Dingwall and Seaforth - Ward 9
Action Note of Forum held on 8th June 2011
Cllr’s Margaret Paterson (Chair); Peter Cairns; Angela MacLean; Dingwall Community Council, Nigel Greenwood; Muir of Ord Community Council, Tom Davis, Vic Clouston; Ferintosh Community Council, Colin Craig; Maryburgh Community Council, Angus Christie; Northern Constabulary, Chief Inspector Mike Coats; Scotland Transerv, Cathel MacAskill, Calum Galloway; Highland Council, Liz Cowie, Ward Manager; ‘Come Dine with Me Through Time Project’, Fiona Richardson, Youth Development Officer, Cathey Reece.
There were 12 members of the public present.
Item 1 - Welcome. Cllr. Paterson opened the meeting and made introductions. The format of the Ward Forum was explained and the topic for the meeting outlined.
Item 2 - Apologies. Cllr. David Chisholm; Dingwall Community Council, David Lynch.
Item 3 - Scotland Transerv. Kessock Bridge Briefing
Cathel MacAskill, Customer Services Manager and Callum Galloway, Bridges Manager, Scotland Transerv gave a briefing on the emergency works on the Kessock Bridge commencing 19th June, 2011. A question and answer session followed.
Item 4 - Good News Items.
- Further funding for closes on High St. 53k has come from contingencies from the Streetscape project. Currently looking at what can be done to improve two - three courts. Commercial Court is top of the list followed by the court adjacent to Munro’s and Argyll Court (however ownership issues may prove to be a challenge). Surfacing and lighting are main focus.
- Dingwall website. The community side of the site is going to be taken on by Dingwall Community Council after the work done by Dingwall Business Association and the Highland Council in getting the site totally upgraded. David Lynch and Allana Dingwall are the key contacts and there will be various points where information can be passed to put on the site including the Greenhouse where David has offered to support the site by giving four dedicated hours of staff time each week to ensure the site is up to date and full of good information. The site will be relaunched shortly.
- Cllr Paterson announced that funding had been secured for the Dingwall Leisure Centre roof repairs. It was agreed that this was excellent news.
- There are good news items around the Thing Project that more will be heard more about later on the agenda including plans for a Geophysical survey around the Cromartie Car Park and St Clements Aisle area, plans for a heritage and information centre at the redundant toilet block and also plans to work closely on the educational aspect with Dingwall Academy and local schools.
Item 5 - Action Note for Previous Meeting. The Action Note was approved. There were no matters arising.
Item 6 - Community Safety. Northern Constabulary.
Chief Inspector Coats gave an update on policing issues in the area. He noted that the detection rate remains high at 60% and the incidence of crime being reported, especially serious crime, is reduced. Detection rate for serious crime is almost 100%. CI Coats reported that this was one of the best performing Area Commands on the Highland mainland.
- Vandalism is still a problem. Muir of Ord is a target with the primary school a focus. Talks underway with Education regarding school security. Conon Primary School had also been targeted with 4 windows broken.
- Underage drinking. This is an ongoing problem but local measures being taken (e.g. by the Council Youth Workers) are making an impact.
- Spate of thefts of batteries from agricultural equipment. The batteries are being sold for scrap. There had been a number of incidents in the Muir of Ord area.
- Work on the conversion of Muir of Ord Station is almost complete. Beauly officers have now moved and operate from the upper floor.
• Preparations for the JLS Concert were well in hand. Traffic Management plan agreed. Blueprint now in place to build on for the future. Park and Ride at the Mart. Good analysis of where people were travelling from could be obtained from tickets purchased via postcodes. This had helped to inform the Traffic Management plan. Good joint working with all agencies and Highland Council.
- Cllr. Paterson commented that there was good feedback from the public on increased visibility.
- Cllr. Cairns asked about the proposals for a single police force. There was discussion around this issue.
Cllr. Paterson thanked CI Coats for the update.
Item 7 - Main Topic European Northern Periphery Partnership Thing International Norse Heritage Project
Presentation by the Ward Manager on Ward 9 participation in a transnational project focusing on Norse Heritage. This was followed by a presentation on ‘Come Dine With Me Through Time’ by Dingwall youth group. This is an exciting project looking at living and eating in Viking times.
