Agendas, reports and minutes

Ward Forum - East Sutherland and Edderton

Date: Monday, 17 December 2007

Minutes: Ward 5 East Sutherland and Edderton - Ward Forum Action Notes 17 December 2007

East Sutherland and Edderton Ward Forum -Action Notes
17th December 2007, Dornoch Academy



Cllr Jim McGillivray (Chair), Highland Council
Cllr. Deirdre Mackay,  Highland Council
Cllr Ian Ross, Highland Council
Sandy Mackintosh, Brora Community Council
Iain Miller, Golspie Community Council
Alistair MacIver, Rogart Community Council
Molly Stubs, Helmsdale Community Council
Graeme Ross, Dornoch Area Community Council
Paul Hoggarth, Edderton Community Council
Insp. Neil Mackinnon,  Northern Constabulary
Ann Keatinge, Voluntary Groups East Sutherland
Phil Tomalin, Highland Council
Matt Dent, Highland Council
David Cowie,  Highland Council
Brian MacKenzie, Highland Council


14 Members of the public


1.    Introductions and Apologies


Apologies were received from Gordon Clunie.


2.    Matters arising




Street lighting will be installed on the footpath to Drummuie.


A9 Road kill.


PT wrote to Transerv but has not yet received a reply. PT and NM have followed up with HC/Transerv and Police /Transerv liaison groups respectively. The Forum agreed that the clear up of carcases appears to be happening much quicker than previously.
Since the Forum I have heard from Transerv who request that HC Staff and/or members of the public report carcases to either of the following numbers to facilitate early removal of carcases:
Transerv       0800 032 2520
National Trunk Road Defect Reporting Centre  0800 028 1414.


Dornoch Issues


PT and JM are working on a number of issues with Dornoch CC.


Loth New Church (NB Not Loth Old Church)


Campbell Stewart has contacted the member of the public who raised the issue and is awaiting details of the landowner so that the offer can be followed up.


3.    Ward Discretionary Budget


A report outlining budget approvals to 11 Dec 2007 was circulated.


4.    Core Path Plan (Matt Dent - Local Access Officer)


Core Path plan is an obligation of Land Reform Act 2003
Identifies path network for each community, for reasonable access throughout the area.
Routes are chosen because of fulfilling criteria including linking settlements/ places of interest; due to their use and demand; whether they are fit for purpose; and whether they link with wider path network
Candidate routes will go on Ordnance Survey maps.
Aspirational routes cannot be included due to lack of resources, network needs to be fit for use within 2 years of the plan being published.
Consultation until 25 Jan 2008 follows series of drop in events
Copies in each Service Point, Library, plus some Post Offices.
Comments and objection forms available


Discussion points


Proposed UK coastal path- Route between Littleferry and Brora is included.
Land owner responsibility is to ensure access rights can be taken freely and the issue of maintenance is down to individual land managers, the Land Reform Act ( and the core paths plan) does not change obligations of land managers duties as given in the 1960 Occupier’s Liability (Scotland) Act .  Path Orders and agreements and leases may of course affect who the land manager is.
Where routes have been funded as part SEERAD/Woodland Grant Scheme/ other public funding etc then these have been included for consideration to include in the plan


5.    Sutherland Local Plan (David Cowie, Brian Mackenzie)


Statutory plan that outlines policies and proposals for guiding development.
Allocates sites for development.
Key document for planning applications.
Covers East Sutherland and Edderton and North West and Central Sutherland Wards
Preparation of plan procedure set out in law – objections must arrive by the deadline.
Objections are an opportunity to improve the plan.




The consultation deadline is 1st February 2008.


To 1st Feb 08 - Deposit Draft.
April 08 - Report to joint Ward Business Meeting.
May 08 - PED Committee
Autumn 08 - Public Local Inquiry.
Winter 08 - Adoption of Local Plan.


Plan aims to achieve sustainable growth:


Principles of sustainability e.g. design
Affordable housing
Developer contributions
Design quality and place making
Landscape impact and effect on important croft land
Settlement development areas (SDAs) define larger communities and areas designated for development
Flexible regime for considering development outside SDAs – particularly when they help re-populate communities, strengthen services and reflect the character of development in the surrounding area
Highland Structure Plan defines hinterland area around Tain where housing in countryside is more restricted. Primarily affects area around Dornoch, Embo, Edderton, Clashmore and Spinningdale.
Transport infrastructure


Plan is guided by Hitrans strategy, submitted to Scottish Government for consideration 
Golspie, Brora bypasses -  some prospect, as indicated for research and scheme preparation in the medium term (2013-18) but no route defined and long term therefore not included in the plan apart from a text reference
Dornoch Firth rail link - not included in Hitrans strategy; long term possibility referred to in Plan text but cannot safeguard route at this stage.
Issue of planning blight has to be considered.


Discussion points


Dornoch Firth Rail link


People are promoting rail link, including those promoting a specific route.  However level of support is unclear. Issue remains level of commitment, likely timescales of development of any rail link and timescale of local plan. Comments to Local Plan Team are helpful.


Length of plan


Immediate period is five years plus a further five years.
New Planning Act means that plans must be reviewed at least every five years.


