Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council – Approved March Minutes

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council


Pavilion, Muir of Ord

Thursday 10th March 2016 at 7.30pm

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

Others:            Cllr Margaret Paterson (MP), Irene Macleod, R Morrison, Annie Morrison,  George Sutherland, Jo Ellen (minutes) 

1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
There were apologies from Stephen Mackenzie (SM), Carol Blanchard (CB), Cllr Angela Maclean (AML), Cllr Alister MacKinnon (AMK), Cllr Graham MacKenzie (GM), Cllr Jean Davis & PC Nicola MacDonald
2. Minutes of Previous meeting (Thursday 11th February 2016)

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

·         Matters Arising, item 3: CC Accounts –

o   Remove the first sentence, beginning ‘SM confirmed…’

o   Remove the third sentence, beginning ‘This should..’ and replace with ‘These funds were restricted for the project’


3. Matters Arising from Minutes
  New Beauly-Loch Buidhe Pylons
  FM read out a letter from Mark Baxter (Development Project Manager) at SSE which outlined the reasons for this overhead line reinforcement project being put on hold. It advised that due to changes in forecast generation, changes to Government initiatives & subsidies plus the results of a Cost Benefit Analysis, the project would not continue at present and all proposed public consultation events for 2016 will not take place.


The full wording of the letter can be found at


  CC Accounts
  MA was pleased to confirm that after discussion with the Carbon CLEVER Team, the £25,000 which was due to be returned to them (as it was not used for the Square to Square project) has been reallocated to the Beauly Firth Loop project.   MA is part of the Working Group for this project and outlined that this money will now be used for promotional material, signage and production of a leaflet with map.   An application to Sustrans has been made to help with the cost of the signage also. They will 50% match fund if successful.  Discussion took place on the importance of MOO village being included in the route, rather than it being bypassed.   Assurances were given that the village will be included with the ultimate aim of local businesses benefiting from an increase in cyclists and other visitors.


  Following agreement MA will act as the CC representative on this project. He will look to appoint someone to coordinate the work detailed above plus liaising with the HC. He estimated this work will take 3-4 months.


  New Christmas Lights
  FM advised that she has not progressed this as yet.


  War Memorial Repairs
  There was no update on this issue.


  Microgrant Forms
  FM confirmed that the forms for the Auchmore and Fairburn Microgrant schemes can now be accessed via the webpage


  Old Moorings Hotel
  Cllr MP advised that a Buildings Officer did attempt to visit the property before Christmas but no-one was present to allow access. He left a card but there has been no response to this.   It was reported that the carpark is generally busy and it appears that the building is occupied. A new fence and gates also appear to be under construction. Discussion followed on the situation with those present acknowledging that there have been no further issues of concern noted recently.     Cllr MP agreed to speak to Cllr AML to check if he has an update and also contact Building Services to check if they plan to go back for a further visit.


  Vulcan Cottage
  An update was read out from Cllr AML who had contacted Angela Mair at HC. Currently there have been no enquires about an extension to the HMO licence which expires on 31/05/16.   PC Nicola MacDonald has reported that there has only been 1 incident in 2016 (vandalism) at the property which has required Police attendance. It was agreed that there appears to have been less Police activity recently but FM will ask for figures for the last 3 years to get a better idea of whether this should be the basis of objections to the renewal of the licence. It was stated that there had been reports previously that the occupants were not being given a proper breakfast and this should also be investigated as part of any renewal.


  Permanent Flower Bed Query
  Cllr MP was fairly certain that a planning application would need to go in if any permanent structures   built as flower beds at the entrances to the village.   She will check with Cllr AMK and also Julie Ferguson (from the Planning Department) to see if any more information can be given.


MA suggested that the Gardening Club approach WoodBlocX in Dingwall to see if they can help in any way with the flower displays. Irene MacLeod advised that the Gardening Club need to have further discussions about all the options and will keep the CC informed. She urged any volunteers to come and help them with their work throughout the year.  They meet on the last Thursday of the month at the Muir Matters Office.


  Broadband Improvements
  It was reported that SM met with Nina Graham (Company Development Office) about this, but no outcome was known. MA advised that he checked data from Ofcom which shows that the majority of MOO area residents have access to at least 2Mb speeds.   While this is not particularly fast it is considerably better than some other local areas (e.g parts of Mulbuie and Redcastle). MA will speak to SM about this to establish if there is a need for a Community Broadband Scheme.


