February 2023 Minutes

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This meeting took place in Balquhidder Village Hall at 7:30 p.m. on 22nd February 2023. It was chaired by AP.

Present: Andrew Poulter (AP), Ruth McLusky (RM), Donald MacLaren (DM), Carolyn Brooks (CB).

Apologies: David Johnston (DCJ), Daniel Jarrett (DJT), Angus Cameron (AC); PC Heather Campbell (HC), Police Scotland.

Also Attending: Cllr Martin Earl (ME), Stirling Council; David Fettes (DF), Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority (LLTNPA); Bob Wells (RW), Strathyre; Paul Hicks (PH), minute-taker.

1.          Approval of previous minutes

It was proposed by CB and seconded by RM, that the minutes of the meeting on 11th January 2023 should be accepted and this was approved unanimously.

2.          Declarations of Interest

AP declared an interest as a near neighbour in item 9B (Gartnafuaran Forest).

3.          Police Report (12 Jan to 22 Mar 2023)

During this period, in terms of road safety, there were two reports of debris on roads. One required attendance by Bear Scotland to clear fallen branches and foliage from trees. Another incident concerned a solitary walker in dark clothing on the A85 who was found and escorted by police officers to a safe place. A report was made concerning someone sleeping in a vehicle on the A84 south of Strathyre. Police attended but found no trace of any vehicle. On 20th February, a motorist reported their vehicle having been struck by a second vehicle and police attended the scene but there were insufficient details available to trace the offending vehicle.

During the same period, two thefts were reported: one where a bottle of gas was stolen from a caravan park and the other where property was stolen from a car that had been parked beside the lochan at Glen Ogle whilst its owner went for a walk. Enquiries are ongoing in both cases. A report of suspicious circumstances was investigated regarding a vehicle parked in a lay-by near a farm on the A84. A search was made of the immediate area but no evidence of a crime was found. In a separate incident, an alarm system was activated at a house in Balquhidder. Police attended within minutes of receiving the call but it


proved to be a fault with the alarm system and all was in order. On 5th February, there was a report of a hill-walker in trouble on Beinn A’ Chroin. Police officers attended but the person had already been assisted down from the hill by a member of the public and was found to be uninjured and safe.

4.          Co-option of Robert Wells to Community Council

RM announced that Robert John Wells satisfied the requirements to be a member of the community council and proposed that he should be co-opted forthwith. This was approved unanimously by all members present.

5.          Matters arising from previous meeting

  1. Drummond Wind Farm. This matter was first raised at item 13C in the minutes of the meeting of 11th January A reply had been sent on behalf of the community council on 12th January, acknowledging the potential impacts of the project on the natural beauty of the area, but stating that, in light of the urgent need for the expansion of renewable energy, the council would not raise any objections to the scheme. On 14th February, a request for additional help with early assessment work was received from SSE Renewables. Members discussed this request and decided that it would be worthwhile to invite a member of the company to address the community council at a future meeting.

NHS dental provision in Callander. This matter was first raised at item 13F in the minutes of the meeting of 11th January 2023. RM reported

  1. that the Secretary of the community council at Callander had since launched an online petition to voice concern at this withdrawal of an

important service. A short report and link to the petition had been posted on the BLS community council website.

Collapsed wall beside A84 trunk road in Strathyre . This matter was first raised at item 19 in the minutes of the meeting of 11th January 2023. In response to an online notification about it from DCJ, a response was received from Bear Scotland on 19th January. It stated

  1. that an inspection team had attended and raised a "category one" defect report, meaning that a repair would be instituted within twenty-eight days. So far as members were aware, no work had yet begun and it was agreed that RM would contact BEAR to query the


RM to invite representative to attend next CC meeting.

RM to request update from BEAR Scotland.


6.          Parking signs in passing places and alcohol bye-law signs

This matter was previously discussed at item 8 in the minutes of the meeting of 11th January 2023. Following that meeting, Cllr Gene Maxwell had liaised with the Stirling Council Roads Department and was given to understand that the appropriate signs would be installed on the Stroneslaney Road "within the next six weeks". Again, so far as members were aware, no work had yet begun. It was agreed to contact the Roads Department and enquire whether some problem had arisen.

7.          MacGregor's Landing

This matter was previously discussed at item 9 in the minutes of the meeting of 11th January 2023. Following intervention by Cllr Earl, a response was received on 17th January from Bob Cook, Planning Manager for the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority (LLTNPA). Mr Cook agreed to arrange a meeting with BLS community council to discuss the situation at this site and this had been set for Tuesday 7th March. He stated that a key concern for LLTNPA had always been the matter of providing paths or tracks to access each plot of ground being offered for sale. Such work, along with any other development of the land, requires planning permission to be granted by LLTNPA. This is made clear by LLTNPA to all new land owners. The earthworks already undertaken at one of the sites are still the subject of an ongoing enforcement investigation. LLTNPA has no jurisdiction when it comes to fishing rights or legislation regarding trading standards. DM suggested that the restoration of the land on which earthworks had taken place should be expedited. AP stated that his understanding was that LLTNPA was concerned about the environmental impact of the work now required to restore the land to its original state. DM was also concerned that public funds were being used to rectify the damage caused and suggested that the owner of the land should be required to make good the damage instead.

