Jan 2021 Minutes

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre
Community Council Minutes – 27th January 2021

This meeting took place online via Zoom on 27th January 2021.

Present: David Johnston (DJ), William Dalziel (WD), Andrew Poulter (AP), Ruth McLusky
(RM), Jim Heron (JH), Donald McLaren (DM).

Apologies: Angus Cameron (AC).

Also
Attending:

Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Cllr Evelyn Tweed (ET), Cllr Jeremy McDonald (JM),
Michelle Flynn (MF), Stirling Council; Billy Ronald (BR), National Park; PC Will
Diamond (PCWD), Police Scotland; Paul Hicks, minute-taker.

 

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Welcome

DJ welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained firstly that the
Annual General Meeting for 2020, which had been postponed because
of the pandemic measures, would not now take place at all. Following
some discussion it was agreed that an AGM would be held on 21st
April 2021, as an online meeting, if necessary.

 

AGM to be held on 21st April 2021.

 

  1. Approval of minutes

    It was proposed by WD and seconded by AP, that the minutes of the
    meeting on 16th December 2020 should be accepted and this was
    approved unanimously.

     

  2. Declarations of interest

    None made.

     

  3. Police Report (15 Dec 2020 – 25 Jan 2021)

    In respect of anti-social behaviour, there were three incidents relating
    to breaches of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (R&R) (Local
    Levels) (Scotland) Regulations, 2020. On 28th December 2020, a
    vehicle was stopped on the A84, Main Street, Strathyre. The male
    driver was found to have breached the travel restrictions and was
    issued with a Fixed Penalty notice. On 15th January 2021, police
    attention was drawn to a group of eight males who were walking on
    Ben Vorlich. Police later checked the men who were found to be from
    the Lothians area. All eight were reported to the Procurator Fiscal,
    having breached the Government restrictions in terms of unnecessary
    travel, in addition to failing to comply with the restriction on

     

     

     

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    household mixing, which is limited to two people from two
    households. On 16th January 2021, a female was issued with a Fixed
    Penalty notice, having visited an address in Balquhidder, contrary to
    the restrictions which prevent households mixing within a residential
    property.

    On 28th December 2020, a vehicle was stopped on the A84, Main
    Street, Strathyre and the female occupant was found to be in
    possession of a quantity of controlled drugs. She was issued with a
    Recorded Police Warning as a result. Between 17-19th January 2021,
    vandalism was reported to a telegraph pole between Stronvar and
    Muirlaggan in Balquhidder. Enquiries are still ongoing at present.
    Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Diamond. During this
    period, there were no incidents of note concerning either road safety
    or theft.

    DJ and AP were both aware of the telegraph pole in ques tion and
    suggested that it may have collapsed in a strong wind, simply because
    the timber had rotted. PCWD then gave a personal update, stating that
    he would shortly be transferring to Stirling with the possibility of a
    promotion in the offing. In response, WD led a number of tributes to
    the excellent work carried out by PC Diamond during his time in the
    local communities. A heartfelt and unanimous vote of thanks was
    made. To date, a replacement officer has not been designated, but it is
    hoped to fill the post without delay.

     

  4. Postponed Business

    The following items have been postponed until the current restrictions
    have been relaxed:

    1. Lesley Milne's presentation on Town Break Dementia Support
      Services.

    2. The installation of lights between Balvaig Bridge and A84, Strathyre.

    3. Parking in Callander.

     

  5. Matters arising from previous meeting

    a) Signs and notices prohibiting access. Nothing further had been heard
    from Dave Robinson, Recreation and Access Adviser for the Loch, since the previous

     

     

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    meeting, but members were confident that Mr Robinson would be
    taking action to tackle this problem.

     

  6. Fire Hydrants in Balquhidder

    DJ reported that no further progress on this problem had been made,
    but that he would continue to liaise with Scottish Water.

     

  7. National Park Community Council Forum

    As previously noted during the community council meetings on 4th
    November and 16th December, 2020, concerns had been raised by
    Kilmaronock Community Council regarding The Loch Lomond & Theand how it functions. A survey had
    been prepared and circulated to other community councils in the Park
    area to see if these concerns were shared. Broadly speaking, the
    matters raised related to community representation, a perceived
    conflict between tourism and protection of the environment and a
    concern that the Authority is seeking to avoid public scrutiny and
    accountability.

