September 2023 Minutes

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Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre
Community Council Minutes – 13th September 2023

This meeting took place in Balquhidder Village Hall at 7:30 p.m. on 13th September 2023. It was chaired by DCJ.

Present: David Johnston (DCJ), Andrew Poulter (AP), Ruth McLusky (RM), Carolyn Brooks (CB),
Angus Cameron (AC), Bob Wells (RJW).

Apologies: None

Also Attending: David Fettes (DF), Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority (LLTNPA); Paul Hicks (PH), minute-taker; Webster Inglis, Gartnafuaran Farm; Seth Bird and Mike Thomson of RTS Forestry.

DCJ opened the meeting by welcoming everyone present to the first session of the new community council for Balquhidder, Lochearnhead
and Strathyre.

1. Declarations of Interest
AC declared an interest as a local landowner in item 4A.

2. Police Report
No police report was available and AC indicated that he thought PC
Campbell might currently be off work through sickness.

3. Forestry and mber transport
Auchraw Hill. Mike Thomson of RTS Forestry gave a presenta on on the proposed arrangements for timber extraction at this location inLochearnhead. The Glen Ogle Estate had previously approached RTS Forestry to assist with managing the forest and the time had now come to harvest the timber. The plantation is "land-locked" with no existing access by road and is not co-located with the rest of the estate. The only right of access (established previously for officers
from the Forestry Commission - now Forestry & Land, Scotland - FLS) is via the core path off Auchraw Terrace, Lochearnhead. The company proposed clearing the plantation in its entirety through a single harvesting opera on, to minimise the potential impact of "windblow".
Its first task, therefore, had been to consider some alternative means of access and consultations with FLS and with LLTNPA had started over a year ago. The company's preferred option is to establish a new road by creating a fork in an existing path off the A85 at Glen Ogle (just North of Glen Ogle Farm) and following the contours of the hill to approach the plantation from its Western side. Both FLS and LLTNPA
had objected to this on the grounds of its impact on the landscape.

They had also requested that the opera on be split into two parts,
dealing with the West and East side separately. Owing to the likely complexity of doing this, it is probable that the two operations would need to take place between eight and ten years apart and it would involve erecting new deer fences, rendering the entire operation
uneconomic. A single operation would also enable the re-planting of new trees to happen faster. The company intends to improve the
landscape by restructuring the woodland with a mix of commercial conifer species and native broadleaves, organised in such a way that future harvesting operations can be carried out in smaller sections.
Mike Thomson then dealt with the question of road access in more
detail. The original planning application had considered using Lechine Drive (a track leading off the A84 to the East of the village, just beyond the start of the 50 mph speed limit). In its current state, this would be
impossible, due to the size of the existing path and the lack of space and sight-lines available at the entrance to the highway. Given the health and safety concerns, it is thought that use of this route is not logistically possible. It would also require most of the traffic from the
site to travel through the village of Lochearnhead as the timber is
mostly destined for use further North.
Similarly, access via the core path that begins behind the police house in Auchraw Terrace, Lochearnhead, is equally unsuitable, owing to the lack of space and the steep ascent of the first section of path. RTS
Forestry considers that the concerns of local people are not being properly considered at the moment. Whichever route is chosen will involve some impact, but its preferred route (from Glen Ogle) would have a minimal impact on local residents. Furthermore, the new road
would be left in situ and could provide enhanced access to good views of Glen Ogle, Loch Earn and the surrounding area for anyone wishing to walk that way. The company would be willing to look at providing seats and creating a circular walking route by integrating the new road
with existing paths.
DCJ thanked Mr Bird and Mr Thomson for taking the trouble to
provide such detailed information and said that the community
council now needed to ascertain the views of the local community. CB said that she couldn't understand the objections raised by the LLTNPA and others concurred. DCJ suggested that the company might hold a public meeting in Lochearnhead to present its proposals and listen to
the views of local residents. After discussion, it was suggested that a drop-in session would work best. It was agreed to post some of the information provided by the company on the community council's website and RTS Forestry undertook to plan a meeting at which they would present their plans and solicit the views of local residents.
4. Collapsed wall beside A84 trunk road in Strathyre RM reported that SusTrans had previously been identified as the owner of the land concerned and expressed concern that the state of the wall still represented a significant health and safety matter. She offered to liaise with Cllr Earl (who had previously made enquiries
about this problem) to find out what progress had been made.

5. Local Roads
a) Balquhidder area. DCJ reported that a meeting between the
community council and the Stirling Council Roads Department had been scheduled for 20th September to discuss a list of outstanding matters that had been notified to the Council. Hopefully, this would resolve the problems identified.

b) Disruption to the A84 in Callander from roadworks by Scottish Water. Numerous complaints about this had been made, but it appeared that Scottish Water had considerable latitude under existing legislation to implement roadworks as they saw fit. Members considered that the entire project had been poorly managed with the main road completely blocked at times and long queues of traffic causing delays for up to half an hour at a me. RJW commented that
Transport Scotland was to blame for signing off a poor project and RM asked how those responsible could be made accountable. DCJ
commented that it was really an issue for the Scottish government as the local authority (Stirling Council) had no jurisdiction over recent events.

