Committees

Minute of Meeting of the Lochaber Area Committee held in the Council Chambers, Lochaber House, Fort William on Monday, 14 June 2004 at 11.30am.

 

Present:


Mrs Olwyn J Macdonald, Convener
Mr Charles King
Mr Bill Clark
Mr Thomas MacLennan
Dr Michael E M Foxley
Mr Brian Murphy
Mr Neil M Clark
Mr Andrew McFarlane Slack


In Attendance:


Mr John C Hutchison, Lochaber Area Manager
Mr Keith D Falconer, Area Solicitor/Administrator
Mrs Mairi MacCallum, Assistant Area Finance Manager
Mr Allan Henderson, Project Manager, Property & Architectural Services
Mr Jim Tolmie, Area Roads & Community Works Manager
Mrs Dot Ferguson, Area Development Manager (items 5.1 & 5.2)
Mrs Tina Luxton, Area Housing Manager (item 6.1)
Mr Alan Bentley, Principal Waste Management Officer - Strategy
Mr Finlay MacDonald, Property Manager (Building Maintenance)
Ms Fiona Cameron, Administrator, Corporate Services


Also in Attendance:


Inspector Callum Scott, Northern Constabulary
Mrs Karen MacInnes, Voluntary Action Lochaber

Business


Declarations of Interests – None


1. Apologies for Absence


2. General Business


(Chairman Olwyn J Macdonald)


Dr Michael Foxley requested that a list of Action Points from previous meetings be brought to Committee in order to better facilitate the tracking of decision making and decision implementation at Area and at Highland level.  It was agreed that the Lochaber Area Manager discuss this with Dr Foxley.
 
2.1 Confirmation of Minutes
 
2.1.1 There were circulated and approved Minutes of  Meeting of the Lochaber Area Committee held on 17 May 2004.


Mr Neil Clark requested an update on item 8.1 (page 10) and expressed his concern at the delays in resolving the office accommodation.  Mr Clark further expressed his concern that Health and Safety regulations were being breached as a result of the cramped office conditions in Lochaber House, and it was clarified by the Lochaber Area Manager that, while the office accommodation was not ideal, it did not breach Health & Safety Guidelines.  The meeting was informed that in order to achieve the legal requirement of 11 cubic metres per person, this would require a floorspace of 4.23 square metres per person, and the Housing Service currently had 5.32 square metres per person.
 
2.2 Executed and Sealed Deeds                                                         
 
Mr Brian Murphy declared an interest in items 2012 and 2013 as they related to his employment.  He remained in the room, but took no part in any discussion.
 
There was circulated and approved a list (no. AC/255) of Deeds and other documents executed on behalf of the Council for the period 18 May to 1 June 2004.
 
2.3 Community Safety                                                                              
 
There was circulated joint report (no. AC/256) dated 2 June 2004 by the Area Commander and the Lochaber Area Manager which provided an update for Members on current activities within the Community Safety Initiative and on Policing Issues in Lochaber.


The Lochaber Area Committee noted the report.
 
2.4 Emergency Planning                                                                       
 
There was circulated and noted report (no. AC/257) dated 1 June 2004 which advised Members of the exercise that took place on 22 April and gave an overview of the key lessons learned.
 
2.5 Current Issues within Councils  of Voluntary Service
 
There was circulated report (no. AC/258) dated 1 June 2004 by the Area Manager which advised the Committee of the current status of reviews (on Councils of Voluntary Service (CVS’s) in Scotland) which had taken place.  The report noted certain of the matters that had arisen and started to examine how these might affect Voluntary Action Lochaber, the local CVS for this Area.

 

Mrs Karen MacInnes distributed a paper entitled ‘VAL in Lochaber’ which expanded on these issues.  


Following discussion, Members agreed the following:


• VAL had been very successful in Lochaber and as such the Lochaber Area  
  Committee would prefer to maintain the present situation rather than
  become one single Highland-wide CVS which may be funded on a ‘per
  capita’ basis
• A meeting is to be arranged with relevant partners prior to compiling a joint
  report by the Highland Council, the Enterprise network and VAL on the
  future role of VAL in Lochaber.  This report should then form part of the
  Renewing Democracy and Community Planning Select Committee agenda.
• A letter is to be sent to Margaret Curran, MSP, explaining that the present
  arrangement works well and stating the Lochaber Area Committee’s
  preference for local CVS’s to be responsible for drawing up local plans best
  suited to their area.
 
