Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 8th April 2021 by Zoom at 8.15pm
Present: Steve Byford(Chair), John Stewart(Vice Chair), Duncan Fraser(Treasurer), Mary Graham, Mark Hedderwick, Graeme Mackay, Cllr. Margaret Davidson, Cllr. David Fraser, John Graham(Secretary)
Apologies: Cllr. Helen Carmichael, Cllr. Emma Knox.
Meeting Commenced at 20.15hrs (8.15pm)
Minutes of Previous Meeting Thursday 4th March 2021 – Proposed DF, Seconded MG. Passed.
Police Scotland: No report. However, Insp Mackinnon had been in touch with John Taylor after a complaint from a local resident had been addressed to MSP Kate Forbes regarding the logs placed to prevent cars parking on the grass. Insp Mackinnon had sent two police officers to the scene but did not feel the logs were an issue. John Taylor forwarded a copy of our letter to THC requesting an extension to the row of bollards and informed the Inspector that the extra bollards were to be erected shortly. They are now in place.
Altyre Path improvement. MH confirmed that we were waiting on suitable weather to complete that work. Quarry Path removal and chipping of broom is now complete although one gate post has collapsed. Questions as to who maintains path and Simon Dakin offered to quote to maintain paths on the top where the path connects to the road. That is usually done by locals but JS to get Simon to provide a quote but we don’t have funding for that at this time.
A short discussion on when to get Kevin in to cut the grass on Altyre. JG remarked that the forest getting a new tractor and flail means that they will be able to take on grass cutting at the pic-nic area on a more frequent basis starting mid June. The Chair expressed some relief on that since his efforts with his strimmer proved hard work.
Gate at Black Bridge. No action yet but MH to contact Stewart Eastaugh to clarify if he will contact Lovat Estate. SB to contact Lovat re removal of logs now bollards are in place.
Loch nam Bonnach. GM had arranged signs to be installed and liaised with Charlie, the stalker. We may need some more signs. Questions about the rubbish bin at the entrance and it’s possible removal.
Ditches and Drains: Councillors asked to re-address this issue which was last investigated pre-lock down. Cllr. MD mentioned that funds for roads were becoming more available as was staff availability and we should not be backward in requesting improvements.
SB welcomed Cllr David Fraser and allowed him a few minutes to introduce himself.
Steve Byford gave a full and detailed briefing on the Virtual Meeting with SSE, attended by JS, MG, JG and Ian Shepherd(Lovat). Items of particular note were the large building to supplant the woodland coppice and the new security fence. May’s follow up meeting has now been deferred to mid-Summer whilst points raised can be explored. It was suggested that we make our demands clearly and push for some planning gain on local roads which will be damaged by the extra traffic and any other required facility (e.g. landscaping)
Water flooding issues at Farlie House where water is going on to the road from the sealing end tower compound. Contact Sally at SSE to suggest that they should address this.
Ongoing issue with flooding in severe weather outside the quarry exit was also mentioned. JS to liaise with Kris Bremner and John Taylor to see if this could be addressed once and for all.
Secretary’s Business and Correspondence: No report
Duncan Fraser reported a balance of c. £3609.94 in the bank with the payment for the quarry path due which will be covered by SSE’s contribution.
Current application for agricultural building for Robbie Short by his new house in Breakachy. No comments from any residents yet but it is fairly remote.
MH brought to the Council’s notice funding for upland paths and post Covid tourism infrastructure support
Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 4th March 2021 by Zoom at 8.00pm
Present: Steve Byford(Chair), John Stewart(Vice Chair), Duncan Fraser(Treasurer), Mary Graham, Mark Hedderwick, Graeme Mackay, Cllr. Margaret Davidson, Cllr. Emma Knox, John Graham(Secretary)
Apologies: Cllr. Helen Carmichael. It was further noted that Anna McInnes had resigned from the Community Council on the 6th October 2020 after moving out of the area.
Meeting Commenced at 20.00hrs (8.00pm)
Minutes of Previous Meeting 13th February 2020 (Circulated 23/2/21): Proposed JS, Seconded GM. Passed.
Police Scotland: We have a new contact PC Rebecca Priestly. We are advised that there were no incidents in Kilmorack.
Altyre Path improvement. Kris Bremner at Breedons has offered materials to lift the area of the path prone to flooding and MH has agreed to make it good. MH to contact Breedons to arrange materials. There was discussion about widening part of path and SB and JS to meet MH on site to discuss. Quarry path has become very overgrown with broom which the snow has brought down. JS has spoken to Breedon and SSE regarding a contribution to this work. Both have agreed to fund the work. JS will liaise with Simon Dakin to get the work done as per his quote.
