October 2023 Minutes

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Approved Minutes of the General Meeting of the Port of Menteith Community Council held in the
Port Hall on Monday, 2nd October 2023
Present :
Jim Riach, Chair Cllr Elaine Waterson
Peter Stewart, Vice-Chair David Mackie, National Parks
Becky Saunders, Secretary (Minutes) PC Lorna Deans, Police
Claire Outterside, Treasurer Joyce Kitching, HES
Robin Armstrong
Alastair Orr Ewing
1. Members Present and Apologies for Absence
All Members present and no apologies for absence.
2. Declarations of Interest in the Items of Business
There were no declarations of interest.
3. Adoption of the Draft Minutes of the General Meeting held on 21st August 2023
The adoption of the draft Minutes of the General Meeting held on 21st August 2023 was proposed by
BS and seconded by PS.
4. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the meeting held on 21st August 2023
4.1 Recruitment of Minute Taker
CO advised that there had been no response from anyone in the local community expressing an
interest in taking up the position of minute taker. It was agreed to approach Jean Cowie who was
present at the Inaugural Meeting and said that she knew of a minute taker in Callander. Action : BS
4.2 Inchmahome
Joyce Kitching, District Visitor and Community Manager of HES, joined the meeting to explain the
position with regards to the reopening of Inchmahome Priory to the public.
JK explained how the current 70 HES ‘at risk’ property closures were prioritised and that
Inchmahome fell into their second group defined as ‘sites where access restrictions had a significant
adverse community and economic impact’.
She explained that concerns were raised about the structural integrity of the abbey shortly after the
lockdown closures of the island. A masonry inspection due in the Spring of this year was then
postponed since ospreys had moved onto the island to nest pushing the inspection back to 23rd
October 2023. The raptor specialist has been consulted along the way and confirmed that the osprey
chicks have fledged and the parents have moved on. AOE asked if Ospreys could be discouraged
from returning and JK confirmed they were working with the Raptor Society to this end.
The inspection of 23rd October will be done via ladders, ropes and drones due to the difficulties of
getting cherry-pickers or mobile elevated work platforms onto the island. There will be groundsmen
going out to the island in the next couple of weeks to clear the ground in advance of the inspection.
RA expressed concern about the car park being used for BBQs and its proximity to the wooden shed
there. BS said she had spoken to one of the owners of the car park who was not happy with
amendments to the contract between them and HES and suggested to JK that she contact the
owners of the car park asap to ensure that any issues with the tenancy of the car park are cleared up.
JK said she would contact them and prioritise establishing a relationship with them.
PS reiterated that the community were very invested in Inchmahome and that its closure had had a
knock on effect on many local businesses and JK confirmed that it was a priority and there was a will
to open it. All being well they are aiming to have it open for next summer.
JK promised to keep us updated on progress – next contact being once the site report was back with
them which she would expect to be before the next meeting on 4th December 2023.
The CC thanked JK for taking the time to come along to the meeting and explain the process in
person. Action : RA
4.3 Renewal of Data Protection subscription
CO has renewed this at the cost of £35 for the year. The exemption did not seem to be available.
4.4 Renewal/cancellation of subscription to Bluehost for Domain Names, Website etc.
Account details and bank details with BlueHost switched to ours and Valerie Graham’s card removed
from the account. BlueHost has early auto-renewed one of the 3 subscriptions (SiteLock) so it may
be that we stick with it for this year. It was noted that the Domain Name portofmenteith.org expires
on 10th October. A change of name would require a change of email address and letting all contacts
know. JR & BS working on a website option before 10th October but likely to be a simple WordPress
option via BlueHost for this year at least. EW suggested Colin Clarke at STEP would be able to help us
for free. Action : BS/JR
5. Roads & Other Issues
5.1 Roads & Verges
Discussion centred on the number of road closures in the area. The work at Ruskie seems to have
closed the road even though it was not flagged as a closure on the council information sheet.
Similarly the Lake Road has been flagged as shut from 18th to 30th despite only needing to be shut for
3 days of that time for 200 yards at the PoM junction. Elaine Waterson agreed to look into this and
report back. Action: EW
Speeding was discussed with PC Lorna Deans (in attendance) see section 11.7.
5.2 Cardross Bridge
EW advised putting in an enquiry for a status update on the Cardross Bridge to Stephen Bly and
cc’ing in all councillors EW, GM and ME. Action: AOE
6. Financial
6.1 Statement to end September
CO did not have a bank statement but confirmed that funds from Stirling Council had been added to
the account.
