Tuesday, January 29, 2019

NW&SCC monthly meeting - Car Parking charges feature - Tom Heggie only Highland Councillor to turn up - Andrew Randerson steps down from CC

One of our regular readers was at last night's Nairn West and Suburban Community Council meeting at the Centre and was kind enough to submit the following report:

Nairn West and Suburban Community Council meeting was notable, yet again, for its absence of Highland Council councillors with only Cllr Heggy putting in an appearance and no apologies being recorded from the other three.

Unsurprisingly the vexed issue of charging for car parking in Nairn came up again.

Cllr Heggy stated that there is going to be consultation about car parking in every area of Highland including those with parking charges already like Inverness and Fort William. The chairman for the evening pointed out, as has others have done before him including Gurn Nurn, that parking charges have been shown to be deeply damaging to high street businesses elsewhere in Scotland and Nairn is likely to be similarly affected. And all for such a small amount of income for the council compared to its overall budget.

Bill Young said that under a recent change in the law Highland Council has to legally consult with community councils over any change of use of Common Good assets and made powerful case that using Common Good land to raise money for Highland Council was wrong. He also pointed out that there is still no Common Good asset register so it is impossible to reliably determine precisely which car parking in Nairn is involved.

Cllr Heggy said that, if parking charges are imposed in Nairn, then any nett income from parking on Common Good land would be retained by the Common Good.

Sadly no one then asked why, given that this was the case and that pretty much the whole town was opposed to parking charges, the introduction of charges for parking on Common Good land was still being considered.

The meeting also heard an update from Janis MacLean, Nairn BID manager. A Food and Drink Festival is being planned for 12th-14th April. A planning workshop will take place on 18th February. Total BID income is estimated at £100,000 per year and, among other things, they are investigating ways to improve the look of the high street.

The issue of car parking around Tradespark shops and dangers with buses stopped there too was briefly raised and will, no doubt, come back to later meetings.

And finally Andrew Randerson announced that this was his last meeting as he is stepping down from community council to concentrate on other ways to help the community.

Monday, January 28, 2019

East Beach to Kingsteps all abilities path restoration. NICE and Nairn Access Panel Restore Popular Local Route.

Work will be undertaken in February to restore the all abilities path from the East Beach car park to Kingsteps. 

The path, on Common Good land, leads to the edge of the Culbin nature reserve and was made all abilities around fifteen years ago in association with the Nairn Access Panel. Since then it has become encroached upon and very worn due to its popularity. It can no longer provide access for wheelchairs, buggies, or those unable to negotiate the narrow and bumpy conditions, and water pools
in the hollows. 

Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise has now worked with the Access Panel to obtain grant funding of £18,500 for the project from the Landfill Communities Fund, RSPB, Nairn Access Panel, and Nairn Ward Discretionary Fund to restore the path, and a very experienced contractor Highland Conservation Ltd. has been appointed. 

For health and safety reasons this will clearly cause some inconvenience to regular users as the construction work is undertaken, but diversions to alternative routes will be clearly marked from the car park when necessary, and there will be no problem with access to the beach or dunes. 

While following national policy to encourage outdoor access for all with the health benefits it brings, it will be really rewarding to see locals and visitors of all abilities enjoying once more the wonderful landscapes, birdlife and photographic opportunities which this route provides.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Albyn Housing development plan threat to Giant Sequoia tree in Nairn

Giant Sequoia under threat from proposed Albyn Housing development on land opposite Manor Care Centre.

Readers can browse the application here on the highland Council's e-planning site. The reason the Sequoia has to go according to the Arboricultural Impact Assessment is:

“The removal of 40 individually tagged trees to allow the development has a moderate overall effect on the landscape. 31 of the trees recommended trees for removal are of either category C or U. However, the development also requires the removal of 2 category A trees. The large Wellington (T2152) is a very prominent tree on site, but unit 9 and 10 as well as the disabled car parking spaces are well within the RPA of this tree and therefore it would be unrealistic to try and retain this tree. “

During discussions at the River Community Council meeting last night in the Community and Arts Centre concern was raised about the felling of the Sequoia and other nearby trees. The CC have submitted an “extension of time request” to enable them to perhaps submit and objection. They are not against development of the site per se but just wish to see the Sequoia retained – well that is the impression that this observer got from listening to their deliberations.

