Oct 2021 Minutes

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre
Community Council Minutes – 6th October 2021

This meeting took place online via Zoom at 7:30 p.m. on 6th October 2021.

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

Apologies: Angus Cameron (AC); Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Cllr Evelyn Tweed (ET); PC Heather
Campbell (HC), Police Scotland.

Also
Attending:

Cllr Jeremy McDonald (JM), Stirling Council; Shirley Leek (SL), Steve Murphy
(SM), Forestry & Land Scotland; Paul Hicks (PH), minute-taker.

 

Item Content Action

 

  1. Approval of previous minutes

    It was proposed by DJ and seconded by AP, that the minutes of the
    meeting on 25th August 2021 should be accepted and this was
    approved unanimously.

  2. Declarations of Interest

     

    None made.

  3. Police Report (24 August to 5 October 2021)

    During this period, three reports of anti-social behaviour were
    received. On 29th August, an incident of vandalism in Strathyre was
    reported to the police. The perpetrator was not known and remains
    unidentified. On 18th September, a report of campers making too
    much noise in an area beside the A85 near to Lochearnhead was
    investigated by police but the noise was found not to be excessive.
    Advice was given to the campers. On 20th September, reports were
    received of high-value cars being driven dangerously through
    Strathyre. Due to other, ongoing incidents, no police patrols were
    available to attend.

    There were nine reports of road traffic incidents, ranging from
    speeding and collisions to poor or erratic driving behaviour. They
    included a fatal accident on 1st September that occurred on the A85
    road between Lochearnhead and St Fillans. A collision between a
    heavy goods vehicle and a motorcycle took place on 8th September on
    the A84 road at Glen Ogle, as a result of which one driver was
    reported to the Procurator Fiscal for careless driving. Also on 8th
    September, a pedestrian was struck by a passing vehicle outside the
    Clachan Hotel in Lochearnhead. The vehicle failed to stop but no
    details of it were obtained.

     

     

     

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    There were two reports of house-breaking: one in Balquhidder on
    24th August where an attempt was made to break into a house and
    one in Lochearnhead on 19th September. Enquiries are ongoing in
    both cases. On 28th September, police assisted with a mountain
    rescue in Balquhidder. One male was airlifted to hospital with non life-
    threatening injuries. Officers continue to carry out proactive patrols of
    the area. If anyone wishes to raise any concerns, please contact PC
    Heather Campbell at Lochearnhead Police Office by telephone (dial
    101) or email (TrossachsTeithCPT@scotland.pnn.police.uk).

  4. Forestry & Land Scotland

    Shirley Leek, Planning Manager for Forestry & Land Scotland, gave a
    short presentation concerning a forthcoming review of the Land
    Management Plans for Strathyre and Kirkton. These are likely to start
    in April 2022, but information gathering will start immediately and
    assistance from the community council would be much appreciated.
    SL mentioned that Strathard Community Council had set up a sub-
    committee to work with SM. SM then described how the new plans
    would comprise three blocks: Kirkton Glen, the West of Strathyre and
    the Northern and Eastern side of Strathyre, where felling and re-
    stocking is already taking place. The review will encompass
    consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including the local
    communities. An initial scoping meeting is used to tease out the main
    areas of concern. During the Covid restrictions, this had been done by
    letter, but closer involvement by community councils is now
    welcomed. DJ and DM responded positively to this, although DM
    pointed out that previous offers of consultation with other agencies
    over the extraction of timber have proved to be hollow and
    disappointingly lacking in substance. DJ emphasised that transport of
    felled timber was currently the main concern in the local communities.
    AP asked if a copy of the existing plan was available and SL replied that
    all plans were published online. She would investigate and forward an
    appropriate link to the community council. AP also asked about the
    protocol where a private plantation adjoined a Forestry & Landplantation. SL replied that cooperative arrangements were made
    wherever possible, allowing immediate neighbours to use forestry
    roads where available.

     

  5. Matters arising from previous meeting

     

     

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    Membership of Community Council. WD notified the meeting that,
    due to the pressure of other commitments, he wished to stand down
    from the community council. DJ expressed regret that this was
    necessary, but thanked WD for his service on behalf of the community.
    He then asked about the situation with JH, who had only attended one
    meeting during the past eighteen months. RM reported that item 9 of
    the "Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils" states that

    a) members of a community council who fail to attend a meeting during
    a period of six months may have their membership terminated by

    means of a written notice to that effect. Meetings are only quorate
    when at least four members are present and BLS Community Council
    is currently six members short of its notional establishment so new
    members are needed urgently. It was agreed that RM should write to
    JH and ascertain where things stood. AP added that the absence of
    representatives from the National Park Authority and the Police also
    hindered the work of the community council.

