Tea and Blether – Today 2pm-4pm in the Hub

A wee reminder that The Movers and Shakers group are running a Tea and Blether session in the Muir Hub today from 2pm-4pm.

This event is a dementia friendly event with lots of homebaking and chat. We will also be showing some old footage of Muir of Ord through the years.

We hope you can pop along and support this, all funds raised will go to the dementia resource centre in Dingwall.

Tea and Blether Poster



The Pebble Trust – Grants up to £5,000 available for projects which promote a more sustainable society

The Pebble Trust, established in 2014, has a vision of a more sustainable, equal and low-carbon society, where constraints on fossil fuels lead to a more localised economy with stronger, more resilient, communities, and where human activities take account of climate change and the wider environment. The Trust supports projects in Scotland, and particularly in the Highlands and Islands.

For more information visit the Pebble Trust website: http://www.thepebbletrust.org/

Please like Pebble Trust on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thepebbletrusthighlands


Trees for Life – traineeship opportunities

Trees for Life (TfL) is an award-winning charity working to restore Scotland’s ancient Caledonian Forest. Our long-term vision is to restore natural forests and rare wildlife to a spectacular wilderness region of the Scottish Highlands, including our 10,000 acre Dundreggan Estate near Invermoriston.  Our work is about people as much as places. Our conservation work is carried out by volunteers and funded by our members, charitable trusts, corporate supporters and people who dedicate a tree or grove.

TfL are embarking on the ‘Skills for Rewilding’ project that will provide fully funded places, including accommodation if needed, to 15 trainees over 3 years (aiming to start in Spring 2018) in learning and developing the skills needed to work on landscape scale ecological restoration.

The skills the trainees will learn include nursery and horticultural skills related to growing native trees from seed, landscape and deer management, ecological monitoring and engaging rural communities in conservation work.  The training will be accredited via University of Highlands & Islands.

5 trainees will be recruited each year to the programme, with recruitment focusing on:

  •         Women wanting to work in less gender stereotypical roles
  •         Older career changers
  •         Young less educated local people

These groups have been chosen because they are poorly represented in the nature conservation workforce at the moment.

The training will be mostly based at TfL’s Dundreggan Estate but we also hope to partner with organisations like Forestry Commission, RSPB and SNH to give the trainees the opportunity to learn about how other organisations contribute to woodland conservation work.

More information about TfL can be found on our website: http://treesforlife.org.uk/

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council – Approved AGM Minutes – June 2016

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council

Annual General Meeting



Pavilion, Muir of Ord

Thursday 9th June 2016 at 7.30pm


Present:          Frances MacGruer (FM); Stephen Mackenzie (SM); Mike Atkinson (MA);  Wilma Mackenzie (WM);  Paul Whitham (PW)

Others:            Cllr Graham MacKenzie (GM), Irene Macleod (IM), Morag Brown,  Jo Ellen (minutes)


1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
  There were apologies from Jem Taylor (JT),  Carol Blanchard (CB), Cllr Jean Davis (JD)


2. Minutes of Previous meeting (Thursday 11th June 2015)

The minutes were proposed as a true reflection by MA and seconded by SM.


3. Matters Arising from Minutes
  There were no matters arising from the previous minutes.


4. Chairperson’s Annual Report
  FM read out the following:


  I would like to say a huge thanks to you all once again for your support in the last year.  I was disappointed at the elections that the numbers did not increase but I do feel that it is definitely quality overruling quantity within our group as it stands.  Although we are few in numbers, I do feel that we are all working well in raising the profile of the CC at every opportunity.


I do struggle within the role of chair to commit the time, the job truly deserves, due to other committee work within the community, my family and work life.  I continually feel I should allocate more time to fulfil the job adequately.  At this point, I would happily step down now in order for anyone willing to give this job the time it so truly deserves to benefit the Community.  However I am willing to continue in the position.


