Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council – February Minutes

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council



Pavilion, Muir of Ord

Thursday 11th February 2016 at 7.30pm


Present:          Frances MacGruer (FM); Mike Atkinson; Jem Taylor (JT); Stephen Mackenzie (SM); Carol Blanchard (CB)


Others:            Cllr Angela Maclean (AML), Cllr Alister MacKinnon (AMK) (arrived at 8pm), Cllr Jean Davis, Irene Macleod, Morag Brown, Amy Tuach, Paul Whitham, Anne Marsh, R Morrison, Lizbeth Collie (Black Isle Bicycles),  Fiona Morrison (SSE) (arrived at 8.30pm), Jo Ellen (minutes)


1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
There were apologies from Cllr Margaret Paterson (MP), Wilma Mackenzie (WM), Cllr Graham MacKenzie (GM) & PC Nicola MacDonald


  FM welcomed everyone to the meeting including Cllr Jean Davis, who represents Ward 13, Aird and Loch Ness


2. Minutes of Previous meeting (Thursday 10th December 2015)

The minutes were proposed as a true reflection by FM and seconded by MA, with the following amendment:

·         Remove Gordon A MacKenzie from the list of attendees


3. Matters Arising from Minutes
  New Beauly-Loch Buidhe Pylons
  SM advised that he contacted Lisa Marchi at SSE regarding the need for consultation over the above project.     She had not provided any further useful information, but did advise SM that the MOO community would be involved with consultation at the next stage of the project. SM has been in touch with the three other local CC’s affected (Dingwall, Conon Bridge & Maryburgh) who are similarly unhappy.   It was suggested that a letter from all four CC’s expressing their dissatisfaction with the consultation process would be useful. It was felt strongly by those present that SSE need to notify CC’s of all major projects which will affect the community. SM will take this forward.


SM also advised that grounds work for laying 3 channels of underground HV cables from Beauly to Loch Broom will start in our area shortly. This could lead to significant disruption in some areas.  Details can be found at


  CC Accounts
  SM advised that £25,000 had been awarded by Carbon CLEVER for this project, but is now not required and will therefore need to be returned. These funds were restricted for the project. The grant is not required as it has now been established that the developers of the section from the Cairns through to Wyndhill need to complete this as part of their planning conditions.


SM queried how he will return the £25,000 to the HC as they will not accept a cheque for this.   Cllr AML suggested a BACS transfer but will check with Di Agnew.


  Letter of Support to HC
  FM confirmed that she wrote a letter in support of the Urray House Site Plans to HC.


  Vulcan Cottage
  See item 8


  Fairburn Wind Farm Fund
  MA reported that it was not possible for this to be discussed at the Halls & Facilities AGM on 04/02/16.     FM advised that Fiona Morrison from SSE will arrive later to discuss this further.


  New Christmas Lights
  FM has requested some catalogues but not progressed this any further as yet.
  War Memorial Repairs
  Cllr AML confirmed that HC has quoted £14,000 for the pointing and lettering to be redone. This figure does not include improvements to lightening.   Questions were raised by those present as to why the cost is so high, as it was felt that local contractors could do the work for a much lower price.   Cllr AML to check with Robin Pope at HC to establish if there is any way that this can happen, with ideally the HC only providing the materials required.


  Microgrant Form
  FM confirmed that she sent a Microgrant form to Irene Macleod for the Craft & Flower Show. She will forward the template to JT to put on the CC web pages.


  Outstanding Square to Square Invoices
  SM confirmed that the two missing invoices have now been received from HC and can be paid.


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 01/12/15 and 01/02/16 which have been detected and non-detected. There were:


·         1 person charged with vandalism

·         4 persons charged with road traffic offences

·         3 persons charged with possession of drugs at the Skate Park

·         3 fixed penalty’s for anti-social behaviour issued


Speed checks were also carried out in the village during the period above.