    RM to write to JH regarding continuing membership.

     

  6. C33, Balquhidder - Road Closure

    In order to mitigate the consequences of the use of the C33 road at
    Balquhidder for the extraction of timber from the glen, a grant has
    been made available to Stirling Council for work to improve the road.
    (See also Item 15A.) This will involve the closure of the road from its
    junction with the A84 to the Village Hall, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.,
    daily, between Monday 18th October 2021 and Friday 19th November
    2021. The work will involve the construction of passing places, culvert
    replacements and localised carriageway repairs. Access will be granted
    to emergency vehicles, whilst cars and light goods vehicles will be
    diverted via Stroneslaney Road. There will be no diversion available for
    Heavy Goods Vehicles.

    DJ and AP had met twice with Elaine Nicol who oversees the road
    works on behalf of Stirling Council. They identified points where the
    work could potentially impact on the community broadband fibre
    installation and appropriate measures will be put in place to avoid any
    damage. The community council now has full details of the work to be
    carried out. (This had been delayed earlier by lack of access to council
    offices due to the Covid restrictions.) A WhatsApp notice had been
    issued to all Balquhidder residents and some of the regular delivery
    drivers and a public meeting, at which Ms Nicol will address residents
    and deal with any queries, has been arranged for 4:30 p.m. on
    Wednesday 13th October.

     

     

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    DM asked if there was a map showing where the proposed new lay-
    bys would be located. AP replied that there is no map but a survey had
    been completed with members of the community council to agree
    where these should be. DM also expressed reservations about the
    area near the Kirk where serious alterations might be required to
    create a passing place. DJ stated that he would provide further,
    detailed information about the plans to all landowners in the near
    future. There was some discussion over the exorbitant cost of moving
    a telegraph pole but it was confirmed that Stirling Council would not
    be contributing to this cost.

  7. Strathyre Update

    WD commented that an earlier agreement had been reached with
    Stirling Council to provide piles of grit at various locations in Strathyre,
    in advance of winter. To date, no grit has appeared. This was
    acknowledged and AP commented that grit was usually re-supplied in
    November.

    WD also mentioned the earlier agreement by SusTrans to replace signs
    on the National Cycle Route and commented that no new signs had
    yet appeared. Also, the path behind the shops is not being
    maintained. He asked if suitable reminders could be sent to SusTransand Stirling Council.

    Finally, WD mentioned that hedgerows at either side of Keip Road are
    now overhanging the road and making the road narrower. The foliage
    urgently needs to be trimmed. It was pointed out that the onus for
    cutting back overhanging branches lay with landowners and DJ offered
    to contact Forestry & Land Scotland to confirm which property is their
    responsibility.

  8. Traffic speed in Strathyre

    A complaint had been received on 24th August 2021 from two
    residents of Strathyre whose home is located beside the main A84
    road at the northern end of the village. They expressed concern about
    the speed at which traffic passes by and the seeming lack of deterrent,
    control measures. They reported that a warning sign, which should
    flash automatically when approaching vehicles are exceeding the
    speed limit, appeared to be broken. Both residents were concerned
    that accidents and even fatalities are likely to occur within the village if
    nothing is done to rectify the situation. They asked the community
    council for suggestions of how they might contribute to better road

     

     

     

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    RM to remind Stirling Council of the agreement.

     

    RM to write to Stirling Council and the NPA Access Officer.

     

    RM to request assistance from Stirling Council and DJ to contact FLS.

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    safety within the village. They put forward a suggestion of their own
    that average speed cameras at each end of the village might be more
    effective at reducing the speed of vehicles using this road.

    RM replied that she had contacted Richard Perry of the Trunk Road
    Casualty Reduction Team on 17th September to notify him that the
    flashing speed limit signs at either end of Strathyre were not working
    as claimed. To date there had been no reply. However, members noted
    that the signs do now appear to be working, although they simply
    function as a warning to drivers without any sanctions.

  9. Payphone Box Removal (Mhor 84)

    Nothing further about this had been heard since the report at the
    previous meeting on 25th August 2021 (Item 6).

  10. Remembrance Day, Lochearnhead

    The Church of Scotland minister (Revd Dr Russel Moffat) had
    responded with apologies that he was already heavily committed on
    Remembrance Day and could not assist at Lochearnhead. The Scottish
    Episcopal minister (Revd Gennie Evans) had offered support and
    nominated a member of one of her congrega tions (Martin Robb) to
    plan and officiate at an appropriate ceremony. No reply had been
    received from the British Legion. On 31st August, Martin Robb
    contacted the community council to confirm that he would take
    responsibility for arranging a service this year. Malcolm White of
    Lochearnhead was informed and had liaised with Martin Robb directly
    to provide assistance.