Concern was expressed about the large boulder at the corner of the Lovat access road and also parking on the grass. Cllr MD to contact John Taylor to extend bollards. SB to to contact Ian Shepherd about removal of the boulder. There is also an issue of access at the Black Bridge with the way by the gate potentially unsafe for elderly pedestrians. MH has contacted Stewart Easthaugh who has offered a choice of gates FOC. SE to contact Ian Shepherd to see if Lovat Estates would be happy to fit them.
Access track issues. A track up at Ruisaurie has been blocked by a resident who is concerned about the pandemic. This is causing issues particularly with horse riders with a potential danger that they or their horses may be injured by some of the iron obstructions on the path. MH has spoken with Stewart Easthaugh who feels that action should not be delayed too much. However the Covid situation on this instance complicates things and it was felt that to wait until we have some easing of restrictions may be preferable.
Bus Services to the Braes. MH wished it to be noted that the new Stagecoach service over the Braes has proved successful with residents finding the service on time with a regular driver who was very pleasant and accommodating. MH felt credit should be given where due!
An SSE meeting(virtual) in October to discuss the extension to Wester Balblair to support the Lochluichart Wind farm extension was basically a farce. At a more recent meeting three weeks ago information on a 400 KVA extension from Wester Balblair to Blackhillock and on to Peterhead gave cause for concern. SB to contact Rob MacDonald, Head of Transmissions, to ask for clarity on their five, ten and even twenty year plans. Concerns as to fencing upgrades were discussed and Cllr. MD suggested the CC contacts David Mudie refarding visual impact of new high fencing topped with razor wire. Cllr. MD also advised the CC that the Western isles was back on the Agenda but concerns remain on where that will now be sited.
SVC Upgrade. Another run of acoustic barriers have been installed and noise monitoring equipment has been put in place. However JS confirmed that the noise is still there.
Breedon Virtual Meeting. SB attended a meeting with Kris Bremner with JS joining later after technical issues. Work will start on some restitution of the quarry in the next two weeks and will take three phases ending in 2026. SSE have applied for a Deed of Servitude to grant access to the outside of their site for maintenance purposes long term.
Caulternich Battery Storage proposal. SB reported on a virtual consultation that recently took place. There was an issue that many close to the site had not received notification of the event. The blame for that was laid at the door of outside postal contractors. Information was sparse with a lack of clarity on whether it would be twenty five or fifty containers. Confirmation was given that they would be air conditioned. No agreement has yet been made with SSE to connect to Wester Balblair although they are in preliminary discussions. It was noted that the Community Council has received a large number of emails, letter and personal representations from concerned local residents. Although objections to planning are not accepted on site, the CC was advised that concerns should be expressed to David Mudie at an early stage rather than waiting for planning.
Pandemic Response – Essentially behind the scenes the Community Council has been operating normally with planning, Community Resilience and roads all circulated to Community Councillor by email. Virtual Meetings with THC, SSE and Breedon attended by Officers and such work as required taken in hand. Some wood fuel has been delivered to those in isolation. Most residents in the area have proved pretty resilient with support from neighbours and family members. Where applicable many Community Councillors have kept in touch with locals by phone.
AGM – As this Zoom meeting worked it was anticipated that the April AGM could go ahead encompassing both the relayed 2020 and 2021.
Chairman’s Business: Nothing extra
Vice Chairman: No report
Secretary’s Business and Correspondence: All correspondence previously circulated. Nothing current.
Treasurer: Duncan Fraser reported a balance of c. £4000 in the bank with a couple of payments due. One is our insurance at £75.
Planning Applications: All current applications circulated. No responses received.
Request from Tomich residents to object to a met mast application in support of objections from Strathglass Community Council and Glenurquart Community Council. MH objected on the basis of potential Community Benefit from renewables that many get but we don’t. With the proposal outwith our area the conclusion was that we should not support the objection at this time.
Graeme Mackay made the Community Council aware of a dog fouling issue at Loch nam Bonnach. As this is on Hatfield Estates land there is limited action the Community Council can take. An approach to Hatfield Estates could be made. The Community Council can put up a sign and Cllr. MD suggested that the dog warden could make a couple of visits and advise owners of their duties. A perennial problem probably made worse by the pandemic and more people out walking.
Next Meeting: Thursday 8th April 2021 – AGM and Meeting