Muir of Ord (Tarradale) – Approved minutes – 21st April 2016

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council



Pavilion, Muir of Ord

Thursday 21 April 2016 at 7.30pm


Present:          Frances MacGruer (FM); Stephen Mackenzie (SM); Mike Atkinson (MA); Paul Whitham (PW); Wilma Mackenzie (WM) Carol Blanchard (CB),


Others:            Cllr Graham MacKenzie (GM), Irene Macleod, Dave Allison, Jo Ellen (minutes)


1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
There were apologies from Jem Taylor (JT), Cllr Margaret Paterson (MP), Cllr Alister MacKinnon (AMK), Anne & Roddie Morrison


2. Minutes of Previous meeting (Thursday 10 March 2016)

The minutes were proposed as a true reflection by MA and seconded by WM.


3. Matters Arising from Minutes
  Beauly Firth Loop Co-ordinator
  MA advised that he is still to appoint someone to co-ordinate this work.


  New Christmas Lights
  FM has requested two catalogues and will investigate further the purchase of new lights when they arrive.


  Old Moorings Hotel
  Cllr GM will check if there is any update on this and report back. A brief discussion took place with acknowledgement from those present that the improvements to the exterior of the building including the new fence have made the property look considerably better.


  Vulcan Cottage
  PC Nicola MacDonald will investigate the information she can give out relating to Police activity at this property.   She will try to provide statistics to help inform the CC’s response to a renewal application of the HMO licence in May.


  Permanent Flower Beds
  MA advised that there is little progress with this. He did contact WoodBloX to see if they can help with the flower displays but it appears that this will not be possible so other options will need to be investigated. He will liaise with Irene Macleod from the gardening club.


  Community Broadband Project
  SM advised that he has spoken to Nina Graham (Company Development Manager) about this and a case will need to be built to show this is a viable option for a community project.   MA advised he has some Ofcom data on this and will share this with SM so the need for it can be assessed.


  Police Presence at CC Meetings



  FM confirmed that she contacted PC Nicola MacDonald regarding the need for a regular Police presence at CC meetings. She thanked PC MacDonald for attending tonight.
  Halls & Facilities Updates
  FM confirmed that both the Company and Community Development Managers have provided reports for this meeting and will provide regular updates in the future.


  Forbes Café – Unsafe Chimney Stack
  Cllr GM to check the situation with Cllr MP and report back.


  Dog Fouling
  FM will contact the Dog Warden to ask them to attend a future CC meeting to discuss dog fouling near to the Skate Park/Lily Loch area.


  Access to Old Railway Path
  MA advised that he met with Phil Waite, Access Officer at HC to do a site visit to establish the exact location of the problem (off Hawthorn Road, before the Kennels).   The situation is that the landowner put up a fence recently, but this was effectively pulled down by walkers within a few days, as it is a well used route. The landowner is now open to the idea of a gate being installed but is looking for community funding for this.   MA suggested that installing two gates in this area would help to enhance the local network of paths around the village. Following discussion MA will propose to the landowner that the CC will help with a proportion of the costs for installing two gates, and the figure of £200 was agreed.


  Road Safety Concerns
  In light of the serious concerns raised at the previous meeting about road safety in the village it was agreed that Cllr GM will contact Shane Manning, Traffic Engineer at HC to highlight the problems discussed including the difficulties and dangers of HGV’s travelling through the village (and particularly along Black Isle Road) and also problems with the current temporary traffic light system associated with the new bridge. A number of stories were recounted by those present which showed that frustration and poor driving are a serious issue at present.   An issue with the width of the pavement outside the doctors surgery was also raised which is potentially a danger to parents and children walking to school.


Cllr GM will also ask for an up to date plan of the bridge works including what is happening with the exits and entrances to the village, plus a programme with the proposed timescale of the project.


4. Police Report
  PC MacDonald gave the following report.


Road Traffic checks carried out in Muir of Ord, Marybank and Mulbuie on various days between 01/03/16 and 20/04/16 resulting in following offences being detected:

·         Speeding – 9 people charged & 3 people warned

·         No MOT – 4 people charged

·         No Seatbelt – 3 people charged

·         Dangerous load – 2 people charged

·         Mobile phone – 1 person charged

·         Drink driving – 1 person charged

·         No Insurance – 1 person charged and vehicle uplifted


  Other Crimes:

·         Domestics x 3

·         Theft by shoplifting – 1 person cautioned and charged

·         Possession of drugs – 1 person charged

·         Assault – 1 person charged

·         Racial BOP & carrying offensive weapon – 1 person charged

·         Drunk and Incapable – 1 x Restorative Police Warning issued

·         1 Misuse of Drugs warrant executed – positive result.


Other Issues:

A Farmer reported for information that a young puppy had managed to get under the fence and into a field with sheep but no issues. He did not wish to make any formal complaint as he had spoken to owners who were very apologetic and were taking measures to prevent it occurring again.


