Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council
The Muir Hub, Muir of Ord
Thursday 8th June 2017 @ 8.15pm (following on from the AGM)
Present: Mike Atkinson (MA); Stephen Mackenzie (SM); Frances MacGruer (FM); Wilma Mackenzie (WM)
Others: PC Nicola MacDonald, Jem Taylor (JT), Cllr Angela Maclean (Cllr AM), Duncan Chisholm, Moira Chalmers, Jo Ellen (Minutes)
1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
There were apologies from Carol Blanchard (CB), Paul Whitham (PW), Cllr Margaret Paterson (MP), Cllr Graham MacKenzie (GM), Cllr Alister MacKinnon (AMK)
Prior to the meeting commencing JT gave a short statement confirming his intention to step down from the CC. He stated he was depressed by the apparent lack of influence of the CC which is in his view is leading to a democratic deficit, particularly in the area of planning consent. MA expressed regret that JT felt this was necessary, but thanked him for all his hard work over the years on the CC. JT then left the meeting.
2. Minutes of Previous meeting (Thursday 11th May 2017)
The minutes were proposed as a true reflection by WM and seconded by SM
3. Matters Arising from Minutes
New Christmas Lights
FM advised that she is working with SM on this and they are hoping to apply to LEADER for funding for new lights. A brief discussion took place on whether the lights can be extended further down Great North Road to Urray House and possibly beyond. FM & SM will work together on this and report back at the next meeting.
Access to Old Railway Path (off Hawthorn Drive)
MA advised that he will hopefully be meeting a local fencing contractor at the site of the proposed new gate next week. Ideally the installation of this will take place over the summer with the CC paying for the installation (as previously agreed).
SIMD and crime rates in MOO
MA advised that he has submitted an article to Muir Matters on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) figures and how they relate to the MOO area. A follow up article will go in the next edition analysing the perception of crime in the area and how this relates to actual statistics. MA asked if he could run his article past PC MacDonald prior to submission as she may be able clarify points or add relevant detail. She was happy to do this.
HGV Issues – Contact with Steve Barron
MA read out a draft letter, written by FM to Steve Barron at HC which outlined two areas of concern previously discussed at length at CC meetings.
The first issue related to problems on Black Isle Road caused by HGVs in particular and the slim pavements (non-existent is some places) on both sides of the road in an area close to Tarradale Primary School and the Doctors Surgery. The letter called for a weight restriction on this section which would ensure large vehicles are required to use the Industrial site road (B1969) instead.
The second issue of concern referred to in the letter related to the one way road directly opposite the distillery, going up the way to Ord Road and then to Great North Road (A862). It was stated that some time ago it was agreed that a weight restriction would be imposed on it, but this has not happened and locals are very concerned of the safety implications of this.
All those present were happy with the wording and tone of the letter so this will now be sent by MA.
A brief discussion took place on the traffic calming islands currently under construction on Great North Road (near the Moorings). WM stated that a pedestrian walking on the pavement was nearly hit by a bus passing through the islands recently. Concern was also raised that the islands may be too flush to the road allowing vehicles to drive over the top if no reflectors or bollards are present. It was agreed to wait and see what the final layout is and then if necessary the CC will make comment.
Golf Club Bushes
FM has spoken to John Forbes at the Golf Club about the untidy bushes along the road next to the Golf course. He understands that the sections in question are owned and maintained by HC.
This led on to a discussion about grass cutting and a perceived reduction in the service in MOO and beyond. It was stated that verges, slopes and the area around the Hall and football field have not been cut or are only partially done. Cllr AM has spoken to both Andy Summers, Head of Environmental and Amenity Services and John Mackay about this following recent complaints from across the area. They have advised that this maintenance work (previously outsourced to ISS Landscaping) has now been brought back in-house by HC. They have had some teething problems getting the service working to fully, but these should be resolved shortly. She suggested waiting a couple of weeks to see if the service improves before further complaints are made.
Contact with George Leslie Ltd
There was no update on this item.
See item 8.
Village Square Questionnaire
See item 10.
Dog fouling at Lily Loch
See item 12.
Industrial Estate Noise Disturbance
There was no update on this item.
Letter to Royal Mail
There was no update on this item.
