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

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council

The Muir Hub, Muir of Ord
Thursday 14th September 2017 @ 7.30pm

Present: Mike Atkinson (MA); Frances MacGruer (FM); Wilma Mackenzie (WM); Carol Blanchard (CB), Paul Whitham (PW)
Others: Cllr Angela Maclean (Cllr AM), Cllr Graham MacKenzie (GM), Cllr Alister MacKinnon (AMK), Irene MacRae (IM), Morag Brown, William Mackenzie, Duncan Chisholm, Moira Chalmers, Jo Ellen (Minutes)

1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
There were apologies from Stephen Mackenzie (SM)

2. Minutes of Previous meeting (Thursday 8th June 2017)
The minutes were proposed as a true reflection by WM and seconded by MA.

3. Matters Arising from Minutes
New Christmas Lights
There was no update on this item.

Access to Old Railway Path (off Hawthorn Drive)
MA advised that he has had some difficulty making contact with a fencer to give a quote for the proposed new gate at this site. He will continue to work on this and report back at the next meeting.

HGV Issues – Contact with Steve Barron
MA was pleased to report that the letter to Steve Barron had a very quick effect and Ian Moncrieff, HC Area Roads Engineer met with him recently at the areas of concern in MOO. Firstly they looked at the issues on Black Isle Road, primarily the number of HGVs using the road and the narrow pavements. It was advised that the developers of the Lochan Corr site have engaged Traffic Management Consultants to look at this (with a view to helping them gain planning permission) and have come up with two proposals which have been put to HC. Firstly to impose a 7 ton weight restriction and secondly to widen the footpath to ideally 1.5m in width. MA suggested that when the consultants report is available the CC can study it and further decisions can be made on whether the CC can support the Lochan Corr development or not.

MA confirmed that he has also written to the bridge designers about poor visibility for drivers when exiting Seaforth Road onto Great North Road. This may be something that the Lochan Corr developer could be encouraged to help with also. It was acknowledged however that the problem is not being helped by drivers who are exceeding the speed limit of 20mph and making the situation more serious.

MA also spoke to Ian Moncrieff about Ord Road which is used by HGVs, many of which are leaving Glen Ord Distillery. This road is not suitable for such vehicles and MA will contact the Distillery Management about this and encourage them to speak to their contractors. It is hoped that HC will impose a weight restriction on this road but it may take some time.

A detailed discussion then took place on which areas are now 20mph and those that remain 30mph. FM stated that the 20mph area only extends to just beyond the old Service Point on Seaforth Road and this was felt not to be correct. MA stated that the CC may have missed this on the original plans and therefore a Traffic Regulation Order is likely to be required to change this. Due to financial restraints at HC it was acknowledged that this may not be a quick issue to sort, however MA will check the situation and report back.

CB advised that she recently witnessed a vehicle (which had come in from Black Isle Road) failing to stop at the Great North Road junction. There is no Give Way sign and this may have caused this issue which could have been very serious.

Following on MA suggested that while highlighting issues at CC meetings can be useful it may also not be the quickest route to get a resolution. He urged members of the community to report any problems with roads, paths, etc to HC ( The issue will be logged and hopefully dealt with quickly. Anyone who does not have success with this can then raise it at a CC meeting with a view to urging a further response.

It was agreed that a standing item should be added to future agendas called ‘Roads, Paths & Safety’. All present were happy with this suggestion.

Art on the Bridge
MA advised that he did not made contact with Highland Youth Group about their art which could be potentially displayed on the bridge. After discussion it was felt by those present that it is best to leave the bridge as it is for now.

Industrial Estate Noise Disturbance
MA has not received any more complaints about loud bangs caused by bird scarers, originating from the Industrial Estate since the problem was originally highlighted. It is unclear if this will happen again so MA will contact the Scottish Power yard (a source of the bangs) and discuss it with them. If it is likely to happen again he will investigate if there is any potential environmental health issue.

Letter to Royal Mail
MA asked if anyone had an update on the perceived reduction in the delivery service by the Royal Mail in MOO. There were no issues raised so this item will not be discussed further for now.

Contact with Logic Alarm Systems
MA advised that the Hall & Facilities Company are looking at options for providing CCT for their three buildings (The Hub, Village Hall & Pavilion). Any coverage from these will help protect these properties and the areas close by. FM advised that the village CCT is now recording and is stored at the Police Station if required. One camera is located on the old RBOS building and there is also one on Black Isle Road. There is an additional one at the Railway station, but it was unclear if is operated by the Police or controlled by Network Rail. A new one is to be installed at the Primary School and details of this may be available for the next meeting.

