Present: Chair John Green; Vice-Chair Chris Hobson; Secretary / Treasurer Keith Muir; Member Eric Green
Councillor Robert Coghill
5 Members of public
1. Apologies: Bill Mowat; Steven MacGregor.
2. Membership: John Green announced that Linda Bingham has resigned from the Community Council.
3. Minutes of March Meeting: proposed Chris Hobson Seconded Keith Muir duly adopted.
4. Matters Arising: Auckengill Traffic Speed - Police Liaison officer from Dornoch replied to John Green's letter on the subject of traffic speed thgrough Auckengill. The Wick-based Chief Inspector will be in touch in due course.
John O' Groats Arts Works: Gavin Lockhart, the artist who has the contract to deliver public arts works in the JOG project has been in regular communication with the community council about his plans. The CC welcomed the degree of involvement and consultation with the community.
5. Treasurer's Report: Current balance £1042.59 - no major bills outstanding.
6. Chair Report: JOG Lease of Council Land to developers: Despite representations, the Highland Council has made it clear that it has no intention of attending a meeting with the Community Council to explain their actions in negotiating the lease of the Council's land - currently the car park and the area around the magic signpost - to Natural Retreats, the developers of the tourist site at the shore at John O' Groats, without any public consultation or attempt to allay legitimate concerns raised by the public and expressed through the community council. the main issues raised by this proposed lease are potential car parking charges; access to public areas for community events such as the Harbour Day, Car rallies, Highland Games and such like; access to the working harbour areas; and the issues of succession - whilst the community generally enjoys good relations with Natural Retreats and believes they will handle the "public" areas sensitively, there must be safeguards in place to ensure that whatever may happen in the future, they cannot sell the lease to another party who might have very different ideas.
7. Planning matters. Lyth Wind Turbines. A member of the public raised concerns about the current applications for four separate wind turbines all in close proximity in the Lyth area. It was generally agreed that the current planning regime does not allow adequate scrutiny for applications for individual turbines, in particular with reference to their cumulative impact. It was agreed to raise this as a matter of concern with the Director of Planning.
Dunnet Head wind turbine: The developer has responded favourably to our request for a meeting and will be in touch again to arrange details.
Dunnet - noted that retrospective planning permission has been granted for change of use from agricultural buildinjg to light engineering workshop.
Meygen on-shore works. It was agreed to write to the planning department to request an update on progress with the detail plans for the on-shore works to support the Meygen tidal energy development in the Pentland Firth.
Dunnet Beach sewage outflows. It was brought to teh attention of the Community Council that SEPA is proposing to allow Scottish Water to increase the outflow to Dunnet Beach. It was reported that this could cause a significant threat of pollution. It was agreed to write to SEPA to request further clarification.
8. John O' Groats Pths Project. Chris Hobson reported that work is about to start on the improvements to the path going from the harbour area to the West of John O' Groats as previously discussed.
9. Village Officer. John Green noted that the CC has been allocated £1000 towards the Village Officer project. One piece of work - weeding round the Auckengill Hall and car park - has already been identified and the Chair invited members and the public to bring forward other projects.
10. Olympic Torch. As previously noted the Olympic Torch will be brought to John O' Groats. Eric Green indicated that the Football Club will use the occasion to put on some fund-raising activity - possibly a barbecue.
11. AOB: Cllr Coghill advised that the Pentland Football Club has approached the council to lease the football park from the Council. The Community Council favours this development, providing safeguards are in place to allow community events such as the Marymas Fair to continue.
12. Next Meeting: Canisbay Hall (subject to availability) 7.30 p.m. Wednesday 9th May. The developers of the Stroupster wind farm will attend and make a presentation.