Agendas, reports and minutes

Lochaber Committee

Date: Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Minutes: Read the Minutes

Minutes of Meeting of the Lochaber Committee held in The Nevis Centre, An Aird, Fort William on Wednesday, 23 January 2019 at 10.30 a.m.


Mr A Baxter, Mr A Henderson, Mr N McLean, Mr I Ramon, Mr D Rixson, Mr B Thompson

In attendance:

Mrs D Ferguson, Senior Ward Manager (Ross, Skye and Lochaber)
Mr S Dalgarno, Development Plans Manager, Development and Infrastructure Service
Mr D Goldie, Head of Housing and Building Maintenance, Community Services
Mr D Kennedy, Access Officer, Skye, Lochalsh and West Lochaber
Mr S Eastaugh, Access Officer, Inverness, Nairn and East Lochaber
Ms P Donaldson, Technician, Community Services
Ms E Tayler, Assistant Ward Manager
Mr A MacInnes, Administrative Assistant, Chief Executive’s Service

Also in attendance:-

Mr A Nicolson, Programme Manager, Highlands & Islands Enterprise

An asterisk in the margin denotes a recommendation to the Council.  All decisions with no marking in the margin are delegated to the Committee.

Mr A Baxter - Chairman


1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Mr B Allan and Area Inspector, I Campbell, Police Scotland.

2. Declarations of Interest
Foillseachaidhean Com-pàirt

The Committee NOTED the following declaration of interest:-

Item 7– Mr D Rixson (non-financial)

3. Police Scotland Local Committee Performance Report
Aithisg Coileanadh Comataidh Ionadail Poileas Alba

There had been circulated Report No. LA/1/19 by the Area Commander for Police which provided an update on the progress with reference to the objectives outlined in the Highland Policing Plan 2017-20.

The Committee, having been informed that the Area Inspector, Police Scotland was unable to attend the meeting due to operational reasons, NOTED:-

i  the progress made against the objectives set within the Highland and Islands Local Policing Plan 2017-20 Year 2, attached as Annex A to the report, for the period covering 1 April 2018- 31 December 2018; and

ii that information would be requested from Police Scotland on the following issues and circulated to Members:-

  • What had changed in Police Scotland’s approach in Lochaber to missing person enquiries (particularly in relation to missing children and missing Looked after children) which had led to a reduction in missing person reports;
  • There was only one Third Party Reporting Centre in Lochaber and information was requested on whether other organisations in Lochaber had been approached as a Third Party reporting centre and had declined the request;
  • What could the Council do to encourage organisations to act as Third Party Reporting Centres.

4. Fort William 2040 Consultation
Bùth-obrach Cho-chomhairle Gearasdan 2040

There was circulated Report No. LA/2/19 by the Director of Development and Infrastructure which presented the outcome of a major consultation exercise held from September to December, 2018 which brought together a wide range of stakeholders to create a vision for the future of Fort William, in its wider Lochaber context, and to prepare a Delivery Programme outlining projects, responsibilities and actions for contribute towards that vision.

The report presented the findings of the consultation and sought approval for ongoing collaboration in monitoring and implementing the vision for Fort William.

Members commended Officers for their work on the Fort William 2040 vision and thereafter, the following main points were raised by Members:-

  • It was welcomed that included in the report was the desire for Fort William to be a place with a distinctive, local, cultural identity. 
  • While the consultation had obtained views of the community on what should be included in the vision for Fort William, also of importance was feedback on what should not be included in the vision.
  • The issue of little contacts between the North and South sides of Loch Linnhe raised during the consultation would be considered and acted upon going forward with the vision for Fort William.
  • It was queried how the Delivery Programme document could be made user friendly as possible for the public, e.g. to include contacts for specific projects.  It was confirmed that this would be done in the next phase of the Programme with the assistance of a Marketing contractor.  Further, the Council had to prepare a Fort William 2040 delivery programme which would be incorporated into the wider WestPlan local Delivery Programme. This would then be used as a proactive tool to monitor and coordinate the delivery of the programme.
  • Fort William 2040 showed that there was real ambition within the Lochaber community with exciting and interesting projects included in the vision.  The consultation process was commended as it showed how the Council could better communicate with the community and its partner agencies.  The Fort William 2040 vision was much stronger as a result. 

Thereafter, the Committee:- 

i   NOTED the comments made through the FW2040 consultation as summarised at Appendix 1 to the report;

ii  AGREED the new FW2040 vision statements and diagrams at Appendix 2;

iii NOTED the FW2040 Delivery Programme at Appendix 3 and the corresponding FW2040 Masterplan at Appendix 4; and

iv  AGREED next steps and ongoing monitoring arrangements outlined at paragraphs 7.1 and 7.2.

At this point the meeting was adjourned for a short break and it resumed again at 11a.m.

5. West Highland and Islands Amended Core Paths Plan, Lochaber Area
Plana Atharraichte Phrìomh Cheuman na Gàidhealtachd an Iar agus nan Eilean, Sgìre Loch Abar

There was circulated Report No. LA/3/19 by the Director of Development & Infrastructure which presented a Draft Amended Core Paths Plan for the Lochaber Area.

