Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council – February 2019 Approved Minutes

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council

MINUTES

  The Muir Hub, Muir of Ord

Thursday 14th February 2019 @ 7.30 pm

Present:          Mike Atkinson (MA),  Stephen Mackenzie (SM), Frances MacGruer (FM), Jean Davis (JD),

Duncan Chisholm (DC) & Moira Chalmers (MC)

Others:            Cllr Graham MacKenzie (GM),  Cllr Margaret Paterson (MP), Cllr Angela Maclean (AM), Lynn Craig, Gillian McNee, Ally Reid, D.G Martin, Joan Kafetzaki, Graham Fraser, Nicola Leishman, Rachael Burnett, Kay Fraser, Alex Johannesen, Peter Elliott, R Morrison, A Morrison, Willie Bell, Sarah Copeland, Graham Livingston, Inspector Kevin Macleod, Sergeant Alasdair Goskirk, PC James Maciver, Louise Rose & Lindsay McGarry (Highlife Highland Youth Development)

1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
  There were apologies from Carol Blanchard (CB), Cllr Alister MacKinnon (AMK), Irene MacLeod (IM)   MA welcomed the large turnout to the meeting.  He advised that IM would like to step down from the CC.  He thanked her for her hard work.  
2. Minutes of Previous Meeting
  The minutes of the meeting on Thursday 13th December 2018 were proposed as a true reflection by JD and seconded by MC.  
3. Matters Arising from Minutes
  Access to Old Railway Path (off Hawthorn Drive)
  MA advised that due to adverse weather the gate was not installed in December as planned.  He is still trying organise another date.  Once the gate is installed the idea of creating a map to show the route and others in the village can be explored.  
  MacDonald Bequest Update
  Cllr AM gave an update on the request to use this money to pay for the Tree Officers recommendations, stating that this is currently sitting with the  Ward 5 Cllrs for Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh as Urray Cemetery falls within their area.   As yet they have not made a decision on this.  Cllr AM has chased this with Robbie Bain, Ward Manager.  
  Village Defibrillators
  MA will forward to DC information for the small cards to promote the village defibrillators.  Once produced these cards will be distributed round the village.  
  Tree Issue at Railway Bridge
  There was no progress on the issue of the tree that is blocking light on the footbridge.  MA will check the situation with Network Rail.  
  Filter Light on the Bridge
  MA advised that he has had no update on this following a check by HC.  He will chase this and update at the next meeting.  
  Broken Smiley Face on Black Isle Road
  Cllr GM advised that this was replaced on 6th March.  DC responded that this has now been taken away too.  MA will update at the next meeting.  
  Fairburn Fund Small Grants Money
  SM advised that as the uptake of the Fairburn Fund Maxi grants (up to £1000) has been low, the CC is looking to transfer some of this money to the well used Microgrant pot (grants up to £250).   To do this an application needs to be made to the Fairburn Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund.  This is not an onerous process and hopefully the transfer should be straightforward.  The Panel is scheduled to have a short meeting on 28th February and SM will discuss this with the members then.   If any groups would like information on applying for Maxi or Microgrants go to  https://muiroford.org.uk/community-benefit-funds/ or speak to Hannah MacSween, Community Development Manager.  
  Update on Big Picture 2
  See item 12.  
  20mph Stickers
  MA brought along a number of the stickers that he has had produced.  He encouraged those living within the 20mph zones to stick them to their wheelie bins or another suitable place on their property to highlight the issue and reinforce the message that drivers should to adhere to the speed limit.    
  Skate Park – Dog Poo Bin
  SM advised that there is a Tidy Up Day at the Black Isle Show Ground on 1st March.  Those doing this will arrange for the Poo Bin at the Skate Park to be emptied.  MA thanked SM for this.  
  BMX Track Update
  MA reported that the surface of the BMX track needs to be flattened (or whacked) one more time before it is finished.  This is affected by frost, but the hope is the work will be done in early March.  After that the barriers are taken away it can then be used by BMX bikers.  There will be an opening event in April, but the date is still be confirmed as it is hoped that a number of parties can be present at this including bikers able to do skills demonstrations, the local bike shops who have assisted the project and Sustrans.  
  Bark on the Railway Bridge
  MA advised that he cleaned the bark off the bridge.  
  Branch Cutting Update
  Cllr GM advised that once the HC workers are finished their winter duties they will move onto this to ensure street lighting is not impeded.  
  Mixed Waste Bins Update
  MA reported that HC are not keen to install new Poo Bins and would prefer that dog owners put bagged poo in mixed waste bins located throughout the village which are easier for collection. JD confirmed that she had highlighted this via a FB post.  
4. Police Issues – Antisocial Behaviour
  MA advised that he along with Cllrs AM and GM met with Inspector Macleod last week to discuss the current issues of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the village which he is aware are causing significant concern and worry at present.   He welcomed Inspector Macleod, Sergeant Goskirk and PC Maciver to the meeting and handed over to them for an update.   Inspector Macleod firstly gave some background information stating that the levels of ASB appeared to start increasing before Christmas last year and have risen significantly since the start of the year. During the same period in 2018 there were 3 reports of ASB, compared to 35 now.  This is a big increase and is very concerning.   In part the increase may be down to better reporting of crime following Police social media posts recently aimed at encouraging people to report issues, but it was clear the spike in ASB was not solely down to this.   The main reports coming in are of groups of youths of varying size, often mixed gender causing trouble from 6.00pm – 10.00pm, Wednesdays – Fridays, although not exclusively at these times (the public present stated weekends are also seriously affected).  Some of the kids are local, but many are also coming in from Conon Bridge, Dingwall and other areas.   Calls have included disturbances at the Co-op, items being thrown at properties, car damage and broken windows.   One youth has been charged with vandalism, and the Police are currently working on another case.  
  Inspector Macleod emphasised that this is being taken very seriously by the Police, but with limited resources and other areas to cover it was not straightforward to resolve. He went on to explain what is currently being done to tackle the problem.  This includes: Extra patrols by local officers, but also access to other units if availableUsing Special Constables to patrol the village – there are 5 or 6 based in Dingwall who can be deployed to do thisUse of the CCTV vanUse of 4 CCTV cameras in the village (one on the New Bridge, one at the Railway Station, one on the old Royal Bank building and one at the school)Stopping groups of youths, getting their details and sending a letter to their parents or guardians  
