Muir of Ord Community Council meeting minutes 19th November 2020

Minutes of Muir of Ord Community Council

Held virtually on Thursday 19th November 2020

In attendance: Frances MacGruer (FM) – Chair, Phillip MacRae (PM), Moira Chalmers (MC), Duncan Chisholm (DC), Ally Reid (AR), Carol Blanchard(CB).

Guests – Cllr Alister Mackinnon (AMK), Cllr Angela MacLean (AM), Cllr Graham MacKenzie (GM), Cllr Margaret Paterson (MP) and Mike Atkinson

  1. Welcome & Apologies:  FM welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Sheila Kerr as new Minute Secretary.

               Apologies had been received from Margaret Jack.

  • Notes from Previous Meeting held virtually on 10th September:  FM read these out as follows (following discussion in italics):
  •  Matters Arising from Notes:

1. Investigate purchase of Xmas Lights £5,000 budget & email Stuart Bruce for the cost of replacement connectors on the lamp posts.  To replace 17 lights with sockets would be £1428.00.  AM & FM had been in correspondence with Stuart Bruce.  Application to the Discretionery Budget – need to see what we will receive from them.

2. Urray Cemetery – work underway.  Decided to leave it due to the current weather.  Grass is coming through – shed will be done in the spring. Already looking better.

3. To arrange for speed monitoring equipment Bridge/Seaforth Road, Great North Road – Cllr AM/CH had dealt with this, and action point dismissed.

4. Contact Stephen MacKenzie for Treasurer paperwork – DC & FM had been in touch with Stephen Mackenzie, but still no paperwork received.  Sheila’s daughter (Mhairi Sweeney, Accountant & Tax adviser) is offering to undertake this, but FM waiting to discuss this with her until paperwork is available.

5. Check issue with water accumulation Burma Road update – Cllr GM to get in touch with Laura, HC Officer, regarding this issue in areas of the Bowling Club, and entrance to Tarradale Gardens.

6. Write to owner of Tarradale Car Park to get area cleaned up – FM has been told that this job is in hand but no signs of improvement yet.

7. Check Replacement Road Sweeper status – no dedicated sweeper in Muir of Ord, but work should still be done using another sweeper, i.e. one from Dingwall.

8. Trees along railway Muir to Conon road – Some are definitely unsafe – FM not sure who to contact, but Cllr MP reported that it should be Highland Council rather than the Community Council. She undertook to take this on board, along with repairs to a huge pothole at the Devil’s Bridge and one just past the riding school on the outskirts of the village.

9. Tokens of thanks – FM had asked Jo for her address, so she can send her a bouquet of flowers as a token of thanks for her work for the Community Council.

Police Report – as emailed by Keith Linstead (emailed to everyone), included update on Speed Check on Black Isle Road and Smiley Face to remain in situ. Black Isle Road still being used by some haulage firms, need to speak to Diageo to remind haulage firms on this.  FM to contact Amax Haulage by email. Keep action point open.

Financial Report – Balance on account is £11,161.62,payment in from HC of annual grant £790.90.   Tarradale Friends application for £1500.00 to Fairburn Windfarm Account for PPE for staff. Need to gain more information, invoices, discuss with Councillors how much PPE schools got.  DC to approach Julie Moran, Secretary for information. Further discussion later in meeting

Car Park Project – Full discussion on survey results, put these to HC and see what we can get for our money complying with survey results as best we can.  DC to arrange meeting with Bryan Stout, Di Agnew and elected members to see if we fulfil this project.  Further discussion later in meeting

Vulcan Cottage Meeting – Behaviour of clients discussed with building owner Mark Peasnall, Jim Holden, Housing Officer and elected members.  Communication now open.  AM in discussion regarding ongoing issues with the building.  Had been assured that Dingwall Police are monitoring the situation and they were not seeing further problems. However, DC reported that there were definitely issues as the police are at the property regularly, and he has photos of 3 police cars there 3 weeks ago. FM worried that they cannot do much more about it at the moment. DC more worried about no record of incidences.  Everyone sees it happening in the village so someone should be keeping a record, in case of comebacks later. FM reported that Keith Linstead has been promoted and would be leaving his current post.  He will introduce FM to his successor before he leaves.  Cllr MP said that the CC should keep in touch with police reporting that they are concerned about the constant police activity at the cottage.  Any available photos to be sent to DC.

Urray Cemetery – Plans to make a Remembrance Garden are now underway, with grass seed sown.  HC plan to take some more trees down, thanks to all who have helped with this project.

Bridge Landscape – DC to make contact withColin Howell on this, just a mess and getting worse.  Might be an idea to approach Glen Ord Visitor Centre to see if we can come to some arrangement on grass cutting if the area is put under grass for them to display a sign.  FM to approach.

Planning – Lochan Corr/Moorings Development – No further action.

  • Police Reports:  Reports detailing crimes, offences, antisocial behaviour and other incidents of note dealt with between 13th Sept – 12th Oct and 13th Oct – 12th November were read out by FM as follows:
 13th Sept – 12th Oct13th Oct – 12th Nov
Road Safety:118
Complaints of Driving standards44
Fixed Speed Penalty1 
Failure to Report an Accident1 
Report of Abandoned Vehicle 1
Complaint of Cyclist with no lights 1
Anti Social Behaviour2019
General ASB calls87
Non physical Domestic incidents36
Physical Domestic11
Neighbourhood disputes31
Communication Offences 2
Alcohol/Drug misuse11
Crimes/crimes of Dishonesty95
Shop thefts21
Theft from other premises1 
Fire raising report1 
Reports of sexual offences2 

On another police matter, FM reported that she had copied AM into an e-mail received re Mrs Macleod on West Road and was sorry she was being subjected to a problem, hopefully something will be sorted out soon.