The report stated that there have been issues relating to alcohol being consumed at the Skate Park.   Details of those present were obtained and the alcohol was seized.   A brief discussion followed on this with FM stating that Nigel Campbell from the Skate Park has been in touch with her to discuss his concerns.   Since then he and Gordon Davis have worked with the local Police and the situation appears to be improving.


There were no other queries or questions relating to the report.


5. Financial Report
  SM gave an update of the accounts.   As of 29/01/16 the balance was £69,643.76. He highlighted that (as mentioned above) £25,000 of this will need to be returned to Carbon CLEVER from their grant which will not be used. £37,585.00 of the balance is restricted for the Square to Square Project. The CC’s unrestricted reserves are currently £6,208.76.


6. Update – Community Groups
Hall & Facilities Company
JT gave an update from the AGM on 04/02/16 which had a gone well.   An update on the Old Tarradale School (OTS) project had been given on the night.   The works are now progressing and it is anticipated that this facility will be open by late 2016.   Following consultation, its name will be announced in due course.   It was also confirmed that Nina Graham’s post of Company Development Manager (CDM) has been extended for 6 months following a successful grant extension.


The AGM of the Community Association also took place on the same night. MA advised that this group are looking to merge into the Halls & Facilities Company. If this is successful it will have been their last AGM.


Friends of Tarradale Primary
FM advised that the last meeting had to be cancelled due to a bereavement so no update was given.


7. Update – Sale of Properties, High Street & The Old Moorings Hotel
  Cllr AML advised that unfortunately the sale of the Forbes Café building has fallen through so it is now back on the market. Those present were disappointed to hear this and some discussion took place on possibly reasons for this.


  An update was then given on the property owned by Mrs Beaton (Vilmont). Previously she has rejected the offer of grant assistance from HC to enable repairs to be done. HC have been in touch with her by letter on a number of occasions and have been frustrated by the lack of response. Evidence is being compiled to see if a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) can be done.   The possibility of a backdated Council Tax request being served has however initiated some communication and the HC is hopeful that a resolution can be found.


  It was also reported that Blythswood Care are keen to buy the building that they currently rent for their MOO shop. Ian Matheson, from the charity is trying to establish if this will be possible.


  FM asked if there was any update on the Old Moorings Hotel. It was reported that there is currently an advert on Gumtree stating two ‘Rooms to rent’.   The Cllrs present did not have any update following the requested visit by the Building Standards team in December. Discussion took place with those present expressing particular concern over the safety of the building for residents, in addition to the worry local residents also have over who is living there. Cllr AMK to check the situation tomorrow and report back to FM.


8. Update – Vulcan Cottage
  FM advised that she has not contacted Angela Mair who deals with HMO’s at HC as yet.   She confirmed that she did contact PC Nicola MacDonald who is hoping to provide details of Police attendance at the property. FM queried (following all the negative issues) what it would take for the HMO licence to be revoked. Cllr AMK will investigate the situation and report back.   A member of the public asked if the community organising a petition would help, but FM suggested that this would be best left for now.


9. Fairburn Wind Farm Monies – Going Forward
  FM introduced Fiona Morrison, Community Fund Manager, from SSE and advised that she was present to help with the discussions and to answer any questions regarding the Fairburn Fund.   Fiona gave a brief outline of how the money from the Fund is allocated advising that an annual payment is made in February each year (currently about £16,000 to MOO) and there is an additional payment of £3,500 every July. Since the Fund was set up £90,918.96 has been allocated to the MOO area;   £12,000 has been spent and £78,918.96 remains in the pot. A recap of why some of this money had not been spent was given (see December 2016 minutes for details).


Fiona advised that SSE would like know how the MOO community would like use their unspent money and moving forward how they would like future money distributed.


