Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council Minutes – 10th December 2015 (approved)

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council



Pavilion, Muir of Ord

Thursday 10th December 2015 at 7.30pm


Present:          Frances MacGruer (FM); Mike Atkinson; Wilma Mackenzie (WM); Jem Taylor (JT)


Others:            Cllr Margaret Paterson (MP), Cllr Graham MacKenzie (GM), Alasdair Mackenzie, Marion Douglas, Sandy Sutherland, George Sutherland, Irene Macleod, David F. MacDonald, Paul Whitham, Carol Blanchard, Neil Malcolm, Jo Ellen (minutes)


  Before the start to the main meeting Cllr GM chaired the Inaugural meeting of the Muir of Ord (MOO) Community Council following the recent nomination process.   He advised that usually at this stage the Chair would go through some induction information for new CC members, however this was not necessary as all the members have served previously.   He confirmed the following nominations were made and (as the maximum number of members was not exceeded) all were duly elected:


  • Michael Philip Atkinson (MA)
  • Frances Elspeth MacGruer (FM)
  • Stephen Mackenzie (SM)
  • Wilma Elizabeth Mackenzie (WM)
  • Jeremy Andrew Taylor (JT)


Cllr GM asked for nominations for the post of CC Chair.   WM nominated FM and this was seconded by MA.   FM was duly elected as Chair and following this Cllr GM handed the meeting over to her.


Appointing the position of Vice Chair was left to the next meeting.

SM was nominated by FM for the post of Treasurer. This was seconded by WM and SM was duly elected as Treasurer.

The post of Secretary will be discussed by the CC members and confirmed at the next meeting.


FM nominated Carol Blanchard (CB) to be co-opted onto the CC.   This was seconded by WM and CB was duly co-opted on.   It was agreed that the remaining 2 co-opted posts will be advertised on the agenda for the next meeting with a hope to filling them then. Cllr GM advised that co-opted members have voting rights on the CC. The remaining 2 vacancies (that would complete the full CC membership of 10) can be associate members but they have no voting rights.


Following the conclusion of this business the regular CC meeting commenced.

1. Apologies for Absence
There were apologies from Cllr Angela Maclean, Cllr Alister MacKinnon, Stephen Mackenzie (SM) & PC Nicola MacDonald


2. Minutes of Previous meeting (Thursday 12th November 2015)

Minutes of the meeting were proposed by JT and seconded by MA.


3. Matters Arising from Minutes
  The Old Moorings Hotel
  Discussed under item 9.


  Cllr MP advised she had reported the potholes discussed at the last meeting to Roads Department. She was advised that HC have a new hotbox (a special oven like unit required for filling potholes) and are due to start work with it next week.


Neil Malcolm advised that he filled in one of the potholes in the Co-op carpark. Thanks were given to him for doing this.


CB advised that one of the potholes on Corrie Terrace has been filled, but unfortunately one has been left unrepaired. Cllr MP advised CB to let her know if this is not fixed in the next few weeks.


  New Beauly-Loch Buidhe Pylons
  David Macdonald advised that he attended the information session held by SSE at Kilmorack Hall on 25/11/15.   JT also attended. Both advised that this had not been very informative with SSE providing old, poor quality maps to illustrate the new pylon line and some of their questions could not be answered. MA distributed a paper copy of an amended route (C1B) which has now been published on the SSE website ( and noted the consultation ends of 31/12/15.    MA urged those with any comments to submit them by this time as the more representations the better. Concern was expressed that the Kilmorack Hall meeting had not been notified to this CC and also that there had not been a presentation in the village.     All agreed that SSE must be compelled to do further information sessions in both Muir of Ord and Beauly early next year. The need for clear maps detailing the route was also emphasised.   Lisa Marchi, Corporate Affairs at SSE to be contacted regarding this. (Post Meeting Note: FM to speak to SM about this)


Concern was also expressed that SSE do not appear to have a joined up approach for the 3 large power distribution projects affecting the area now and in the coming years. This may be due to planning issues, but it was still suggested that the 3 planning teams could perhaps communicate better in the future.


4. Police Report
  FM read out a report submitted by PC Nicola MacDonald who was unable to attend the meeting. It related to crimes and offences between 01/11/15 and 01/12/15 which have been detected and non-detected. There were:


·         3 persons charged with assaults

·         5 persons charged with road traffic offences

·         1 person charged with possession of drugs

·         3 fixed penalty’s for anti-social behaviour


Officers also dealt with a neighbour dispute and speed checks were carried out in the village during this time.


There were no queries or questions relating to the report.


5. Financial Report
  SM had submitted an update of the accounts which was read out by JE. As of 30/11/15 the balance was £69,793.76. The majority of this (£62,585.00) is restricted funds for the Square to Square project. There was also £1,000 for the Auchmore Micro Grants. The balance currently available for CC business is £6,208.76.


MA queried how the restricted figure for the Square to Square project was made up and suggested there may be an error. He will check the figures with SM.