In this last year we have been lucky to have continued after the elections, seeing so many CC’s failing to have enough nominations to continue.  However I was happy to see the same faces returned as I feel we have a settled committee with committed members, transpiring into steady attendances at the meetings, which makes decision making so much easier.  I would like to welcome CB again as our co-opted member and PW as newly appointed, both of which have had a positive influence on meetings.  Also to JE our Minutes Secretary, I thank you for all your hard work.


I would also like to especially thank our elected members for their attendance, wealth of knowledge and hard work during this year, a special thank you to Cllr AM for her persistence with the issue of the derelict buildings on the High Street, again this year, the time and effort that has been put in to this is greatly appreciated within the Community.   I would also like to extend my thanks to Di Agnew for her help and support over the past year, especially with works at the monument.


A big well done to MA on his lead in the square to square route and hopefully this is just the start of cycle paths connecting to other villages and towns, throughout the Highlands.


I would also like to thank SM for his work in keeping our books right but also for his Auchmore wind farm contributions.  This now makes it so much easier to give to the smaller groups in our village.


It is an exciting time for the village with the works on the new bridge well underway and the OTS project The Muir Hub also with work well underway.  It won’t be long before we will have 2 way traffic and a  café back in the Village.  Alongside the completion of these projects we shall see the 20mph zone complete, which will make the centre of our village safer for the community in general, but especially the children walking to school.


My thanks also go to SSE for giving my husband and the boys from SSE the opportunity, through their Community Heart Days scheme, to undertake the vast works at the Monument, making the War Memorial a place of distinction within our village.  This project is not quite complete as I would like to develop a seated area within the garden for residents of all ages to reflect and enjoy.


I am looking forward to our open day and again highlighting the work of the Community Council in our village.  I think all in all the Community Council have had a fairly active and successful year with positive outcomes to the benefit of the residents of our Community and hopefully another good one ahead.


5. Annual Financial Report
  SM distributed copies of the draft accounts for the year ending 31/03/16.  He talked through the main points of the report and was happy to answer any questions.  He highlighted that this year has been particularly busy financially with large sums of money coming in and out for projects such as the Square to Square cycle path and the War Memorial works.


·         Total Income: £32,799.10

·         Total Expenditure: £41,435.77

·         Current Account Balance: £34,043.76


The Accounts were audited by David Cameron and thanks were extended to him for that.


6. Election of Office Bearers
  Cllr GM took charge of the meeting at this point.  Prior to asking for nominations he thanked FM and the other the CC members for their professional manner and the efficient way they have conducted themselves over the last year.


  Chairperson: FM was nominated by MA and seconded by WM
  Vice Chairperson: MA was nominated by FM and seconded by SM
  Treasurer: SM was nominated by FM and seconded by WM
  Minute Secretary: JE was nominated by FM and seconded by WM


  SM will complete the Return of Members form and forward to Di Agnew for her records.


7. AOB
  There were no items discussed.


8. Date of Next Meeting
  AGM – To be confirmed


Ref Who Action When
1 SM To complete the Return of Member document and forward it to Di Agnew ASAP


Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council – Approved May 2017 Minutes

Muir of Ord (Tarradale) Community Council


Pavilion, Muir of Ord

Thursday 11th May 2017 @ 7.30pm

Present:          Mike Atkinson (MA); Stephen Mackenzie (SM); Jem Taylor (JT); Wilma Mackenzie (WM)

Others:            Cllr Angela Maclean (Cllr AM),  Cllr Graham Mackenzie (Cllr GM),  Moira Chisholm, Morag Brown, G Mackay, C Bell, Willie Bell, Jo Ellen (Minutes)


1. Apologies for Absence & Welcome
  There were apologies from Frances MacGruer (FM),  Paul Whitham (PW), Irene Macleod (IM), Cllr Alister Mackinnon (Cllr AM), Cllr Margaret Paterson (Cllr MP)


As FM was not present MA,  as Vice Chair,  took on the role of Chair for the meeting.


