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
Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 7th November 2019 at the ‘The Kirk, Wester Balblair’ at 7.30pm
Present: Steve Byford (Chair), Mary Graham (Secretary), Duncan Fraser(Treasurer) John Graham, Mark Hedderwick, Cllr. Margaret Davidson
Apologies: John Stewart (Vice-Chairman), Cllr. Emma Fox, Cllr. Helen Carmichael.
Guests: Anna McInnes. Steve Byford welcomed Anna and explained the procedure.
Meeting commenced: 19.35hrs
Minutes of the previous meeting Thursday 3rd October 2019 were taken as read and accepted as a true and accurate record. Proposed by John Graham, seconded by Steve Byford – Approved.
Police Scotland: No Officer available. MG read KCC area report. PC Karen Mackenzie sent her apologies later that evening.
Wildlife Infringement around Aigas. Reports had been received of drones being flown close to the osprey and peregrine nests and increased canoe activity on the river above Aigas Dam. Sir John Lister Kaye asked if KCC could provide a representative to a short life working group to include the Field Centre, Golf Club and Forest. KCC agreed in principal and DF suggested the River Watcher would be a good addition. DF to provide contact details.
Loch nam Bonnach – Response from Stewart Eastaugh, THC Access Rights Officer, with advice for landowner. Area has been reasonably quiet recently so they may have gone elsewhere.
Toll Bypass Maintenance – It was confirmed that Simon had started clearing the paths and will be putting in another day in early November.
SB reported on the SSE CLG meeting. New management personnel introduced. SSE are still committed to noise reduction. SB to request meeting to discuss possible alternative siting of new convertor station. Secretary to email KS.
Vice Chairman’s Report:
Secretary’s Business and Correspondence:
Community Council Elections – Confirmation that we have two nominees so Council will go to election. Reminder of time table.
Cancellation/postponement of December’s meeting. New meeting will be arranged by Ward Manager.
Remembrance Day Service Sunday 10th November at 3.00pm. In the absence of both the Chair and Vice-Chair JG to lay the wreath.
Kilmorack Hall AGM Sunday 10th November 2019, 7.30pm
First invoice has been paid for Toll Path Maintenance and the Bank balance now stands at £3265.70
19/04619/FUL – Teanaloig Cottage, Wester Balblair (SB stated a conflict of interest). Concern was expressed as to the suitability of the septic tank with an extension to four bedrooms and three bathrooms. KCC to comment to planning with a request to review this and also whether the distance to neighbour’s boundary is compliant to up to date standards.
19/04758/FUL – Aigas Field Centre. As this is outwith the Hinterland as defined by the Inner Moray Firth Development Plan and remote from the road no objections were raised.
19/04284/FUL – Ord Distillery water monitoring facilities at Loch nam Bonnah – No objections
19/03559/PIP – Land 90m SW of Tulach Ard, Ruisaurie for PIP for two houses in woodland area. Four complaints received by email and further oral comments from residents. Concerns expressed over septic tank outfalls additional to those already in the area as well as overdevelopment, impact on wildlife and woodlands as well as the effect on access road. KCC have applied for stakeholder status and will raise an objection on the basis of non-compliance with Hinterland Development and provision of Sustainable Drainage.
Ditches on Braes need cleaning. DF to advise location
Next meeting: Meeting postponed due to CC elections. TBA
Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 3rd October 2019 at the ‘The Kirk, Wester Balblair’ at 7.30pm
Present: Steve Byford (Chair), John Stewart (Vice Chair) Mary Graham (Secretary), John Graham, Cllr.Emma Knox.
Apologies: Cllr. Margaret Davidson, Cllr. Helen Carmichael, Duncan Fraser, Mark Hedderwick
Meeting commenced: 19.33hrs
Minutes of the previous meeting Thursday 5th September 2019 were taken as read and accepted as a true and accurate record. Proposed by Steve Byford, seconded by John Stewart – Approved.
Police Scotland: No Officer available. MG read KCC area report.