4. Police Report
PC MacDonald was in attendance gave the following update for crimes and offences between 01/05/2017 and 01/06/2017 which have been detected and non detected:
• 3 persons charged road traffic offences
• Officers dealt with 1 Vandalism
She also advised that Traffic Police have also been out in the village and speed checks have been conducted. An unmarked Police car will also be going about the village over the summer with Officers in plain clothes who will patrol areas that may have had issues in the past.
PC MacDonald advised that following a spate of car thefts last year in MOO and beyond, the culprit (from Beauly) has recently been apprehended and linked successfully to the crimes.
Shortly she will also be contacting the local schools to discuss with them security over the summer months as this is a time when issues can arise with vandalism. With regards to the Skate Park she was happy to report that there have been very few issues recently. She is now in charge of monitoring Vulcan Cottage and advised that some of the residents have been moved to Inverness. Those that are left appear to be decent individuals and have not been causing any problems requiring Police attention.
A few minor issues were highlighted and PC MacDonald emphasised how crucial it is that the public report issues of vandalism, public nuisance, etc as it is often the only way the Police find out about them and then take action.
A discussion took place on the three CCT cameras in the village that have not worked for some time. These do not seem to be acting as a deterrent as it is widely known in the area that they do not work. It was agreed that it would be useful to look at the options for ideally replacing these with the Halls & Facilities Company as with the Hub and refurbished hall it will be important to protect these buildings. MA will look into this and also speak to Logic Alarm Systems to see if they can provide assistance.
MA commented that it was positive to see how low the MOO crime figures are at present and emphasised that the perception of crime in the area appears to be worse than the reality.
PC MacDonald left the meeting after this item.
5. Financial Report
SM advised that there was no update to the May figures as the bank statement had only arrived shortly before the meeting leaving no time to prepare a report.
It was agreed to defer a discussion on the current level of unrestricted CC funds to the next meeting when more CC members should be present.
6. Update – Community Groups
Halls & Facilities Company
There was no update on the Village Hall, an update will be given at the next meeting.
FM suggested that MA speak to Nina Graham (Company Development Manager) and Hannah McSween (Community Development Manager) and ask them each to provide a brief written report for CC meetings. This was previously agreed but there have been no reports recently.
7. Update – Planning Issues
Cllr AM reported that she has met with Vicky Forbes, who has been given permission by her father to deal with the remaining Forbes properties in MOO, some of which require considerable work. She is keen to work with HC and appreciates that the current situation with some of the properties is not ideal. All present agreed this was a positive move.
Cllr AM also confirmed that Mrs Beaton, owner of Velmont is paying Council Tax on this property.
MA advised that the developer of the new mobile phone mast to be located opposite the petrol station (which was recently given planning approval) is seeking to have a couple of the conditions of the planning consent removed. Those present were not happy with any changes being made to the conditions that had been stipulated and MA agreed to check the situation, and if necessary proceed with an objection.
8. Post Office Issues
MA advised that he sent a letter to the Co-op to see if they would be interested in installing a Post Office in their MOO shop. There has been no response as yet. There will hopefully be an update for the next meeting.
9. Urray Cemetery
There was no update on the two outstanding issues relating to:
• Discussions with families to ensure all grave stones and tributes in the cemetery adhere to HC regulations
• Whether the large gates at Urray Cemetery can be left open or locked at certain times
Following on WM suggested that it would be useful to get details of the original Mackenzie Bequest (for the upkeep of Urray Cemetery) from HC so the CC can keep this on file, ensuring future members are aware of it and what it is for. Cllr AM will see if she can find details to pass on.
10. Village Square – Going Forward
MA highlighted a questionnaire he has drawn up which was recently distributed round the CC for comment. The intention is that people attending the Gala will be encouraged to complete one and share their views on whether a Village Square redevelopment is something the community would like to see. SM will be on hand to answer questions as well as showing a 3D visual representation of a possible option. MA emphasised that this plan is by no means a final option, it is just a way of stimulating debate in the community. Questionnaires will also hopefully be put in the Co-op to catch people who do not attend the Gala. MA will also be speaking to local businesses including those on Great North Road to gauge their views over the coming weeks. There will be a further update at the next meeting.
11. Dog Fouling – Lily Loch Area
MA has spoken to Catriona Taylor at HC who provided guidance on dog poo bins. She advised that HC prefer the use of special wheelie bins with a locked lid and a slot at the top for deposits. These can be used for other waste too. HC would also prefer that a bin is located at the Bowl carpark end, rather than at the Lily Loch side for ease of collection. The cost of a bin and installation will be £200. All present were happy for the CC to pay for one and MA will progress this following speaking to Moo Food and the individuals who raised the original complaints about the dog fouling issue.