3. Resources Business


(Chairman Brian Murphy)
 
3.1 Revenue Expenditure Monitoring Report  - All Services
 
There was circulated and endorsed report (no. AC/259) dated 4 June 2004 by the Area Finance Manager detailing the revenue monitoring statement for the Lochaber Area for the period 1 to 30 April 2004.
 
3.2 Revenue Expenditure Monitoring Report - Central Services
 
There was circulated and endorsed joint report (no. AC/260) dated 5 June 2004 by the Lochaber Area Manager, Area Administrator and the Area Finance Manager detailing the revenue monitoring statement for Central Services for the period 1 – 30 April 2004. The report set out the projected year-end position and provided explanations where necessary. 
 
3.3 Revenue Expenditure Monitoring Report - Housing Benefits


There was circulated and endorsed report (no. AC/261) dated 3 June 2004 by the Area Finance Manager detailing the revenue expenditure monitoring report for Housing Benefits for the period 1 – 30 April 2004.  


3.4 Maintenance Revenue Projects in the Lochaber Area


There was circulated report (no. AC/262) dated 25 May 2004 by the Director of Property & Architectural Services which confirmed the Planned Maintenance and Cyclical Maintenance Building Projects for the Lochaber Area for 2004/05.


Members noted that the projects included in the Planned Maintenance and Cyclical Maintenance programmes for the Lochaber Area were to be carried out during the 2004/05 financial year and that progress update reports would be reported to the Area Committee on a regular basis.


Concerns were raised by Dr Michael Foxley about the lack of budget alignment between this programme and the Capital programme. It was then noted that many of the repairs listed in the report were for urgent H&S reasons.


Following discussion, the Committee decided:


• To agree all the non-Education projects listed on the report
• That a further report be brought to the Special Meeting of the Lochaber
  Area Committee on 21 June 2004 detailing which Education projects were
  still to be considered under this programme.
 
3.5 The Next Steps Project                
 
There was circulated report (no. AC/263) dated 1 June 2004 by the Area Manager which explained how the philosophy that was developed during the “Next Steps” Project was being taken forward within Lochaber College.


The Area Committee endorsed the report and recognised that all possible efforts had been taken to ensure the continuation of the Next Steps approach.
 
3.6 Lochaber Area Discretionary Budget 2004/05                
 
There was circulated report (no. AC/264) dated 1 June 2004 by the Area Manager which detailed the Lochaber Area Discretionary Budget for 2004/05 and recommended an apportionment.


Members:-


1) Agreed the recommendation in 2.2 above to allocate £40,000 to Members
    ward projects;
2) Agreed to hold back the remainder of the budget for Area-wide projects;
3) Noted the management arrangements explained in Section 4 of the 
    report;  

and
4) Instructed that further reports are brought to the Area Committee in respect of Area-wide projects.


Members further requested that the Budget Working Group considers increasing the Area Discretionary Budget across the Highlands.
 
4. Transport, Environmental and Community Services Business

 

(Chairman Charles King)
 
4.1 Revenue Expenditure 2003/04                                                         
 
There was circulated report (no. AC/265) dated 4 June 2004 by the Area Roads & Community Works Manager which set out the revenue monitoring position for the period  1 to 31 April 2004 and the projected year end position.


The Area Convener asked why expenditure on Trading Standards was not included and it was explained that this was centrally funded.  The Area Convener then requested a report on expenditure in Lochaber under Trading Standards and that a figure should be included in future expenditure reports.

 

Members noted the contents of the report as well as the attached schedules.  
 
Provision of Recycling Centre in Fort William
 
There was circulated joint report (no AC/269) by the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services and the Director of Property and Architectural Services which sought Members approval to negotiate a lease of land, for a recycling centre, at the Ben Nevis Industrial Estate with the existing occupier, Lochaber Aggregates.


Members authorised the negotiation and conclusion, if appropriate, of a lease through the Director of Property and Architectural Services in consultation with the Director of TEC Services and Portfolio Holder for waste management.


