Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council – Agreed May 2018 Minutes

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council

The Muir Hub, Muir of Ord
Thursday 10th May 2018 @ 7.30pm

Present: Mike Atkinson (MA), Stephen Mackenzie (SM), Frances McGruer (FM), Paul Whitham (PW),

Others: Cllr Graham Mackenzie (GM), Irene MacRae (IM), Frank Stephen, Willie Bell, Jo Ellen (Minutes)

1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
There were apologies from Wilma MacKenzie (WM), Cllr Angela Maclean (AM)

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting
The minutes of the meeting on Thursday 8th March 2018 were proposed as a true reflection by SM and seconded by PW.

3. Matters Arising from Minutes
Quad Bikes
SM advised that this issue has been reported twice to the Police. There was no other update given.

HGV Limit on Black Isle Road
MA advised that unfortunately he has had no update on the progress of an HGV limit being imposed on Black Isle Road from Ian Moncrieff at HC following their meeting last year. Cllr GM agreed to follow this up and urge a response.

A brief discussion followed with those present reporting the positive news that some HGVs appear now to be using the Industrial Estate rather than Black Isle Road. This behaviour change by some was welcomed, but the need for a formal limit was still deemed necessary.

Access to Old Railway Path (off Hawthorn Drive)
MA advised that is no progress to report at this stage with the new gate. When it is installed this will be publicised further.

Mackenzie Bequest
MA Advised that Di Agnew has a member of her staff looking into the details of this at present. At this point Frank Stephen, who is Treasurer of the Mackenzie Trust gave an explanation of the two funds that appear to be getting confused – The Mackenzie Trust and the Mackenzie Bequest.

Mackenzie Trust – In his Will, Alexander Mackenzie, who died in 1925 gave instruction that no money would be left to members of his family but instead should be given to the Parish of Urray, Muir of Ord & Marybank for Educational Purposes. The beneficiaries are Tarradale and Marybank Schools, plus the local Scout and Guiding groups. The Trustees are the Head Teachers of Tarradale and Marybank Primary Schools along with the two Parish Ministers, Rev. Scott Polworth (Church of Scotland) and Rev. Gordon Martin (Free Church of Scotland). The Capital value of this Trust is currently £37,000 with an annual income of approximately £1,455.

The Mackenzie Bequest – 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 some years ago. There is currently £800 in the bequest account, with a small amount of interest accrued each year.

MA thanked Frank for his clarification. A discussion followed as those present still felt there is a fund administered by HC which relates to the Urray cemetery. MA will pass on to Di what was established tonight and Frank’s contact details, but also request that further investigations are made to establish if there is another fund.

War Memorial Lights
FM advised that discussions are ongoing about the lights with HC and Cllr AM. It is hoped SSE may be able to assist with this and that the work be completed by the winter.

Golf Club Planter
Following discussion FM will go back to discuss the upkeep of the village entrance planter on Great North Road, near the Golf course with the Head Green Keeper. She will emphasise that they will only be required to water the plants and weed/tidy the area around the planter. They are not required to plant it as this is done by the Gardening Club.

Village Defibrillators
MA advised that despite the installation process taking some time, the Co-op Defibrillator is now in place and working. Therefore with the Golf Club one, there are now two working Defibrillators in the village (it has been established that there is not one at the Doctors Surgery as previously suggested).

FM advised that she has spoken to the member of the community who would like to donate a third one, although there is currently some doubt about this as the cost is higher than they had been originally advised. Those present felt that the village could do with another one and the garage was suggested as a possible host. It was also felt that the Ward Discretionary Fund or the CC may be able to assist with some of the cost if necessary. FM will go back to the person wishing to make the donation and discuss this further with them.

MA will write an article for Muir Matters to publicise the two Defibrillators in place and also ask if there is a demand for training on how to use them.

CC Insurance
SM reported that on checking the CC does not have to pay £86 for Public Liability Insurance as indicated at the last meeting. HC will still cover the cost of this.

Developers Contribution Fund (DCF)
MA advised that following approval at the last meeting he has put an application in to HC for £65,000 of the DCF money to be used for the Hall renovation project. He will update when there is a response to this.

Traffic Crossing Lights at the Cairns
FM advised that these lights were out again recently. MA will check if Cllr AM was able to investigate this with HC.

Tidy Village Competition
MA will contact Cllr AM to see if there is any progress with this.

New Sports Facility
MA gave an update on the progress of this project advising that a small group has met three times to discuss the options for a new sports facility and how to proceed. The last meeting was on the site of the old sports centre next to the Bowl, which was destroyed in 1996. This would possibly be the best site for any future development due to the availability of the land and good access, however it would still have challenges as it is a contaminated site. The next step will be to widen out the consultation process and invite the community to complete a questionnaire on the facilities they would like, where they would want them and also what sports facilities they currently use and where. The group are working on this and will issue the questionnaire to the community as soon as possible.