    DJ expressed concern at the phrasing of some of the ques tions and
    others agreed. ME queried some of the facts stated, specifically the
    matter of community representatives having to sign a pledge to
    support the chair of the Park Authority. He firmly believed that
    representatives genuinely speak out for their communities. DJ was not
    minded to support the questionnaire as it stood and this stance was
    supported and agreed.

     

    DJ to respond, stating that BLS Community Council could not support the questionnaire as it stands.

     

  8. Correspondence

    1. Trossachs Area Network (TAN). Further to item eight of the
      community council minutes from 4th November 2020, Strathard(SCC) has reported that there were some positive
      responses from the thirty-two organisations approached but,
      unfortunately, the numbers fell short of what could be deemed a
      “reasonable quorum” of interested parties and the SCC has concluded
      that, at this point in time, there is insufficient interest to support
      taking the initiative further. This was noted.

       

       

       

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    2. Community Partnership Annual General Meeting. This is scheduled to
      take place on Thursday 4th February 2021 from 4:00-5:30 p.m. The
      Partnership has reported that 2020 was a year of unprecedented
      challenges and the AGM will be a chance for members to celebrate
      and reflect on the activities and impact of the Community Partnership.
      Four resolutions will be put to members which, if approved, will allow
      the organisation to undertake an orderly closure and winding up of
      the Partnership. The AGM will provide an opportunity to explain the
      reasoning behind this action. This was noted.

    3. Scottish Water Annual Consultative Meeting. The company had
      written to the community council to pass on an invitation to people in
      the local communities to learn more about its activities in an online
      report published at its website (ww
      w.scottishwater.co.uk/acm).

    4. Visitor Management Planning - Loch Earn. Further to item 8 of the
      minutes of the community council meeting on 16th December 2020, a
      meeting was held on Wednesday 13th January 2021. DJ reported that
      there are plans in place, but the coming year is likely to be di fficult
      again with the pandemic restrictions continuing. ME added that the
      problem is likely to be one of “expectation management” because
      there are significant problems with a lack of resources and staff. On
      the positive side, the Park Authority is planning to provide additional
      toilets and car parks. He added that the loss of the Communitymay actually prove to be advantageous because there will
      now need to be direct communication between local communities and
      the Park Authority. It will be important to keep reporting any problems
      because decisions are driven by data.

    ET stated that the Park Authority is trying to be proactive and is asking
    Stirling Council to assist with traffic enforcement and litter collection.
    DJ had raised the matter of the alcohol bye-laws, looking for stronger
    powers for the police. PCWD stated that a review has been scheduled
    with a proposal to amend the wording of the bye-law. DJ had also
    mentioned the problem of inconsiderate parking, but this is
    dependent on the Council having sufficient staff to enforce the
    regulations. ME added that the amendment of the bye-law had been
    tabled for March 2021. DJ mentioned that some signs regarding the
    alcohol bye-law had disappeared. MF stated that replacing them was
    not a current priority, but offered to ensure that the need for new
    signs was not overlooked as circumstances changed. PCWD offered to
    supply a list of places where there should be signs.

     

     

     

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  9. Timber Transport

    1. DJ reported that a meeting of the Balquhidder Timber Transporthad been held on 17th December 2020. The
      minutes had been circulated and DJ had submi tted an agreed
      response on behalf of the community. As yet no date had been set for
      the next meeting of the working group.

    2. "Passing Place" signs on the Stroneslaney Road. AP repeated his
      previous point (from 16th December) about the positioning of the signs
      and the need to ensure that they were visible to motorists
      approaching from both directions. MF agreed to pursue this with the
      appropriate department at Stirling Council.

     

  10. Current Road Works

    1. Resurfacing the A84 North of Strathyre. This work had eventually
      been completed. Further resurfacing work at Kingshouse had been
      postponed owing to poor weather conditions, but is now scheduled to
      begin on Sunday 7th February and conclude on Monday 22 nd February
      2021.

    2. Balvaig Bridge, Strathyre. DJ observed that all of the local bridges had
      recently suffered damage which had been reported. MF responded
      that where is no immediate health and safety issue, any repairs will
      not be a top priority. DJ pointed out that all of the bridges are carrying
      timber transport and DM queried whether this was not a safety issue.
      MF said that she would get a team to examine the Stronvar bridge to
      see if any urgent action was required.

