Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry Community Council

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Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry Community Council held its December meeting recently at Kilmonivaig Church Hall.

Present were  John Fotheringham, Brian Donald, Liz Fotheringham, Peter McIntosh, Ross MacLennan,  Dana MacLennan, Ian Langley and Highland councillor Denis Rixson plus five members of the public.

Items discussed included the following:

*Highland Council – Requests made for additional grit box in Braeroy Road and to infill a pothole in Kilmonivaig Church road. Concerns were expressed about litter and fly tipping at Achnabobane which will be forwarded to Highland Council.

*BEAR and Transport Scotland – The chairman John Fotheringham has been in correspondence with Tommy Deans about the outstanding issues and in particular the repair to the Telford Bridge Parapet agreed with SSE but not so far acti oned; the potholes on the A82 south of the Great Glen Cattle Ranch Building; and safety notices on the A82 approaching the Aonachan Crossroads.

BEAR have undertaken exploratory work at the A82 with its junction with the A86. They confirmed there is an old statutory undertaker service running on the line of the defects. They have repaired this site and the one outside Spean Lodge, and resurfaced both sites. BEAR is carrying out a road survey to identify faults for repair if budgets permit.

The council will continue to pursue these and the other identified problems.

*Community Benefit – The Stronelairg Wind Farm Fund will launch on December 14, and applications for both large and micro grants should be available shortly thereafter. Micro grants will be determined by the Community Council and the larger ones by the Panel. SSE will conduct a roadshow in the area in January to assist local groups.

The community council received a Community Benefit Offer from SIMEC GHR for the operational life of three local hydro schemes following the completion of  statutory planning obligations, and the community council is consulting with various bodies.

As there was a trustee of the ABC Community Group SCIO present at the December community council meeting, it was unanimously agreed that the council invoke the section of its constitution to have a private session at the conclusion of the meeting to give councillors an update on developments and decide the next move.

*Resilience – Ian Langley reported that he hoped to set up a Community Asset Register and liaise with the Fire and Rescue Service to ensure that in an emergency the community council would be able to call on safe places and equipment. Mr Langley intended to use the Facebook Page in the first place to alert residents, but was exploring setting up a website for community use.

*Community Council Review – The chairman attended the Community Council Workshop in Inverness. Attended by only 55 out of 148 Highland Community Councils the review itself had garnered a disappointing 67 Community Council replies.

Mr Fotheringham said the workshop had seen little appetite for boundary or membership changes, although encouraging younger participation would be welcomed. Both electronic voting for elections, and increased funding for rural community Councils found support, but it was felt input from Community Councils had to be meaningful particularly if Highland Council wanted to implement increased engagement. Planning continues to be a bugbear for most and change to increase communities influence in the process would help to counter the feeling of being both undervalued and ineffective.

*New Belford Hospital – Liz attended the latest meeting of the Lochaber Health and Social Care Redesign Steering Group on November 22. The clinical model, the key to progressing the project will be complete by mid-January and distributed to the Steering group before the next meeting in February.

*A strategic assessment was completed following the public development day held in the Nevis Centre in August. This is essentially a business case for the new development to be presented to the Scottish Government to get the go ahead for the project.

*There were reports from the various sub groups, and further discussion about a vision statement, but until there is a clearer picture of what sort of facility is going to be developed progress will remain slow. At present it appears that the area will get a facility similar to the present hospital but no guarantee of extended services.

*NHS Highland continue to try and make working in Lochaber more attractive, but recruitment remains difficult.

*Mr and Mrs Eppens of Killiechonate Woodlands have offered to lease a minibus for community use for a period of two years or until sufficient community benefit came on stream to allow the community council to buy one of its own. It was agreed that John Fotheringham and Ian Langley would form a small sub committee to investigate this generous offer.

*The Community councillors agreed to note:

1.      Transport Forum Minutes

2.      Supplementary Guidance to Developers Contributions.

3.      Council Budget Engagement.

4.      Highland senior Citizens Network Newsletter.

5.      Coire Glas- An alternative by Peter Dow.

6.      Democracy Matters Local Government Review

7.      Your voice, your council, your future from Highland Council Policy.

*Treasurer’s Report: The treasurer reported expenditure on hall rent of £220; the Remembrance Day Wreath of £30; the Roy Bridge Gardens Project of £24.15 and chairman’s expenses of £137.68, leaving a current balance of £1049.73.

The next meeting will be on January 8 in Kilmonivaig Church Hall at 7pm.