Minutes of Meeting July 2012
Present: John Green (Chair); Keith Muir (Secretary / Treasurer); Bill Mowat (Member) Eric Green (Member)
2 Representatives from Eurowind
10 Members of the Public
The meeting opened with John Green welcoming all and introducing Eleanor Logan and Ian Lindsay from Eurowind to talk about the proposed wind farm development at Earl's Cairn in Barrock.
In fact, they began by reporting that the company has shelved its plans for Earl's Cairn pro tem. However, they are pressing ahead with another project at Lyth, also in our area, and wanted to take the opportunity to introduce it to the community.
The Lyth development will feature around 12 turbines, each about 2-3 MW in power and with height around 80m to the hub and 125m to the wing-tip, giving an installed capacity of 36MW.
The project is just going in to scoping, and they hope to be able to apply for planning permission in late autumn 2012. The driver for the timing of the development will be the availability of grid connection.
Further details will emerge as the plans develop, and Eurowind repeated their commitment to keeping the community informed throughout the process. They will be setting up a website and agreed to make their presentations available to the public. In addition to our community council, they will want to engage with Keiss and Bower communities as well; and they will hold a public meeting probably in Lyth Hall to explain their plans.
John Green thanked the speakers for their efforts in coming all the way north to meet us.
Normal Business of the Community Council
Minutes of the June 2012 meeting: Proposed by Eric, seconded by John, duly adopted.
Matters Arising - all covered in the agenda
Dunnet Projects: There is a proposal to install public art works at Dunnet Head and at the beach at Dunnet and the CC's views are sought. Chris Hobson will lead on this for the CC.
John O' Groats Mill: The Prince's Trust wants to open a debate about the possibility of returning the JOG Mill to economic life, and will be holding an open day to invite discussion. Members will attend.
Treasurer's Report: With no major outstanding items of expenditure expected the bank account as at end of June stood at £2,910.71
John O' Groats Lease of Highland Council Land. There has been no satisfactory response from the Council concerning legitimate concerns raised by the community over the plan by Highland Council to lease public realm land to Natural Retreats, the developers of the end-of-the-road site at John O' Groats. Eric Green was delegated to raise the matter with the MSP and the MP.
Meygen. The developer of the tidal site in the inner Pentland Firth appears to have advertised their intention to build massive Power Conversion Unit Buildings at Huna and at Quoys without proper consultation and ahead of any proper process of application for planning permission; and this seems to have caused considerable disquiet in the community. Keith Muir was asked to make contact with Meygen to clarify the position.
It was agreed that as and when any such application for planning permission comes into the system, the CC will request Statutory Consultee status, which will give the CC the power to object to the application ensuring that the matter will be scrutinised by the committee rather than dealt with by officials.
John O'Groats Museum: Bill Mowat was concerned about the fate of exhibits and historical materials from the "Last House" site at John O' Groats which is currently being redeveloped. It was suggested that he should ask the site manager and report back.
Freswick Pier: It was reported that the pier requires only very minor repairs and it was agreed that a quote should be obtained from a local contractor to see whether funds could be found to carry out the work.
End to End Cycle Run: Members were happy to offer their best wishes to two young JOG women, Catherine Burt and Julie-Anne Mowat, who are planning to do the end-to-end trip to raise funds for cancer charities.
Ballot on Wind farm developments: Members of the public asked whether it was likely that the CC would repeat the exercise of balloting voters over proposals to develop wind farms in our area. Given that the clear will of the voters, as expressed in the previous ballot on the Stroupster windfarm, was effectively ignored by the planning hierarchy it was felt that such an exercise was unlikely to be repeated; but each case would be considered on its merits.
Date of Next Meeting
There will be no meeting in August. The next meeting will be in Auckengill Hall on 12th September.