Kilmorack Cemetery – Complaints on Social Media of overflowing rubbish bins not being emptied recently and the grass a mess. Also recurring comments about sunken lairs and the overgrown hedge. EK had chased Cemeteries re the bins. JG referred to a previous meeting with Cemeteries when THC had undertaken to address these issues. In this case grass cuttings were probably the result of mowing when the grass was very wet and the bins had possibly been filled with a clear up of dead flowers. This is an ongoing problem and Ward Councillors had discussed this at a recent meeting when Cemeteries had undertaken to address the sunken lairs issue on an annual or bi-annual basis. It has been suggested again that a Friends of Kilmorack Cemetery be formed with could address these issues directly. It was suggested that contact be established with the area manager who might prove more forthcoming.
Loch nam Bonnach – Off road motor cycles had resulted in many complaints from the Community. Police had been called on several occasions but had not attended. Intimidation of the stalker was of concern. THC Access Rights Officer to be contacted for advice and then a contact with Hatfield Farms.
Beaufort Woodland Visitor Accommodation Proposal – SB, MG and JG attended a pre planning public information event at Kiltarlity Hall. Plans were for an initial 50 holiday lodges plus twelve Glamping Tents followed by Phase 2 of a further thirty lodges. Development in Phase 1 would include café/Restaurant, site shop and administration block. There were a number of concerns expressed including the increase of traffic servicing nearly a hundred units most using the main Kiltarlity junction on the Beauly to Inverness Road. Also is the issue of the increase of parking in Beauly Square. The overall feeling was that this was out of proportion to the area. Write to Savills, expressing our concerns and asking clarification on the use of the shuttle bus and the opportunity for Community Benefits in shared access to the River Walk. It was felt that some Planning Gain should be directed to upgrading the main turning on the A833/A862 junction.
Vice Chairman’s Report:
Aird Community Action Collective – JS and JG attended. Most of the meeting was a presentation by Planning on a future SG Place Planning proposal for land use requiring Community Councils to hold meetings with Communities with a view to establishing a future land use map. This runs parallel to the Local Area Plan and Moray Firth Plan in this area. Planners are only required to take note of the Place Plan alongside the established planning controls. This was not the discussion that was expected and, if adopted, would impose considerable work on the Community Councillors.
Treasurer’s Report: No change from last month.
Secretary’s Business and Correspondence:
Community Council Elections – Time table reminder.
ACF Annual General Meeting 7th October at Magnus House.
SSE CLG – Wednesday 23rd October at Lovat Arms – tbc – MG to contact Kelly Scott to confirm.
Planning Matters: No applications
Western Isles Convertor Station, Wester Balblair – Request consideration of the possibility of re-location to Fairburn Wind Farm with underground connection to WB. Contact Cllr M. Davidson and Cllr. Helen Carmichael and the Planning Office about noise concerns after seven years of problems and of the cumulative impact of the convertor and existing transmission hub on the Community.
Next meeting: Thursday 7th November 2019 – 7.30pm Ffordes Photographic (the Kirk)
Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 5th September 2019 at the ‘The Kirk, Wester Balblair’ at 7.30pm
Present: Steve Byford (Chair), John Stewart (Vice Chair) Mary Graham (Secretary), Duncan Fraser(Treasurer), John Graham, Cllr.Emma Knox.
Apologies: Cllr. Margaret Davidson, Cllr. Helen Carmichael, Mark Hedderwick(L)
Meeting commenced: 19.40hrs
Minutes of the previous meeting Thursday 6th June 2019 were taken as read and accepted as a true and accurate record. Proposed by Steve Byford, seconded by Duncan Fraser – Approved.
Police Scotland: No Officer available. MG read KCC area report. Digital Policing Info Document also received.
