Lochaber South Ward Forum – 21 August 2007
Ward 22 Fort William and Ardnamurchan
Summary and Action Sheet
Present: Councillors Michael Foxley, Bren Gormley, Brian Murphy; Voluntary Action Lochaber; Glencoe and Glen Etive Community Council; Charles Kennedy MP; HIE Lochaber; Sunart Community Council; Duror and Kentallen Community Council; West Ardnamurchan Community Council; Morvern Community Council; Ardnamurchan High School; Acharacle Community Council; Acharacle Primary School Parent Council; Association of Lochaber Community Councils; Ballachulish Community Council; Sunart Community Council.
Apologies: Councillor Donald Cameron; Iain MacKay, Community Warden; Duror School Board and Ballachulish School Board
Officials in attendance: Dot Ferguson (Chief Executive’s Services); Tony Usher (TEC Services); Chief Inspector Ian Bryce (Northern Constabulary); Theresa James (NHS Highland); Laurence Young, John O’Kane (Education, Culture and Sport)
Chief Executive’s (CE)
Education, Culture and Sport (ECS)
Housing and Property (H & P)
Planning and Development (P & D)
Social Work (SW)
Listed below is the action required as a result of the decisions/discussions taken by the Lochaber South Ward Forum at their meeting held on 21 August 2007.
Please arrange to take the required action on the basis of this Action Sheet.
ITEM NO. HEADING DECISION ACTION TIMESCALE/WHO?
2 Action Sheet of 29 May
3 Dental Services – Presentation by Alex Fraser, NHS
Alex Fraser presented the current situation in regard to the provision of dentistry services in the Ward 22 area. She explained the current provision, different ways in which additional provision could be encouraged and outlined the Scottish Access Initiative Recruitment and Retention programme, which seeks to influence this.
She went on to speak of the retiral of the current Acharacle dentist and the negotiations which are currently ongoing to attempt to secure a new dentist for the area. She also outlined the current situation with regard to M & S Dental Care, which is trying to buy the Fort William Community Clinic premises. Both of these issues are dependent on successful discussion regarding the rate of grant intervention, which in turn depends on the number of NHS patients which dentists are willing to take on.
Summing up, Ms Fraser indicated that there is potential in Fort William for a significant expansion of the number of dentists while acknowledging that there are still problems in the rural areas. (copy of powerpoint presentation available on request)
The Chairman indicated the Council’s concern that the premises would be sold, and expressed a strong desire to see a lease being offered instead of outright sale.
The Chairman expressed his gratitude to retiring local dentist Ken Gill, thanking him for his contribution to the community and the meeting endorsed his comments.
4 Broadband/Telecommunications – presentation by Stuart Robertson, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Stuart Robertson outlined the current situation regarding the availability of broadband in the area. A £3.5 million scheme is underway to try to fill the very small gaps now which are unable to access broadband. The Scottish Executive is driving this and is looking for commercial providers who will find an economic solution. SR urged those present to get in touch with him direct if they wish to be considered for inclusion in the next broadband roll-out. His details are as follows: Stuart Robertson, Head of Transport and Telecoms; Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Cowan House, Inverness Retail and Business Park, Inverness, IV2 7GF. Tel: 01463 244450, e.mail firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Mod Update
Update on Royal National Mod Fringe events given by John O’Kane, Community Learning and Leisure Officer, Highland Council. The Fringe events will be held in the Fort William area and will include: piping recitals; Gaelic “Ready, Steady, Cook”; poetry etc. Nevis Centre will be the main venue for the competition.
6 Highland Licensing Board Licensing (Scotland Act 2005 Draft Policy Statement
No comment was made on the draft policy.
Local Plan – The Chairman outlined the current status of the Local Plan, the draft of which should be published in early October. The meeting agreed that a longer and more robust consultation period should be carried out after publication of the plan, ensuring that local meetings are well advertised with detailed plans etc available.
In addition, the following points were raised:
- long term vision for Lochaber is needed – must not just focus on Fort William
- need more detail on outlying small settlements
- consultation publicity must be the priority
- use the old ‘planning for real’ mechanism – the current Core Path plan consultation method was suggested as an example of good practice
- in addition, there was a question regarding a potential medical centre for Strontian. Theresa James replied that this was not currently in the NHS capital plan and site options are currently being investigated. The public consultation process will begin soon.
Question & Answer Session
- Written question – concern was expressed about the applications by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited for Harbour Control Orders for every harbour and slipway on the Sound of Mull – a written response had been received from Jim Tolmie, TEC Services. In addition this question raised considerable discussion about the implications arising from the CMAL applications and various options as to who could be the most appropriate Harbour Authority, ranging from the Highland Council to the local community. A meeting with interested parties has been arranged for 11 September
- Written question – Acharacle Primary School update requested – it was acknowledged that the timescale for this is slipping, however a report is now coming to the next ECS Committee.
- Written question – concern expressed re situation surrounding Acharacle GP, Dr Buchanan. This matter was discussed at length and is clearly of great concern to the community. There were many concerns about the way the NHS has engaged with the community and Theresa James expressed her disappointment if misleading statements have been made by NHS staff. A question was raised about the proposed changes to the midwifery services – Theresa James confirmed there would be no reduction in service and that the rural areas would benefit from an enhanced service.
- Cllr Michael Foxley, on behalf of a constituent raised the issue of the Road Equivalent Tariff for the Corran Ferry fares. Cllr Murphy responded saying that this is being progressed via the TECS Committee
- Ballachulish Community Council requested that a meeting is held with the Ward 22 councillors and social work representatives about Glencoe Hospital.
Dot Ferguson/Larry Wilmot