2. Minutes of Previous meeting (Thursday 13th April 2017)

The minutes were proposed as a true reflection by SM and seconded by WM


3. Matters Arising from Minutes
  New Christmas Lights
  FM to update at the next meeting.


  Access to Old Railway Path (off Hawthorn Drive)
  MA advised that he will be contacting a fencing contractor (who has been recommended to him) to install a personnel gate at the section of fencing that has been damaged at a field behind the Muir of Tarradale Estate.  The Farmer who owns the land will pay for the gate and as previously discussed and agreed, the CC will pay for the installation.


  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 a later edition analysing the perception of crime in the area and how this relates to actual statistics.


  HGV Issues – Contact with Steve Barron
  FM to update at the next meeting.


  Contact with Lochluichart Estate
  SM advised that consent has now been granted by the Estate to install one of the new village entrance planters on a small section of land on Great North Road (Conon Bridge end).

Following on Cllr AM highlighted SM’s excellent work power washing the gateway stone entering the village near the Golf Club.   There has been positive feedback on social media and those present agreed that the stone looks considerably improved now.


  Contact with SSE
  SM confirmed that Trevor McFadyen from SSE is now aware that he is not required to trace the cables at the planter sites.


  Golf Club Bushes
  FM will update at the next meeting.


  Tarradale Primary Letter
  MA advised that a letter congratulating the school on getting to the final of the Eco Friendly Garden competition had been handed in to them.


  Contact with George Leslie Ltd
  FM will update at the next meeting.


Concern was raised about  a section of the new bridge which may become a target for graffiti.  It was suggested that the Highland Youth Art Group have produced some artwork which is currently in the Village Hall and may be suitable to cover this area.  There was general agreement that this was a good idea so MA agreed to talk to George Leslie Ltd about this.    It was also suggested that the new trees on the site could become a target for vandals and it would be worth asking the Police to keep an eye on this.


  Beauly Bank of Scotland
  SM advised that the Beauly CC have already made their representation regarding the closure of this branch to the Bank of Scotland so it was felt MOO CC could not contribute further.


4. Police Report
  PC Nicola MacDonald was not in attendance and there was no police report submitted.


5. Financial Report
  SM gave an update of the accounts as of 31st March 2017 stating the Account Balance is £34,455.64 made up from:


Restricted funds

Square to Square – £2,585.00

SSE Micro Grants – £0.00

Auchmore Micro Grants – £0.00

Carbon CLEVER Community Fund – £21,665.00


Unrestricted Funds

Working money & Reserve – £8,425.64


Cheques Written but not cashed total £1,780.00


  A brief discussion took place about the Accounts with MA advising that much of the Carbon CLEVER Community Fund money will be used for the signage for the Beauly Firth Loop project.  These signs have been designed and produced and are now waiting to be installed on the route.


It was agreed that a discussion about the current level of unrestricted funds in the account should take place when more of the CC are present.   This will go on the next Agenda as an item for discussion.


6. Update – Community Groups
  Halls & Facilities Company
  JT gave an update on the renovation works at the Village Hall outlining the planned work to improve the kitchen and toilet facilities along with improved energy efficiency measures. In addition an office space is being created at the back of the building which should hopefully provide a revenue stream.  He advised that all necessary consents are in place but no contractor has been appointed as yet.   It was hoped that the work could commence in the summer, but this may be unrealistic now.


G Mackay queried whether the Village Hall should be made a Listed Building, saving 20% of the project costs (as VAT is not required).   A brief discussion followed on this with JT agreeing to take the suggestion back to the Halls & Facilities Company.


JT advised that the renovation works will create difficulties for some clubs that use this venue.  It is hoped however that the Pavilion and Hub can be used where possible.  In addition discussion has taken place with Fairburn Memorial Hall in Marybank about using their facilities.  SM also advised that the Black Isle Show Ground may be available, although this would not be suitable if the work extends into the winter.


  Village Tidy Up
  MA advised that Nina Graham (Company Development Officer) and PW have both been working on  separate Village Tidy up plans.   They are now working together with a view to doing a joint clean up day within the month.    The CC has been asked to support this by helping to fund the cost of refreshments for the volunteers (which will be at the Hub).   Those present were happy to pre-authorise up to £250 to assist with this (subject to this being deemed necessary by the organisers).