Reports for Meetings
MA has requested reports from both the Company Development Manager (Nina Graham) and Community Development Manager (Hannah McSween) for each CC meeting. See item 6.

New Mobile Mast
See item 7.

Mackenzie Bequest
William Mackenzie read out a statement with a view to clarifying the situation with this bequest and another called with West Church Tomb Account:

The Mackenzie Bequest – This is named after Alexander Mackenzie, a Civil Engineer whose home was Aberforn House, Beauly. He died about 1925. In his Will he gave instruction that no money would be left to members of his family but instead should be given to the Parish of Urray & Kilchrist for Educational Purposes. The beneficiaries are Tarradale and Marybank Schools. The Trustees are Tracy Sinclair (Tarradale Head Teacher) and Kerrie Laird (Marybank Head Teacher) along with the two Parish Ministers, Rev. Scott Polworth (Church of Scotland) and Rev. Gordon Martin (Free Church of Scotland). The Treasurer is Mr Frank Stephen, who is presently working on the Accounts.

West Church Tomb Account – This Account is held with the Urray & Kilchrist Parish Church and is specifically for the looking after and maintaining, when required, the gravestone of the aforementioned Alexander Mackenzie which is situated beside the path, a short distance from the small side-entrance gate. It was cleaned and the letters re-gilded approximately seven years ago.

MA thanked William Mackenzie for this information and will investigate further the situation with the two funds.

Dog Fouling – Lily Loch Area
See item 12.

Moo Food
See item 11.

HC Communication to CC
MA did not express concern at the current level of communication coming to the CC from HC.

Following on Cllr AM advised that she has spoken to Kate Lackie, Business Manager at HC to try to establish a better system for CC’s reporting issues. Currently a member of any CC reporting an issue must log on to the system as an individual to get action. It is hoped that in future CC’s can have their own secure login which will make reporting more straightforward.

Great North Road Planter Location
IM advised that SM dealt with this issue and the planter is now installed and all local residents appear to be happy with its location.

Early CC Election Option
MA advised that there is no update on this. He will speak to SM and report back for the next meeting.

4. Police Report
PC MacDonald was not in attendance but had provided a Police report in a new format which MA gave a summary of to those present. It was for crimes and offences between 08/06/2017 and 14/09/2017 which have been detected and non detected:

The total number of calls for the MOO area was 226 and a brief breakdown was given (the total for the whole area of Wester Ross was 2449). The figures highlighted that there were 28 Fixed Penalty / Road Traffic Offences during the period which those present felt was high. A brief discussion followed on the need to encourage people to adhere to the new 20mph speed limit. Some people have been seen to drive fast over the bridge, possibly in an attempt to miss a red light. Cllr AMK was aware that the Police have been stopping people and reminding them of the speed limit.

MA will liaise with PC MacDonald and write an article on local crime for Muir Matters.

5. Financial Report
In SM’s absence a statement of the accounts as of 30th June 2017 was read out by MA:

Account Balance – £30,735.14
Unrestricted Funds – £5,985.14

Of the Restricted funds, £21,665.00 is for signage being installed by HC for the Beauly Firth Loop. Once the signs are all in, promotion of the route including the distribution of a map can begin.

Unrestricted Funds
MA advised that the operational costs of the CC are currently just over £1,000 per year. It is advisable that a reserve is kept in the account of £2,500 so MA asked those present for suggestions on how the current surplus of £3,500 should be spent. There was strong opinion that these funds should support those doing voluntary work in the community and following discussion it was agreed that it will be put towards the materials necessary for installing lighting at the War Memorial. FM will liaise with the HC Lighting Department to get a cost for the equipment necessary and then organise volunteers to get the work done.

SSE Fairburn Windfarm Fund
MA emphasised that the new grants of up to £1000 (in addition to Microgrants of up to £250) need to be highlighted to local groups. He will arrange for an article to be submitted to Muir Matters to publicise this, plus promotion on Facebook.

Microgrant Applications
MA gave details of following Microgrant applications for the CC to consider:
• MOO jogscotland Club – Have requested £65 from the Auchmore Fund to cover expenses associated with the running of the Gala 5k on 24th July 2017.
• MOO Scout Group – Have requested £250 from the Auchmore Fund & £250 from the Fairburn Fund to assist with the cost of lining out their storage container at Achnasoul Farm.

Both applications were agreed in full.

Farewell ‘do’ for Murray and Susan Harper
MA advised that Joan Munro has been in touch about a small leaving event for Murray & Susan Harper who leave the MOO Pharmacy after 25 years hard work. They are not keen on any type of fuss but have agreed to a small fundraiser for the Hospice being held on Monday 2nd October as a send off. Artysan will provide some nibbles and a staff member to help. Joan is requesting £250 from the CC to help pay for this. Due to the exceptional community service provided by this couple all those present were in agreement that this should be supported by the CC.

