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Minutes August 2016

Those Present:           Eric Green, Chairman

                                    Bill Mowat, Vice Chairman

                                    Ann Shearer

                                    Barbara Hiddleston, Secretary

                                    Cllr. Matthew Reiss

                                    2 Members of the public were in attendance

Apologies:      Apologies were received from Chris Hobson and Tom Meikle.

1. Minutes of Previous Meeting

1.1.      Eric Green proposed the Minutes of previous meeting held on 20th June 2016 be accepted, which was seconded by Bill Mowat.

2.  Matters Arising.

2.1.1    Flooding in Mey and ScarsferryCllr Reiss reported that he had been in contact with Graham McKenzie, Roads Operational Manager, who had suggested a solution in the form of small scale defences at the properties including the Perspex sealed sheet units. 

2.1.2     As it was agreed after discussion that this would not be the answer, the next step proposed was that Cllr. Reiss agreed to arrange a meeting between Mr. McKenzie and Tom Meikle who had raised the flooding issue in Mey.                                                                           Action Cllr. Reiss

2.2.1    Signs at Mey, to Dunnet Head and Nybster Broch. Cllr. Reiss also reported that the raising of the sign at East Mey had been successfully carried out.  The sign at Dunnet Head and at Nybster Broch were being attended to, but there was an issue regarding it having both the Gaelic and English wording.

2.2.2.   Cllr. Reiss pointed out that it would appear that the Community Council could make the final decision as to the choice of wording and asked which we would select. 

2.2.3    Without hesitation, following the proposal of choice put forward by Eric Green, it was unanimously agreed to the use of the English wording only, which was noted by Cllr. Reiss.       Action Cllr. Reiss

2.3.      Damaged Shore Path between John O’Groats and the Shell Beach.

2.3.1    Barbara Hiddleston reported the bill for £284.90 had been paid for the temporary repair.

2.3.2    Eric Green reported that the Landowner was concerned as who was responsible for the Public Liability of use of the path. After discussing the salient points, Cllr. Reiss agreed he would seek advice from the Highland Council Solicitor, and keep us informed.             Action Cllr. Reiss

2.4.1    Eric Green reported that Karenza Sudd, Halkirk, had carried out a Beach Clean at John O’Groats, but was unable to move four tyres filled with concrete. After discussion, Bill Mowat proposed that we should pay for the removal of these tyres, which was seconded by Ann Shearer.

2.4.2    Bill Mowat also proposed that a letter of thanks should be written to Ms. Sudd, which was unanimously approved, which he agreed to attend to.                                           Action Bill

2.5.1.   Also Eric Green reported that the Post at the Kissing Gate at Duncansby Head was broken, and required to be replaced. He proposed that we would pay for its renewal, seconded by Bill Mowat. 

2.5.2.   Eric Green agreed to attend to these two matters.                                                   Action Eric.  

2.6.      CaS  Local Development Plan.

2.6.1.   There seemed to be some confusion as to the closing date for sending comments regarding this plan to David Cowie, Local Plan Team Leader as we understood the closing date was 15th August, which David Cowie did not agree.

2.6.2    Nevertheless, they had been duly sent in and they had also been circulated to the Highland Councillors through Cllr. Reiss.  The Plan will be discussed at a meeting on the 31st August.

2.6.3    Eric Green agreed to email Cllr Reiss giving it our support as we all were in agreement regarding the Comments as to being very relevant to our area.                             Action Eric

2.7.1    Broadband Connection. Eric Green reported that the upgrading of the Broadband was almost complete, and where relevant, better connections would soon be available. 

2.7.2.   Once connected, it can then be identified which areas have not benefitted and the next step to   forming the Community Broadband scheme can be considered, but in the meantime we await the switching on of the upgrade.

 3.        Chairman’s Report.  – There was nothing to report.

4.         Treasurer’s Report. The Secretary reported that the current balance stood at £1,865.88.

5.         Secretary’s Report. 

5.         Application from Village Officer Funds.

5.1       Application for £250 had been accepted for the cutting of grass at Nybster Broch, which had been carried out, and await payment. Also £95 had been received for the cutting of whins at Bank Road, Dunnet and had duly been paid out. 

5.2       Request from MSP Gail Ross. In response to a request from the office of our MSP regarding a contact e-mail address, the Chairman and Secretary agreed to put theirs forward.               Action Barbara

5.3.      Bill Mowat had proposed that D & C CCC should ask Highland Council to adopt the improvement for the enlarged turning area recently constructed at Barrock, paid for by the developers of Lochend Wind Farm which was unanimously accepted, which the Secretary agreed to attend to and email Alex McManus, Ward Manager regarding this.                                            Action Barbara

5.4.1    Highland Self Build Loans.  The Secretary brought this scheme to the attention of those present, and explained that these loans are available through The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust for houses of up to £150,000. (HSCHT). Quoting their website -  ‘It has been recognised that there was a gap in the lending market to provide fund for self-builders prior to mortgage facilities being available.  This is where the Highland Self Building Loan Fund aims to help.  The fund allows       HSCHT acting as agent to the Scottish Government to provide a revolving fund to self-builders throughout the Highlands’.  The loans are available from 1 April 2016 until 31st March 2018.

5.4.2    Website:    http://www.hscht.co.uk/highland-self-build-loan-fund.html

5.4.3    The Chairman agreed to put this information on our Facebook page.  Action Eric

5.5.      A long debate then ensued regarding the potential use of the Community Windfarm Fund and consideration of its use to create an amenity that could benefit the whole community, which would require a Social Enterprise Group to be set up.   The outcome was that a separate meeting, including the Public members of the Panel, would be required to discuss this ambitious project, and this item would be put onto next month’s agenda to discuss a suitable date. 

6.         Planning – Weekly Report.  This was noted.

7.         AOB

7.1.      New disabled access on Dunnet Head.  Cllr Reiss reported that an observation had been made regarding the gravel path leading to the viewpoint that it was too wide.  He had the fortune to ask the opinion of a wheel chair user who confirmed that this facility was first class, and the width was exactly what was required to turn around. 

7.2.      A member of the public noted that the locked half gates at the viewpoint would block the way if the emergency services of an ambulance was required.  After discussion it was agreed that the Secretary would bring this to the attention of the Ward Manager, Alex McManus. Action Barbara

7.3.      Bill Mowat informed the Committee the Beacon on the Stroma promontory installed at the instigation of James Bremner, the Victorian Caithness Engineer, was being re-instated after 100 years by the Northern Lighthouse Board.

7.4.1    He also proposed that a plaque to commemorate the Pilots of the Pentland First should be commemorated as should the school of navigation under Mr. Paterson.

7.4.2.   Those present agreed in principal to this idea, and Bill agreed he would write up the history and circulate it.                                                                                                                  Action Bill

8.         Date of Next Meeting. To be held on Monday 19th September at St. Clair Village Hall, Aukengill at 7.30 p.m.

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