  In responsea number of people affected by the issues came forward emphasising how bad the situation is.  Stories of youths with hidden faces throwing eggs, setting off of fire crackers in the street and general intimidation of locals was highlighted.   It was felt that the parents of these individuals do not seem to know or care where their children are.   They queried whether a letter to parents will make a difference if they do not care anyway.   
  PC Maciver advised the soft approach is felt to be the best initial step for ASB as it gives those offending a chance to change their ways before they get a criminal record which can affect the rest of their lives and possibly lead to greater problems later in the future.  If the soft approach does not work further action will be taken and may lead to a young person being referred to the Children’s Reporter and the involvement of other agencies such as the Housing Department.  
  A member of the public asked if the spike in ASB in MOO has been caused by displacement from Dingwall.  Inspector Macleod stated that Dingwall did see an increase in this type of activity last year and steps were taken to remove shelters, benches and Wifi points at Tescos and other places that were attracting groups of youths.  The situation has now improved there, but unfortunately it may have just moved to MOO.  
  A discussion followed about the problems taking place at the Co-op in MOO with a member of staff present stating how bad it can be.  The staff there are keen for the free WiFi to turned off as this appears to be attracting youths to hang around the shop and just outside.  This has not yet been agreed to by Management.  MA will also write on behalf of the CC and urge this to happen.  
  Inspector Macleod emphasised how important it is for people to report every instance of ASB or other issues in the village as it is the only way the Police can build up a clear picture of what is happening. They may not be able to respond to everything immediately, but will do their best.   Phoning 101 for non-emergencies is the best way to log incidents, but people can also get in touch at https://www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/contact-us-form.  This can be confidential if wished.  It was also stressed that if people are concerned about reprisals, they can request that officers contact them by phone or other means rather than come to their door.   A discussion also followed about the CC setting up a specific crime and disorder email address that people can email issues to.  MA agreed that he could then send a weekly summary to PC Maciver.  
  A member of the public asked for confirmation if cameras can be used to record instances of crime or abuse.  Sergeant Goskirk advised that it is useful to take photos or videos in such circumstances but asked that anyone doing this puts the footage to the Police only and does not share it on social media, as this is not appropriate and can cause other problems.   People can install cameras at their own properties, but need to be careful how they do this.  Anyone looking for guidance on this can contact the Police for help so they are acting within the law.   Inspector Macleod also stressed that members of the public must be mindful that they act carefully when confronting any person causing ASB to keep themselves safe and also to prevent themselves getting into trouble with the law.  He strongly stated that the forming of vigilante groups would not be welcomed by the Police and would be dealt with seriously.  
  A member of the public present suggested that it would be useful to set up an Early Intervention group to try and work with the young people and prevent them feeling the need to act as some have been.  At this point Lindsay McGarry and Louise Rose from Highlife Highland, who work with many   young people in the area introduced themselves.  They have considerable experience with the factors that influence this behaviour including complex family situations. The have spoken to some of the youngsters who hang around in MOO and many openly admit that they like to antagonise people to get a chase or a reaction. Despite this they had been unaware of how bad the problem is currently in  MOO.  They highlighted some plans to tackle the issues with the introduction of a Street Work Project which will hopefully help to disperse groups on the street but also build relationships with the kids.  Fusion sessions in MOO have not been well attended so adding more is unlikely to help.    
  Representatives from the recently shut down Church Youth Clubs in the Village were also present. They gave an outline of why the sad decision had been taken to close three weeks ago following instances of drink and drug fuelled youths causing aggravation that made it too dangerous to continue.  They would still be keen to reopen if a solution could be found to prevent this behaviour.  
  A discussion followed on the significant problem of drug use amongst young people in the area with the measures being taken to help this outlined.  This includes changing the way Police Liaison works with schools.  Rather than one Officer being associated with each school there will be a wider number of Officers who have access to all.  The hope is it will make it quicker to respond to issues and  building up intelligence on the problem will be easier.  The Community Planning Partnership has been discussing this and there is a plan for HC Wardens to join backshift Police patrols in addition to the day shift that currently do.  
  A member of the public, who was also a parent of a teenage child, agreed that the behaviours outlined at the meeting were unacceptable but emphasised that not all young should be labelled as trouble makers.  It is natural for young people to test boundaries and it would be a terrible shame if many were criminalised, affecting the rest of their lives unless really necessary.  
  In conclusion Inspector Macleod urged the community to think outside the box to find solutions to this problem.  He highlighted that other communities have got together and managed to reduce problems such as this.  If effort is made to engage with the young people some may be easily distracted with other positive activities and even if a small core are left, their effect will hopefully be reduced.  It was therefore agreed that a Youth Working Group should be set up to tackle this in the village.  A sign-up sheet was passed round the room for this and a number of people signed up.   MA thanked everyone for a useful discussion and there was a short break while the Police, HLH representatives and other members of the public left the meeting at 8.55pm.  
5. Financial Report
  Accounts
  SM gave an update on the accounts:   Statement Balance on 31/01/19:  £12,009.92 Cheques Written, but not cashed: £3,999.36 Monies due but not cleared: £3,250.00 Account Balance:  £11,260.56 Unrestricted Working CC Funds: £7,225.74   The next tranche of money (£1250) from the Auchmore Fund is due on 31st March 2019.  
