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

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council


Pavilion, Muir of Ord

Thursday 10th November 2016 @ 7.30pm

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

Others:            Cllr Margaret Paterson (MP), Cllr Alister MacKinnon (AMK), Irene Macleod (IM), Moira Chalmers, Teresa Loch, Rev. Gordon Martin, Joan Munro, Duncan Robertson & Allan Turner (George Leslie Ltd), Jo Ellen (Minutes)


1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
There were apologies from Cllr Angela Maclean (AM), Cllr Jean Davis (JD), Cllr Graham Mackenzie (GM) & Carol Blanchard (CB)


2. Minutes of Previous meeting (Thursday 8th September 2016)

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

Page 5: War Memorial – Change from ‘John Maclean & Sons (Electrical)’ to ‘John McLean Stonemasons.’


FM confirmed that the CC meeting on Thursday 13th October had not been quorate so only notes had been taken.   She read these to those present (they are attached at the end of these minutes).


3. Matters Arising from Minutes
  New Christmas Lights
  FM confirmed that she did investigate cost of new lights, but concluded that no more are needed this year as there are some at the Filling Station which Tom Davis been kindly storing. SM will pick them up so they can be kept with the other decorations at the Black Isle Show ground.


  Vulcan Cottage
  To be discussed in Item 4, Police Report


  Access to Old Railway Path (off Hawthorn Drive)
  MA advised that the Farmer, Kate Mackay has come back to him about meeting up, but this has not been arranged yet. MA to progress this and report back.


  Lochan Corr Questionnaire
  FM confirmed that questionnaires regarding this potential housing development were completed by CC members as requested. As yet there has been no response back from the developer Savills.
  Corrie Road Planning Application
  FM advised that there is no update with this. A brief discussion took place with WM reiterating the concerns of local residents raised at the September CC meeting.
  Fairburn Wind Farm Money – Moving Forward
  See Item 9.
  War Memorial Update
  FM advised that the tree root close to the War Memorial has now been removed by HC.


  Urray Cemetery Update
  Cllr AMK advised that he attended a meeting today about the ongoing issues at the Urray cemetery. While some of the elaborate displays have been removed others remain. Discussions will continue between HC and the families concerned so a satisfactory outcome can be found. An update will be given at the next CC meeting.


  Cross Services Meeting
  FM advised that this meeting has now been scheduled for Wednesday 07/12/16. Iain Moncrieff, Roads Operations Manager from HC will be in attendance, along with other HC departments including Housing, Education and Community Services.   It was felt by all that this joined up approach is vital to ensure a number of village problems such as congestion around school time and HGV’s on the Black Isle Road are resolved satisfactorily.


  HGV Issues
  FM advised that she has not written to Steve Barron, HC Chief Executive regarding this issue.   This can be reviewed after the Cross Services meeting in December.


  Whisky Barrels
  IM reported that HC have given permission for the Whisky Barrels donated by Glen Ord Distillery to be placed at a locations in the village for use as planters.


  Old Urray House Site Development Access
  Although concern was raised that the developer may be damaging the new cycle path during the building works, on reflection it was felt that there was no need for MA to approach Bell Contracts about this issue. Access to the new scheme (when finished) will be via this section of kerb so it will need to be replaced anyway.


  MOO to Conon Bridge cycle path feasibility report
  There was no update on this issue.   Cllr AMK will check with Cllr AM if she has any information on when this report will be made publically available.


  Weight Restriction on Lane off Ord Road
  There was no update on this item.


  Public Toilet Consultation
  This item was completed.


  Black Isle Show Ground Parking Field
  This item will be dealt with by the Black Isle Farmers Society.
10. Traffic Management, New Bridge (George Leslie Ltd)
  (this item was moved forward to allow Duncan & Allan to leave after)


FM welcomed Allan Turner and Duncan Robertson from George Leslie Ltd to the meeting to provide an update on the bridge works and answer questions. They brought with them plans for those present to look at, including details of the traffic management measures in place and the landscaping (including the trees that will be planted) that will happen at the end.


They advised that this is a £3-4 million contract which is scheduled to take a year and a half.   There have been no significant delays and it is hoped that the new bridge and surrounding works will be completed by the end of spring/early summer 2017 as planned.