Here at the Gurn we are minded to support such a submission should the community council be so minded. We would like to draw readers attention to an application that would have meant the removal of a Sequoia just along the road at Rhuallan back in 2005. That application was refused. The Sequoia in Rhuallan then was 25m and this one under threat today is 27m. Here's what we had to say about the danger to that exceptional tree:

"With the pressure on Nairn for housing space it is inevitable that this type of situation will arise but it is by today’s actions that our society will be judged. This is not to say no more houses, never, that would be a stupid attitude but this is about what type of sky-line we bequeath to future generations in this town..

This blogmeister is no tree expert but is aware that Sequoias first came to the UK in the 1860’s and outside of their natural environment in the American Pacific North West the Scottish climate is as close to their homeland as you can get: thus the potential for a lot more growth exists in the specimen at Rhuallan. Imagine the gratitude of citizens a hundred years from now gazing up at the Sequoia and praising the wisdom of their forbears.

It may be that two houses can be built in this plot without felling the mature trees, no doubt the council can seek the views of their experts on that one but the views of the public should be heard too. If you don’t think that mature trees should be felled please go and look at the plans and raise an objection to the application if you feel so inclined. Please pass this information on to any friends or colleagues who would feel inclined to involve themselves in the debate about what kind of environment we leave for future generations in Nairn. If you care, it is worth getting involved, this time anyway.” 

What we said then is just as relevant today about this application just along the road. Hopefully a compromise can be reached to allow building on this site but with retaining this wonderful tree, keeping the Nairn skyline and environment looking good – it isn't just about us, it is about future generations. Development yes but keep the Sequoia!

Anger at Highland Councillor's comments on Community Councils

An article appeared on the front page of this week's Leopold Street Thunderer “Local Councillor calls for wider membership of Community groups”. The Gurn understand that some in the local community councils have seen these comments as an attack on the local volunteers that take up the role. One former Community Councillor Graham Vine took particular exception to what Conservative Councillor Peter Saggers had to say in the local paper and went along to last night's River CC meeting.

Peter Saggers had stated to the Nairnshire: “The last time there was a contested election in Nairnshire was, I believe, 2006."

Graham held up newspaper cuttings  which proved that this was not the case and expressed his concerns on the comments.

Here at the Gurn we had read the Nairnshire article and had thought that perhaps Peter Saggers was correct as there hadn't been an election recently but that maybe 2006 was a bit far back, although time does seem to move very fast these days so perhaps that date was correct. After a wee blether with Graham last night we searched the Gurn for evidence of contested elections and perhaps readers may be interested in an article we published in November 2009: 

“One of the stars of West Community Council lost his seat earlier today as the count was held in the Courthouse. Graham received 136 votes. Another prominent member of the West came in 5th with 195 votes, enough to see him elected but this observer had thought Brian Stewart's recent prominence on planning issues might have seen him climb a little higher but the people have spoken.

However the women of the moment is the lady who kicked ass over the Regal and got results. Reports are coming in from the West End of Kalashnikovs being fired in celebration to honour Rosemary Young for topping the poll with 354 votes, she was nearly 100 votes ahead of the nearest contestant. There was a 49.84% turnout in the West area.

Meanwhile in Suburban Dick Youngson topped the poll with a massive 630 votes in a 35.11% turnout. In River all safely home with 0 votes apiece.”

We also have an article from the River CC election of that time too:

"River CC election - Tommy Hogg tops poll - 28% turnout

Tommy Hogg chats with Nairnshire Reporter John Dolan prior to the results

The results were announced by the Returning Officer Louise Clark at the Courthouse this evening. A healthy 28% of the electorate in the River Community Council area returned their ballot papers and the following were elected:

Carol Clark 621 votes
Thomas Hogg 681 votes
Bill Murdoch 579 votes
Jeanne Tolmie 679 votes
Stephanie Whittaker 588 votes

Provost Liz MacDonald congratulated all reelected and newly elected councillors and wished them well for their term of office. A good result for democracy and an indication that many Nairnites show a keen interest in community council affairs, it bodes well for the future and a possible single Community Council for Nairn within the next two years.