4. Police Report
PC MacDonald was not present and did not submit a Police Report. MA will contact her and ensure there is one for the next meeting in June.

A brief discussion took place on the issue of speeding in the village and particularly the nuisance of boy racers. Solutions such as ‘Smiley Face’ speed signs (which cost £3,500 each) may help reduce the speed of many, but it was felt they would not stop those deliberately speeding round the village and local area. MA urged the public to report issues of boy racing and anti-social behaviour to the Police.

5. Financial Report
SM gave a summary of the CC accounts as of:

Statement Balance on 30/04/18: £29,800.80
Cheques Written, but not cashed: £4,636.32
Account Balance: £25,164.48
Restricted Funds: £22,464.68
Unrestricted Working CC Funds: £2,699.80

Microgrant Applications
MA gave details of the following Microgrant applications for the CC to consider:
• Jogscotland – Have requested £285 from the Auchmore Fund to buy medals for the Gala 5k which takes place in July
• Gardening Club – Have requested £250 from both Funds (£500 in total) to help with the costs of the Flower & Craft Show in August
• Community Development Officer – Has applied for £250 to support a social thank you event for local volunteers (during Volunteer’s Week) in the Hub on 1st June, 7pm – 9pm.

All three applications were agreed in full by those present.

6. Requirement for a Community Council Election
MA advised that WM has indicated that she wishes to resign from the CC and PW is moving out of the village so will need to stand down. This leaves the CC with only three elected members and one Co-opted member. Therefore this CC is no longer viable and a mid-term election is necessary. The CC can have up to 10 elected members, and this would be ideal, but the minimum would be two new members seeking nomination to allow the CC to carry on until the next scheduled CC elections in November 2019.

The following wording will be issued on Tuesday 15th May:

Interim Election for Muir of Ord Community Council – Nominations are invited from persons seeking election to Muir of Ord Community Council. The resignation of members has brought the Community Council to below HALF of its membership of 10, and has prompted this interim election to fill the 7 vacancies.

Nomination forms and copies of the scheme for the establishment of Community Councils can be downloaded from the Highland Council website; obtained on request, by e-mail to; in person from any Service Point or from telephone no. 01349 886657.

Completed nomination forms must be submitted to Diane Agnew, Ward Manager, The Highland Council, Council Offices, High Street, Dingwall, IV15 9QN and must be received no later than 4.00pm on Wednesday 30th May 2018. The Ward Manager will accept e-mail copies of the forms, so long as it has been correctly completed and contains the signature of the candidate and witness. The contact e-mail address is

Returning Officer, the Highland Council, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, INVERNESS, IV3 5NX

On Friday 1st June, HC will notify candidates if an election is required. If not the CC can continue on with its next meeting on 14th June as long as it has sufficient new members. If more than 7 nominations are received an election will be held on Thursday 28th June, with the votes counted the next day. If this happens there will be no CC meeting on Thursday 14th June.

7. Update – Community Groups
Halls & Facilities Company (MHFC)
MA reported that the tenders that have been received for the Hall renovation project have all been disappointingly high, therefore the work has not yet been awarded. One of the MHFC Directors is now working with the contractors involved to see where savings can be made as it is hoped that it will be possible to bring the quotes down to a more realistic amount. Hopefully a positive update can be given at the next meeting.

MA advised that the Hub continues to go from strength to strength with new activities taking place every week.

Gardening Club
IM advised that this year the Gardening Club will be purchasing the plants for the village planters from Munros Nursery and requested £500 from the CC to help with this. All those present were in agreement with this. A discussion followed on the lack of support from some local businesses who have been asked to donate to village improvement projects such as this. It was hoped that in the future some may be more generous when asked.

IM also advised that the club may re-apply to Tesco Bags of Help as two alcoves have been found (one on Black Isle Road and one near the Golf Club entrance to the village) which would be suitable for planters. These would cost about £600 each.

8. Update – Planning Issues
MA advised that the planning permission for the empty shop unit on Great North Road (next to the Indian Takeaway) to be converted into a restaurant has been approved.

9. Roads, Paths & Safety Issues
Discussed in Matters Arising

10. Community Action
MA advised that the Litter Pick day organised by members of the community and Ben Wyvis Cycle Club was a big success with about 40 people turning up to help clear around the Lily Loch and Skate Park area, plus the area around School Loch. MA advised that he now has 25 litter pickers, purchased by the CC which he will be happy to give away to any keen locals who will use them to keep the village tidy.

A discussion followed on the suspicious nature of some of the litter found, which may have been used for illegal drug use, particularly around the School Loch area. This information will be forwarded to PC MacDonald.

11. Post Office Issues
MA will attempt to find out what is happening with the new Post Office in the Garage following reports that it is now not opening there.