  Allan advised that the current traffic management system, with 4-way lights will likely be in place for the next 14 weeks. He acknowledged that this is causing some delays and frustration, but emphasised this is all necessary for the bridge to be completed on time.   All options were looked into to manage the process and this system was felt best by HC.


  Discussion took place on how the current delays could be alleviated, particularly around the Seaforth Road and Black Isle Road junction. One option would be to make the lights 5-way, but that has already been rejected by HC. MA suggested that the traffic be split into two lanes at Seaforth Road leading up to the junction to Great North Road. This may ease congestion for those turning onto Black Isle Road. Alan and Duncan will have a further think about this and contact HC with a possible solution.


  Alan advised that George Leslie Ltd is a quarter of a partnership which also includes HC, the bridge designers and Network Rail.   He emphasised that George Leslie Ltd’s job is to build the bridge and they have not been part of the design process for either the bridge or associated road layout.   They have made some suggestions for the traffic management plans, but the final say on what happens is always made by HC.


  The old bridge, built in 1890 will be removed at the end of March 2017. The old parapets will remain and then this area can be landscaped with top soil, trees and bushes. The dates when the removal work will take place will be advertised to the community so anyone interested can come along and view the work.


  Duncan advised that drones are filming the construction at various stages of the development.   If any member of the public would like to view these they can call in at the George Leslie Ltd site office.   SM asked if some footage could be made available for the MOO Facebook page.   Allan will seek permission from the company but did not anticipate this will be a problem.


  PW queried why the new bridge appears to be much higher than the old one.   Duncan advised that this was requested by Network Rail to allow for future developments on the railway line, including possible electrification.   The difference is height is approximately 2.5 metres (9ft), but those present were reassured that once the surrounding roads are finished the difference will not be as obvious as it is now.


  Alan confirmed that following the works there will be two permanent pedestrian crossings installed, one outside the Co-op and the other on West Road.


  Duncan advised that following the works, the path to the Station North bound platform from the Co-op will be tidied up but remain as it is currently.   Access to the South bound platform however will be via the new bridge, West Road and the station carpark. It was acknowledged that this is a longer route for travellers, but HC has decided this on the grounds of health and safety.


  JT queried if there will be cycle lanes on the new bridge.   Alan stated that there would not be, at least initially. The new bridge will however does have 2 metre wide pavements on both sides of the road and it is possible these could be segmented to allow for cycling.


  Both Alan and Duncan thanked the local community for its support during the project. In return Cllr MP gave thanks to Allan and Duncan, highlighted the positive reports Councillors have been getting from HC staff on the progress of the project. This is very much appreciated by all. Following on, Alan advised that where possible he is happy for his men to be released for an hour or so to help locals with small jobs such as cutting kindlers.   He also stated if anyone is looking for stone when the old bridge is removed that they should make contact with the site office.


  Alan advised that George Leslie Ltd have also been working with Tarradale Primary and have given a talk to the pupils on the bridge project. They have also bought a ‘Bridges for Schools’ kit from the Institute of Civil Engineering and will help the children to build their own bridge in the gym to learn about what is involved.   They have also suggested that Tarradale pupils should be the first people to walk over the new bridge when it is finished.   All present thought this was a lovely idea.


  Duncan also advised that George Leslie Ltd will donate a defibrillator to the village before they leave. On behalf of the CC, FM thanked them for this kind donation.


  Following a question, Alan stated that the work on the bridge will stop for 10 days during the Christmas period from 23/12/16 to 04/01/17.


  Finally Alan advised that he and Duncan will be happy to come and speak to the CC again nearer completion of the project. He suggested that this could even happen on the bridge if the CC would like to come and ask questions on site.


  FM thanked Allan and Duncan very much for coming along and giving such a positive report.

(they left the meeting at this point)


4. Police Report
  FM advised that PC MacDonald was unavailable so gave the following report for crimes and offences between 01/10/16 and 01/11/16 which have been detected and non-detected:

·         2 persons charged with road traffic offences

·         1 person charged with possession of drugs

·         1 fixed penalty for anti-social behaviour


  FM then outlined the statistics from Vulcan Cottage provided by PC MacDonald. There were 110 reported incidents logged by the Police from 09/03/13 to 30/09/16, averaging 30 a year.   Those present felt this was a very high number for a property that is located so close to the local school. A discussion followed on this with a query raised about whether there is a Warden in place.   Cllr AMK will check the situation and report back.