In discussion, the following main points were raised by Members:-

  • It was confirmed that there should be free access for all users on all core paths.  If there were locked field gates, then there should be some form of access for all users around this.
  • In terms of Map LO17a – addition to Mallaig circular, it was advised that there were plans for more houses in this location which may affect this route.  It was confirmed that the Access Officer had met with the Estate Manager and the planned additional path should not be affected by any future housing in that area.
  • The Lochaber Local Access Forum had met to consider the recommendations in the amended core paths plan and had approved them.  The Local Access Forum was working well at present, with some new members joining the Forum. It was requested that minutes of the Lochaber Local Access Forum meetings be circulated to all local Members and that the Chair of the Forum present a report to Committee on an annual basis covering the activities of the Forum.
  • In terms of Map LO14a – the extension of Ciaran Path to Corrour Station was welcomed.  As it was a natural loop for anyone starting from Kinlochleven, heading out on the Ciaran path as far as the Blackwater Reservoir , it was queried why the track south of the River Leven heading back from the Blackwater Reservoir and back onto the West Highland Way had not been included as a Core Path.  It was explained that this would be considered as part of the consultation process as it was noted that this natural loop was favoured by the community and that it should be a Core Path.
  • There was a request for more core paths in Ardnamurchan. It was explained that due to legislative changes, additional core paths could now be added more frequently. 

Thereafter, the Committee:

i  APPROVED the Amendments to the Lochaber area of the West Highland and Islands Core Path Plan to be published for formal consultation; and 

ii AGREED that minutes of the Lochaber Local Access Forum meetings be circulated to all local Members and that the Chair of the Forum would present a report to Committee on an annual basis covering the activities of the Forum.

6. The Highland Council (B863 North Ballachulish) (30mph Speed Restriction) Order 2019
Comhairle na Gàidhealtachd (B863 Baile a’ Chaolais a Tuath) Òrdugh (Cuingealachadh Astair 30 msu) 2019

There had been circulated Report No LA/4/19 by the Director of Community Services which proposed implementations of amendments to the current speed restriction in North Ballachulish. 

Following consideration, the Committee:-

i  APPROVED the introduction of a 30mph speed restriction in North Ballachulish and the preparation and advertising of a Draft Order and the making of the Order should there be no unresolved objection; and

ii AGREED to seek early approval from the Roads Operations Manager for the necessary expenditure to be agreed to allow the 30mph speed restriction in North Ballachulish to be implemented.   A formal letter with this request would be sent by the Chairman to the Roads Operations Manager.

7. Housing Revenue Account – Garage Rents 2019/20
Cunntas Teachd-a-steach Taigheadais – Màil Garaids 2019/20

Declaration of Interest: Mr D Rixson declared a non-financial interest in this item as the Council’s representative to Lochaber Housing Association but, having applied the test outlined in Paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, concluded that his interest did not preclude his involvement in discussion.

There had been circulated Report No. LA/5/19 by the Director of Community Services which provided information on garage and garage site rents for Lochaber and invited the Committee to set rent levels for garages and garage sites held on the Housing Revenue Account for 2019/20.

In discussion, the following main points were raised by Members:- 

  • It was queried if it was easy for members of the public to find out if garages were available for let, as local commercial operators had been very successful in letting commercial garages at much higher rent than the Council was charging.    It was explained that the advertising for garage lets had been reviewed a few years ago and an online application form had been included on the Council’s website and a waiting list was kept.  An undertaking was given to review the marketing of garage lets so that the process was as visible as possible to ensure that garages were re-let quickly.
  • It was welcomed that more detailed information on garages and garage sites would be discussed with Ward Members in order to develop future priorities for garage and garage sites.
  • It was queried if the repairs budget for garages in Lochaber was increasing, or was it set at the same level from one year to the next. It was explained that the repairs budget for garages went up in line with the increase in the Council’s general repairs budget.  The repairs budget was only for day to day repairs rather than for any structural repairs that may be required. 
  • It was queried if there was information on types of uses of garages, e.g. for storage.  Private sector storage units were of high quality and movable and could be adapted according to what it was required to be used for. The Council’s garages were static and lower quality and it was queried if there had been consideration of installing modular storage units at garage sites, with potential to generate more income.  It was advised that this had not been considered as yet, and in the past when garages had been demolished, this had been done to provide more car parking. Members could look at options as to what their local priorities might be on a site by site basis and there may well be some commercial opportunities. 

Thereafter, the Committee AGREED:-

i.  a 3% rent increase to apply to Lochaber Garages and Garage Sites.

ii. that Officers undertake a review of all garage sites in Lochaber to include a condition survey and identify possible future alternative uses of those sites, if appropriate, so that Members can consider a new Business plan for Garage sites at the August, 2019 Local Committee.

8.Street Naming
Ainmeachadh Sràide

There had been circulated Report No. LA/6/19 by the Acting Head of Policy which set out requests from the Development and Infrastructure Service to establish a street name for a new housing development and to consider a developer request to rename a flatted residential block.

The Committee AGREED:-

i  to homologate the naming of one new street for a residential development at Achabeag, Lochaline as Achnaha View; and

ii the developer request to rename a flatted block currently known as Nevis Bank Cottages as Woodlands Cottages.

9. Minutes

There had been circulated and were NOTED the Minutes of Meeting of the Lochaber Committee held on 7 November 2018 which were approved by the Council on 13 December 2018.

The meeting ended at 11.30 a.m.