The Thing Project came into being through two routes. Dingwall Initiative had looked to explore the benefits that could come from working with Norway to develop business and tourism links given Dingwall’s Norse Heritage. Norway had recognised the historical, cultural and economic significance of the historic assembly (or Thing) sites in the North Atlantic Region. A ‘NORA’ (Nordic Atlantic Cooperation) pre-project had been initiated by the Haugland International Research and Development Centre in Norway. Although the NORA region principally covers Norway, Faeroe, Iceland and Greenland, because of historical and cultural links, Scotland (and then the Isle of Man) was invited to be part of the initial project. Funding came from NORA for this. David and Sandra Macdonald attended the conference in Gulen in 2008 and on behalf of the town signed the ‘letter of intent’.
The success of the initial project led Norway to lead a bid to move to the next stage and to pursue funding for a NPP project. The Northern Periphery Programme aims to help peripheral and remote communities on the northern margins of Europe develop their economic, social and environmental potential. Norway took the lead in the application - however all of the partners played an important part in developing the project application which was subsequently successful in gaining funding for a three year project. The project was then set with Norway as lead partner and Iceland, Faeroe, Shetland, Orkney, Dingwall and the Isle of Man as participants.
A summary giving background on the Project and its objectives was distributed. In order to achieve the objectives outlined the lead partner intends to:
- Organise a series of international conferences, workshops, lectures and field visits to strengthen the network and promote site awareness.
- Pursue international networking and develop tourism and business links.
- Explore the use of web based project management systems and social networking sites to facilitate networking between partners and interested parties, and to promote awareness about the sites.
- Create common interpretation and dissemination strategies for the communication of information on the sites.
- Develop site management guidelines for effective local sustainable site management.
- Create a separate public facing website which will act as a hub connecting users with relevant information about each site, and promote sustainable tourism.
- Develop education and academic source materials for local, national and international use.
- Pursue UNESCO world Heritage status through serial nomination of Thing Sites on the World Heritage List.
In addition the story of the Thing Site in Dingwall and an overview of early assembly sites were handed out to those present.
A key and important part of the project has been the research element and this has formed much of the work of the last two years. Although each partner had information on their individual ‘stories’ (some more so than others as with Dingwall and Faeroe), the stories had not been linked. Therefore the benefits of linking the stories and history had never been explored until now. (David and Sandra MacDonald were thanked at this point for providing valuable background reference material.)
The last partner meeting had focussed on tourism and marketing. A number of actions were agreed and work is now underway to produce material, using the research and stories told so far, that will be available in each country and at each site. Also agreed was the design and production of the international website and this will be developed over the summer with a target for sign off at the next partner meeting in Dingwall in September. The focus for the partner meeting in Dingwall is Education and this will further the objective of developing education and source materials for local, national and international use.
The Project has been the catalyst for a number of initiatives locally including proposals for a full Geophysical survey around the Cromartie Car Park and St Clements Aisle area; plans for a heritage and information centre at the redundant toilet block and also plans to work closely on the educational aspect with Dingwall Academy and local schools.
Dingwall is now most definitely on the international map through the project and the links made with the partner countries and has huge potential moving forward.
Fiona Richardson and Cathey Reece then gave a very interesting and informative presentation on the ‘Come dine with me through time’ project highlighting work ongoing with local young people and activities that have taken place so far. The Forum was invited to sample types of food that young people have been making relative to Viking culture.
Cllr. Paterson thanked the Ward Manager for an interesting and informative presentation. Thanks also went to YDO and Cathey Reece for the insight into another aspect of Viking culture, and in particular for the delicious food that had brought the whole project to life.
Item 8 – Consultations
The following consultations were noted.
1. Right to buy
2. Anti Social Behaviour Strategy
3. THC Website feedback survey
Item 9 – Discretionary Budget.
Item 10 – Public Questions.
There were no public questions
Topic for Next Meeting. Highland Council and NHS Highland plans for the Integration of Care, Health and Education in Children’s and Adults Service. Wednesday 24th August at 7.00 pm in the Council Chamber, Dingwall.