  MA raised the issue of speeding traffic on Balvraid Road which is dangerous to all road users including pedestrians and cyclists. A discussion followed with widespread agreement that there is a significant problem with speeding in the village, not helped currently by the bridge works.   FM will raise this with PC MacDonald.


5. Financial Report
  SM gave details of the account as of 31/10/16:

·         The account balance at present is £35,118.64

·         Balance (minus written cheques, including £1,100.00 to the Beauly Firth Loop project) is £32,938.64

·         The total unrestricted funds for the CC to use for its business is £5,638.64


  Microgrant Applications
  FM advised that she has received two microgrant applications from the 1st MOO Rainbows for a camping trip. She did not have the details, but all present agreed that these should be approved.


6. Update – Community Groups
Hall & Facilities Company
MA reported that the completion of the Hub building has slipped a little and its revised opening date will be announced shortly.


Beauly Firth Loop
MA advised that he will do a report on the progress of this project for the December meeting.


Friends of Tarradale School
FM advised that she attended the AGM of this group recently. The office bearers are remaining the same, led by Jason Hasson as Chair.


Gardening Club
IM advised that the planters in the village have been emptied and the gardening club will plant bulbs in them next week. A brief discussion took place on the planter outside the butchers which has not been maintained during the bridge works.     IM advised that next year she hopes to implement a rota system for watering, weeding and feeding the planters.     For this to be successful more volunteers will be needed to assist and she urged anyone interested to get in touch with her.


Muir of Ord Jog Scotland
Joan Munro was delighted to report that the membership of this running club is increasing with both locals and those out-with the village joining the sessions on a Monday and Wednesday evening, plus Wednesday afternoons. She stated that new members are always welcome.


7. Update – Sale of Properties, High Street
  MA was pleased to report that Bad Girl Bakery, a café and bakery will be opening in the old Forbes Café building at the end of January. All present welcomed this.   It is understood that the owners of this and Artysans (who will run the Hub café) have been to touch to try to ensure they can run successfully side by side.


  A member of the public queried if the Forbes Building on Corrie Road has been sold as it is understood by some that it has. There was no clarification given on whether this is the case or not.


8. Update – Vulcan Cottage
  See Item 4, Police Report.


9. Fairburn Wind Farm Money – Moving Forward
  SM gave an update on the situation following the Open Day in June and further discussion with SSE. He stated that agreement is now needed on how to spend the £20,000 which is annually received by the MOO community from the Fairburn Fund.   SM reported that SSE are being very flexible and supportive about this and the community does not need to be tied into a 5 year plan again.     Following discussion the   breakdown below was agreed:


  Year 2016/17 (up until spring 2017)

·         £2,000 for micro grants to be administered by CC

·         £5,000 for larger community project grants, to a maximum of £1,000 each (administered through Fairburn Panel)

·         £5,000 placed in an account for a Development officer (current contract ends March 2017)

·         £8,000 to support the Village Hall


  From 2017/18, going forward

·         £2,000 for micro grants to be administered by CC

·         £5,000 for larger community project grants, to a maximum of £1,000 each administered through Fairburn Panel

·         £10,000 for a Development officer

·         £3,000 for ongoing support of Village Hall


  SM advised that once confirmation is received via these minutes, Fiona Morrison will be able to add this to the new Fairburn Fund Framework document which will be discussed at the next Panel meeting in March.


  FM stressed how important it is to ensure the community is aware of the changes and that groups understand they can apply for larger grants from now.   SM will liaise with Joan Munro at Muir Matters to publicise this in the next edition.


11. Post Office Issues
  FM advised that the CC were only made aware of the current issues at the MOO Post Office last week. She welcomed Teresa Loch, one of the two members of staff currently at the MOO Post Office to the meeting who outlined the issues they are having. This includes having no running water or on-site toilet, plus the fact they are having to work alone most of the time (so the building has to be closed when any breaks are required).   Both FM and Cllr AMK commended both ladies for their commitment and dedication during such a difficult time. In return Theresa expressed her gratitude at the kindness shown to herself and her colleague since the problems were made public.