AP added that, when the boundaries for the alcohol byelaws and camping management scheme had first been discussed with the community council, the intention had been for this land (between Stroneslaney Road and the Balvaig River) to be included in the camping management scheme, but it was inadvertently omitted by LLTNPA and had not been included in the byelaw legisla tion. DCJ had suggested that it might be worth considering making a request to

RM to contact Roads Dept. and query when work would begin.

DCJ to ask LLTNPA to

consider making both boundaries contiguous.


LLTNPA for this land now to be included within the boundary of the camping management scheme. This was agreed.

8.          Installation of solar panels at local village halls

DJT had reported by email that the village halls at Lochearnhead and Strathyre were both actively investigating the possibility of installing solar panels at their locations. Members agreed that this item could now be discharged from the agenda.

9.          Forestry Work and Timber Transport

  1. Renewal of Glenample long-term forest plan. Members agreed that the terms of the plan seemed reasonable and no speci fic contentions were raised. RM to respond accordingly.
  2. Gartnafuaran Forest: upgrading and construction of forest roads. This project had been approved.

10.        Correspondence

  1. Community Council Election. Stephen Bly, the community council liaison officer for Stirling Council, had written to notify all community councils that arrangements were being put in place to provide a full set of community council elections, starting on 3rd April 2023. Once elected, Stirling Council will support inaugural meetings for each new community council, at which office bearers will be nominated and elected. Consequently, annual general meetings will not be required during this calendar year, but the presentation of externally verified accounts will still be required for each community council at a normal, scheduled meeting. The number of nominations required for a community council at Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre is between six and nine. If more than nine are received, a ballot will need to be held to elect just nine members. If less than six nominations are received, it will not be possible to form a new community council. Current members will remain in office until midnight on Friday 14 April 2023. Each community council will then cease until an inaugural meeting can be arranged for any new one. Dates for inaugural meetings will be set by Stirling Council and will take place once sufficient new members have been confirmed, with or without a ballot. If no ballot is required, this will be arranged from 24th April onwards. If a ballot is required, this will take place during June with results published on 29th June and inaugural meetings arranged for DCJ had indicated that he was willing to continue on the community council for up to five years.


RM to respond to Glenample Estate.


  1. Rural Stirling Recuitment Fair. This will be held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday 28th February at the McLaren Leisure Centre in Callander. The aim is to build a team of carers to support the delivery of adult social care at homes across the rural area of the Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP). Rural Stirling has been (and remains) the most challenging area in which to provide sufficient carers for helping people in their homes in line with the agreed care packages that they need. The fair will be a great opportunity for anyone to find out more about the career opportunities that exist in this vital service.
  2. Insurance of assets. Stephen Bly had also written to all community councils to advise that any assets owned by individual councils need to be notified to Stirling Council by 17th March 2023 to qualify for insurance cover arranged by the Council. AP noted that the BLS community council possessed no assets.
  3. Potholes. On 13th February 2023, Cllr Martin Earl had submitted a report regarding a number of potholes on Auchraw Terrace in Lochearnhead following an incident in which an elderly lady had fallen and broken her wrist, owing to one of these road defects. Before dispatching the "jet patcher", Cllr Earl was asking for any other similarly affected (council-adopted) roads in the area to be reported to him. PH commented that the piece of road in question at Lochearnhead had since been resurfaced and was no longer a problem, but ME asked members to provide him with details of any other problem areas.

11.        Planning Matters

  1. 2022/0259/NOT. Gartnafuaran Forest: upgrading and construction of forest roads. This had already been approved.
  2. 2023/0017/DET. Erection of accomodation for letting purposes at Springfield House, 6 Auchtubh, Balquhidder. Members' only concern related to the potential parking of vehicles outside this property.
  3. 2022/0338/DET. Change of use: existing building to form a dwellinghouse at Gartnafuaran Farm, Stroneslaney Road, Lochearnhead. This had already been approved.

12.        Matters from Ward Councillors and National Park

  1. LLTNPA Partnership Plan. DF reported on the recent consultation over this plan. It had been constructive and presented a clear and unified message on the community's priorities, such as short-term lets.


  1. Stirling Council Budget. ME reported that the annual budget meeting would take place on Thursday 2nd March this year. The economic turmoil over the past year had resulted in the worst situation he could remember for local councils. The Scottish Government had approved rises in council tax and ME said that a local rise was inevitable. Stirling Council had been able to make one-off changes to some financial arrangements that would ease the burden in the coming year, but ME warned that this means of relief could not be relied upon each year.

13.        Any other competent business

  1. Licensing Board Reviews. Stirling Council is conducting reviews of the arrangements for licensed premises, but members were satisfied that these were unlikely to affect local businesses unduly.
  2. Meeting with Stirling Council Roads Department. AP reported that the community council had requested a meeting in January to pursue the question of applying for a bid under the terms of the Strategic Timber Transport Fund for the funding of improvements to the C33 road between Balquhidder and Inverlochlarig. To date, no response had been received and it was agreed that AP should write directly to Gary Neil and keep ME informed of the outcome.
  3. Land Commission Review. AP had written to the Scottish Land Commission about the situation with the land off Stroneslaney Road, now known as “MacGregor's Landing”. To date he had received no reply but stated that he would write again.

There was no further business and, at 9 p.m., AP declared the mee ting to be closed. The next meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 5th April 2023 at Lochearnhead Village Hall. (DM gave advanced apologies for his absence on 5th April.)

AP to query this with Gary Neil and also keep ME informed.