Lengthy discussion following on this with FM suggesting that the majority of the money should be given to the Village Hall to speed up its renovations which are badly needed.   There were no objections to this as it was felt that improving the Hall was the goal of the community (who attended a meeting 5 years ago) when it was decided how to allocate the Fairburn Fund.   It was also emphasised that while there is a CDM post in place maximum benefit can be achieved from the money. Fiona also highlighted that there is £21,839 allocated to the Hall from the SSE Energy Efficiency Fund for improvements which she would like to see spent.


As the CDM position was felt to be so crucial to the Hall development, it was agreed that a small proportion of the current pot should be held back in case funding for the post does not continue in October 2016.


Discussion also took place about the benefits of allowing slightly larger grants (more than £250) to be available for local groups and it was agreed that SSE will administer grants from £250 – £1000 via its Wind Farm Panel of 12 people, which sits 3 times a year.


In summary the following was agreed:


·         £70,000 will be given to the Village Hall for its renovations

·         £9,000 will be held back for the CDM post (if not extended).   If not required it can then be put back into the main pot for future grants

·         The CC will still continue to issue Microgrants up to £250 per grant (total £2,000 per year)

·         SSE will administer small grants from £250 – £1000 via its Wind Farm Panel


10. Black Isle Visitor Map
  FM introduce Lizbeth Collie (LC), Destination Development Officer from Black Isle Bicycles which is a small social enterprise company.   She gave a brief of outline her role which includes promotion of the area. In 2015 she was part of a small group called the Black Isle Tourism Team (BITT) which produced a ‘Welcome to the Black Isle’ visitor map (copies were handed out to those present). 15,000 were produced and distributed round the area.     £850, raised by the BITT was paid to a local cartographer to draw up the map and the printing costs of £12,000 came out of the Ward 10 HC budget. The group would now like to reprint a smaller number and have decided to ask the 8 CC’s on the Black Isle, plus Dingwall and this CC, if they could contribute £100-£150 to the costs of this.   SM suggested that LC completes a Microgrant form for this money.   All present were impressed by the current map and could see the benefits to the local area of doing a reprint.


11. AOB
  Beauly Firth Loop
  LC gave details of another project Black Isle Bicycles are involved with, which is to map and put new signage on the Beauly Firth loop which is a popular route with cyclists. This project will not involve any major changes or developments to the route, but simply enhance and promote what is there already. There will be approximately 45-50 new signs added (some to existing poles, others requiring new ones), plus cartography work to map the route with interesting features and facilities.  Sustrans Community Links, will provide £17,000 for some of the signs and HC will install them. Additional costs of £9,000 for cartography fees, consultant fees (for marketing) and some additional signage is hoped to be met by an application to the SSE Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).     LC advised that this CC have agreed to be the lead applicant for this. She asked that to assist the application that the CC contact the MOO Community Association to ask if they will put £1000 towards the project.   The closing date for the SDF is Monday 22/02/16 so some urgency is required for this.   SM and FM to contact the CA to request this.


Discussion took place as to whether some of the £25,000 grant to be returned to Carbon CLEVER could be used for this project as it is very similar in its ultimate aim of promoting cycling in the area.   It was felt that it was unlikely, but MA to speak to Carbon CLEVER about this (and copy in the two Cllrs present in too).


  Filming of Meetings
  FM advised that she had received an email from a member of the public who wishes to come and video record a CC meeting.   This would not be permitted for any MOO CC meetings and the details of the request have been passed to PC Nicola MacDonald.


  Condolence Card
  FM advised that she had sent a card to Maureen Howie following the recent sad passing of Ken.
  Co-opted Member
  FM advised that Paul Whitham (PW) has expressed a willingness to be co-opted onto the CC therefore she would like to propose this.   JT seconded and PW was welcomed onto the committee.
  Web Address Complaint
  Cllr AML advised that she has received a complaint from a member of the public who could not find the CC pages on the MOO community website. FM advised that there have been some problems and it was agreed that this CC really needs its own website. This will be put on the next meeting’s agenda for discussion.


