC status and will consider it once the group has become formally constituted. (3) Broadband. Highland Wireless, pressing forward in its efforts to bring the service to Strathcarron, hopes to have transmission stations established with the next few weeks. (4) Windfarms. Update from WKN Sallachy in December indicated a possible public exhibition in near future. The development opens opportunities for a community buy-in as well as community benefit payments.  (5) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. AW advised that work is being carried out on the website upgrade.

Item 13. Highland Council. (1) KC had offered to be available on Skype during the meeting, but this was not felt appropriate by the CC. (2) Restriction of vehicles at recycling centres. While appreciating that the system is open to abuse by businesses, many rural residents make use of larger trailers and should not be discriminated against. There are only three transfer stations in Sutherland making this impractical for use by locals. Charges/being turned away from the local skips will inevitably lead to an increase in fly-tipping, causing extra expense to THC to remove, as well as degrading the countryside. Chair will write to THC Waste Management. BW Action. (2) Pollution on Academy Street, Inverness. The fourth most polluted street in Scotland according to a study by Friends f the Earth Scotland. THC is considering introducing more electric buses. (3) Update on plans for dealing with Climate Emergency. Old, outdated information on the Climate Change website.

Item 14. Any other business. Following on from item at December meeting, BK enquired if Community Councillors or other local residents could comment individually on planning applications – for example if the CC was to remain neutral on an application for windfarm development, would individuals still have the right to submit their own comments, either in support or opposition. BW stated that individuals are free to express their own opinions to the planning authority. Individuals within the CC must always make clear when stating their personal views that these are not the opinion of the CC. The situation regarding the Forestry application would appear to be different as individuals were not invited to submit their views. Instead the only formal route to objection was via the CC and subsequently via THC Forestry Officer.

Item 15. Dates for future meetings. The next meeting will be held on 9th March, with the AGM held on May 11th. All meetings will be held in the Ardgay Public Hall starting at 7pm. It was noted that the dates on the CC website are incorrect and will be amended. MT Action. Dates of meetings later in the year will be set at the AGM.

Item 16. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Beinn Tharsuinn. Application by Gearrchoille Community Woodland was approved with an award of £900 towards running cost. Beinn nan Oighrean. Application by Kyle of Sutherland Rainbow, Brownie and Guides for £250 towards new flags and flagpoles was approved. Applicants and Phil Tomalin, Company Secretary, BTWF will be advised.

Meeting closed 9.35pm.

Minutes, 09 December 2019

Monday, February 10th, 2020

Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 9th December 2019 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 10/02/2020

Present: Betty Wright, Chair (BW), Silvia Muras, Vice Chair (SM), Marion Turner, Secretary (MT), John Denniston, Treasurer (JD), Rob Pope (RP), Andy Wright (AW), Buster Crabb (BC), Bill Knott (BK)

Apologies: None

Also present: Highland Councillor Kirsteen Currie (KC), Members of the public (list at end of Minutes), Gail Robertson and Amanda Ophof from Scottish Forestry

Police Scotland: No representative – report received by email during meeting            Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1. Introductions. Councillor Currie opened the inaugural meeting of the CC with congratulations to all members, both returning and newly elected.

Item 2. Election of Chair. KC called for nominations for Chair. Betty Wright was nominated by Andy Wright, seconded by Marion Turner. BW accepted and, after welcoming new members JD and BK, continued to the rest of the agenda.

Item 3. Election of office bearers. Vice Chair: Silvia Muras, proposed John Denniston, seconded Marion Turner.

Secretary: Marion Turner, proposed by Betty Wright, seconded by Andy Wright. MT accepted though with the proviso that during this four-year term someone else shadows her prior to a handover in due course. Treasurer: John Denniston, proposed by Silvia Muras, seconded by Bill Knott. JD accepted with MT agreeing to work with JD during a handover period. Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder, proposed by Betty Wright, seconded by Marion Turner. It was agreed that the procedure for circulation of Minutes remains as before. Draft minutes are reviewed by BW and MT then circulated to all CC members, Highland Councillors, THC Ward Manager, Police Scotland, KoSDT Manager, Creich and Lairg CCs. A summary is submitted to the Northern Times Editor. Subsequently the draft Minutes are approved at the next meeting.

Item 4. Adoption of Constitution and Standing Orders. These were adopted, agreed by all present.

Item 5. Outstanding issues from outgoing Community Council. At this point the meeting moved on to the agenda prepared for the regular monthly meeting.

Item 1/2. Welcome/Apologies. As above.

Item 3. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the October meeting were approved by Betty Wright, seconded by Rob Pope.