Cllr AMK advised that he has been in touch with Post Office Ltd and New Rose Personnel (who have been subcontracted to temporarily run the facility) to try to get some improvement. As yet no solution has been forthcoming.

  FM advised that the post of Post Master has now been advertised with a closing date of February 2017.   It was stressed though that it could still take 3-6 months to get someone in post (possibly quicker though if a suitable person is found).


  It was agreed that finding an alternative location for this well used local facility is crucial. Two options were suggested, the old RBS building and the Service Point at the Police Station.   PW and SM will investigate the first option, while Cllr AMK will look into the latter.


12. AOB
  War Memorial
  Cllr AMK advised that he is still waiting for an update on the situation with the lighting.   FM also queried the cost of the Pointing work.     Cllr AMK will check the situation and report back.


Remembrance Day
FM gave details of what will happen on Sunday 13th November.   A parade will leave the Church Hall at 10.15am and be piped by Karla Urquhart to the War Memorial.   The service will then start at 10.45am.   FM advised that she has asked Graham Fraser, from Ardnagrask to lay a poppy wreath on behalf of the CC.  He is an ex-serviceman, who has helped with the War Memorial improvements and his grandfather’s name is also on the Memorial.


New Phone Mast
JT advised that he received a call from an agent who is looking for suitable sites in the village to put a new phone mast for a client.   One or two of the sites are on Community Association land.   Once a report is available detailing the plans this can be discussed further by the CC.


Tesco Bags of Help
IM advised that the Bags of Help vote in the Dingwall, Ullapool and Dornoch Tesco stores ends on Sunday 13th November. She urged anyone shopping in these stores to vote for the MOO project!


A brief discussion followed on some other Funds that may be able to help the community including:

·         The Co-op Community Fund (Hannah McSween has already registered for this)

·         The RBS Skills & Opportunities Fund

·         The Diagio Foundation

·         The Scotrail Foundation


FM reported that a member of the community (who wishes to remain anonymous) would like to donate a defibrillator the village. This will be in addition to the one donated by George Leslie Ltd (which will come next year) and the one that is already situated at the Golf Club. A discussion took place on the best place to locate the two new ones. FM suggested that the Co-op would be a great place as it is open all week and for long hours.     There were no objections to this so she will approach the Co-op to see if this can go ahead.   PW stated that a defibrillator needs to get to a person in need within 8 minutes, therefore MA agreed to do a proximity analysis to work out where the third one is best located.   Rev. Martin suggested that if the west of the village is thought to be best, the Church would be a possible option.


Vandalised Toilets
WM highlighted that the public toilets in MOO were vandalised quite badly recently.   She queried why they were not locked as it was likely to have happened late at night.   No-one else present was aware this had happened and it was not clear if the Police had been informed. Cllr AMK will check who locks and cleans the toilets and report back.


State of the Bowl
  Joan Munro highlighted the poor state of the Bowl after the Bonfire Night weekend.   The school running club on Monday 7th found many spent fireworks, firelighters, boxes and other rubbish on the grass during their training session.   This was felt to be dangerous and she asked who is responsible for maintaining this area.   FM stated that her husband Billy goes every Tuesday to check and tidy the area.     He was not aware of the rubbish this week, so FM suggested it may have been cleaned up before he got there.     For future reference MA suggested that the Bowl is checked after Bonfire night, as it would not be safe to do so on the night.   FM will also highlight this problem with PC MacDonald for future years.


  Pot Holes
  Cllr AMK advised that the large pot-hole at Highfield Circle should be repaired by Tuesday 15/11/16. A Jetpatcher is coming to the area so he urged any other pot-holes to be reported to HC as soon as possible to allow them to be repaired also.  A number of other issues including a damaged manhole cover (on West Road) and drain (on Black Isle Road) have also been reported to Iain Moncrieff.   FM highlighted the poor state of the surface on Black Isle Road following the work required for the extension to the Doctors Surgery. Cllr AMK will also raise this.


  Pensioners Christmas Party
  Moira Chalmers asked if the CC could make a donation to this event.   All the committee present were very supportive of this and agreed to pay £200.   Moira will try to get further funding from others, but if this is not forthcoming she will let the CC know.