12. Village Square – Going Forward
There was no update given.

13. Moo Food Update
PW gave an update on the project:

• The fruit trees in the orchard are blossoming and there have been no further issues of vandalism
• The Community Fridge is up and running and appears to be working well, with food being donated and used by members of the community. The school is assisting with this and there is a volunteer rota for weekends.
• The two Development Officers (Jasmine & Rachel) and a Gardener (Clive) have started work and will all support the project.
• The new vegetable boxes have been distributed in the village and will be planted shortly. Local people will then be able to help themselves to the produce.

All those present commended this project for the excellent work being done which is appealing to all generations in the village and will hopefully teach valuable skills, plus reduce the areas carbon footprint.


14. AOB
Email Queries
Some comments were received from Dave Allison and the following responses were given:

• The CC Web page details will be updated after the forthcoming election results correcting out of date information.

• E-mail addresses are created for each Community Councillor. These will be published in the next minutes and placed on the noticeboard along with the generic Private phone numbers are not published as a matter of course – messages can be sent by e-mail or delivered in person to CC meetings.

• There is no intention to video or allow videoing of Community Council meetings which are open to all to attend.

• Drainage of the path in the School park has been dug by the Chairman. Winter will see if this has been effective – if not – an alternative method will be looked at.

• See Item 3, Matters Arising for information on the various “MacKenzie bequests”
Fairburn Wind Farm Panel
SM advised that there are two vacancies on the Panel for MOO representatives. There are three meetings a year (April, August & December) held at 6.30pm in Fairburn Memorial Hall in Marybank and urged some volunteers to come forward. Further details and a job advert will be issued soon.

Upkeep of Plants at the New Bridge
FM queried if the Ivy planted at the new bridge site is still alive. A discussion followed on who is maintaining the plants in this area. IM advised that she understands Robbie Barron from Nairn has the contract for a year to do this. MA will contact the project team at HC to establish the situation.

Grass Cutting
FM reported that some small sections of grass are not being mowed in the village, with no obvious reason why. After a brief discussion, Cllr GM will raise this with HC.

BMX Track Proposal
MA advised that the costs of the signage for the Beauly Firth Loop have come in much lower than anticipated, leaving approximately £17,000 originally brought forward from the Square to Square path development (now a planning condition on the site through which the final link passes) – which was instead permitted to be used on the Beauly Firth Loop project. Keeping with the theme of cycling MA suggested that this money be used to help restore the BMX track next to the Skate Park. It is estimated the cost of reinstating what is already there will be about £15,000 with Highland Skate Parks already offering £3,000 towards the cost of this. It would be hoped that this would provide youngsters in the village an opportunity for exercise and activity – and a facility to support cycling instruction and potentially further cycle sport events using the facility.

Those present were supportive of this, but also suggested other means of funding might be available including those accessible via sportscotland and the Viridor and Suez Landfill funds. Following discussion it was agreed that this will be put as an agenda item for the next meeting. It can then be discussed further and agreed if all present are supportive.

Dingwall and Seaforth Community Council Forum
SM advised that at a recent Conon Bridge CC meeting it was suggested that the CCs in Ward 8 might like to consider the idea of forming a Dingwall and Seaforth Community Council Forum. This group could be made up of two CC members from each CC in the Ward and could meet two or three times a year to discuss items of common interest and concern. All those present were supportive and could see the benefits, but were mindful that CC members are busy people so should not be overloaded with this.

15. Date of Next Meeting & AGM
Thursday 14th June 2018 @ 7.30 pm in the Hub, Muir of Ord.

The meeting finished at 9.30 pm

Ref Who Action When
1 MA To speak to Ian Moncrieff at HC about the potential HGV limit on Black Isle Road ASAP
2 MA To put a map showing the location of the new gate on FB to allow locals to see the new route ASAP
3 MA To ask Di Agnew to investigate further if there is a separate HC administered fund which is in addition to Mackenzie Bequest ASAP
4 FM To contact the Golf Club Green Keeper to see if they are prepared to adopt the Gateway and planter on Great North Road ASAP
5 FM / MA FM contact the potential Defib donator to discuss the price and location of where it could be situated. MA to publicise the two in place in Muir Matters ASAP
6 MA To update on Developers Contribution Fund application for the Hall ASAP
7 MA / Cllr AM To check the situation with the intermittent problem at the traffic crossing lights at the Cairns ASAP
8 Cllr AM To discuss the possibility of a Tidy Village competition ASAP
9 MA To chase PC MacDonald for a Police Report for each CC meeting & advise of potential drug use at the School Loch ASAP
10 MA To check the situation with the new Post Office ASAP
11 MA To contact the HC project team responsible for the new bridge to establish who is upkeeping the plants ASAP
12 Cllr GM To speak to HC regarding grass mowing in MOO ASAP