Kilmorack Cemetery – Many adverse comments on Beauly FB page. To consolidate: Fencing has been erected over the summer months at our request to prevent people walking from the water point over the adjoining graves to the distress of those families. The fence has effectively defined the lines and people are keeping to the centre line of the graves. A more pertinent complaint was growth of the beech hedge which is out of control. Discussions with Cemeteries to address the problem have not provided a solution yet. Cllr. Helen Carmichael has requested a meeting with Hugh Gardner, bereavements officer, at his earliest convenience and a response to our requests for clarification on outstanding issues. The issue of a pothole at the entrance, whilst annoying, should be taken into context with the problems that Cemeteries have but should be pursued as and when possible.
Groam Parking issues – Possible resolutions ongoing. Safety issues resulted in bollards being installed by THC in front of the War Memorial.
Altyre/Toll path maintenance contract – Connor Black is no longer available. JS has discussed with Simon Dakin and subject to approval of KCC will offer the work within a fixed price agreement. JS will also contact lighting dept with reference overgrown foliage and dirty lenses on the Toll path.
Broken hand rail on Toll Bypass path – now repaired.
Lovat Bridge – Rubbish. JS and his wife litter picked the area and JS installed two litter signs one in Kilmorack CC area and one with agreement of Kiltarlity Community Council on their CC area.
Altyre Bench – needs re-varnishing. DF to investigate.
KCC Elections – reminder and timetable about forthcoming elections given. Discussion on how to encourage Community Members to engage. THC will be promoting the elections shortly.
Noise Issues WB – Wood Group for SSE continuing to monitor at three locations: JS House, The Groam and Substation.
SB to have meeting with Gregor MacCormick (EHO) and Lord Lovat on Tuesday 10th September.
Breedon Quarry CLG – Connection paths completion. Breedon to liaise with Kelly Scott(SSE)
Vice Chairman’s Report:
JS reported on the visit to Spittal converter station with SSE and accompanied by Bill Fraser (Kiltarlity Community Council). Full report is attached.
Secretary’s Business and Correspondence:
THC Quality Awards. An agreement to nominate Alan Johnstone was passed.
Aird Community Action Collective – SB has been invited by Cllr. Margaret Davidson to a meeting at the Phipps Hall on Fri 20th September at 11.30am. SB unable to attend but deputes JS to represent KCC.
IACCF(JG and MJ attended) – Community Council’s Review and elections were to be discussed but THC official failed to attend.
Defibrillator – The Circuit. Scottish Ambulance Service now require us to register on The Circuit, a national database. KCC have complied.
18 Torgormack. Extensions and alterations to house. No objection raised.
SB reported road markers on Altyre had been damaged by SSE’s contractors. JG to pursue options for replacement.
Next meeting: Thursday 3th October 2019 – 7.30pm Ffordes Photographic (the Kirk)
Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 6th June 2019 at the ‘The Kirk, Wester Balblair’ at 7.30pm
Present: Steve Byford (Chair), John Stewart (Vice Chair) Mary Graham (Secretary), Duncan Fraser(Treasurer), John Graham, Mark Hedderwick, Cllr.Emma Knox.
Apologies: Cllr. Margaret Davidson
Meeting commenced: 19.39hrs
Minutes of the previous meeting Thursday 2nd May 2019 were taken as read and accepted as a true and accurate record. Proposed by Duncan Fraser, seconded by John Stewart – Approved.
Police Scotland: Sgt. Bissett introduced himself and gave a resume of his intentions for our area. More visible beat officers and monitoring of motorist’s speed.
Obituary – Frances Grant. It was noted that the Community has lost a stalwart supporter who for many years has been heavily involved in Community activities. She will be sadly missed. The Community Council’s thoughts and condolences to the family.
Groam Parking issues – research possibility of land near quarry and to allocate a parking area when the quarry is landscaped. E-mail Breedon with request for the date of the next liaison meeting.
Toll Corner pot holes and verges – THC had made a timely repair although best described as temporary. However it will make it safer for the Highland Cross. Also of note is that the path on the main road is being cut back as we had requested.
Broken hand rail on Toll Bypass path awaiting repair. THC notified. (fixed)
One light in the path is out of action. THC notified and instructions to repair issued. (fixed)
Tree limb hanging over road by Aigas Dam. Advised THC who responded quickly and now removed and made safe.