Louise Clark prepares to announce the result , Jean Tolmie to her right "

OK folks there might not always be elections to the community councils but when there is the support for the candidates can be as impressive and even surpass the turnouts for Highland Council elections. Here at the Gurn we would contend that the standing of the unpaid Community Councillors is just as high in the Community as that of their £16K basic Highland Council counterparts. Let's consider the 34 year contribution made by the late Jeanne Tolmie to Nairn River Community Council and the town's well-being for example.

It would be wonderful if more people would stand for community councils as Cllr Saggers wishes but with their funding being cut and with the authorities expecting them to participate in so many “consultations” and attend meetings during the day, it is hardly an alluring prospect for many citizens. The Community Councils remain somewhere where people in the town can go with their problems and seek help however, or at least seek a platform to bring issues to a wider audience.

Perhaps if Highland Council would in fact listen more to what Community Councils have to say? After all let's just take parking charges and who is reflecting the will of the community here – the Community Councils or Peter Saggers and his two Independent colleagues?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Dismay at River CC meeting as no Highland Councillors turn up to answer parking charges questions

As concern and rumours mount in Nairn over when/if parking meters arrive in the town there was considerable upset expressed at the River Community Council meeting in the Centre tonight. 

Community Councillors expressed their concerns that no numbers or proposals had emerged yet in spite of the CC seeking information and the situation was made even worse with no Highland Council representatives present to enlighten them. 

Worries were expressed from the public benches that our Highland Councillors may have given permission for Highland Council to put the meters on Nairn Common Good Land but, again, with no one present to respond to questions the situation was far from ideal. Anger too that there was still no sign of the promised consultation on parking charges matters. 

Indecent behaviour incident on West Beach Nairn, Tuesday Jan 22 around 3.30 pm close to Golf View Hotel - police looking for man with "long curly red hair"

Queen's Park Community project

Nairn River Community Council meeting 23rd January 2019 - Agenda

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Lesley Riddoch at The Little Theatre for the showing of her film "NATION Norway - The Twin Nation" Here's the whole event on video

Last night Saturday 19th of January and Lesley Riddoch was in the Little Theatre and did a Q&A session after a showing of the third in a series of films she has made comparing Scotland and Nordic nations.

Yes Nairn showed the first two in the afternoon and Lesley was there also for an impromptu session too. You can see Nation Iceland here and Nation Faroe Islands here.

The event in the evening was sold out and the afternoon session of films and drop-in cafe with a foodbank collection was also very well attended and 30 bags of food and toiletries were collected which will be taken to Gateway Highland. 

Regular readers that pay attention to local government matters may wish to hear Lesley's thoughts on how Scotland fares here in comparison with its Nordic neighbours, you can go straight to that about four minutes into her Q&A session video which is the third one below. 

New Bridge spans heading through Nairn in Cawdor direction

Soon to be sitting a bit further along the River Nairn from the existing White Bridge at Cawdor.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Funny Face (U) Matinee Monday 21st January 2pm Nairn Community and Arts Centre Tickets at the door.

Funny Face (U) Matinee
Monday 21st January 2pm
Nairn Community and Arts Centre
Tickets at the door.

On Monday 21st January, Cinema Nairn kicks off its tenth anniversary year with a matinee screening of favourite musical ‘Funny Face’ starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Featuring Gershwin hits such as Funny Face and S’Wonderful, this movie is guaranteed to warm up a cold January afternoon, with the usual tea, bakes and chat afterwards. Other highlights of the season include Oscar winners Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, The Silent Child in a double bill with The Miracle Worker, and Katherine Hepburn with Henry and Jane Fonda in the 1981 On Golden Pond. 

Two outstanding foreign films in the programme Cold War (2018) from Poland which tells of a fated love affair between a musician and his gifted pupil, and Sherpa, originally conceived to explore the Sherpas’ spiritual feelings about Everest but taking a tragic sidestep when avalanche struck during filming.