6. Local Bus Service (C60)
DCJ reported that Kingshouse Travel was currently unable to find
sufficient drivers to resource the running of the C60 service bus. Last time the service was put out to tender, only one other company had responded and submitted such a high cost estimate that it was rejected outright. CB wondered if other services (such as the Schools Service or Postal Service) could be utilised. DF commented that fewer people had been using the C60 service after getting stuck in Stirling when buses were withdrawn at short notice. He added that he was
aware of discussions going on with a view to expanding other, existing routes to cover the loss of the C60 service, but had no information on the outcome to these talks.

7. MacGregor's Landing
DCJ reported that there were still plots being offered for sale at this
location (in Balquhidder) but no update had been given on the
progress of the enforcement order from the LLTNPA. DCJ will write to
ask for news of what, if anything, has been happening.

8. Dates of future BLSCC meetings
A full schedule of planned meetings for the coming year had been published on the community council website.

9. Correspondence
Some items of correspondence with general information and news
had been received during the interim period between the previously constituted community council and the present one. These had been published on the community council website.

10. Planning Matters
Some minor, local developments were discussed and noted, but there was nothing deemed likely to impact on the community at large.

11. Matters from Ward Councillors and National Park
a) DF reported that a strategy meeting for the LLTNPA had taken place earlier that week. One item of note had been the ongoing
consultation regarding the next Partnership Plan. Community groups (and individuals) can submit replies about this on the LLTNPA website.
b) The question of sustainable travel had been discussed and it had been agreed that the LLTNPA should take leadership on this in a multi-agency approach.
c) Previously, the impact of climate change had dominated discussions, but now the problem of how to provide affordable, rural housing is also coming to the fore and DF expected fresh work to be undertaken on this in the near future.
d) Funding has been provided for a feasibility study on the proposed
Glen Dochart cycle path. The route is expected mostly to follow the old railway line, although there are some missing bridges that will need replacements.
e) The Rural Housing Association will be holding its annual general
meeting on 14th September.

f) DF reported finally that a strategic consultation on the national parks is likely to lead to changes in the composition of their boards, with more places being given to ministerial appointments rather than elected members.

12. Any other competent business
a) Speed limit, Strathyre. RJW said that people in Strathyre were asking why there cannot be a 20mph speed limit there. There had been a meeting with Transport Scotland on this, but no follow-up report had been received. It was agreed to ask for an update on progress regarding the traffic survey.

b) Community speed watch, Strathyre. RJW said that several local people were interested in starting one of these groups, but they have to be set up at the instigation of the local police. It was agreed that it would be appropriate for RJW to pursue this and to bring any proposals for a new Speed Watch to a future meeting.
c) Future of mobile library. RJW stated that rumours were circulating in Strathyre about the possible demise of this service. However, no other members were aware of any threat to the service.
d) Telecom box at Mhor 84. AP asked if this issue should be reinstated from the previous community council minutes. The phone box was removed despite the community council asking for it to be retained.
Stirling Council had promised to replace it but no action was taken.
Given the time that has elapsed and there being no clear plan for its use, it was agreed that the matter should lapse.
e) Missing "No alcohol" signs. AP pointed out that these signs had still not been replaced, despite being promised over a year ago. DCJ noted that this was an item on the agenda for the meeting with Stirling Council Roads Department on the 20th September.
f) Stronvar Forest Road. AP reported that, although the initial gate on this path is open, a second gate, further along the path, is currently locked. It was agreed that this matter should be referred to the Access Officer at the LLTNPA.

g) Balquhidder Place Plan. DCJ reported that the associated Delivery Plan had been circulated, but it was unclear who - if anyone - would be taking responsibility for delivering any of the proposed actions.
Previous requests for help had not resulted in lots of offers. DCJ
proposed that the community council should identify any actions for which it could take responsibility and identify other tasks that needed doing (together with a list of associated actions) then ask for volunteers. This was agreed.

h) Gritting footpaths. DCJ suggested asking if anyone would be interested in volunteering to assist with this. It was agreed that it would be worth pursuing. Accordingly, DCJ will circulate information about what is involved, together with requests for help, on local WhatsApp groups.

i) Apologies for 25th October. RM gave advanced apologies for her
absence at the next community council meeting on 25th October.
There was no further business and, at 9 p.m., DCJ declared the
meeting to be closed. The next meeting is scheduled to take place at Lochearnhead Village Hall on Wednesday 25th October at 7:30 p.m.








































































RTS Forestry to hold a public
meeting in





RM to liaise
with ME













































DCJ to write to














































RM to request
update on
meeting with































AP to contact
Access Officer








DCJ to identify
actions to be
taken by
council and list other actions






DCJ to
request for
help on social
media groups.