  11. Consultation on Flood Risk Management

    This online consultation is still open and will close on 31st October. All
    local residents, businesses and other interested parties may take part.
    The address is as follows: “https://consultation.sepa.org.uk/evidence-
    and-flooding/flood-risk-management-plan-forth/”. There is money
    available from LEADER (Scottish Rural Network) and the BLS Trust will
    apply for a grant to support its flood planning in Strathyre.

  12. Place Planning - Update

    A meeting entitled "Local Place Plans in the National Park" took place
    on 1st September 2021. All of the data from the various sources has
    been gathered and work on the plan for Balquhidder and Strathyre
    has begun. A meeting has been scheduled for Friday 8th October to

     

     

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    discuss arrangements with Gill Allan, who will produce a digital version
    of the plan.

  13. Correspondence

    Waste Collection Calendars. Stirling Council had written to advise
    that, from Monday 20th September 2021, households will have grey
    bins (general waste) and blue bins (plastic, cans and cartons) collected
    every four weeks instead of fortnightly. This means that some

    1. residents may have different collection days after this date and they
      are advised to check their calendar when it arrives. New calendars will
      be available online in advance of the change date. Further informa tion
      is available online at this address:

      "www.stirling.gov.uk/Recycle4Stirling".

      "Rural Communities Ideas into Action" (RCIA) Fund. This is a £1.5
      million investment from the Scottish Government to encourage and
      support innovative approaches to community-led, local development
      in rural communities across Scotland. Two strands of funding are
      available: small grants for projects up to £3,000 (which are open to a
      variety of non-profit groups) and large grants for projects between

    2. £3,000 and £50,000 (which are open to non-pro fit, incorporated
      groups). Projects that receive funding will be those that contribute

      positively to local people and local priorities, helping rural
      communities to thrive through community-led initiatives. "Rural
      communities" are defined as settlements with populations under
      3,000 people. Applications must be received by midday on Friday 8th
      October 2021. Full details are available from "Rural Communi ties Ideas
      into Action - Inspiring Scotland".

      Administration Grant. Notification had been received on 28th

    3. September that authorisation had been given for this grant to be paid
      in support of someone to take minutes for community council

      meetings.

    4. Gartnafuaran Long Term Forest Plan – Scoping. Information had been
      received on 7th September 2021 from Josh Leckie, Assistant Forest
      Manager at "Fountains Forestry UK Limited", regarding the area of
      forest known as Gartnafuaran, near to Balqhuidder in Stirlingshire.
      Grant aid has been secured via the Scottish government’s "Forestry
      Grant" scheme for the production of a "Long Term Forest Plan" (LTFP).
      This involves a process of engaging with external bodies, neighbours
      and local interests in order to obtain feedback on any opportuni ties,

       

       

       

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      constraints or sensitivities that may influence the LTFP and future
      design of the forest. Feedback was requested no later than 4th
      October 2021. Accordingly, a sub-committee (comprising of DJ, AP and
      RM) had been appointed to prepare a detailed response that was
      circulated to all members of the community council for comments and
      then duly submitted. Receipt of the document had subsequently been
      confirmed by Mr Leckie and the next stage is to await a response and
      move to an initial draft of the plan. A copy will also be published on
      the community council website.

      Forestry works planned or underway within the BLSCC area . SL had
      written to inform the community council that the quarry works at
      Kirkton Forest have now been completed. Surveys are being carried
      out within the area, but these will cause no additional problems or

    5. disruptions to normal forest use. there are plans to do work in the
      quarry at Strathyre; appropriate signs will be displayed. The Land

    Management plan for the Strathyre area will be reviewed next
    financial year. Forestry & Land Scotland would like to begin discussions
    with the community and would appreciate an opportunity to discuss
    any aspirations and opportunities that the community may have.

  14. Fire Hydrants

    DJ and AP had conducted a survey of hydrants in Balquhidder and
    their results, along with responses for Scottish Water and Scottish Fire, had been collated into a spreadsheet which had been
    circulated to members. There were serious discrepancies between the
    different sources of information. Repair work which had been
    promised over a year ago had not been done. Concerns were raised
    that neither Scottish Water nor Scottish Fire & Rescue seem to have
    appropriate systems in place to oversee and repair the hydrants. The
    question was also asked: if it is not working in Balquhidder, is itDJ proposed writing a further letter to
    Scottish Water and Scottish Fire & Rescue asking for an explanation of
    the discrepancies. This was agreed.