Glasgow Science Centre on tour. Opportunity to provide something for the youngsters in the school holiday. All in favour of pursuing this further.
School Bus update: Still issues with double deckers and different drivers. However the schoolkids would prefer a clean newish DD to a worn out and rough single decker which is more often than not what has transpired.
EHO meeting re substation noise – Findings(Meeting 3rd May 2019) – Noise still recognised as a nuisance confirmed by independent monitors – Abatement notice to stay.
CLG – Replacement underground cable from Wester Balblair Substation to connect with under Beauly River work to commence in September.
Vice Chairman’s Report:
Trip to see convertor station at Spittal planned for 10th
SB suggested research in to the possibility of a sedum roof if the WB Convertor goes ahead.
Balance £3428.03. £40 payment for Data Protection.
Secretary’s Business and Correspondence:
JG & MG attended the IACCF presentation on Moray Firth Plan(revision). No new plans for Hinterland development at this time.
Community Council’s Review Forum on Saturday was cancelled due to lack of support.
Camesky, Ruilick for a storage building – No objections received.
Progress of link path at quarry. Email KS to chase.
Aigas Community Forest. MH gave notice of road side felling with traffic management. It is not expected that the road will be closed for more than ten minutes at any time. Provisional start date – September.
Next meeting: Thursday 5th September 2019 – 7.30pm Ffordes Photographic (the Kirk)
Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 4th April 2019 at the ‘The Kirk, Wester Balblair’ at 7.45pm
Present: Steve Byford (Chair), John Stewart (Vice Chair) Mary Graham (Secretary), Duncan Fraser(Treasurer), John Graham, Cllr. Margaret Davidson, Cllr. Helen Carmichael, Cllr. Emma Knox.
Apologies: Mark Hedderwick
Meeting commenced: 19.37hrs
Minutes of the previous meeting Thursday 7th March 2019 were taken as read and accepted as a true and accurate record. Proposed by John Graham, seconded by John Stewart – Approved.
Police Scotland: PC Scott Maclean – No incidents in the Kilmorack Community Council area but thefts of roof lead in the Mauld, Strathglass area. Local concern has been expressed about canoeists passing the protected peregrine nest. PC Maclean updated the CC on the legal position.
Beauly CC extension of Community Boundaries – Tony Boyland had responded to our communication and stated that he would circulate it around the Beauly CC. Our Councillors expressed the view that the status quo would prevail.
Emma Knox informed the Council that the Ward has three trans-locatable signs and asked if KCC could use one. JS and SB to identify suitable location. These will be temporary placements to improve the impact such signs have.
School Bus changes – MH had spoken to JG on the phone and more single decker buses are in use. The situation will be monitored.
Altyre and Toll would benefit from some weed suppression. Contractor may still have the weed killer. To be contacted.
Vice Chairman’s Report: Wind Blown rubbish from Global – JS informed that skips now have lids.
Secretary’s Business and Correspondence:
An Invoice has been requested and sent to THC for payment for Toll and Altyre maintenance.
A/Cs as per AGM report.
JG gave vote of thanks to DF for delivering fire wood (ACF) to elderly residents. JS and DF mentioned that they had received many notes of gratitude from the recipients. DF handed over the list for future reference.
Planning Matters: No Planning applications
Toll maintenance – SB to organise contractor for weedkiller.
Resaurie – Water running over road (Birchcroft/3 Beeches). JG to contact JT(roads)
Road edge by Toll degrading. Request repair before Highland Cross.
Noise issues at Wester Balblair Switching Station. Cllr. MD reported that EHOs were under pressure to remove the Noise Abatement order. Noise measurements by EHOs are being collated. Cllr. MD to arrange meeting with SB, JS and EHOs to discuss findings.
Contact SSE to arrange next Community Liaison Group Meeting for info about noise measurement results and further expansion of the switching station.
Next meeting: Thursday 2nd May 2019 – 7.30pm Ffordes Photographic (the Kirk)