    3. Keip Road, Strathyre. Complaints had been made by residents that
      that there were no grit bins available but grit is urgently required. WD
      had made a circuit of the village that day and found only three grit
      bins, one of which was damaged. On Keip Road, where the timber
      houses are located, there was an urgent need for gritting in order to
      ensure access for emergency vehicles. Similarly, a grit bin near the
      Village Hall is required in order to ensure access to the houses behind
      the hall. MF reminded members that there are established criteria for
      the number of bins allowed and their locations. ME stated that it is
      better to ask for piles of grit (without a bin). WD also mentioned that
      are about a dozen abandoned wheelie bins in Keip Road near the

     

    MF to arrange for examination of Balvaig Bridge at Stronvar.

     

    MF to arrange for a check of the grit bins in Strathyre.

     

     

     

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    timber houses and some members mentioned that they had yet to
    receive the new allocation of waste bins. ET recommended that
    people should contact one of the local councillors if their old bin had
    been removed and no replacement had been provided.

     

  11. Additional Members of the Community Council

    DJ stated that two more members are required, ideally from
    Lochearnhead. He had prepared a suitable poster and adver tising will
    be coordinated in time for the AGM in April. DM suggested an
    amendment to the strap-line on the poster and this was agreed.

     

  12. Planning Matters

    Stronvar, Balquidder. Application had been made to fell ten hectares
    of mature conifers and extract the timber via the Ballimore Plantation.
    An undertaking had been given to adhere to the terms of the
    Balquidder Timber Traffic Management Plan and DJ suggested that no
    additional comment was required on behalf of the local community.
    This was agreed.

     

  13. Place Making in the National Park

    a) DJ reported that public meetings are still needed to progress plans in
    Strathyre and Balquhidder but, because it involves people studying
    maps and plans together, it is difficult to arrange something suitable
    whilst pandemic regulations are still in force.

     

  14. Matters from ward councillors and National Park

    1. ET gave an update on a recent meeting with the Trossachs and Loch. The Rural Tourism Infrastructureadministered by VisitScotland has made a grant of £375,000 to
      the Trossachs Visitor Management Project. This will enable the
      provision of new parking for motorhomes, cars and pedal cycles at
      Trossachs Pier, Ben A'an and Stronachlachar. It is also intended to
      provide new toilets at Trossachs Pier.

    2. ME reminded members that financial budgets will be set in the
      forthcoming weeks. The Scottish government will announce its figures

       

       

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      at the end of February with Stirling Council then meeting towards the
      end of February to determine council tax levels. The rest of the budget
      will be settled on 11th March. AP reminded members of the current
      consultation on the budget that had been circulated to all members,
      but ME expressed grave reservations about its lack of precision. DM
      then asked about the possibility of an increase in council tax owing to
      the problems of Covid. ME replied that, although considerable extra
      expenditure had been incurred, the Scottish government would
      almost certainly impose a cap of between 4-5% for all councils on any
      proposed increases.

    3. BR mentioned problems with toilet facilities on the south side of Loch
      Earn and the difficulty of coordinating a suitable response by local
      landowners. PCWD mentioned that a meeting is taking place soon to
      try and resolve the problems of vehicles getting down to the
      foreshore.

     

  15. Any other competent business

  1. Cross Scotland Pilgrim Way. It was reported in the press on Saturday
    23rd January 2021 that NatureScot had earmarked £20,000 for a
    partnership project led by St Fillans Community Trust to create a local
    path, linking the old railway line between St Fillans and Lochearnhead.
    This will form part of the "Cross Scotland Pilgrim Way".

  2. DJ reported that the local MP, Alyn Smith, had offered to meet online
    with members of the community council. DM agreed that it would be
    good to take advantage of this and members agreed to accept the
    invitation.

  3. MF asked if members would be willing for copies of past minutes to be
    used in training sessions with other community councillors. It was
    acknowledged that these are already in the public domain and
    members had no objection to their being used in this way.

  4. WD returned to the subject of grit bins in Strathyre and wondered if
    there would be any objection to recycling the redundant wheelie bins
    in Keip Road as grit bins. MF reminded members of the constraints in
    the existing policy on grit bins, but it was suggested that, if the Council
    were to provide piles of loose grit, there was nothing to stop local
    residents using the redundant bins to store the grit. MF offered to
    check whether this would be permitted.

 

 

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There was no further business and, at 9:10 p.m., DJ declared the
meeting to be closed. The next meeting is scheduled to take place on
Wednesday 10th March 2021 at Strathyre Primary School (if
permitted) or online.

 

 

 

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