Chair appointed as new Sutherland County Committee meets
Councillor Linda Munro, who represents the North, West and Central Ward of The Highland Council, received unanimous support from her fellow councillors to become Chair of the new Sutherland County Committee.
Speaking after chairing the Committee, which met on Friday (23 June) in Drummuie Golspie, Councillor Munro said: “I’m delighted to be taking on this new role, all the more so having received the full support of the Sutherland members. Our group of six elected councillors from across Sutherland made the decision not to appoint a vice chair due to the huge geographical spread of Sutherlands communities. We agree this will be a team effort and will pull together, with every member playing a part and leading for their particular geographical area. Between us we have a vast amount of experience, expertise and knowledge and we are galvanised by our commitment and passion of ensuring the aspirations and priorities of our very diverse communities are to the fore of our work.”
“There is a commitment from Highland Council to roll out more work and decision making to local communities so I look forward to actively working with my councillor colleagues and officials to take forward these changes and make the Sutherland County Committee relevant, effective and reflective of the unique communities we represent.”
Other appointments made at the Committee include:
- Sutherland representative on the Caithness ans North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership – Advisory Board: Cllr Kirsteen Currie
- Dounreay Stakeholders Group: Cllr Kirsteen Currie
- Caithness and North Sutherland Fund: Cllr Linda Munro
- Sutherland Local Access Forum: Cllrs Jim McGillivray & Kirsteen Currie
- Trustees of Recreational Ground in Royal Burgh of Dornoch – Cllr Jim McGillivray
- Board of Golspie Links Trust: Cllr Richard Gale
- Highland LEADER Programme – Sutherland – Cllr Jim McGillivray
After a presentation by The Highland Council’s Access Officer Matt Dent, Members approved the Sutherland area of the draft Caithness and Sutherland Amended Core Paths Plan. This draft Plan will now go out to consultation later this year giving members of the public the chance to comment on the proposed new core path routes for Sutherland and on some suggested modifications to existing routes.
The Members were next given an update on the Sutherland Performance Report by the Local Senior Officer for Fire and Rescue before going on to scrutinise the Golspie Associated Schools Group overview report and the area’s housing performance report for April 2016 to 31 March 2017.
The final item was to discuss an application from the Bank of Scotland for permission to have their mobile bank sited at the following five Sutherland locations:
Bridge Car Park, Helmsdale
Gower Street HGV, Brora
Sutherland Transport Car Park, Lairg
Cherry Grove Car Park, Bonar Bridge
The Meadows Car Park, Dornoch
After discussing the issue, members agreed to grant temporary permission for a period of 4 months in order to allow for more consultation with communities affected by the announced bank closures and for further work on provision of banking services to meet needs be carried out by the Bank of Scotland.
Cllr Jim McGillivray recommended that a letter be sent to the Bank from the Committee explaining that only temporary permission was being given at this point in time as members felt it unfair to disadvantage communities even more by turning down the request. The members were united in their desire to have further discussions with bank officials on how best to mitigate against the disruption the branch closures will have across the whole area.
Cllr Hugh Morrison added: “The very nature of a mobile van banking service means banking can be taken to the people rather than the expectation that people will travel long distances to limited sites where the vans will be. The communities I represent certainly feel more consultation on local needs is required. In our letter we will make it clear that before the temporary permission runs out we would like to see representatives from the Bank of Scotland review proposals and reconsider the banking service they will provide. With a mobile service it should be possible for them to spread their wings and take their van to the people.”