Currently the CC pages can be found at



  Craft & Flower Show
  Irene Macleod advised that she has submitted a completed microgrant form for the Craft & Flower Show on 20/08/16.   Neither FM & SM had received this so SM will investigate where it has gone.     If successful the money will help with hall costs, advertising, etc.     All the members present agreed to award £250 to this group as it was felt to be a very worthy event (subject to all details on the form being in order).


  Flower Beds at Village Entrances
  Irene Macleod asked if it would possible to get money from the CC to build small walled gardens at the entrances to the village. Cllr AMK suggested that planning permission may be required for such a construction but will investigate this. Discussion also took place on other types of less permanent beds, such as half whisky barrels which may work well too.


In addition Irene asked if the CC could help towards the cost of the flowers for the village displays (as they have previously done) which the Gardening Club will plant and maintain over the summer.   Irene agreed to put the details of what she is looking to buy to FM and SM.


  Landowner Dispute
  Cllr AML advised that she has received some complaints about access from the old railway path (off Hawthorn Drive) to the next door field, which has been blocked off by barbed wire.   It is understood this has happened due to a dispute between the two landowners.   Phil Waite, the Access Officer at HC has been advised of this and is dealing with it.


  Unsafe Access to Railway Platform
  FM advised that since the commencement of the bridge works, access to the north bound platform has now been transferred to a temporary, poorly surfaced path, with no lightening at night.   This has already led to one report of someone falling. Bearing in mind the bridge works will take at least a year, it was felt by those present that the temporary path needs to be improved.   PW advised that he has been in touch with George Leslie Ltd following the gas leak yesterday and he may see if anything can be done as a result of this. If no success comes of this, other options will need to be investigated with HC.


  Black Isle Show/Belladrum Traffic Measures
  SM advised that he attended a Belladrum/Black Isle Show combined traffic management meeting with HC Licensing board on 08/02/16. It was notified that on Thursday 04/08/16 (Black Isle Show day) it is planned that there will be a Temporary Traffic Restriction Order (yet to be ratified) on a section of the A832 between the Broad Brae junction and the Tarradale Hotel. The proposal is to make it one way into Muir of Ord for several hours that day. This should help to prevent the congestion which happened last year.


  Community Broadband Scheme
  SM advised that he met recently with someone from Auchterarder who set up a Wireless Broadband scheme to improve internet access in their community.   A number of options are possible for this area which can be investigated. SM to speak to Nina Graham, Steve Pennington and David Cameron regarding setting up a community company to allow this to happen.


  Charity Event
  FM advised that she is taking part in ‘Strictly Inverness 2016’ in aid of the Highland Hospice and is holding a fundraising event on 27/02/16 at the Glen Ord Visitor Centre. Tickets are £10.


12. Date & Venue of Next Meeting
  Thursday 10th March @ 7.30 pm at the Pavilion, Muir of Ord

The meeting finished at 9.50 pm



Ref Who Action When
1 SM To liaise with the 3 other CC’s affected by the Pylon Line ASAP
2 Cllr AML To check with Di Agnew how the Carbon CLEVER money is best returned ASAP
3 FM To continue to investigate new Christmas lights ASAP
4 Cllr AML To speak to Robin Pope at HC to establish if the improvements to the War Memorial can be done by local contractors ASAP
5 FM To forward the Microgrant form to JT to put on the website ASAP
6 Cllr AMK To check the situation with the Old Moorings Hotel with colleagues at HC and provide an update to FM ASAP
7 FM/Cllr AMK Re: Vulcan Cottage, FM speak to Angela Mair at HC and Cllr AMK to establish any other details known ASAP
8 SM & FM To contact the Community Association to see if £1000 can be put to the Beauly Firth Loop SDF project ASAP
9 MA To contact Carbon CLEVER to see if any of the £25,000 to be returned can be retained for the Beauly Firth Loop project ASAP
10 Cllr AMK To check the planning regulations for installing permanent flower beds at the village entrances ASAP
11 SM To speak to Nina Graham & others regarding the set up of a community company to progress broadband improvements ASAP