6.2 Bank account & signatories
CO wrestling with vagaries of Bank of Scotland mandate form but it is in hand. Action : CO
6.3 Community Council Administration & Minute taker Grant
Confirmed received by CO
7. Correspondence
7.1 General Correspondence received
No local correspondence to report
7.2 Invitation to Create a Local Place Plan
Discussion with EW and DM on the merits of having a Local Place Plan which pulls together the
wishes of a community for its area and is used by the council/National Park when considering
planning applications. EW said it was expensive and time-consuming, DM thought less so and said
he would forward another LPP for us to look at and ask Susan Brooks from NPA to get in touch. EW
said that there was a form on the ScotGov website for this. Action: DM
7.3 Access to Polling Stations (Ramps & Transport)
Not actively discussed at the meeting but BS had corresponded with Cllr GM about this on behalf of
the Community Council saying access was good at the PoM but that transport should be considered
on polling days.
8. Planning & Licensing Issues
8.1 New Planning Applications
Nothing to report at the meeting. Licensing application for Collymoon Craft Gin Distillery received
on 3.10.23 which was forwarded to all Council Members . Deadline for objections/representations to
this application is 29.10.23.
8.2 Planning Updates
Nothing to report.
8.3 Planning Notifications
Nothing to report.
9. Forestry
9.1 Forestry & Land Scotland Local Activities Report
No report received from F&LS.
9.2 Auchyle & Malling Woodland Creation Consultation
No objections were noted as to the Woodland Creation schemes at Auchyle or Malling. It was noted
that both schemes were mixed trees. PS expressed concern at the amount of Sitka spruce in the
Auchyle scheme.
10. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
10.1 Port of Menteith NPA entry sign
Robust discussion on when this sign might be put up. PS said that the signs had been picked up 18
months ago however DM acknowledged that the whereabouts of these signs is now unknown. DM
agreed that having emailed Kenny Alder (?) from Visitor Services at NPA 7 times this year it might
help to have a face to face catch up with him and make a plan for either finding the existing signs
and getting them up or producing new ones. The CC were in agreement that the plans for this sign
had been ongoing for 5 years and this was unacceptable. DM said he would have an update well
before the next meeting. Action: DM
11. Reports
11.1 Councillor’s report
EW advised that Stirling Council are looking to find £12 million of savings by next April for the year
ahead. The shortfall a result of rising prices and reduced budgets. There is currently a voluntary
redundancy scheme ongoing. They continue to look at cost savings in all departments. More
positively there is a move to find a new NHS dentist for Callander but this could be up to a year
before they are in post so residents are advised to find alternatives in the meantime. EW reported
that a new Dementia Café is being set up in Doune from Nov following on from the successful
introduction of the same in Dunblane. The recent STEP rural business event in Callander went well
but being in the morning some could not attend so another is planned for the evening. The Rural
Business FB page has been well supported.
11.2 NPA report
DM’s report is attached as Appendix 1.
11.3 Carse of Stirling project group report
Nothing to report at present
11.4 Port Church & Cemetery
Nothing to report at present
11.5 Port Hall Committee report
CO provided a verbal report that the hall remains in need of volunteers to join the committee of 4 at
present. Bookings are still low and the hall requires upgrades as previously mentioned. EW
mentioned grant funding may be available from Rural Network Scotland or Community Pride and
that Jean Cowie at Stirling Council was particularly helpful on getting grants. The car park extension
is now complete and fence has been removed. The shortage of hall committee members means that
at present no ‘Blethers’ are planned and there was brief discussion on how we could encourage
people to get involved with ‘Blethers’. This kind of thing could form part of the communication plan
around the website and FB page.
11.6 School report
Ben Outterside had nothing to add to his last report but asked to remind the community about the
fisheries BBQ on 12th November to which everyone was invited. He also asked to reiterate the
frustration with the council policy on placing requests. EW confirmed that at a Council level the
parameters for placing requests at primary level were loose and acknowledged that this was having
a knock on effect on the school role.
11.7 Police report
From Lorna Deans in attendance. (Attached Appendix 2) Following on from the attached report LD
asked that we make residents aware that motorbikes have been stolen from outside homes in the
area. In addition bikes have been stolen from the back of cars in the Aberfoyle area. LD further
explained that the CC need to report concerns about speeding to SC to get traffic monitoring in place
and that we cannot apply directly to the police. RA reported that rush hours were much the worst
times for speeding and LD advised that a project had been successful in Strathyre using the school
children to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and that they were having similar discussions
with the head teacher at PoM Primary School.
12. Any Other Competent Business
12.1 Formal note of thanks from the Community Council to Peter Stewart for Keith Graham’s
A formal note of thanks was given to Peter Stewart for the beautiful bench provided in memory of
Keith Graham. The bench is made of inscribed granite and sits in the cemetery on a base provided
by Keith Burnett. The bench is much in use already and very comfortable and will endure for many
years to come. Valerie Graham added that, after much discussion as to where the bench would sit
in the community, she now felt that its present position was the best place for it.
13. Date of Next Scheduled Meeting : Monday, 4th December 2023 7pm