7. Update – Planning Issues
  New Mobile Phone mast
  JT expressed his dismay that this mast, to be located opposite the filling station, was granted planning permission despite an objection lodged by the CC.  In his opinion this is one of many planning applications which have gone ahead despite objections and it now feels pointless for the CC make the effort to do this.  He stressed that the CC were supportive of improvements to 4G in the village and had been keen to discuss with the developer alternative sites which would be more suitably located.   This request appeared to have been ignored however which was very disappointing.


While agreeing completely with JT’s disappointment about the mast, MA highlighted that the CC objections and comments can have a positive effect, siting the recent changes to the plans for the Corry Road housing development brought about by the significant opposition from the CC and local residents.


Cllr AM reassured those present that during the planning process the CC is viewed as a Consultee and therefore any objections or views submitted are considered equally with that of any other affected party.


8. Post Office Issues
  It was reported that there was no progress on the search for a new location for the MOO Post Office.  Cllr GM advised that he had complained about the response he received from the Post Office and the subsequent correspondence has also been disgraceful.


Discussion took place on possible options with acknowledgment that a number of factors, including the opening hours, will rule out some local businesses from taking this over.   It was queried if the Co-op would be able to accommodate the facility as their opening hours could fit in.   MA will draft a letter to them, and run it past FM and the rest of the CC before sending.


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


A brief discussion took place on the Mackenzie Bequest with WM advising that this money was given to HC some years ago for the upkeep of a family grave, but also to help with keeping the Urray Cemetery in good order.


10. Village Square – Going Forward
  MA stated he is keen to promote discussion on ways in which the village square could be developed and improved.  To kick this off he has had an interactive and 3D design drawn up which he will be happy to show anyone interested (previously shown at the CC meeting in December 2016). He emphasised this is not a concrete idea or even a proposal yet, just a starting point to get the village talking.   The square, if developed, could be a more useable space for village activities and perhaps allow some regular events such as a market to take place.  MA emphasised that this plan is to stimulate debate – maybe there is no desire for the square to be redeveloped?  MA will now draft a questionnaire to gauge opinion and gain ideas, and pass round the CC for comment.  He would then suggest that the interactive model is made available for the community to see along with distribution of the questionnaire at a  Gala event in the summer to maximise the number of responses.  He will not be available during the Gala, but SM advised he should be able to help.  JT suggested that having an electronic version of the questionnaire would also help to increase the response rate.


11. Moo Food
  SM did not have a full update, but advised that Moo Food has made progress recently setting up as a company and is now looking for funding to move the project on.


12. Dog Fouling – Lily Loch Area
  Discussion took place on the problem of dog fouling in this area with general agreement that installing a dog poo bin (or bins) would be a good way forward.  Cllr AM advised that  HC do not pay for these, but will can empty them if they are located in a suitable place to allow collection.   MA will go back to those who made the original complaints and gauge opinions on where they think a bin or bins should be located.   In addition he will establish the cost of the purchasing and installing the bins and report back.  Cllr AM suggested that it may be helpful for MA to talk to Catriona Taylor at HC who will be able to provide guidance on whether the bins can be emptied any locations discussed.


13. AOB
  Boundary Reviews
  JT queried if there is a boundary review due soon as it seems that there are inconsistencies in the current arrangements for the different types of elections.  Cllr AM advised that changes have recently been made to the local government boundaries.   A brief discussion took place on this with general agreement that this is a complication system and one that is unlikely to be changed soon.


  Noise disturbance at the Industrial Estate
  MA reported a number of complaints from residents of the Cairns relating to loud bangs emanating from the Industrial Estate.   It was reported that there are three businesses that are using bird scaring equipment to scare off seagulls and the bangs can go off every 10 – 15 minutes at varying times of the day including the evening and night.  MA advised that he has been down to the area and experienced this for himself.    Cllr AM & Cllr GM will raise this with Environmental Health to establish if there is an issue needing investigation.