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 01/02/16 and 01/03/16 which have been detected and non-detected. There were:


·         3 persons charged with road traffic offences

·         1 person charged with possession of drugs at the Skate Park

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


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


A discussion followed on the need for a Police Officer to attend CC meetings on a regular basis and the benefits of this. FM agreed to send an email to Nicola to urge a Police presence at all or most CC meetings. She will also ensure a copy of CC minutes are put to PC Nicola MacDonald for information. MA highlighted an attempted break-in recently in the rural MOO/Beauly area and suggested it would be useful to have the local Police in to advise on how to handle this type of situation. He also highlighted the benefit of Facebook in spreading news such as this which can raise awareness in the community very quickly.


5. Financial Report
  FM read out an update of the accounts which had been submitted by SM.

As of 29/01/16 the balance was £69,543.76.

£35,750.00 is allocated for 3 microgrants (£750.00) and the Square to Square Cycle path (£35,000).   The account balance at present is £33,793.76.

The total unrestricted funds for the CC to use for its business is £6,058.76. 

6. Update – Community Groups
Hall & Facilities Company
MA & JT gave a brief update stating that the OTS project is progressing well.   In addition there is a new part-time Hall Booking Administrator, Joanne Cameron in post which should make booking the Hall easier.     Following the decision at the last CC meeting to give the unallocated Fairburn Windfarm money (from the last 5 years) to the Hall, plans are now being drawn up on how to best use this, including improvements to heating, toilets and access.

FM to ask Nina Graham (Company Development Manager) & Hannah McSween (Community Development Officer) to provide a report to CC meetings with updates unless they can attend in person.

Friends of Tarradale Primary
No update was given.
7. Update – Sale of Properties, High Street & The Old Moorings Hotel
  Cllr MP confirmed that the sale of the old Forbes Café building has fallen through.   The HC will still be encouraging the sale, by any means they have although a Compulsory Purchase Order is not an option in this case.     It was stated that there is someone keen to rent the building, but a buyer is needed first. Those present felt this is a very sad situation as the building is currently a blight on the village, but has much potential to improve the look and feel of the High Street if done up.   Some concern was expressed about the state of the chimney stack of the building. Cllr MP to pass this information on for checking.

With regards to Mrs Beaton’s property (Vilmont) there was no update given, other than the HC are still working on the situation.

8. Update – Vulcan Cottage
  See Matters Arising
9. Community Council Website
  Following a brief discussion at the last meeting, FM asked for comments on whether this CC should have its own standalone website.     Discussion followed with the positives and negatives being highlighted.   WM stated that designing a website is not too difficult, but JT emphasised the importance (and burden) of keeping it up to date and adding new information regularly to keep it fresh. JT also highlighted that while there are not many readers of the current website, any posts made (e.g minutes, agenda’s etc) are automatically displayed on the MOO Facebook page, reaching approximately 800 people. Following the discussion it was therefore agreed to keep the current website.     To promote further knowledge of the CC, MA will also try to add any posts to the MOO Buy, Swap, Sell Facebook page as this has a large number of followers.   It was also suggested that Muir Matters could publicise the website also.

The CC web pages can be found at:

10. AOB
  Dog Fouling
  A member of the public highlighted the issue of dog fouling on the Lily Loch paths and the recreational area surrounding the Skate Park. Some irresponsible dog owners are not using the bins provided to clean up after their pets. Primary school children are using this to do a daily exercise run and many other people use it for reasons other than walking dogs.     Solutions to the problem were discussed with everyone agreeing that this is not an easy issue to resolve.     FM will contact Di Agnew to get the Dog Warden’s details and invite her to a CC meeting to establish what can be done to help.
  Co-opted Members
  FM advised that she has had a request from a member of the community wishing to be Co-opted onto the CC. As there are currently two Co-opted members she will write back and advise that there are no vacancies at present.
  New House Planning Application
  FM advised that she had received communication from an individual hoping to build a new house at Croc Na Boulle, in the Ardnagrask area of the village.   The person was keen to get some support from CC members before the plans are submitted to the Planning Department. FM advised that she had circulated the details to all the CC members for information, but had responded to the individual concerned stating that unfortunately at this stage the CC members could not do anything.     They can only comment once the planning application is made.
  Access to Old Railway Path
  FM read out an update from Cllr AML regarding the issue detailed at the last meeting of a problem with access from the old railway path (off Hawthorn Drive) to the next door field.   Phil Waite, the Access Officer at HC has been looking into this and is wondering if the community could help to build and put in a gate with the land owner providing the materials. Detailed discussion took place on this as those present were not 100% clear of the specific location of the issue.   It was felt that comments could not be made without more accurate information.     MA agreed to arrange a meeting with Phil Waite to try to clarify the details and hopefully do a site visit.   When a date is confirmed he will circulate the details to other CC members to see if anyone else can attend.
  Road Share Event
  FM outlined details of an event on Tuesday 22/03/16 at 7.00pm at the Spectrum Centre in Inverness.     Roadshare are giving a presentation following by discussion on the topic of Presumed Liability. This follows proposals to alter Scottish law in order to protect vulnerable road users.
  Microgrant Applications
  FM advised that she has received 3 microgrant applications:

·         The Gardening Club for renewing the plants in the raised bed outside the library (£250)

·         The Gardening Club for help to give the Square a good floral display for the Summer months (£250)

·         Flower & Craft Show organisers for supporting their event on 20/08/16 (£250).

The members present felt that as the CC has previously supported the Gardening Club with their work in the village out of its own funds this should be the case again.   The work this club does is hugely beneficial to the whole community. Therefore it was agreed not to use microgrant money for these two applications, but to fund fully (and more if necessary) out of the CC account directly.

The CC members present approved the application for £250 for the Flower & Craft Show.


  Traffic Safety Concerns
  WM highlighted the problem of vehicles speeding on the B9169 road, passed the Black Isle Show Ground and through the Industrial Estate area. This is a 60mph limit area throughout and the potential for accidents is significant.     Those present felt strongly that this area should have a lower speed limit.

Following on one of the members of the public also raised the issue of vehicles (including cars, lorries and tractors) speeding along the Great North Road. This starts as a 30mph and then changes to 40mph but some drivers speed well in excess of the limits in both sections.

  PW highlighted the problem of HGV’s driving through the village which can particularly cause difficulties at the Tarradale Hotel corner.   These problems are now being exacerbated by the current bridge works and the moving of the traffic lights.   WM mentioned that banning HGV’s traveling on the Black Isle Road from Lily Loch into MOO had been suggested previously, but was rejected by the HC.
  It was acknowledged that the completion of the bridge and the new speed limit of 20mph will help somewhat but the issue of the lorries will still be a problem. It was reported that Cllr AMK had asked for the 20mph area to be increased from that in the original plan (the Garage to the Post Office), but no outcome of this had been established. Those present were keen that this area should extend from the Ord Arms Hotel to the Golf Course (as the school buses pick up between these points).
  Following the discussions it was agreed that it would be beneficial to invite someone from the Roads department to the next CC meeting to establish the situation with the bridge works, the scope of the future 20mph limit and also raise the other issues mentioned. MA agreed to arrange this.
  Tarradale School Drop Off
  WM advised that she has spoken to Tracy Sinclair the Head Teacher of Tarradale Primary about the congestion around drop off times at the school. MA advised that Brian Mackenzie (Principal Planner

Development & Infrastructure Service) from HC is in the process of trying to organise a meeting with the Planning, Education, Housing & Roads Departments to try to work out a solution to the problem. There has been a lack of a co-ordinated approach previously which has not helped with situation.

PW highlighted that with the current bridge works the children leaving the school playground via the Black Isle Road have had their pavements restricted which could be dangerous. JT suggested that a temporary HGV speed restriction could be an option here.


11. Date of Next Meeting
  Thursday 14th April @ 7.30 pm at the Pavilion, Muir of Ord
  It was agreed to change the date of the May meeting to the following week as FM cannot make the current date set.   Therefore this will be changed to Tuesday 17th May.
   The meeting finished at 9.35pm 


Ref Who Action When
1 MA To appoint someone to co-ordinate the Beauly Loop Project ASAP
2 FM To investigate new Christmas Lights ASAP
3 Cllr MP To speak to Cllr AMK to establish if he has any updates on the Old Moorings Hotel & contact Building Standards ASAP
4 FM To get incident figures from Vulcan Cottage for the last 3 years from PC Nicola MacDonald ASAP
5 Cllr MP To check the situation regarding planning and permanent flower beds with Cllr AMK and Julie Ferguson ASAP
6 MA & SM To discuss the need for a Community Broadband Project ASAP
7 FM To contact the Police to ask that there is always a Police Officer present at CC meetings ASAP
8 FM To ask that a written report is submitted by the Company Development Officer or Community Development Officer to CC meetings ASAP
9 Cllr MP To pass on details of a potentially unsafe chimney stack on the Forbes Café Building to Building Services ASAP
10 FM To contact Di Agnew to get the details of the Dog Warden and ask them to attend a CC meeting ASAP
11 MA To arrange a meeting with Phil Waite to clarify the issue with the gate ASAP
12 MA To invite someone from the Roads Department to the next CC meeting to discuss the concerns raised ASAP