There are two very contrasting WW2 films: Alone in Berlin, a sombre but moving story of a grieving German father’s fight against the Nazi regime, and comedy Their Finest, with Gemma Atherton and Bill Nighy as Ministry of Information hacks.

A couple of old favourites, Basil Rathbone’s Hound of the Baskervilles, and Margaret Rutherford’s return as Miss Marple complete the matinee programme.

And of course don’t forget the Tenth Anniversary Film Festival – a weekend of eight Scottish themed films from 15th to 17th February complete with pizza and Prosecco launch!

For more details pick up a brochure or visit www.cinema-nairn.co.uk

Monday, January 14, 2019

Remembering the sacrifice of Johnny and Sandy MacNeil in World War 1 - a personal view (including a poem) written by his grand-nephew Ewan

Earlier today Ewan McNeil attended a ceremony organised by the Royal British Legion Nairn to honour his Great Uncles Johnny  and Sandy MacNeil. On a post in a local social media page Ewan said: "Sincere and deep thanks to Nairn RBL and local clerics for conducting such a wonderful ceremony today."

Here's Ewan's thoughts on the sacrifices made by his family in the First World War:

100 years ago, 14th January 1919. Great Uncle Johnny MacNeil, a loved son, father, brother, partner, friend and by job a professional soldier, of Seaforth Highlanders since 1907, who was involved in much action in Mons, Loos, Mesopotamia, India and elsewhere sadly passed on of pneumonia in El Qantar Hospital in Sinai, Egypt. Heavily wounded in fighting in Mesopotamia, he'd just recovered enough to allow him to return home to his Loved Ones, after all that fighting, when he sadly contracted pneumonia and died, there in an Egyptian military hospital. He has a headstone there. 

One of 6 brothers and a father, all volunteers in the army and Royal Marines during WWI. His younger brother, Sandy, Cameron Highlanders, blown from this world by a stray shell on the way into a foxhole for a cuppah with mates. Johnny's Mother, Mary Jane Smith saw an apparition of Johhny appear at her bedside, at the time when he died, only to get a confirmation telegram to say he'd died at that time, shortly afterwards (Will add a poem I wrote based on this, though I changed it to a wife and her husband). This text and images to commemorate Johnny's 100th anniversary of leaving this world and hopefully to finally take him Home. 

The 1st World War? a complete waste of human life, and for nothing. Both Sandy and Johnny did not need to die. Their brother did not have to come home with shellshock that would affect him for life. Their Mother, Mary, did not need to have to feel like her heart was torn from her chest, with the news that her sons were taken, so pointlessly from her (yet protocol and culture would have almost certainly demanded she didn't 'complain' and shrouded those tragic losses in sick 'honour'. Lest We Forget, they say. I agree: Lest we Forget so that that the privileged few can never again lead us in our thousands to kill en-masse for the whims of those privileged, their petty arguements and their business deals ever again. If we do, especially in such times where we have mass communication to allow us to see truths, now - then we are very much part of the problem. WE SHOULD NOT FORGET THIS, IF WE ARE TO TRULY NOT FORGET THEM P.S: 

Photographs of Grandad, James MacNeil (RM) and Shannon Mcneil at Sandy's name, Thiepval, circa 2016)

DISCOVERY – by Ewan G McNeil

Since her husband marched off, to that far, crazy war,
Her nightly routine stood the same as before,
The clock reaches ten by their bed in the night,
When they think of each other, close their eyes, hugging tight,

To feel close again, to defy all those miles,
To stare at the moon, the same one, makes them smile,
His photo she kisses, as she blows out the light,
His warm safety she misses, on these cold, lonely nights

She remembers him blush, suggesting these rituals,
As they laughed on the beach, but it’s now so habitual,
She settles to stare at the ceiling above,
In their wide, empty bed, devoid of her love

As she sleeps a smile breaks on her face in the night,
As she dreams of her Johny, on the dunes golden bright,
And they laugh in the breeze as the gulls cry above,
Then he turns, solemn faced “Don’t forget me, my love….”