  Microgrant Applications
  SM advised there were two microgrant applications from Mulbuie Community Hall for renovations they are undertaking.  He will forward the details round the CC members once it confirmed if the Hall is within MOO CC area.     FM advised there are also two applications from the Ross-shire Rangers.  She will distribute these round the CC for a decision.  
6. Update – Community Groups
  Halls & Facilities Company (MHFC)
  MA advised that the MHFC AGM is on 1st March at 7pm in the Hall.  A brief discussion followed on how this has been promoted around the community with FM suggesting that a poster might encourage more people to attend as not all have FB or read emails. MA will draw one up and this can be put to hall user groups and displayed on noticeboards around the village.    
7. Update – Planning Issues
  Planning Reference 19/00234/MSC – South of the Cairns Development
  MA reported that a developer gained outline planning permission for 64 houses, mixed use units and garden centre at the Cairns some years ago and now an updated application with more detail has come in from Scotia Homes.   They are looking to build 60 homes only at present. The only other significant change is that they would like to build these over two years rather than three.  As this development already has planning permission MA advised that very little can be done now if the community is not happy.  He did confirm that the developer has included in their plans to complete the Square to Square path that was part of the original application.   After a brief discussion it was agreed that MA will go back to planners to emphasis how critical it is that the path is completed and also that it must be suitable for all users including bikes, prams, mobility scooters and wheelchairs.  
  Lochan Corr
  MA confirmed that comments on this development have been submitted.   A discussed followed on how the community can be informed of any developments that may have significant impact on the village as not all people use FB or access the CC website.   It was felt that many people are unaware of applications when they are submitted and are therefore not given the opportunity to comment or object.  Following discussion it was agreed that DC, with input from MA will draw up a A5 newsletter that can hopefully be distributed via school bags and other places in the community (e.g Hall, Hub, Co-op) to highlight issues of importance discussed at CC meetings.  DC will speak to Tracy Sinclair at Tarradale Primary to check she is happy with this.  
8. Roads, Paths & Safety Issues
  Item covered in Matters Arising.  
9. Community Action
  MA advised that the organiser of the last village tidy up day is keen to arrange another one.  Details of this will come out when a date is agreed.  
  A brief discussion took place whether the Street Sweeper in MOO will be replaced.  Cllr AM will check this.  
10. Post Office Issues
  MC reported that the new branch at the Filling Station is due to open by Monday 18th February.  
11. Moo Food Update
  No update given.  
12. Local Place Plan (a.k.a The Big Picture 2)
  MA advised that the Inner Moray Firth Plan which MOO falls within is being reviewed.  This time the way the plan is being developed is changing to be more bottom up process, involving communities and local people.  MA suggested that Planning Aid Scotland might be able to provide funding to help organise a Big Picture 2 event and asked for support from the CC to investigating this.  He stressed that this will allow a proper local plan to be developed and provide the community with a strong tool to influence planning policy in the future. There were no objections. HC may be able to assist in a small way, but do not have the resources to provide the support they did last time.  MA advised that it is hoped that this event can happen in May.   A discussion followed on the need for a new school with the current level of planned housing, the problematic issue of the junction at the Tarradale Hotel and the lack of leisure facilities in the village at present.  All these issues and more could be discussed and options investigated at the Big Picture 2 Day.  
13. Play Equipment Replacement – Funding
  MA advised that there are two pieces of play equipment in the playpark which need replacing due to damage caused by normal wear and tear.  These are well used and popular amongst the children in the village.  He is waiting to hear back the costs of replacement, but asked for support from the CC to assist with this.  Funds could be forthcoming from the Fairburn Wind Farm Fund or other sources.  All present were happy with this suggestion.  
14. AOB
  Possible Boundary Changes
  MA advised that Beauly CC have put in a proposal to change their boundary to include the area of Wellbank which is currently in our area.  It also appears from the plans, but is less clear, that they would like Windhill to transfer too.   Those present did not have an issue with Wellbank changing to Beauly, but felt that as Windhill is in the catchment for Tarradale Primary and is within the administrative boundary of MOO it should remain unchanged. MA will forward these comments on.  
  Nextdoor.com
  FM queried what this is as she has heard it mentioned a number of times recently.  MA advised that it is a social media site like FB which is aimed at neighbourhoods and communities to encourage discussion.  He stressed this is a legitimate site and not one to be any more cautious about that people should already be with FB or other social media.  One main difference is that current users can arrange for a flyer to be distributed round their neighbourhood to increase users in the area.  Some people present had received these already.  They can then choose whether to sign up or not.  
  Speeding on the Mulbuie Road
  Cllr AM reported that she attended a Mulbuie Primary Parent Council meeting recently where there was discussion about speeding on the road outside the school (B9169).  It appears there has been an increase in drivers using this road and it is now felt to be dangerous and require action such as a reduced speed limit.  Ferintosh CC have arranged a meeting for Monday 18th February at 7pm in Mulbuie Hall to discuss this and the PC were keen that someone from our CC attend too.  JD was happy to do this.  
  JD referred to a current proposal for a Members Bill in the Scottish Parliament to replace the current 30mph default speed limit on restricted roads with a 20mph limit.  She suggested anyone concerned about speeding should write to their MSP to highlight their concerns about this.  
  Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Planned Work
  SM advised that SSEN will be starting work on installing an underground cable from Beauly to Dundonnell in Wester Ross next year.  This will cause significant disruption in the area when work begins.  
  Next Business Breakfast
  DC advised that the next Business Breakfast is planned for April.  More details will follow when the date is arranged.  
15. Date of Next Meeting
  Thursday 14th March 2019 @ 7.30 pm in the Hub, Muir of Ord.   
  The meeting finished at 10.05 pm  

