EDDERTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL
MINUTES OF BUSINESS MEETING ON TUESDAY 6TH MARCH 2012
Edderton Village Hall
Present: Councillors Robin Ashby, Donald Clarke (Chair), Michael Brown, Albert Fraser, Sharyn Griffin, Graham Ross, Cameron Warren: Jim McGillivray (Highland Councillor), Ian Ross (Highland Councillor), 5 residents
Apologies: Councillors Ewen Simpson, Campbell Smith
1. Welcome: Donald Clarke declared the meeting open.
2. Visitors: Hazel Maclean of Forestry Commission Scotland explained that the proposed signage for the Dounie Fort Footpath concurred with FCS’s national interpretation strategy. This strategy limited the text on a sign to 200 words. She left copies of the pertinent bits of the strategy. A key photo had yet to be taken. She suggested links be given on the signs to an appropriate page on the community web site by supplying the web address and a smartphone barcode. The map from the signs would be supplied to the community website.
She apologized that the maintenance agreement had yet to be drawn up and gave the tragic reasons for this delay.
The Chairman asked whether FCS had plans to clear away the rubbish accumulated at the car park at Redburn and whether a sign showing the footpath could be erected. Ms Maclean regretted that FCS did not have funds for either work, adding that the footpath was in any case not officially adopted by FCS.
3. The minutes of the meeting on 7th February 2012 were approved (proposed by Graham Ross, seconded by Michael Brown).
4. Matters arising from the minutes
i. Roads: Donald Clarke reported that drainage work along the A836 was finished: however the situation at Seafield had be handed over to the flood control section which had the resources to cooperate with John Clark to reach a permanent solution to the increased flooding of his property. Donald said he would talk to Highland Council and to the Clarks to work out a solution suitable to both parties. He also reported on the site visits and work done to relieve the flooding coming off the field west of the school.
A meeting is to be requested with the housing and property department about the flooding coming off the school playground. Potholing on Balleigh Wood and the Ardmore road are to be reported.
ii. Footpath network: Nothing significant to report
b) Kick Pitch: The Secretary reported the developers had submitted a planning application in their own name and at their expense. Jonathan Wotherspoon had yet to receive the assurances Caledonian Forestry needed from the planners that the temporary application would not affect the permission they already had for the site. These assurances were a condition for the kick pitch to go ahead.
John Ross agreed to approach parents in the village to get the community involved in the work to create the pitch. Donald Clarke agreed to coordinate efforts if necessary.
c) Trees behind War Memorial: Felling is planned for Monday 12 March. The trees will be logged. Branches will be chipped and stored at Balblair steading. It was decided to delay new planting until the autumn after further discussion about suitable replacement trees.
d) Railing in front of Heather Hut: Pat Munro has reinstated the rails to the Council’s satisfaction. A vote of thanks to Campbell Smith is hereby recorded for tidying up the site after the contractors. Albert Fraser’s offer to paint the rails was gratefully accepted.
e) Chief Legal Officer’s sick leave: Assistant CEO, Michelle Morris, had emailed a brief response to the Council’s letter to the Convenor of the Highland Council in which she confirmed that Cllr Jim McGillivray had raised the matter and to inform ECC that information about senior officers’ remuneration was available on HC’s website.
f) Coul Croft Camping planning permission: Cllr Ian Ross as Chair of the Planning Environment and Development Committee had emailed a full response to the Council’s letter which the Secretary read out. The only point raised not previously dealt with in the Secretary’s reported correspondence with the Highland Council Solicitor was that members have to be continuously physically present at all deliberations on an application and are not allowed to prejudge it which rules out any form of proxy-voting.
Cllr Ross commented that splitting determination over several meetings, as in the case of Coul Croft, increased the risk that several of the committee members would be unavoidably absent and not eligible to cast a vote. He added that applications needed to be determined on material planning reasons alone; otherwise the risk for appeals increased.
Michael Brown raised the problem of the planners not checking that planning conditions were adhered to after consent had been granted. Cllr Ross agreed that follow-ups were not consistently satisfactory. However more resources were being made available; the South Planning Area Committee already had a dedicated enforcement officer and the North Planning Area Committee would soon have one too.
g) Glenmorie Windfarm application: Donald Clarke, Michael Brown and Robin Ashby had met the developers for an informal meeting on 16 February. The planned access route was discussed in detail as was the visual impact now that the developer has reduced the number of turbines to 34. When offered a Community Benefit of 2.5K per MW, the ECC representatives made it clear that ECC expected at least 5K.
Subsequently the developer had announced that they were offering 5K. [Representatives from Ardgay, Ardross, Creich and Edderton Community Councils met on 13 March to discuss a common response to this new offer].