Item 4. Matters arising. (1) Ardgay toilets. The facility is now closed for the winter. There is a balance in this fund of £86.68. It was agreed that a bonus of £50 be given to the caretaker with thanks for the work during the summer season. MT Action. A previous indication by Donna Manson, C.E.O. THC, intimated that there could be monies available in the coming year from a Tourist Infrastructure Fund. Although obviously appreciated by the public, the present facility is very worn and in need of refurbishment. Cllr Currie will keep CC informed of any THC decisions. KC Action. (2) Statement from the Chair. How does a CC discuss things? There would appear to be some confusion about how CCs discuss items and reach a consensus about what actions/ opinions to hold and present to various bodies that we interact with. CCllrs are representatives of their community and not delegates.  When we discuss an issue, we seek views of the community – by inviting them along to our meetings, via newsletter (we will continue to have pages in Kyle Chronicle), Facebook or through discussions as part of our daily lives. The role of the chairperson in these discussions is to ensure that everyone – outside speakers/ developers / members of the public – has a chance to express their views, including personal opinions of councillors and also the chairperson.  It is not a debating society where the chairperson retains a neutral stance. When the CC has considered all representations and reached a conclusion about an issue this becomes the considered opinion of the CC and is what will be communicated to others as appropriate.  It does not mean that any CCllrs, or indeed members of the public have to adopt this as their personal opinion, and they are still free to speak in a personal capacity.  What would be considered to be a breach of CC conduct would be if an individual expressed a contrary opinion as if it were the position of the CC.  When a decision is arrived at, usually by consensus, an individual C Cllr can request that their opposition to such a decision be recorded.  If a proposal from a developer is opposed by the CC and a revised proposal is subsequently submitted, the CC will treat this as a fresh proposal and the process repeated – i.e. when there is a revised proposal, there will be no ‘official’ CC position on the matter until the matter has been discussed.  We are all volunteers on the CC and do our best to carry out CC duties alongside our other work, activities or interests.  We do not have our letters scrutinised by lawyers – no doubt it would be possible to find loopholes in them on doing so. This statement was endorsed by CCs present. (3) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. BK advised that he took the views of the community to THC Chief Forestry Officer, Nick Richards, and a compromise solution was discussed. As yet Balnagown Estate has not seen/commented on the proposal. Several residents on the hill explained their objections to the planting plans, noting that the Estate is not addressing the concerns which include the historical/cultural aspects of the land, important loss of light issues in many of the residences, loss of views both from and towards the hill, the nature of native regeneration and species of trees planted, fencing/access. In summary, the residents present wished to continue with their objection; signatures from residents aged from 16 – 90 years have been collected. Secretary will write to THC stating that the CC wishes to make the holding objection a full objection. Once an initial agreement is reached further talks can be held. BK will supply background information to Gail Robertson. MT/BK Action.

Item 11. Highland Council. (KC) As Cllr Currie had to leave to attend another meeting this item was brought forward.

Her report covered nine items which included being the opening speaker at the European Parliament’ Week of Regions and Cities regarding the impact of Brexit in this area and the role of young people in local democracy, fighting for better wages and conditions for ASN staff, the future of the mobile library service and the inadequate current arrangement, 1140 hours roll out for which no plans appear to be in place, inaccurate visitor figures published by NC500 and the need to create a serious plan to improve tourism, housing issues locally caused in part by the failure of Universal Credit, and convergence funding, paid to difficult to farm areas, which is not being appropriately distributed. CCs commented that proper research should be done into the needs of tourists and locals, real figures produced, facilities maintained/improved, waste disposal facilities for use by motor home users must be widely available, infrastructure improved. KC was asked if THC was acting on the big issue of recycling farm plastic waste. KC has information she will forward to AP though there is no action at present. Other points raised by CCs were the lack of contracts for teachers and a request to learn what action THC is taking having declared a climate emergency. KC will report back. KC Action.

Item 5. Police report. The report noted two road traffic incidents, one domestic, two lost dogs, one concern for person, and one threat. No further information given.

Item 6. Chairperson’s report. (BW) Covered elsewhere in the meeting.

Item 7. Secretary’s report. (MT) (1) All relevant correspondence has been circulated. (2) MT will contact the Police again regarding speeding, especially around the school. Initial response indicated that matter was being passed ‘higher up’ but no further contact has been received. MT Action.

Item 8. Treasurer’s report. (MT) The 12 November 2019 balance at the bank is £ 21,317.10 of which £ 20,878.09 are restricted funds. The CC Admin fund has a balance of £119.81 The Windfarm Admin fund has a balance of £319.20.

Toilet fund has finished the season with a balance of £86.68. A&D CC newsletter fund closed with a zero balance after a transfer of £238.76 was paid from the Beinn Tharsuinn Projects fund. A backdated payment of £3698.13 to the BNO fund has been received in respect of annual RPI payments. The balances of the restricted funds are: Toilet Caretaking  £ 86.68, BTWF Community Projects  £2,408.90, Newsletter  £ 00.00, BNO £ 18,212.11, EON Path  £170.40.

