Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Council

Date: Thursday, 13 February 2020

Minutes: Read the Minutes (Special Meeting)

Minutes of Special Meeting of the Highland Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Thursday, 13 February 2020 at 10.30am.

1. Calling of the Roll and Apologies for Absence
A’ Gairm a’ Chlàir agus Leisgeulan


Mr G Adam, Mr R Balfour, Mrs J Barclay, Mr A Baxter, Mr R Bremner (v/c), Mr I Brown, Mr J Bruce, Mrs C Caddick, Mrs I Campbell, Miss J Campbell, Mrs G Campbell-Sinclair, Mrs H Carmichael, Mr A Christie, Mr I Cockburn, Mrs M Cockburn, Mr G Cruickshank, Ms K Currie, Mrs M Davidson, Mr J Finlayson, Mr M Finlayson, Mr L Fraser, Mr R Gale, Mr K Gowans, Mr A Graham, Mr J Gray, Mr T Heggie, Mr A Henderson, Mr A Jarvie, Ms E Knox, Mr B Lobban, Mr D Louden, Mr A MacInnes, Mrs D Mackay, Mr D Mackay, Mr W MacKay (v/c), Mr G MacKenzie, Mrs I MacKenzie, Mr S Mackie, Mr A Mackinnon, Ms A MacLean, Mr D MacLeod, Mr D Macpherson, Mr R MacWilliam, Mrs B McAllister, Mr J McGillivray (v/c), Mr N McLean (v/c), Mr H Morrison (v/c), Ms L Munro, Ms P Munro, Mrs M Paterson, Mr I Ramon, Mr M Reiss, Mr A Rhind, Mr D Rixson, Mrs T Robertson, Ms E Roddick, Mr K Rosie, Mr G Ross, Mr P Saggers, Mr A Sinclair (v/c), Ms N Sinclair (v/c), Ms M Smith, Mr B Thompson (v/c)

In Attendance: 

Chief Executive
Executive Chief Officer, Communities & Place
Executive Chief Officer, Education & Learning
Executive Chief Officer, Health & Social Care
Executive Chief Officer, Infrastructure & Environment
Executive Chief Officer, Performance & Governance
Executive Chief Officer, Property & Housing
Executive Chief Officer, Resources & Finance

Mr B Lobban in the Chair

Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Mr B Allan, Mr B Boyd, Mr C Fraser, Mr J Gordon, Ms P Hadley, Mrs L MacDonald, Mr C MacLeod, Mrs F Robertson, Mr C Smith and Mrs C Wilson.

2. Declarations of Interest
Foillseachaidhean Com-pàirt

The Council NOTED the following declarations of interest:-

Item 3 – Mr D Rixson (Non-Financial)

Item 7 – Mr A Christie and Mr I Brown (Financial) and Mrs D MacKay (Non-Financial)

URGENT ITEM OF BUSINESS - Prior to the commencement of the formal business, the Convener advised Members that an urgent and confidential item of business would be discussed following the agenda items which had been listed. 

3. Housing Revenue Account – Revenue Estimates 2020/21
Tuairmsean Teachd-a-steach HRA 2020/21

Declaration of Interest – Mr D Rixson declared a non-financial interest in this item as the Council nominee on 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 him from taking part in the discussion.

At its meeting on 29 January 2020, the Housing & Property Committee had agreed to make recommendations to the Council in relation to the Housing Revenue Account – Revenue Estimates 2020/21.

In this connection, there had been circulated Extract from the Minutes of the Housing & Property Committee meeting and re-circulated Report No HP/2/20 dated 16 January 2020 by the Executive Chief Officer – Customer and Communities.

At this point, the new Executive Chief Officer for Housing & Property, Mr Mark Rodgers, was also welcomed to his new role within the Council.


The Council:-

  1. AGREED the draft HRA Revenue Budget for 2020/21;
  2. AGREED a 3% increase for council house rents for 2020/21;
  3. AGREED that this percentage increase (3%) be applied to all residential HRA rents and service charges and to Gypsy/Traveller site pitches;
  4. AGREED that non-HRA rents for leased property should be increased as stipulated in existing contracts; and
  5. NOTED that a report on the HRA Capital Plan (2022/2027) would be presented to the Housing & Property Committee in April 2020.

4. Membership of Committees, etc
Ballrachd na Comhairle

It was NOTED that Mr Ronald MacDonald had tendered his resignation as a Member of the Council with effect from 19 December 2019 and that a By-Election for Ward 10 Eilean a' Cheò would be held on 12 March 2020. In this regard, the thanks of the Council were conveyed to Mr MacDonald for what had been achieved during his time as a Member and the many attributes which he had brought to the role.    

Mr Stuart Black – at this point in the meeting, it was also highlighted that Mr Stuart Black had now left the Council to take up a new position with Highlands & Islands Enterprise. In this respect, the thanks of the Council were conveyed to Mr Black for the extensive work which he had undertaken in his role as Director of Development & Infrastructure and latterly as Executive Chief Officer for Transformation and Economy.

The Council AGREED the following - South Planning Applications Committee – Mr J Bruce to replace Ms P Hadley as a Substantive Member (as agreed by Ward 20 Members).

It was also NOTED that details of membership for the new Tourism and Gaelic Committees would follow in due course. 

5. Timetable of Meetings
Clàr-ama Choinneamhan airson

The Council AGREED the following changes to the Timetable of Meetings on the basis that meetings would now be held on the following revised dates –

North Planning Applications Committee – a Special Meeting of the North Planning Applications Committee to be held on Tuesday, 26 May 2020 at 3pm if required.

South Planning Applications Committee – the scheduled meeting on Tuesday, 11 August 2020 to now be moved to Tuesday, 18 August 2020.

6. Exclusion of the Public
Às-dùnadh a’ Phobaill

The Council AGREED under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, that the public should be excluded from the meeting for the following item on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 6 & 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Act.

7. URGENT ITEM - Confidential Update – NHS Highland

Declarations of Interest – Mr A Christie and Mr I Brown declared financial interests in this item as a Non-Executive Director and an employee of NHS Highland respectively and left the Chamber prior to discussion.

Mrs D MacKay declared a non-financial interest as a Board Member of NHS Highland and left the Chamber prior to discussion.    

Following a confidential update, the Council AGREED action to be taken – on the basis that further updates would be provided in due course.

The meeting ended at 12.10pm.