  Moo Food
  PW (on behalf of his wife, Emma Whitham) outlined details of a new social enterprise company, called Moo Food which has been set up in the village with the aim of creating a community garden to produce environmentally conscious food. He handed out a short questionnaire to those present and advised that further copies can be found in MOO at the PO, Pharmacy and Munro’s Butcher.   For anyone interested they can like the MOO Food page on Facebook or follow @MOOFood on Twitter.

PW asked that this be put as an agenda item at the next meeting so Emma can come and give a brief talk about it.


  Village Tidy Up Days
  PW was pleased to report that HC have agreed to supply tools and support for the community to undertake some Tidy Up days where a number of maintenance jobs to improve the village could be done by volunteers. This could include litter picking, gardening, mowing, etc. He suggested having a Spring/Summer day, then maybe another in the Autumn. To attract more people a BBQ or afternoon tea could possibly follow the work.


  Vision for the Square
  PW asked if MA could outline his vision of how the village square could be improved (previously it was agreed that the CC would fund up to £250 for a professional to draw up his idea).   MA will arrange to do this.


  Railway Station Information
  JT highlighted that the digital train information board at the MOO railway station is not providing an adequate service and asked if he could write to ScotRail on behalf of the CC.   FM was happy for him to do this.


  Phone Mast Issue at Auchmore
  SM apologised to any local people who may have experienced problems with their Vodafone or O2 signal recently. He explained that the phone mast on Auchmore Farm was turned off for a period while an issue with an electricity bill was resolved between the Farm and the two phone companies.


11. Date of Next Meeting
  Thursday 8th December @ 7.30 pm at the Pavilion, Muir of Ord
   The meeting finished at 9.45pm



Ref Who Action When
1 SM To collect the 2-3 sets of lights from the Garage ASAP
2 MA To meet Kate Mackay regarding the installation of two new gates to allow access to the Old Railway Path ASAP
3 Cllr AMK To provide an update on the Urray Cemetery issues ASAP
4 Cllr AM To check when the MOO to Conon Bridge cycle path feasibility report will be available ASAP
5 Cllr AMK To check if there is a Warden at Vulcan Cottage ASAP
6 FM To raise with PC MacDonald about the level of speeding in the village ASAP
7 MA To give an update on the Beauly Firth Loop project ASAP
8 SM & Joan Munro To ensure the changes to the allocation of the Fairburn Fund are publicised in Muir Matters ASAP
9 Cllr AMK, SM & PW To investigate if the old Service Point or the RBS building could be used as a Post Office, even as a temporary measure ASAP
10 Cllr AMK To check the situation with the War Memorial lightening and establish the cost of the pointing ASAP
11 FM To establish if a Defibrillator can be located at the Co-op in MOO ASAP
12 MA To investigate where in the village the 3rd Defibrillator can be situated ASAP
13 Cllr AMK To check who locks and cleans the MOO public toilets ASAP
14 FM To notify PC MacDonald that there may be an issue with fireworks being let off in the Bowl around Bonfire Night ASAP
15 Cllr AMK To raise a number of roads issues with Iain Moncrieff ASAP
16 MA To arrange for his vision for the square to be drawn up ASAP
17 JT To write to ScotRail on behalf of the CC about the poor train information displayed at MOO Station ASAP




Notes from Community Council Meeting 8 October 2015 held in the Pavilion Muir of Ord at 7.30pm.

Present: Mrs Frances MacGruer (Chair), Stephen MacKenzie (Treasurer), Carol Blanchard present, no other CC members present.

Apologies were intimated on behalf of Paul Whitham, Jo Ellen (Minutes Secretary), Councillors Alister MacKinnon, Graham MacKenzie & Angela MacLean.

In attendance Dr Jean Davis, Irene MacLeod, Murdo Fraser, Annie Morrison, Jim Henderson, R Morrison and Joan Munro.

Due to us not being quorate, we followed with a discussion as per the Agenda, which will now be carried to the next meeting on Thursday 12 November.

Action Points to note:-

Christmas Lights – FM discussed with Blanchere Illuminations – re-conditioned available from £200-500. New from £200 – 800.

Cemetery – issues not solved.

Irene updated on the Bags of Help grant application and voting system, she also solved the situation with the barrels herself.

Vulcan Cottage – statistics now present.

FOT – AGM details given to the meeting.

War Memorial – Lighting and cost.