At this point MA and Cllr AM left the meeting to go to the General Election count in Dingwall, SM took over as Chair for the remainder of the meeting.
12. Moo Food
SM gave a brief update stating that due to contamination at the Carnaclasair Recreational Ground site, it is looking unlikely that the Moo Food garden can be located there. Other options will need to be explored. FM suggested the shortcut area between Balvaird Road and Black Isle Road (close to Tarradale Primary) might be suitable. SM will pass this idea on to Emma Whitham.
FM advised that it has not proved as straightforward as hoped having the defibrillator installed at the Co-op. Their maintenance person is currently waiting for authorisation to undertake the necessary electrical work to allow the defibrillator to be installed. FM will continue to liaise with the Co-op and Lucky2BHere to ensure this vital life saving equipment is in place and working as soon as possible.
Movement of Speed Signs
FM advised that Jock Johanssen, the farmer at Chapleton Farm has been in touch to advise that the 30mph sign on entering the village (from the Conon Bridge side) is to be moved to near the bus stop at Highfield. This was prompted following some recent car accidents near his farm. All agreed this was a positive move, but were disappointed that the CC have not been notified directly by HC. It was felt this should be raised with the four councillors so they can try to improve communication channels.
FM advised that Jock Johanssen has also spoken to her about the location of one of the new Planters (Great North Road, Conon Bridge end) which appears be in the wrong place on his land. SM will investigate this and report back.
Traffic Lights on the New Bridge
Following confusion in the community over the traffic lights on the new bridge, Duncan Chisholm advised that HC have confirmed to him that there will be no traffic control on the bridge other than the two pedestrian crossings. SM suggested this contradicts confirmation that MA received from Shane Manning at HC after the last CC meeting which stated the following:
1. Bridge to Petrol Station on green means Pedestrian Crossing and West road are stopped red.
2. Petrol Station to Bridge AND Petrol Station into West Road (filtering) on green means Bridge to West Road stopped red and West Road and Pedestrian Crossing stopped red
3. West Road exiting both ways on green means everything else stopped red
4. Pedestrian Crossing on Green means ALL traffic flows on Red – stopped
Following the discussion it was clear that there was still confusion, however it was felt at this stage, so close to it fully opening, it would be best wait and assess the situation once the contractors have gone. It was emphasised however that if there are problems the CC will need to react quickly in making their concerns known to HC.
Call for an Early CC Election
Following the resignation of JT, the CC currently only has four elected members which is the minimum it can have to function. Although the CC can co-op members, at present the maximum number of these members have been appointed (PW & CB). FM suggested that due to the numbers of CC members being at such a critical level it would be advisable to hold an early election to try to gain more members. SM will investigate this and report back.
14. Date of Next Meeting
Thursday 14th September 2017 @ 7.30 pm at the Pavilion, Muir of Ord.
The meeting finished at 9.30 pm
Ref Who Action When
1 FM & SM To update on the progress on getting new Christmas Lights ASAP
2 MA To provide an update on the Old Railway Path issue ASAP
3 MA To send the agreed letter to Steve Barron at HC about the HGV problem in MOO ASAP
4 MA FM speak to Allan Turner at George Leslie Ltd about issues of antisocial behaviour at the new Bridge site and MA to discuss about the possibility of displaying Highland Youth Art Group work on the bridge ASAP
5 Cllr AM & Cllr GM To raise the issue of the bird scaring bangs at the Industrial Estate with Environmental Health ASAP
6 MA To draft a letter to Royal Mail (and circulate to CC for comment) regarding the perceived reduction in mail delivery services in MOO ASAP
7 MA To contact Login Alarm Systems about CCT options and also liaise with Halls & Facilities Company ASAP
8 MA To request reports from the Nina and Hannah for CC meetings ASAP
9 MA To check the situation with new Mobile Mast to see if a further objection is now required ASAP
10 Cllr AM To investigate if the CC can get details of the Mackenzie Bequest for their records ASAP
11 MA To progress the purchase of a dog poo bin ASAP
12 SM To speak to Emma Whitham about an alternative location for the Moo Food garden ASAP
13 All Cllrs To see if they can encourage more communication to flow to the CC on matters of interest to the community ASAP
14 SM To check the correct location of the Planter on Great North Road (Conon Bridge end) ASAP