Two, 4 year old girls who had been playing in Chapelton Place and had wandered down to Great North Road on their own. Traced a short time later and no issues.


A Dead buzzard was found near Clash Wood, nothing suspicious but sent for analysis to ensure.


  PC MacDonald also gave an update on the problems which have been happening at the Skate Park. Unfortunately there have been a number of reports of vandalism including tampering with the lighting electrical system. She reported that the Police are keeping a close eye on the situation but have not been able to get access on a number of occasions, as the gate to the Park has been locked.   It was agreed that this should not be the case.   FM to give PC MacDonald the contact details of Nigel Campbell who is part of the committee who oversee the Skate Park to see what else can be done.


(PC MacDonald left the meeting at 8.05pm)


5. Financial Report
  SM read out an update of the accounts as of 21 April 2016.


The account balance at present is £34,793.76.

The total unrestricted funds for the CC to use for its business is £6,558.76


  SM will aim to have the draft 2015/16 accounts ready for the May meeting. These will need to be audited and he asked if everyone was happy that David Cameron is used again for this.   There were no objections to this.


  Microgrant Applications
  SM advised that there are two applications for consideration:

·         Muir of Ord Curling Club, to contribute funds towards maintenance work to the curling pond and pavilion (£250)

·         Royal Highland Education Trust, to pay for a bus for Tarradale Primary P6 children to attend a farm visit and food & educational day (£150 requested)


Both applications were agreed in full by those present.


6. Update – Community Groups
Hall & Facilities Company
FM read out the reports from the two Managers. The main points from each are as follows:
Company Development Manager – Nina Graham
·         Her contract has been extended until March 2017.

·         An office has been established in the Village Hall (contact details are on the website).

·         Carol Rose & Hilary Ross are the new cleaners & Joanne Cameron is the booking administrator.

·         The upgrade of the hall is now progressing with the working group focusing on the priorities. Once agreed the necessary paperwork will need to be drawn up to progress this.

·         The asset transfer from the Community Association to the Hall & Facilities Company is progressing


Community Development Manager – Hannah MacSween
·         The building work on the Hub should be completed by November with hopefully the Hub & café open by the end of 2016.

·         Following a community consultation the name of the facility is to be ‘The Muir Hub’.

·         Ideas on how to market the facility will now be looked at.

·         Call to Action – A number of new events and activities are hoped to be developed including those in Arts, Entertainment, Music, Drama, Film, Heritage and Education. Some events would ideally be suitable for all the community as well as some specific to young people, older people and parents with young children. Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Hannah on 07493 167289 or or pop into the office.


7. Update – Sale of Properties, High Street & The Old Moorings Hotel
  Cllr GM advised there were no updates on any of the properties currently for sale.


8. Update – Vulcan Cottage
  See Matters Arising


9. Fairburn Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund
  SM advised that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Fairburn Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund is needing to be revised as it is now out of date.   Fiona Morrison from SSE has asked that the MOO community agree how they would like to allocated their funds for the next five years so that this can be incorporated into the MOU. There are a number of ways this could be done including agreement that the money all goes to a specific project (or a number of them) or local groups could simply apply for grants and the Wind Farm Panel will make decisions on whether to award or not.


  It was agreed that a community meeting is the best way to guarantee maximum involvement in the decision making progress for this.   After much discussion it was agreed that holding a day session called ‘Five Years On’ (ideally on a Saturday from 10am-4pm) is the best way forward.   This should highlight what has been achieved over the past five years and promote the gathering of ideas for future use of the Wind Farm money. Promotion of this is crucial with the usual methods of adverting (the website & posters) supplemented with an advert in Muir Matters and the Ross-shire Journal.   MA will check the situation with Muir Matters advertising this and try to find some photos from the Big Picture event to help the publicity. CB will contact the Ross-shire Journal.


  Discussion also followed about how local groups could use this as a fundraiser by providing the refreshments at the event. To ensure fairness with this, CB will contact local groups to establish interest in this.   If more than two come forward a means of selection will need to be decided. FM to contact Hannah MacSween for a list of groups to forward to CB.


  MA will contact the Village Hall to see what Saturdays are available in June (ideally about two weeks after the next edition of Muir Matters is published).  Once a date or date options are established he will circulate this round the committee for a decision to be made and then the organising work for this will need to be distributed amongst the committee. Some of this work may be able to be done by Hannah MacSween and MA will see if this is possible also.


SM will feedback the outcome of the discussions to Fiona Morrison at the next Wind Farm Panel Meeting on Tuesday 3rd May.


10. AOB
  Tree Report
  SM reported that a Tree Expert has looked at the state of two trees (located near the Monument) to establish the severity of the damage done to them during one of the winter storms this year (caused by another tree falling on them).   A written report has not yet been received.


  Town Clock
  Dave Allison highlighted the fact the Town Clock has not worked for some time. WM advised that she spoke to Cllr MP some time ago about this but no resolution has resulted from this. It was suggested that perhaps an advert could go in Muir Matters for someone to maintain it if it could be got going again. In the meantime PW will speak to the Contracts Department at HC to see if the person who maintains other local clocks could take a look at this one. SM suggested that if there is a small cost to maintaining it in the future, the CC could possibly help with this.