Her dream breaks, she sits up, panic rushing her head,
But there stands her Johny at the foot of their bed,
“Johny….” she whispers in her loving wife’s lilt,
As he stands there so smartly, in his jacket and kilt,

The moonlight glows blue on his dear, long-missed face,
And he smiles as she sits there, warm again in this place,
But his smile slowly drops as his head shakes in sorrow,
Loving tears in his eyes, Not your time, do not follow

She stares and she watches him turn and away,
Fade into the dark, of their room where she lay,
Waves of horror chill through her, Oh my God, this is wrong!
But she finds her lips whisper “Oh, my Johny…he’s gone!”

Her eyes search where she saw him, so empty, so stark,
And a wail emits from her, that echoes through dark,
She turns to her child, at the door wrapped in fear,
“Oh, don’t worry – a nightmare!” as she wipes telling tears

She knew it was coming, telegram the next day,
Standard words to confirm, justify and to say,
Of bright bravery, honour, glory and fate,
No mention of terror, pain, blood, shock or hate

All that she knows that her love’s taken cold,
Her daughter’s no father, for a lie that’s so old,
She curses those flags and the lies and the plan,
She despises the ‘glory’, all she wants is her man

Drew Hendry MP's Brexit - How would you vote in Parliament? poll on social media

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Meanwhile from Angus more proof that parking charges in small towns are a very bad idea in the 2019 retail environment

So it's 2019 and we're still scheduled for parking charges this year unless Highland Council have a rethink. Over in Angus where parking charges were introduced in all the local towns from Nov 1 last year, trading has been devastated according to local business owners, not as much money as anticipated is coming in from the meters and it has been suggested that the charges scheme there might lose money after costs are taken into account. It's changing times for retail and High Streets face new challenges, throwing in parking charges to the small town trading environment mix during these turbulent times is completely reckless.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Debate on Issues affecting Cawdor and West Nairnshire - minutes of meeting held on 10th December 2018 - School Transport, Newton Rd footpath to Traffic lights, Nairn and Cawdor Christmas lights, Improving Broadband and much more

Delighted to be able to publish a copy of the Cawdor and West Nairnshire Community Council minutes for their December meeting:

Cawdor & West Nairnshire Community Council

Minute of Meeting held on

10th December 2018, 7.30pm, Cawdor Community Centre

Present: Iain Bain, Cllr Roddy Balfour, Cllr Liz MacDonald, Dot Blake, Meg Robertson, Hugh Robertson, Stewart Micklethwaite, Mhairi Stewart, Scott Heron, Audrey Wallace, Doug Piggot, Bob Thomson, CC Jim Docherty, CC Stevie Webster, CC Lizzy Rose, CC Richard Jones, CC Alastair McGregor, CC Dougie Fraser, CC Paula Forbes

  1. Apologies
Cllr Peter Saggers, Cllr Tom Heggie, Rachel Bromby, Fiona Milligan, Fiona Lewthwaite, CC Gina Mackintosh

  1. Minutes of meeting 20th August 2018 & matters arising
Proposed: Jim Docherty Seconded: Dougie Fraser
  • Newton Road update: No news to report on this matter, but the temporary smiley face speed monitor has not yet been installed on the main road. A similar sign is in place at Clephanton, although not yet in use due to road works. Stevie will keep us informed.
  • Footpath Newton Road to traffic lights: Dougie met with Lord Cawdor and communicated with the Dowager Countess, to discuss the proposed footbridge on the north side of the B9090. While the Dowager Countess agreed to allow access on her land, Lord Cawdor was not convinced by the plan, suggesting that his land may be required for development in the future. He was willing to consider a footpath on the southside of the B9090, between the Smiddy and the bridge, but this had already been deemed a more costly plan. It was recommended that the plans be taken off the agenda for the time being, with the idea of applying for funding from wind farm monies in the future.
  • Weeds at roadside between Cawdor church and graveyard: The weeds have not yet been dealt with by the Council, but Stevie spoke to a Council employee who said that the plan now is to remove the earth bank, eliminating the need for any future weeding.