5. Highland Council’s Community Benefit Policy
The Secretary reported on his attendance at the Highland Council workshops in Lairg on 2 March. He summarised the policy and illustrated it with potential figures from the Coire na Cloiche development. The two main aims of the policy are to reach an industry standard of 5K per MW capacity and to provide a fair and transparent distribution of Community Benefit including local, area and a pan-Highland funds. All the signs are that the target of 5K has already been reached. Discussions in the afternoon revealed the need for both smaller grants awarded by community councils with a minimum of bureaucracy and funding for more complicated long-term projects that should be granted by professionally organised funds at arms-length from the local community but with considerable local input prior to determination. The case for endowment funds was also made.
The Chairman, the Secretary and the Treasurer are to meet with representatives from Scottish Community Foundation on 9 March for exploratory talks.
Edderton Community Council – current account: The Treasurer supplied an expenditure and income report for the latest month showing there was a balance of £3,164.77.
7. Highland Council Members’ Report
Prompted by an observation by Michael Brown that Highland Council had lost earlier opportunities to get road improvements paid for by windfarm developers through levies, Ian and the meeting discussed the role of planning gain demands when granting planning permission. He emphasised the difference between mandatory planning conditions and voluntary Community Benefit payments.
8 February: Beachview meetings
9: Full Council approval of Budget. He praised David Alston for the work he had done idea.
9: Dornoch Community Council, then Sutherland County Show Committee
10: North Highland Forest Trust
15: Discussions about creating woodland crofts of about 20 acres per croft
20: Golspie Community Council
22: Sutherland Drug and Alcohol Forum
23: North Highland College, Thurso, to view new engineering facilities and discuss HNCs in Engineering
24: Primary schools dancing competition
27: Ward business meeting, then Sutherland Partnership
27: Edderton Parents’ Committee
28: TECS strategy
28: Creation of East Sutherland Community Care Forum as SCIO
1 March: Full Highland Council – route of southern ring road in Inverness approved
2: Highland Council’s Community Benefit Policy workshops Lairg
5: Drummuie garage – school transport scheme
6: Dornoch business park which is expanding
He paid tribute to Ian Ross for all the work he had done for the ward.
Prompted by questions from Albert Fraser, Ian Ross said how happy he was with the speed of development at Nigg. He cited the training school and the NHC HNC courses as examples. He noted that the first commissions were the servicing and repairing of oil-rigs in direct competition with the Cromarty Firth Port Authority in Invergordon, but that healthy competition was probably a good thing for all parties.
Ian finished by saying it was mixed feelings that he was standing down in May.
8. New items
(a) Training for community councillors: The Secretary informed that training was being offered in Dingwall on 7 March and Inverness on 27 March. Ian Ross said there would be a second round of training.
(b) Lairg and District Learning Centre: the Secretary said that among the email promotions for activities in the district, he had noted a regret that Edderton had yet to show any greater interest in these activities, the Centre though would like to work with Tain Royal Academy and its feeder schools. On recollection that the Centre had received Beinn Tharsuinn funding subject to certain conditions, the meeting instructed the Secretary to check whether the conditions had been met.
(c) Community Benefit applications from the Edderton Hall Management Committee:
1. Sum applied for (£4,556) to be spent on new ceiling lighting in the main hall and painting the south elevation. One quotation for each piece of work was attached. The Council decided EHMC should get more quotes for each work before reapplying.
2. An annual grant for running costs of £2,000. A list of the services the Hall provided was attached but no financial information. The Council decided the Secretary would ascertain whether a revenue grant was eligible for Beinn Tharsuinn before reaching any decision.
(d) Planning application 12/000479/FUL Coire na Cloiche windfarm: the application had been the subject of pre-consultation. The Secretary offered to make copies of the DVD containing the accompanying documentation. The decision whether to support is to be made on 3 April.
9. Correspondence (details from the Secretary)
10. Any Other Business
a) Ward Forum: The last ward forum with the present HC members will be on 13 March at Dornoch Social Club. One item on the agenda is a review of ward forums. Albert Fraser reminded the meeting how four years back a forum decision had been taken to supply an annual report on actual forum achievements, but he had yet to see one. The Secretary is to convey the Council’s opinion of ward forums to the Ward Manager as part of the review.
b) Earth Hour 2012: the Council received a letter from Edderton Primary requesting the lights in the Heather Hut be turned off for at least an hour on 31 March. Graham Ross offered to keep the lights off all that night.
c) Bins at B9176 viewpoints: The bins at both viewpoints were over filled. The Secretary is to inform Highland Council ASAP.
d) Dog-fouling: Consistent dog-fouling is occurring on Station Road from The Haven to the railway bridge which has caused the Distillery to send out staff to clean up. The culprits are not known.
11. Next Scheduled Meeting
Business meeting in Village Hall on 3 April 2012 at 7.30 pm
13 March 2012