  War Memorial Update
  Cllr GM gave an update on the situation with the funding of the repairs. He was pleased to report that the Capital Discretionary Fund can be used for this.   Three quotes have been requested for the work and a verbal update should be possible next week on how this is progressing.   It is hoped that all the work needed (including lighting & pointing) should be completed over the summer months.
  Proposed New Housing
  CB reported that there is quite a lot of concern over the work on a property that has been taking place near the War Memorial.   Health & Safety have been informed of the concerns, including the presence of asbestos and have been out to visit. CB also stated there is concern that the HC may allow access to a new development via Corrie Terrace and this is a very unpopular option for local residents. FM confirmed that there has been no application for a development submitted to the Planning Department so it is difficult to do anything further at this stage.


  Monument Clear Up
  FM reported that the area around the monument has been cleared, but some bushes have been left and need to be taken away. She will monitor the situation and contact HC if it is not dealt with.


  Highland Small Community Trust Newsletter
  FM has a copy of this newsletter if anyone would like to see it.


  Proposed Muir of Ord Post Office Move & Branch Modernisation
  FM advised that the Post Office is proposing to move its MOO branch from its current location into the Premier Highland Grocers shop across the road. The Post Office is doing this as part of a modernisation process and hopes that the improvements will provide better service for customers.   A six week consultation will take place on the plans which started on 19/04/16 and will end on 31/05/16. Details are displayed in the current PO and Premier Highland Grocers if anyone would like to see them or find out how to comment.


  Urray Graveyard
  FM confirmed that she has received a number of complaints about the state of the graveyard. This is in relation to some elaborate graveside displays which are impacting on other graves and the surrounding area. The feeling is this should be a calm and peaceful place and currently this is not the case. These concerns have been passed on to the Community Works Officer at HC.   They have been out to assess the situation and hope to have it resolved quickly.


  Dangerous Lamppost
  FM advised that there is a dangerous lamppost on Corrie Terrace.   This has been reported to HC and will be dealt with as soon as possible.


  Volunteers For TV Documentary
  FM advised that a TV production company called Little Gem are currently working on a new documentary series for Sky that will tell the story of six families over five years of their life. They are looking for families to take part. If anyone would like more details or is interested they should contact Nicola Barnes on 02036429694.


  Tesco – Bags of Help Programme
  FM advised that this grant scheme from Tesco opened up for applications on 18/04/16.   Three local groups will be selected to be awarded either £8,000, £10,000 or £12,000. Who gets what sum is decided by customers voting at the Dingwall store.   The closing date for applications is 03/06/16.   FM suggested that this might be an option for funding the flower displays at the village entrances. MA and Irene to discuss this further.


  EU Referendum Meeting
  FM advised that the CC have been forwarded details from Grassroots Out, a campaign group supporting a leave vote in the upcoming EU referendum who are holding public meetings in the Highlands over the next month. The inverness meeting has passed but they also have dates in Stornoway on 22/04/16, Lerwick on 06/05/16 & Kirkwall on 20/04/16.


  Transition Black Isle (TBI)
  FM advised that she is meeting with Sue Howard from this group next month as TBI are looking to feature CC’s in their newsletter.



  Handout Distributed
  Prior to the meeting finishing Dave Allison handed out a paper called ‘I’m a photographer. Not a terrorist’ to all those present.


11. Date of Next Meeting
  Tuesday 17th May @ 7.30 pm at the Pavilion, Muir of Ord

The meeting finished at 9.15pm



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 GM To check with Cllr MP if there is any update with the Old Moorings Hotel ASAP
4 PC MacDonald To provide statistics of Police activity at Vulcan Cottage (if possible) ASAP
5 MA To liaise with Irene over possible flower bed options & whether a grant application to Bags of Help should be done ASAP
6 MA & SM To discuss the need for a Community Broadband Project ASAP
7 Cllr GM To check with Cllr MP if the Forbes Café Chimney Stack was reported to HC ASAP
8 FM To contact Di Agnew to get the details of the Dog Warden and invite them to a future CC meeting ASAP
9 MA To speak to the landowner to discuss partnership with the community for two new gates to allow walkers to cross the Old Railway Path ASAP
10 Cllr GM To contact Shane Manning and highlight the traffic concerns raised and ask for the plans for the bridge project, including entrances and exits to the village. ASAP
11 FM To give PC MacDonald Nigel Campbell’s contact details


12 MA, FM & CB MA to find out when the hall is available, find photos from the Big Picture Day, speak to Muir Matters & see if Hannah can help. FM to get a list of local clubs. CB to establish interest in these groups doing the refreshments ASAP
13 PW To speak to the Contracts Dept at HC regarding the Town Clock ASAP
14 FM To monitor if the area of bushes near the monument is cleared up by HC ASAP