  1. Police Report
Sgt Simon Filer, based in Aviemore, was unable to attend the meeting and no police report was given. Following the firearms incident in Cawdor, reported at the last meeting, the trial of the accused is due to begin on 4th Jan. 2019. Meg Robertson reminded the meeting that we had asked to be kept informed of proceedings and this had not happened, but Cllr Balfour replied that details of a court case could not be discussed.

  1. Treasurer’s report
The account balance is currently sitting at £2910.79. £731.39 in outstanding cheques has already been deducted from the balance.

  1. Cawdor school bus
Mhairi Stewart spoke to the meeting about a problem, which has arisen as a result of two school bus routes being merged into one. The new route now means that her three children, who live only 3 miles from Cawdor, are on the bus for nearly an hour each way. She has written to Highland Council, but received no response. She also wrote to Drew Hendry MP and Fergus Ewing MSP to raise the issue. Highland Council had informed the school that the bus takes the most efficient route, but this was disputed by parents at the meeting. The bus comes from Forres in the morning, passing Geddes, but does not pick up the children from Geddes until the end of the route. The bus’s route actually doubles back on itself. Paula Forbes commented that the bus route her daughter takes had also merged with another and now goes from Clephanton along to Galcantray, meaning a 40-minute journey each way. Stewart Micklethwaite complained that his children are sometimes picked up by a private car, which does not have appropriate child booster seats. The CC expressed concern about the unacceptable lengthy journeys for primary aged children and agreed that the bus routes should be reviewed. Cllr Liz MacDonald kindly agreed to investigate this on behalf of the parents. Jim will send a copy of an email from Mhairi Stewart which details the changes and the resultant effects.

  1. Nairn and Cawdor Christmas lights
The meeting heard about the recent Nairn Christmas lights event when two Cawdor pupils, chosen to switch on the lights, missed out due to a mix up by the organisers. This left the Cawdor children and their families upset and disappointed. Iain Bain explained that two Nairn children had won a painted pinecone competition and the prize was a ride in Santa’s sleigh. Somehow the button for the lights was in the sleigh too and when the countdown reached zero, the children pressed it. Apparently, event organiser Lorraine Mollinson had not been aware of the change of plan. Fiona Lewthwaite received a visit from Lorraine and Jen Abbot back in October asking for Cawdor’s involvement and support of the event. She reminded them that it was Cawdor’s turn to switch on the lights, which was agreed by all. Stevie said he would ask that Cawdor get the chance to perform the Nairn switch on next year, to make up for this year’s error. Lizzy Rose suggested that more be made of the Cawdor lights switch on next year. Audrey Wallace offered to help decorate the tree growing in front of the shop for this, adding that it would benefit from some new lights. Stevie thought that Cawdor Community Centre Association might help with the cost. While no one was particularly impressed with the shape of this year’s tree, grateful thanks were expressed to the Cawdor gamekeepers and Lewis Stirling, who prepared it for the switch on by Cawdor pupils.

  1. Drainage at Wester Galcantray
Alastair Mcgregor asked the CC to endorse the proposal that Highland Council look more closely at the drainage and septic tank provision on planning applications. This could help eliminate soakaway water and effluent from household white goods flowing through fields and into the rivers, causing damage. It seems that domestic drainage is no longer the responsibility of SEPA, but of the Council. A discussion then took place about drainage and septic tanks. Doug Piggot expressed concern about existing housing plans at Wester Galcantray, which he felt was an unsuitable site due to the hard rock and therefore lack of drainage. He was concerned that some building drawings appeared to show drainage from septic tanks going into a field drain which ultimately drains directly into the river Nairn.

  1. Whitebridge
Cllr Balfour gave a brief update: despite the shorter days and some frost, all is going well. In the last week of January, the bridge (4 x 26m sections) will be transported to the site and welded together, before being craned into position. The two main issues causing concern are 1: speeding by locals through the 30mph section of roadworks (an accident was reported last Saturday) and 2: water mains – new pipe has been laid but Scottish Water cannot sign it off at present. At the moment it would appear that the project may be finished in June, 4 months ahead of schedule.