6. Update – Community Groups
Halls & Facilities Company
MA read the following update from Hannah MacSween, the Community Development Manager:
• There has been an increased number of all day bookings especially in the Tarradale Room. This has been for business meetings and training sessions.
• We have worked with local organisations and charities to support new and local events such as Moo Foods Screens of Tomorrow, Tarradale through Time project launch and this evenings Our Local Larder website launch.
• We have been able to have taster sessions and activities on through the summer through the Coop Local fund, we have had bunting making, pottery, family yoga sessions and film events. There are still some events to come through this funding.
• The Hub has worked closely with the gala group this year to put on new events in the Hub such as the children’s film days which over 80 children attended in one day. Fusion – Youth take over of the Hub supported by High Life Highland, activity day with Fitness and Art and the Gala Through the Years exhibition which has run from the gala all through the summer which we have had great feedback about.
• We are currently recruiting for a Part-time Administration role. Details can be found on the Muir of Ord website (
• We are developing a new marketing strategy to ensure our activities, events and room booking facilities has higher reach.

MA also gave an update from Nina Graham, the Company Development Manager:

The refurbishment of the Village Hall is currently her main area of work. A bill of quantities is being worked up and then five local contractors will be asked to tender for the job. Once this is done it may be necessary to look at other funders to make up any shortfall before the work can commence. Currently the plans are to add insulation, new windows, install efficient heating and lighting, improved storage, add disabled toilets, refurbish the current toilets and hopefully as a final stage to add a new kitchen.

7. Update – Planning Issues
MA advised that Galliford Try have applied to the Planning Department for a Request For Variation to their Planning Permission to allow them to make minor changes to their new Mobile Phone mast located on a site opposite the filling station on Great North Road. No objection was lodged by the CC in this instance as it was felt that this was a minor change, in addition to the perception that this would most likely not affect the decision. A discussion followed with general agreement that the Mobile Mast is in the wrong place. There was dismay expressed that the alternative options given to the developer were not explored further. It was acknowledged however that the balance between industrialisation of MOO (and similar villages) and the need for improved mobile reception is not straightforward and different sections of the community may have different standpoints.

Following on MA will try to ensure that the CC keeps abreast of any planning applications that need to be scrutinised in the future.

8. Post Office Issues
MA advised that the last communication from Royal Mail in July did not provide any significant update. It was reported however that rumours are circulating that the filling station on Great North Road may now have been chosen as the new home of the MOO Post Office. Hopefully there will be confirmation of this (if it is correct) by the October meeting.

9. Urray Cemetery
There was no update on this item.

10. Village Square – Going Forward
MA advised that during the Gala and since then the 3D visual representation, to get people talking and thinking about the future of the square has promoted lots of positive feedback and discussion. A paper survey (and online version) has been produced which will be promoted round the village and also on Facebook to maximise the return. MA will give another six weeks for responses and then the results will be analysed and publicised. The way forward can then be discussed.

11. Moo Food Update
PW read the following statement from Emma Whitham:

A Funding Application has gone to Highland Council for MOO Incredible Edible project that will see an orchard planted in park between Black Isle Road and Balvaird Road, a community fridge installed outside Hub (pending on Board approval – they met last week but I still don’t know what their decision was) and thirdly growing boxes located throughout village containing veg (for as much as the year as possible). All produce will be free to anyone -‘help yourself’ style. MOO Food will establish orchard and care for trees for the first 5 years, the Highland Council will continue to cut grass in park. Each tree will have significant protection to protect for from grass cutters. The MOO Food team will also maintain and replenish growing boxes and maintain fridge. It is hoped the funding for this project will be confirmed this month and planting will start in November. Tarradale Primary School and the Scout Troop are going to be integral in the planting of trees.

I have a MOO Food meeting arranged for Wed 20th Sept at the Hub at 7pm – anyone keen to come along is invited. I am hoping to establish a working group at the meeting that will then start to meet regularly to guide MOO Food in direction that represents the wider community. Please spread the word.

12. Dog Fouling – Lily Loch Area
MA advised that prior to purchasing the new poo bin (as discussed at the last meeting) he has spent some time in the area and is now under the impression that purchasing a new bin may not be necessary. The current bin appears to be in the correct position and is being used by dog owners. This item will be removed from the agenda unless the problem becomes significant again.

13. AOB
Mound next to Bridge
Cllr AM advised that she has received a complaint about the earth mound made up of twigs, chippings and soil (created by the bridge works) that is located next to the new bridge. This was not on the original planning permission and should not be there. She has been in touch with Colin Howell at HC who has accepted this and it will now be removed when the contractors are finished.

