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Minutes

Minutes of the Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council meeting held in the Seaview Hotel, John O Groats on
Wednesday 11 April 2007 at 7.30pm.
 
Present                                                           Apologies
John Green – Chair                                         William Sinclair
Chris Hobson - Vice Chair                             
Irene Hendrie – Secretary
Keith Muir - Treasurer
Eric Green
Sgt George Murray
 
 
1     John Green welcomed members to the fifth meeting of the community council.
 
2     Minutes of the last meeting were adopted    Proposed Chris Hobson
                                                                             Seconded Eric Green
 
3     Matters arising from the minutes. 
 
JBT had acknowledged receipt of our letter and HGV traffic had almost ceased through the village of Canisbay.
 
John Green had looked at the broken gates of Dunnet Church and would be raising the matter with Richard Guest.
 
4     Broadband   
 
John Green had been approached by several members of the community who were unable to get broadband. This was after consulting BT, being told the service was available and having purchased the necessary equipment. Keith Muir explained that the exchange in John O Groats was not fully able to provide broadband and was being partially upgraded in stages by BT. The provision of service was also dependant on the customers distance from the exchange and the quality of the telephone line. HIE would soon announce an upgrading of exchanges throughout its area and it was not know if the John O Groats exchange would be included in this round of upgrades. Irene Hendrie would write to Stuart Robertson at HIE in Inverness and to John Thurso MP and Jamie Stone MSP. She would copy the letters to the list of people who had approached the council and were unable to get the service.
 
5     Planning
 
John Green advised the members present that as during previous meetings he would take no part in the discussions or decision making regarding planning applications. This would remain the case as long as he was in office as a councillor.
 
An application to renew planning permission for a caravan in Mey had been submitted. The caravan had not apparently been lived in since it was installed and there was no sign of building work being started. Irene Hendrie would write to Iain Ewart to oppose the application.
 
A member of the public had notified the community council indirectly that he was unhappy with the support given to another member of the public for her planning application to build a house near Shoreside Dunnet. He had complained to the Director of Planning regarding the planning decision, would be contacting the Standards Commission and had taken legal advice. John Green, having taken no part in the discussion or decision to support her application was happy that he had not acted improperly. The community council was confident that it had acted in accordance with its constitution by fairly representing the community.
 
Mey Hall Committee had applied for a condition of its planning approval to be withdrawn. The condition required a footpath to be laid between the hall and the village before the refurbished hall could be used. This condition added considerable expense to the refurbishment project while the committee had not yet secured all the funding required for the refurbishment. Keith Muir would write to Iain Ewart before  16 April 2007 to support the application on the basis that the hall was not a new development and was merely an upgrade, that the stretch of road was straight and not hazardous and that it was unreasonable to ask a charity to fund this road improvement. Chris Hobson would pursue the issue with the Access Panel.
 
The council studied the consultation document for the building of a house near Anndon, Canisbay and decided to make no representation.
 
Eric Green asked that the community council contact the reporter to the Asda inquiry with a letter of support. Irene Hendrie would arrange this.
 
6     Affordable Housing
 
Ronnie Macrae would be issuing the survey sometime in May. Keith Muir would contact him to obtain a press release ahead of the mailing.
 
7     Post Office Services
 
The government had announced that its subsidy of Post Offices would continue for the next four years but there would still be many Post Office closures. Research carried out by HIE had found that the cost of providing alternative post office services would far outweigh the saving made by withdrawing the subsidy. The mobile service in Mey might improve with the arrival of a new van but the community council would continue to monitor the situation. Post Office Limited had suggested that it might provide a taxi service to take users to the nearest post office when the van failed to arrive.
 
8     Rural Access Research Proposal
 
Irene Hendrie and a member of the public had met with Anna McConnell of the Caithness Partnership. They planned to hold three consultations in different communities with different age groups.
 
9     Website
 
Keith Muir had set up the front page of our website www.dunnetandcanisbaycc.org.
 
10   University of the Highland and Islands Foundation
 
The University of the Highlands and Islands had written to the community council looking for new members for the UHI Foundation. Members would attend meetings three times per year, would be consulted as community representatives and be required to act as ambassadors for the UHI. Both Eric Green and George Murray were interested in applying and would complete the application forms.
 
  
11   Friend of the Earth training course              
 
Friends of the earth were offering training courses to community councils about what they should know before being consulted by planners and developers. Chris Hobson was interested in applying.
 
12   Next Meeting
 
The next meeting would be on Wednesday 9 May 2007 at 7.30 in Freswick hall. Irene Hendrie would arrange this and send out posters.
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