  1. Tom Nan Clach
Fiona Milligan sent a report to say that nine turbines are fully mechanically installed, finishing and pre commissioning are ongoing. The remaining four turbines have the first two (of three) tower sections installed, the plan being to be fully installed before Christmas. Grid is expected in January to allow final turbine commissioning and generation.

  1. Cawdor & West Nairnshire Benefit Organisation SCIO
The first AGM will be held in February, date still to be confirmed. Alastair McGregor asked whether a CC member would be required to be on the Board of Trustees. Jim explained that there is no requirement to have a CC member as a Trustee, and if a CC member wants to be considered, they would need to be elected on like any other Trustee.
Post Meeting Note: AGM booked for Tuesday 19th Feb 2019 7:30pm, Cawdor Community Centre
  1. Improving Broadband update
Northsat, who are setting up community broadband in the area, are still in discussion with Lord Cawdor. The company is no longer considering using ‘white space technology’, as it has not been successful so far, but is instead focusing on fixed wireless. Jim Docherty updated the meeting that the UK Government has recently announced that the grant assisting with the installation of broadband will cease shortly. All applications made before the deadline of 31st December 2018 will be accepted but at the moment there is no confirmation that a new grant will be available in the New Year. He suggested that anyone who currently cannot receive broadband speeds in excess of 2Mb/s should apply for the grant. The application can be made via a link on Northsat’s website. The application will result in a code being sent to the applicant which can then be redeemed with any company registered with the government’s scheme. Information leaflets were available to take away and are also available in Cawdor shop. A copy of the leaflet is also attached at appendix 1.
Post Meeting Note: It has been announced that the better broadband subsidy scheme is being extended for a further one year to 31st December 2019. In support of this extension, BDUK is taking the opportunity to improve the scheme’s processes and functionality in order to deliver a more efficient and effective service. The existing application process closed at midday on 31st December 2018 and, following a brief pause to implement the necessary changes, BDUK aim to re-launch the Better Broadband Voucher Scheme in January 2019.
  1. Local Action Plan
A newly updated open electoral register is expected this week and will be used to identify householder numbers for the local action plan questionnaire. CC members will also use local knowledge to ensure that as many people participate as possible, as well as having copies available at the village shop. Questionnaires will now go out after the New Year.

  1. Meeting dates for 2019
Monday 11th February
Community council
Monday 8th April
Community council
Monday 10th June
Community council AGM
Monday 12th august
Community council
Monday 14th October
Community council
Monday 9th December
Community council
All dates subject to change
  1. AOB
  • Cawdor bonfire night: This was a huge success and Stevie gave a breakdown of funds raised. Bucket collection - £2070, T-cups and candy floss stalls - £90, Bar - £250, Forbes Farm – tbc
  • Traffic speed on B9090: Bob Thomson asked that Community Councils take a joint look at traffic speed along the B9090 and consider restrictions. He felt that 60mph is too fast for this road. Auldearn traffic has doubled, with Croy and Cawdor seeing a similar increase. When the new Whitebridge is opened, large numbers of heavy vehicles will return to this road, along with the many commuters who use it to avoid Nairn. Stevie suggested that a joint meeting with Auldearn and Croy CCs be arranged to discuss the matter.
  • Gypsy Travellers: Cllr. Balfour told the meeting that following concerns from locals in the Clephanton area, notice had been served on the gypsy travellers currently camped at the old leafy bends. They should have moved out that day, but he noted that they had not yet done so. The site is beginning to look very messy with garden waste and other waste matter fly-tipped. Lizzy Rose had been told by HC that nothing could be done to remove them, as they are on private land. She did note however that their bins are being emptied weekly by HC.
  • Drones at Wester Galcantray: Doug Piggot raised the issue of increased drone activity in the Wester Galcantray area. He said that they are being used to chase roe deer away and he knew who they belonged to. He has spoken to police about the matter and expressed concern about the height the drones fly, considering the close proximity to the airport. The meeting wondered whether any near misses with aircraft had been recorded. Cllr. Balfour said he would bring this up at the next airport group meeting.
The meeting closed at 8.50pm