FM confirmed that an application to the Fairburn Wind Farm Fund for £1,000 for Microgrants needs to be completed.   This will be discussed at the next meeting.


6. Community Council Elections
There was no discussion on this item.


7. Update from Community Groups
  Hall & Facilities Company
  MA gave an update on the Old Tarradale School (OTS) project. The contractors are expected on site next week or if not straight after Christmas.   The timescale for the project is 44 weeks and hoardings will go up shortly to inform the community of the plans.


MA also confirmed that an office is being finalised for the Company Development Manager (Nina Graham) and Community Development Manager (Hannah MacSween) in the village hall where they will both work from after Christmas.


FM confirmed that Nina is currently looking into the possibility of developing a sports hub in the village.     With her expertise it is hoped these plans can be progressed fairly quickly.


  Tarradale Primary School Board
  FM advised she attended the last meeting, but there were no issues requiring CC attention discussed.


8. Urray House Site Planning
  FM confirmed she met with Emma Micklethwaite, Housing Development Officer from HC last week and they went through the details of this planning application.   There are 23 units planned, including 5 disability units.   Other details were outlined and FM reported that the development appears to be a very positive one. She could see no grounds for objection. The plans were offered to those present for their perusal.   No objections or negatives comments were given by those present and it was agreed that a note of support should be submitted due to the positive effect this development will have on the village. FM to do this on behalf of the CC.   Credit was given to HC for moving this project along swiftly and for not allowing the previous building to remain derelict and become an eyesore.


9. Update – Sale of Properties, High Street & The Old Moorings Hotel
  Cllr MP advised there is no update on the Forbes Café building sale, but it is still understood to be progressing.


Cllr MP then gave an update on the situation with the old Moorings Hotel.   She confirmed that it appears that at this stage very little can be done until it is clear that there is evidence of wrong doing. She has spoken to Ian Patience, Building Standards Team Leader at HC who will visit the property next week. He will try to gain entry to ensure that no work has been done that was not authorised as part of the Building Warrant gained in 2009.     No completion certificate has been issued as yet. She also confirmed that no House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence has been applied for.


A local resident queried if the HC can check that fire regulations are being adhered to as the building does appear to be being run as a B&B.   The Cllrs advised that as long as 5 rooms or less are being rented out, then none of the regulations applicable to an HMO are enforceable, therefore no inspections take place.


Concern was expressed that surveillance cameras have been installed outside the building. It was noted that there should be signs to advertise this, but there appear to be none. Local residents were advised by the Cllrs that any issues about inappropriate use of these cameras should be reported to the Police.


Concern was also expressed at the type of people who may be staying at the property as there are houses nearby with young children and vulnerable people.   The Cllrs stated that the neighbours of the property will be informed if an HMO application is made but only the Police will be informed if there is an individual with a criminal record re-housed there.


The Cllrs present emphasised that the Police are aware of the concerns surrounding this establishment and are keeping an eye on the situation.   There are also other aspects of this case that the HC is investigating which may result in action being taken.


In summary FM assured those present that the CC along with the HC and Police will do everything possible to ensure the community is not negatively impacted by this property.


10. Vulcan Cottage – HMO – Police Activity
  FM expressed concern at the amount of time the Police are having to spend at this property on Great North Road, opposite the school. There are reports of people being drunk, hanging out of windows and general anti-social behaviour.   It was suggested that a contributing factor is that there are not enough facilities in the village for these people and therefore this the result. It was noted that the CC did object to the conversion of this property to an HMO, but it was still granted the licence.   Cllr MP advised that an HMO lasts for 3 years and this one is due to expire on 31/05/16.   It was agreed that the CC (and any concerned locals) need to start initiating objections to the renewal now. While those present did acknowledge the need for this type of housing which can be crucial in helping the homeless and ex-offenders move forward, they felt that this property is not the right location for this.   It was also felt that the owners of this property are not fulfilling their obligations to their residents contributing to the bad behaviour.


It was suggested that a fire regulation inspection could be carried out.   If any of the rules are not being followed the HMO licence could be revoked, if not resolved within a specified timescale. FM to raise this with Angela Mair at HC who deals with HMO’s.     Cllr MP advised that she has also made Angela aware of the concerns being raised.


The Cllrs emphasised that any local residents with concerns should log incidents which can then be put to the Police.   It was queried if the CC can request a log from Police on the number of times they have been called out to Vulcan Cottage. FM to investigate if this is possible.


It was agreed that the CC will discuss this at the next meeting and keep it on future agendas.


A wider discussion took place on the state of some areas of the village and in particular the number of derelict properties. The Cllrs advised that unfortunately there is very little the HC can do if home owners chose to let this happen.