Item 9. Correspondence/matters raised by local residents. Thanks were expressed from the CC to all who worked on erecting the Christmas tree and lights recently and to Jamie Macrae who arranged the SSE volunteer day and brought along a mewp to help put up the lamppost lights.

Item10. Regular updates: (1) Planning issues. None raised.

(2) Broadband. Feedback from the community about Highland Wireless broadband is very positive. Secretary will write to Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust to see if there is anything the CC can do to help further the rollout of the Highland Wireless broadband in Strathcarron district. Residents are utilising provision by EE while others have access to Highland Wireless. AW will also raise the matter at the next KoSDT meeting. MT/AW Action.

(3) Windfarms. Currently proposed in the surrounding area include Sallachy, Braelangwell, Garvary, Meall Buidhe, Beinn Tharsuinn, Glen Cassley, Lairg 11, Coire na Cloiche, Beinn nan Oighrean, Strathrory. Braemore has been consented but there appear to be no plans for construction at present.

AP attended the meeting to express her personal concerns regarding the proliferation of proposals for windfarm developments in and around the local area and throughout Scotland. She fears that the country is being turned into a ‘windfarm park’. Such large-scale development brings some advantages but the majority of the benefits, financial or otherwise, go to landowners and multinational companies. While AP wholeheartedly supports renewable energy there seems to be little respect for the land, the countryside and the people. In line with the statement earlier, the Chair re-iterated that it is the duty of the CC to reflect community opinions and assess potential benefits when asked to comment as Statutory Consultees. It was also noted that the community benefit funds received have been put to good use in delivering many projects in the local area and that future funds could be used to address such issues as fuel poverty and community transport. The possibilities of developing a Smart Local Energy grid are being actively pursued with potential developers. This is a divisive issue; locally there is much debate with opposing opinions. The CC has to date taken a neutral stance when commenting but also has the responsibility of negotiating and administering community benefit to the best advantage of all. This was a lengthy discussion and AP expressed her thanks to the CC for the opportunity. It was noted that the Braelangwell developers will be holding public exhibitions on 29th January in Ardgay And Rosehall on 30th January 2020.

Item 12. Any other competent business. (1) AW advised that a report by the Trust Manager at KoSDT will be forwarded to CCs. AW commended the Trust for keeping the KAT and Community Café  running whilst awaiting news of continuing funding from Scottish Government. (2) Concerns expressed regarding the closure of the Strathy Ward at Migdale Hospital with questions asked as to whether the recent recruitment advertising had led to any improvement in staffing levels. It was also suggested that if the ward cannot be run as a Mental Health unit owing to lack of specialised staff it should be open for general nursing and care. BK commented that the current state of affairs requiring food banks, NHS closures, etc is and indictment of society which must be addressed both locally and nationally. (3) A report following AW and BW’s attendance at a recent Climate Emergency Conference will be available at the next meeting. (4) The CC will apply for the additional funding recently made available by THC Councillors. MT Action.

Item 13. Dates for future meetings. The next meeting will be held on 10th February, followed by 9th March with the AGM held on May 11th. All meetings will be held in the Ardgay Public Hall starting at 7pm.

Item 15. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Beinn Tharsuinn. There were no applications to discuss.

Members of the public attending: Anna Patfield (AP), Mary Stobo, Helen Pollock, Chris Ladley.

Meeting closed 9.45pm.

Minutes, 14 October 2019

Monday, December 9th, 2019

Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 14TH October 2019 in Ardgay Hall at 7.00pm

Minutes approved 09/12/2019

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

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

Invited guest: Sam McMillan (SMc) and James Baird (JB) Coriolis Energy

Also present: Teresa Langley (TL), John Denniston (JD)

Police Scotland: No representative – report received by email during meeting            Minutes Secretary: Mary Goulder

Items 1/3. Welcome/Apologies (as above). Chair Betty Wright opened the meeting. She advised that THC has extended the deadline for CC nomination submissions to the 29th October with a new election date (if required) of 4th December.

Item 2. Presentation/Q&A by Coriolis Energy re proposed Garvary windfarm. SMc gave the background information for the company which is based in Glasgow, currently is a partner of ESB on wind farm projects and has delivered fifteen windfarms around the UK. Brief background for ESB was also given. Met mast has been on the proposed site since 2016 which has been scoped for 45 turbines, maximum tip height of up to 180m. CCs expressed the views that the narrative regarding appropriate use of community benefit has to change to bring more positive connections for local people. Suggestions ranged from cheaper electricity schemes to the provision of a local electric bus fleet to deal with the lack of local public transport. A new and innovative approach is required. SMc and JB left at 7.50pm.