  15. Timber Transport

    1. Grant application. The upgrade to the Balquhidder end of the
      Stroneslaney Road has now been completed, as has an upgrade to
      part of the Ballimore Road. Work on the C33 road will commence this
      month and, on its completion, work will begin on a bid to the Strategic
      Timber Transport Fund (STTF) for work on the C33 between the Village

       

       

       

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      DJ to contact Scottish Waterand Scottishand request an explanation of these discrepancies.

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      Hall and Inverlochlarig car park.

      Current activity. Despite numerous requests for a meeting of the
      working group, there was still no indication of when one would be
      called. There was also no information on a paper which was
      supposedly being prepared jointly by Stirling Council Roads
      Department and its “industry consultant”, Claire Glaister. This paper
      was aiming to outline rôles and responsibilities in the process of
      preparing a Timber Transport Management Plan (TTMP). A request for
      an update on its progress was lodged with Stirling Council on 14th July
      2021 with a totally inadequate response eventually being received on
      1st October 2021. DJ wished, therefore, to write to Stirling Council and
      Claire Glaister, requesting a meeting as soon as possible. This was

    2. agreed unanimously. DM commented that it was clear that meetings

    had been taking place without the involvement of the community
    council. JM added that problems had been occurring in other areas
    where damage had been caused by vehicles transpor ting timber and
    agreed that the current situation was not good enough. He fully
    supported the initiative from the community council. DM commented
    that it appeared to be totally unacceptable for Claire Glaister to be a
    consultant for Stirling Council as this would represent a significant
    conflict of interest. He asked JM if he could investigate this further and
    JM agreed to do so. AP asked SL if she had any further informa tion
    about the situation, but SL was unable to cast any further light on the
    arrangement.

     

    DJ to write to Claire Glaister and Stirling Council with urgent request for a TTMP meeting.

    JM to query rôle of Claire Glaister in Stirling Council.

  16. Planning Matters

    There was nothing of particular interest to the local community but
    DM mentioned the building of a new road or track beside the Balvaig
    River with access from Stroneslaney Road. Nothing more about the
    development was known, but DJ offered to write to the National Park
    Planning Department to make further enquiries about the project.

    WD asked if there was any further news about an application to build
    three houses on the plot in Strathyre where the IT Information Centre
    stood previously. Nothing was known but it was suggested that
    adjoining residents would have been informed of any developments.

  17. Matters from ward councillors and National Park

    a) Hybrid Meetings. JM reported that face-to-face meetings are likely to
    be approved with immediate effect at a forthcoming council meeting,
    but JM intends to ask for an addition to the Administrative Grant in

     

     

     

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    DJ to contact National Park Planning for further details.

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    order to support the annual purchase of a Zoom licence so that
    community councils can hold hybrid meetings, with some attending in
    person and some attending online if they prefer. He added that
    council meetings are now being streamed online and are open, on
    application, for anyone to view.

  18. Any other competent business

CivTech Challenge. As of Monday 4th October, this has moved to the
"Accelerator" stage with the one, chosen company Digiflec Limited.
The company has until February 2022 to demonstrate that it has built
a "Minimum Viable Product" which Stirling Council and Forest & Landwill purchase. The product should demonstrate that it can
identify the movement of traffic on public roads, distinguishing
between different types of vehicles, particularly timber vehicles and
other large vehicles. It should also demonstrate that, from the traffic
data, it can predict potential conflict events and provide a traffic

  1. information and management system that will mitigate the risk. The

    product plans to use LIDAR (a three-dimensional measurement
    system) to record, in real time, the conditions on the public road and,
    on demand, on the forest roads. It should be capable of passing the
    data on traffic and road conditions to Stirling Council and Forest &so that the information can be integrated into their
    systems. It is also planning to use LIDAR equipment attached to the
    Council’s waste management vehicles to scan the public roads in
    Balquhidder on a weekly basis and pass the data in a usable form to
    the Council.

    RM reported that SusTrans is promoting a scheme called “Bike Life” in
    Glasgow, Perth and Stirling. It aims to encourage more people to use

  2. cycling as an attractive, everyday means of travel. An online survey is

currently being conducted and all local residents are encouraged to
take part. It can be found at: “
www.sustrans.org.uk/bikelife”.

 

There was no further business and, at 9:20 p.m., DJ declared the
meeting to be closed. The next meeting is scheduled to take place on
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at Strathyre Primary School (if
permitted) or online.

 

 

 

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