Community Consultation


Participation statement will outline community engagement.


Future Plans


Move towards three area plans in Highland plus Highland-wide Plan. Likely to be
Caithness and Sutherland in the North (others West Highland, Inner Moray Firth)
Next plan will be Highland Plan with early consultation in Spring/Summer 2008 followed by three area plans, but order not yet decided.


East Sutherland Woodland Park


Currently being developed. Request for Local Plan Team to liaise with HC Foresters


Conversion of derelict buildings in the countryside
Necessity to fit the old footprint comes from current Structure Plan Housing in the Countryside policy and guidelines. These are due for renewal.


Brora and Golspie bypasses not included in Local Plan.


Because there is no firm commitment to route or scheme 
Government Planning Policy says that schemes which are not clearly committed to should not be included in the plan
In Brora and Golspie the SDAs and promoted areas for development are ‘contained’ and leave potential for new road routes to be identified.


6.    Issues Raised by Councillors


Cllr Mackay
Brora Learning Centre


Serves large area
Centre supported and used by a number of services and initiatives
High quality support staff, expertise in art and photography
Campaign is being put in place and seek support of Community Councils and communities.


Cllr Ross


Still no final detail
Council usually sets the budget in February
Budget approximately £500m
Settlement is “challenging.” lead to budget gap
ECS is a large budget so often in firing line.
Public Transport


Public transport subsidy used to be “ring fenced,” but no longer
Response from Convenor of the Highland Council is that support for existing services will be maintained.

Achany, Invercassley Windfarms Appeal
Decision announced
Achany – Planning Permission now granted
Invercassley – planning refusal maintained.


Cllr McGillivray


Concern for local projects.


7.    Police Matters and Community Safety – Insp. Mackinnon


Sutherland continues to be a safe place to live.
21 Constables in Sutherland – need continued support of the public.


Festive campaigns across Scotland – 3rd-24th December:


Alcohol fuelled violence:
- In Sutherland the focus is on licensed premises.
- Underage drinking - Sending letters to parents.
Drink driving


8.    Voluntary Sector


Voluntary Sector Compact between Highland Council and Voluntary Sector.
Concern about budget – need for time and consultation etc; part of compact


9.    Community Council Issues


Nothing to raise


Comment on Forum seating arrangements – leave one side of table open to audience.


Rail company (Storey Rail) left rubbish behind at Strath Steven and Dunrobin following recent works


Action Iain Murray find out contact details.


Action PT letter to contractor.




Needs to be taken seriously.
o Urban flooding – householders, businesses
o Rural Flooding - landowners livestock, crops.
Rogart responded to questionnaire from Peter Peacock MSP  (member of Environment and Rural Affairs Committee participating in national flooding Inquiry)
Central and local government, landowners, agencies, SEPA etc. need to get together.


Action JM – To get Transerv to Rogart Community Council re Mound sluice gates.  Check with Sam MacNaughton who was previously involved.


Publication of TECS Flood Survey Report – early in new year.


Action PT – Copy of Flooding Report to TECS Committee to each Community Council.


Harbour Lorry park - lorries not parking in designated spaces
Action – Helmsdale CC Take up with TECS.
Dornoch and Edderton
Both CCs raised the issue of Councillor representation at Community Councils and the system of rotating every 15 months. The example of Easter Ross, where Councillors lead on certain communities and issues was put forward as an alternative. Councillors have undertaken to consult with Community Councils before the end of the first 15 months i.e. in summer 2008. It was reiterated that residents can contact whichever Councillor they wish on any matter, and that Councillors work with a wide range of people and groups including Community Councils.


10.    Public Questions


Ward Forum
Discussion regarding the Ward Forum included:


Public Q&A should be more than 20 mins. 
Public have to sit for 1½ hours before getting the opportunity to speak
Seating layout – Forum Members should not sit with their backs to audience.
Trees taken down in conservation area at Police Station, Dornoch:
The Leylandii hedge was taken down following a complaint from neighbour, and in recognition that the garden needed maintenance. 


Will Ward Forum come to Embo?
Need to identify venue, Grannies?


Ward Discretionary Budget - Handrail Project, Embo
Problem with current ramp recognised. Feasibility study is required to make the ramp fit for purposes.


Local Plan Surgeries: Not enough publicity – needed posters locally.
Posters were provided to Community Councils to distribute. Plan to attend Brora Community Council on 15th January 2008.
NB Members of public can consult Local Plan Team in the office by phone, letter, email etc.


Shed at Doll, Brora:
This enquiry can be dealt with at Planning Office in Dornoch.
Planning Authority has a large area to cover with limited resources and relies upon being notified of any matters requiring to be checked; please notify your local planning office if you have a complaint or concern.


Police staff in Sutherland


21 PC, 4 Sergeants, 1 Inspector offering 24 hour coverage.


11.    Themes for Future Ward Forums:


Chief Executive and Convenor may be available. Alternate theme: SRDP


12.    Date of Next Meeting


The next East Sutherland and Edderton Ward Forum meeting will take place at 7.30pm on 18th February, 2008 at Rogart.