Location of CC Meetings
MA suggested that the Hub becomes the permanent venue for CC meetings going forward. All present were happy with this suggestion.

Gardening Club
IM reported that the raised bed outside the library is looking very tired and in need of care. This was felt to be too big a physical challenge for the members of the Gardening Club so a decision was made to ask Sue Mullins, a Garden Designer to renovate it. This will be funded by the Gardening Club and work should start on 26th September. The plan is to make it an all-year round attractive bed which can be easily maintained.

Craft & Flower Show
IM advised that this event on 19th August was a great success. Following on it may be necessary to use a marque next time for the refreshments as room was tight in the Hall. MA suggested that the Gala has marques which may be an option for this. IM added that the organising committee are also planning making an application to the Ward Discretionary Budget for tables and chairs which will help at future events.

Tesco Bags of Help
IM stated that unfortunately George Leslie Ltd were not able to do some of the work with this project as had been originally planned when the application for funding was made to Tesco. This included building a picket fence, signage and clearing land which is overgrown at the Hall. She appealed to anyone local with a digger to help with the latter work. Following discussion FM will see if it is possible for SSE volunteers to help as part of their Community at Heart scheme. If this is not possible Duncan Chisholm will speak to a contact who may be able to assist.

Volunteering in the Village
PW suggested that members of the community can make MOO a nicer place to live in by helping with some simple maintenance jobs in the village, e.g strimming, weeding, etc. Discussion took place with those present in agreement that this is a sensible way forward as HC is under so much financial pressure. It was suggested that the communities close to the village Gateway Signs and planters could effectively adopt their local one. Duncan Chisholm was happy agree that the residents of Blair of Tarradale will look after the one on Black Isle Road. FM will speak to the Golf Club to see if they could help with the one on Great North Road. It was highlighted that some people may not be keen to do anything for fear of getting into trouble. It was emphasised by MA & PW that it is crucial that willing people feel they are supported to do the work which may also mean facilitating it by providing them with equipment. MA will arrange for an article to go in Muir Matters to publicise this. A competition to see which area has the best kept village entrance may also help support of this.

Following on PW asked that a standing item is added to future CC agenda’s called ‘Community Action’. There was no objection to this.

Defibrillator Update
MA gave an update on the situation with the new and proposed Defibrillators which will hopefully give the village with four in total (currently one is located at the Golf Club):
• The one at the Co-op will be installed after training takes place on 17th October
• FM has been chasing Alan Turner at George Leslie Ltd for details on the one they are donating. It is planned that this one will be located in the Doctors Surgery
• Another one has now been donated and it is hoped this can be installed at the Free Church on the West Road.
Once installed it was emphasised that the locations need to be publicised well. MA will arrange article for Muir Matters. Signage will also be required.

Pensioners Christmas Party
Moira Chisholm stated that this event will take place on Tuesday 12th December. The total cost is £1,200 which is largely funded by local businesses kindly making donations. If there is any shortfall the CC will be happy to provide some funding if necessary.

Scout Group Leaders
PW advised that the MOO Scout group are currently looking for two new leaders as himself and Sheena Mackenzie are standing down at Christmas. If anyone is interested please contact the Scout Troop at the Village Hall on Wednesdays 8 – 9.30pm

14. Date of Next Meeting
Thursday 12th October 2017 @ 7.30 pm at the Hub, Muir of Ord.

(apologies were submitted in advance by IM and Cllr AMK)
The meeting finished at 9.45 pm

Ref Who Action When
1 FM & SM To update on the progress of getting new Christmas Lights ASAP
2 MA To provide an update on the Old Railway Path issue ASAP
3 MA To contact Glen Ord Management to request their contractors do not use Ord Road ASAP
4 MA To check with HC about the 30mph sign just after the old service point on Seaforth Road to see if this can be changed to a 20mph zone ASAP
5 MA To contact the Power Yard to check if they will be using bird scarers in the future. ASAP
6 MA To investigate further the Mackenzie Bequest and the West Church Tomb Account ASAP
7 MA & SM To investigate the possibility of holding an early CC election
8 Cllr AMK To speak to the HC Lighting Department to get costs for lighting the war memorial ASAP
9 MA To publicise the new SSE Fairburn grants in Muir Matters ASAP
10 FM To see if the SSE Community at Heart scheme can help with work at the Hall ASAP
11 FM To contact the Golf Club to see if they are prepared to adopt the Gateway and planter on Great North Road ASAP
12 MA To do an article for Muir Matters about volunteering to keep the village tidy ASAP
13 MA To arrange for publicity for the new Defibrillators when they are installed ASAP