G Mackay suggested that this issue highlights the need for more careful planning when new housing developments are considered near Industrial areas of the village.


  Mail Deliveries
  Concern was raised that there has been a perceived deterioration in daily mail deliveries over the past year in MOO.   A couple of people present reported instances of not receiving mail deliveries for several days, then getting a large bundle in one go.   MA will draft a letter to Royal Mail and run this past FM and the rest of the CC before sending it to their Inverness Office to query the situation.


  The New Bridge and Road Layout
  WM highlighted that there is a lot of concern in the village that the new bridge is not wide enough to allow two large lorries or wide loads to pass.   She suggested that it would be useful if someone from HC could provide on this.


  Following on from this a lengthy discussion took place on how the traffic lights and pedestrian crossing now being installed as part of the new road layout will work.  G Mackay expressed the view that the community was under the impression that the installation of a new bridge would mean that traffic lights would not be required.   He stated that the original plans given approval in 2009 included a mini roundabout and no lights.  MA advised that the plans were changed in 2015 as a number of factors, including the need for a pedestrian crossing had made the original plan unsuitable.   He understood that these changes would not have required a new planning application.    After some effort to interpret the HC plans relating to this (TB-MORD-G-1205 and TB-MORD-G-1203) it was agreed that it is still unclear how the traffic lights will work and clarification on this is required.


Cllr AM & Cllr GM will contact Colin Howells, Head of Infrastructure at HC to get clarification on how the traffic management on the bridge will work in addition to addressing the concerns about the width of the bridge.


  It was reported that the road works on the bridge have resulted in considerable delays in the last few days, sometimes of up to 40 minutes.   While it was acknowledged that some disruption should be expected, this was felt to be excessive as the public did not appear to have been notified.  The Cllrs present confirmed that they had received a number of complaints about this and it appeared that the additional delays had not been approved by HC.


  G Mackay also highlighted disappointment that the pillars of the old bridge have been rebuilt mixing stone from the old pillars and some artificial stone which in his opinion does not look good.


  Great North Road Pavement
  Moira Chalmers queried if there was any progress improving the state of the pavement from Urray House into the square area.   Currently it is very difficult for Urray House residents to come along to the Hub due to the uneven nature of the pavement.  Cllr GM had reported this, but he had been told that at present there were more pressing priorities for the HC to deal with, such as pot holes on the roads.


A discussion followed on pot holes with a number of problems in MOO being highlighted.  MA emphasised that it is crucial that HC are made aware of these and suggested a  phone APP called ‘Fill that Hole’ makes reporting easy. Details of how to download it can be found at https://www.fillthathole.org.uk/.


14. Date of Next Meeting
  Thursday 8th June 2017 @ 7.45 pm at the Hub, Muir of Ord.  FM will put a sign on the door of the Pavilion to ensure anyone who turns up there can go in time to the Hub.

The meeting finished at 9.00pm



Ref Who Action When
1 FM To update on the progress of the Christmas Lights that are not working ASAP
2 MA To provide an update on the Old Railway Path issue ASAP
3 FM To send a letter to  Steve Barron at HC about the HGV problem in MOO ASAP
4 FM To deliver a letter to the Golf Club and ask them to tidy the bushes along Great North Road ASAP
5 FM & 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
6 MA To draft a letter to the Co-op to see if they would consider housing the village Post Office ASAP
7 MA To draft a questionnaire to gauge views on the Village Square and circulate to the CC members for comment ASAP
8 MA To consult with those who complained about dog fouling at Lily Loch about the best location for poo bins and also establish the costs of installing such bins and whether HC can empty them ASAP
9 Cllr AM & Cllr GM To raise the issue of the bird scaring bangs at the Industrial Estate with Environmental Health ASAP
10 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
11 Cllr AM & Cllr GM To contact Colin Howells for clarification on the traffic management on the new bridge ASAP