DC has advised youngsters against anti-social behaviour, but with the dark nights, it can only get worse. Everyone needs to be vigilant and to report any problems.

  • Financial Report & Wind Farm Applications:

 FM reported that there had been no payments made since the last meeting except £30 for the poppy wreath, which had been discussed by e-mail ahead of purchase.  There are two outstanding Community Benefit funds: (a) Friends of Tarradale were requesting infra red thermometers and PPE – FM asked for further information and received copy invoices with some items on the order not connected with the grant application. The school was encouraged, through Jason Hasson to apply to the SSE Fairburn Windfarm Community Benefit Fund as the Friends of Tarradale were concerned about PPE.  There is £1000 left in Community Resilient Fund, as well as money available through the Community Benefit.  The CC needs to know what PPE they got and from where, as there were several different invoices. Applied for £1500, but invoice amounts add up to £992.46.

DC reported he is meeting with Jason and will get more details. FM asked if any Councillors knew what the school had got.  GM had been to a school project meeting – PPE was mentioned, but no issues raised.  If staff needed more masks, they should have got them from HC with no issues.

(b) Mike’s application for £133: agreed to pay for better quality litter pickers.  MA had hoped he would get funding from HIE, but the fund had closed before he finalised his application.  Expenditure agreed.

  • Square Project Plans: DC reported that he had had a site meeting with Bryan Stout to discuss the comments made within the survey responses.  BS had sketched out 4 plan options, following the Community Consultation Survey Results – Item 2 was the most applicable.  FM asked if we had to go back to the Community to get their views, but our elected members said a decision should be made tonight to keep the momentum going, taking into account the time restriction on the funding application.

            After discussion, it was agreed that AR & DC would take the matter forward. Copies of the proposed          plan would be posted in The Hub and shop, and put up on social media. FM was concerned about    negative comments being put up on FB, but MA agreed to help block adverse comments, if required.

  • OAP Christmas Meal:  FM reported that there would be no meal out this year due to COVID, and she wondered if there was anything the CC could do instead. MC reported that there were approx 68 people on the list at present.  Urray House residents would not be included as it is privately owned and will presumably have their own set up.

            FM proposed that a two-course hot meal could be delivered to peoples’ doors, along with a small gift.

            It was agreed that MC would contact Red Poppy & the Priory in Beauly to get estimates for take away         meals, and FM would contact Diageo to see if they would provide miniatures.

            It was agreed in the past that the CC would fund this themselves this year rather than get sponsorship   but HC have funding available to apply to. Volunteers would need to be sought to help with           delivery.

  • Christmas Lights: repairs in hand.  Christmas tree also ordered.  Possible sponsorship available, or CC could swallow expenses of approx £100-£150.  Expenditure agreed.
  • Urray Cemetery: previously discussed.
  1. Bridge Landscape & Maintenance: DC reported that Colin Howell is delighted that the village will take this on.  Need to think how we go from here, but it will not be under CC control until formally adopted and handed over.  AM will get in touch and report back.
  1. Planning issues: FM reported that she had not seen a copy of the Local Development plan yet. No further forward with other issues at present.
  1. A.O.B.  (a) War Memorial sign:  Want to purchase sign to remember our fallen, but also to try to get local youths to respect the memorial. also add No Dogs Allowed. Cost will be £122.50.  Expenditure agreed. 

(b) MA reported that the BMX track is more used now. Skateboard Association has £500, but MA questioned whether it was worth putting in an application for £250 to the Windfarm to add to this, to ensure better maintenance next year.  No-one reported any issues with this.  Park is well managed and maintained with uplift of rubbish etc. AR asked about toilet facilities for next year.  Park is managed by the Muir of Ord Skateboard Association, and MA had been down strimming over the summer. There is no evidence of misuse.  AR was thinking along the lines of a permanent building and was surprised that there was no toilet facility currently in place.  It was agreed that Nigel Campbell could be consulted on this matter.  It was questioned on the skatepark being lit at nights and confirmed that at present there are lights at the skate park.

(c) AR reported on more serious potholes round the village – manholes outside the surgery, the chicanes at Lily Loch, main road near the riding school. GM agreed to take all these on along with the ones discussed earlier in the meeting.

(d) FM reported that on the Gt North Road near the lochan, the fence is completely rotten and there is a lot of growth there.  Her husband, Billy, had cleared some back.  He had proposed that if the Council could get materials, they will put in labour and get the fence repaired.

AM reported that it is the route that the children use to go to school, and it is treacherous underfoot. It would be good to make it half decent and tidy it up.  She would take this on board.

  1. Date of Next Meeting:  It was agreed that the next virtual meeting would be on Thursday 10th December at 7.30 pm.

FM thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.


1AM/FMFollow up Discretionery grant applicationASAP
2DC/FMContinue to contact Stephen Mackenzie re paperworkASAP
3GMWater accumulation & potholes round Muir of OrdASAP
4FMKeep pressure re tidying Tarradale Hotel car parkASAP
5MPDiscuss how to handle work on dangerous trees along Railway lineASAP
6FMVote of Thanks to JoAs soon as address received  
7FMContact AMAX haulage re continuing use of Black Isle road by trucksASAP
8DCSpeak to Julie Moran re school application for PPE etcASAP
9DC/AR   FMto continue discussions on Car Park project Put up posters & add to FB  ASAP
10AM/FMReport back on Bridge Landscape.  FM to discuss grass cutting with Glen OrdASAP
11MC     FMContact Red Poppy & Priory re Christmas meal Contact Diageo re miniatures  ASAP
12AMLook for funds to repair fence and tidy up area near LochanASAP