Actions:

Ref Who Action When
1 MA To update on gate installation ASAP
2 Cllr AM To update if the MacDonald Bequest will be used to pay for the Tree Officers recommendations for the Urray Cemetery ASAP
3 MA & DC To draw up a notice with the location of the MOO Defibrillators for distribution round the village ASAP
4 MA MA to speak to Network Rail about the tree blocking the light on the bridge and investigate their Corporate & Social Responsibility Policy ASAP
5 MA To update on the lack of the filter light on the new Bridge. ASAP
6 Cllr GM To update about the broken Smiley Face on Black Isle Road ASAP
7 SM To liaise with SSE about the Fairburn Fund Small Grants money ASAP
8 MA To contact Co-op Management to ask the free Wifi is turned off and set up Crime & Disorder CC Email ASAP
9 SM/FM To distribute the outstanding Microgrant applications round CC members for comment ASAP
10 MA To draw up a poster for the MHFC AGM and put on local noticeboards By 01.03.19
11 MA To comment on planning application 19/00234/MSC to HC to ensure the Square to Square route in completed by the developers as required by planning condition specified in 13/04534/PIP. ASAP
12 DC/MA To draw up a A5 newsletter to go in school bags ASAP
13 Cllr AM To check if there will be a replacement Street Sweeper in MOO ASAP
14 MA To apply to Planning Aid Scotland for a grant for the Big Picture 2 Day ASAP
15 MA To investigate sources of funding to replace damaged play equipment ASAP
16 MA To respond to HC about Beauly CC proposed CC boundary changes ASAP