During discussion Members:


• Agreed that it was preferable to apply for a new licence for the new site,
  rather than amend the existing licence, as this would allow all issues and
  objections to be dealt with correctly
• Agreed that the site would ideally be open on Saturday and Sunday, and
  that it should be manned while open
• Were informed that most, if not all, of the £100,000 from the Capital Plan 
  would be required to purchase equipment for the new centre.  Construction 
  costs were to be obtained from the Strategic Waste Fund.
• Noted that the Inverlochy site would close in 2-3 weeks time, and the new
  site would be ready in approximately 4 months.  Discussions for
  arrangements for the interim period were to be discussed at a future date.


 The Area Committee then endorsed the report.
 
4.3 A82 Route Action Plan                                   
 
There was circulated report (no. AC/266) dated 1 June 2004 by the Area Manager which advised the Committee of the approach being followed by HITRANS in taking forward the strategic issue of the A82 Trunk Road.


The Area Committee noted the current position and discussed the following:


• The Area Committee now has a seat at HITRANS progress meetings
• Widening of A82 Loch Lomond is to start later this year
• The list of plans for this area includes £250,000 for a filter lane at the
   Lochybridge junction
• The A82/A96 has been regarded as top priority for a Roads Review
• The continuing problem of deer in Glencoe


Further to this the Area Committee agreed:


1. That a letter be sent from the Area Committee to BEAR Scotland about
    the lack of maintenance of shrubs on roundabouts on the bypass,
    particularly in light of the importance of Tourism to the Lochaber economy
2. That the Area Roads Manager obtain the report on deer culling that is 
    presently being prepared.
 
4.4 Road Maintenance Programme 2004/05                                  
 
There was circulated report (no AC/270) by the Area Roads and Community Works Manager which sought approval for planned maintenance works to Roads and Bridges in Lochaber 2004/2005.


Members approved the projects noted in Appendix I.
 
4.5 Minor Capital Works                                                                       
 
There was circulated report (no AC/271) by the Area Roads and Community Works Manager which recommended projects to be taken forward under the Area Minor Capital Works


Members approved the schedule in Appendix 1.
 
4.6 Application for Grant of Taxi Driver’s Licence:Td/2004/02/01
 
An application for the Grant of a Taxi Driver’s Licence was received on 10 February 2004 from the above applicant. No objections were received for this application, however the Licence had not been issued because the applicant had not undertaken the taxi knowledge test.  The applicant had been given the opportunity to sit the knowledge test but had failed to do so.


In terms of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, a final decision on the application had to be made within six months of the application having been lodged, i.e.  by 10 August 2004.  The period for determination could only be extended by the Sheriff Court.


The Area Committee then agreed to REFUSE the application.
 
5. Planning and Development Services Business


(Chairman Drew McFarlane Slack)
 
5.1 Revenue Expenditure Monitoring Report                         
 
There was circulated report (no. AC/267) dated 2 June 2004 by the Lochaber Area Development Manager detailing the revenue expenditure monitoring report for the Development Service for the period 1 to 30 April 2004. This report highlighted major variances (more than £5,000), set out the projected year-end position and provided explanations where necessary.


The Area Committee endorsed the report.
 
5.2 Request for Funding from Glengarry and District Community Association
 
There was circulated report (no. AC/268) dated 2 June 2004 by the Area Development Manager on a request from Glengarry and District Community Association for assistance towards the professional fees for the construction of a new Invergarry Community Centre.  This application exceeded the delegated approvals threshold under the Community Development Projects Initiative Scheme.


It was noted that Item 4.2 of the report should show an additional funding source as follows:


Bid for European Funding                      £53,000
(The total shown in the report remains the same)


Members agreed to support the recommendation that Glengarry and District Community Association is awarded £20,000 from the Community Development Projects Initiative Budget - £10,000 in 2004/05 and a further £10,000 in 2005/06, the latter tranche only being disbursed if satisfactory progress has been made.
 
6. Housing and Social Work Business


(Chairman Neil M Clark)
  
6.1 Land and Asset Transfer in Kinlochleven            
 
Mr Andrew McFarlane Slack and Mr Charles King declared a non-pecuniary interest in the following item (6.1).  They remained in the room but took no part in the discussion.
 
There was circulated to Members only joint report (no AC/272) prepared by the Director of Property & Architectural Services, Area Housing Manager and the Area Education Manager.  


The Area Committee agreed the report.

 

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