11. Fairburn Wind Farm Monies – Going Forward
  MA outlined the situation with the Fairburn Fund advising that the MOO CC area receives £14,000 each year.     Five years ago when the Fund was initially set up, a community meeting took place to gain consensus on how the community would like this money spent.   At the time it was agreed that the money should be split as follows:

·         £5,000 was put to the Village Hall in year one, with £4,000 the next, reducing by £1,000 each year until the end of the 5 years (a total of £15,000)

·         £2,000 each year would be given to a Microgrant scheme, administered by the CC twice a year, for small grants of up to £250. (a total of £10,000)

·         £8,000 was intended to be used to fund a Community Development Officer, although meantime, through the BIG Lottery application this position was funded. The Company Development Officer was funded through another scheme.


Because these funds were never drawn down for the Village Hall there is now £40,000 in the pot to be spent on the Village Hall.


MA advised that as the 5 years are nearly up the community now need to decide how to spend the £14,000 per year over the next 5 years.   It was suggested that the village may benefit from some new facilities and therefore anyone with any ideas is encouraged to draw together them together into a clear proposal.   The AGM of the Hall & Facility company (and the winding up of the Community Association) takes place on 04/02/16 and it was felt this would be a good time to discuss this further and for any presentations to be made.   It was agreed to advertise this in the Ross-shire Journal and a bag drop at the school. MA to draw up the wording and put to CB to submit to the paper.


12. AOB
  Christmas Lights
  FM thanked SSE for their help in putting up the village Christmas lights and also SM for storing and transporting them.   It was noted that a couple need replaced and also some improved Christmas tree lights would be good.   WM also suggested that it would be nice to see the lights extend further down Great North Road.   It was felt that there are enough funds in the CC account to buy some new ones. FM to investigate prices and report back at the next meeting.


  Property on Hawthorn Road
  Cllr MP advised that this property has been granted retrospective planning (for a change of use from a studio to self-contained residential unit) under delegated powers, as it did not receive 5 or more objections.   However it appears that there will only be 1 bedsit suitable for 1 person attached to the current house. She advised that concerns over the apparent need for 7 additional parking spaces was incorrect and hopefully there should be no problems resulting from this planning decision for local residents.


  Properties of Concern
  JT suggested that the future of the old Royal Bank building, opposite the Co-op be monitored by the CC and any updates given during the regular agenda item that looks at the sale of derelict buildings.


  Microgrant Application Query
  Irene Macleod advised that she is hoping to organise a Craft & Flower Show next year and queried if she can apply for a Microgrant under the umbrella of the Gardening Club. FM advised that this fund is available for small non-constituted groups so anyone can apply if they have a worthy project.   FM will email her the Microgrant form and also JT who will put it on the website.


Irene advised that it would be nice to award a trophy at the above event. FM had suggested the CC discuss this further, in memory of Donald MacRae. Following on WM also suggested it would be nice to start an annual essay writing competition for local children with the winner being awarded a trophy in memory of Donald MacRae. This will be discussed at a future meeting.


  War Memorial Improvements
  It was queried if there was any update on the work required for the war memorial to stop any further deterioration of its condition.   FM advised that Cllr Angela Maclean had been advised by HC that the pointing and lettering would cost approximately £14,000. Cllr MP will try to find out more at the Ward Meeting on Monday. Discussion followed on the need to improve the lighting of the war memorial also.   FM stated that this may have implications for street lightening so may not be straightforward. Cllr GM to look into this. Both Cllrs felt that there is funding available for the upkeep of war memorials and will investigate this also.


  Outstanding Invoices
  MA advised that the CC is waiting for two outstanding invoices from the HC. Both invoices are for the Square to Square project but there are two funds that supplied the money sitting in the CC account.   One is the SSE contribution and the other is a Ward Discretionary Fund payment.   The CC needs a separate invoice for each from HC, so they can be paid. Cllr GM will chase this will the HC.


13. Date & Venue of Next Meeting
  Thursday 11th February @ 7.30 pm at the Pavilion, Muir of Ord

The meeting finished at 9.10pm



Ref Who Action When
1 SM To contact Lisa Marchi at SSE to ask for a MOO & Beauly information session & improved maps detailing the New Beauly-Loch Buidhe Pylons ASAP
2 MA/SM To check the CC account figures ASAP
3 FM To write a letter (or email) in support of the Urray House Site Plans to HC ASAP
4 FM To contact Angela Mair at HC regarding Vulcan Cottage ASAP
FM To establish if a Police log of Vulcan Cottage incidents can be put to the CC ASAP
5 MA & CB To draft a request for ideas of how to spend the next 5 years of Fairburn Wind Farm money to go in Ross-shire Journal & to school. CB to submit this to the paper ASAP
6 FM To price new Christmas lights for the street & for the tree ASAP
7 Cllr’s MP & GM To establish the situation with the pointing of the war memorial, possible lightening and the fund which may be able to pay for this ASAP
8 FM To email Irene Macleod & JT the Microgrant form. JT to put this on the CC website ASAP
9 Cllr GM To chase the two outstanding invoices from HC, relating to the Square to Square project ASAP