Item 4. Minutes of last meeting. The minutes of the June meeting were approved by Betty Wright, seconded by Rob Pope; August meeting proposed by Rob Pope, seconded Marion Turner.

Item 5. Matters arising. (1) National Cycle Route 1. THC has agreed to remove the contentious references from the Dornoch Town Centre Plan. (2) Bonar straight speed limit. Further letter to THC has received no reply. Feeling is that residents need to push for the change. (3) Waste management. The Scottish Government deadline to cease using landfill has been put back as alternative plans are not yet in place. (4) Christmas lights. Date set to put up lights – week beginning 18th November. Cherry picker will be required. Three volunteers so far, more welcome. A separate date will be agreed to erect the tree. This can be made a village event; volunteers encouraged for this too. (5) Tree planting on Jubilee Hill. Forestry Scotland meeting with residents on 25th October at 10am in Ardgay Public Hall. CC will be represented.

Item 6. Police report. The report noted twenty-eight incidents in the previous month including eleven planned shoots, one external agency request, two personal alarms, one child protection, one road traffic matter, three assist members of the public, one animal call, four road traffic collisions, two concern for persons, one damage call and one other crime. CC asked for more detail regarding the planned shoots. Secretary will enquire. MT Action.

Item 7. Chairperson’s report. (BW) (1) The Community Day held at The Hub recently was well-attended. Fire Service gave a demonstration. (2) MT/SM met THC Chief Executive Donna Manson for a one-hour discussion which covered funding and budget cuts.

Item 8. Secretary’s report. (MT) (1) All relevant correspondence has been circulated. (2) MT has cleared the archive cupboard, completed by the end of September. Much of the content will be disposed of by arrangement with THC at Drummuie with significant documents retained including the last four years of accounts and minutes. Each consecutive CC (four-year term of office) should update as appropriate. Some documents concerning local history will be offered to the History Society. Decision on old computer and unused laptop deferred to next meeting. MT Action.

Item 9. Treasurer’s report. (MT) The 27 September balance at the bank is £18,618.95 of which £18,077.89 are restricted funds. The CC admin fund has a balance of £189.77. The Windfarm admin fund has a balance of £351.29. The Toilet fund should break even. Final accounting for the A&DCC Newsletter will be done when outstanding payment and receipts due for November have been processed. The balances of the restricted fund are: Toilet caretaking £442.08, BTWF Community Projects £2,898.66, Newsletter £-197.23, BnO £14,763.98, EON Path £170.40. Matt Dent has submitted a request to order materials from the E.ON Path Fund. Chair will liaise. BW Action.

Item 10. Correspondence/matters raised by local residents. (1) TL raised the issue of traffic speeding through the junction in mid-Gledfield, especially when exiting from the Gledfield/Dounie road. Speeds of 50-60 are estimated in this 30mph restricted area. Traffic issues will be passed to Police. MT Action.

Item11. Regular updates: (1) Planning issues. Temporary Met mast at Beinn Tharsuinn windfarm. MT Action.

(2) Broadband. No update from Highland Wireless.

(3) Windfarms. Sallachy. (1 )MOU signed off with CC and WKN re community benefit. (2) Lairg 2. Ongoing discussions re community benefit. (3) BTWF considering extending/repowering. Meall Buidhe. No update. (4) Coire na Cloiche. It is understood that the development has been commissioned. Community benefit payments should have begun. (5) Beinn nan Oighrean. The original agreement with Creich and Ardgay CCs was that community benefit was index linked. Secretary will liaise with Creich Chair and write to Mr Brooke regarding the oversight of payments. MT Action.

(5) Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. AW will send out email with any relevant report. He will flag up to the Trust Manager the need to report regularly to the CCs and membership. AW Action.

Item 12. Highland Council. No representative, apologies or report received.

Item 13. Any other competent business. None raised.

Item 14. Date and time of next meeting. The provisional date for the next meeting is Monday, 9th December at 7pm in Ardgay Hall. This should be the first meeting of the newly elected CC.

Item 15. Beinn Tharsuinn/Beinn nan Oighrean Community Benefit awards. Beinn Tharsuinn. At private session two BTWF awards were approved. Kyle of Sutherland Cinema Club was awarded £150 towards running costs for 2019-20 and the Ladybird Club received £350, also towards running costs 2019-20. Application by Ardgay Public Hall for £947 towards the creation of new storage spaces was rejected as it was felt that this was part of a larger project.

Beinn nan Oighrean. Culrain & District Hall Committee received £250 towards additional Christmas lights. A&DCC also received an award of £250 for its Christmas lights improvements. MG/MT Action.

Meeting closed 9.35pm

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 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.