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


Anonymous said...

So Highland Council are wasting Tax Payers money to empty travellers bins even though they don't pay a single penny towards it.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 7:54 AM

There are thousands of people who empty their rubbish into Highland council bins without paying council tax, they're called tourists. Why pick on travellers, they contribute towards the local community as they spend money

It would seem to me that Highland council are taking a responsible position providing bins but maybe you have a better idea?