KILMUN COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Facebook - @shoresweepersandKCC Website - www.kilmuncc.co.uk
MINUTES OF MEETING
17th August 2021 held at Younger Hall, Kilmun 7.30PM.
Note - These minutes have, apart from notes been taken from a recording
At the start of the meeting Victor Sandall started to make a statement from the floor but was reminded that questions/statements need to go through the chair.
PRESENT: Brian Tester, (Convener), Diane Nicholson (Vice Convenor), Janet Holm (Secretary), Russell Humphreys (Treasurer), Dale Mallin, Fraser Smith, Graham Revill and Victor Sandall.
Also, Present: Councillor A Reid, Bob Darracott (National Park), Bruce Marshall, Caroline Munro, Julie Fish (HT Strone Primary), Gordon Holm, reporter from the Dunoon Observer and 5/6 residents from Westfield, Strone.
APOLOGIES - Lachie Macquarie, Mandy Grout, Councillor Y McNeilly, Councillor G. Blair, PC Heather McCallum, John Hair (Forestry Land Scotland) and Barbara Hunter Douglas.
2. DECLARATION OF INTEREST:
VS stated that he thought that there were members of the group (KCC) who are on boards of trustees.
BT stated that he is a member of the board of ACHA, and RH stated that he is on the committee of the Younger Hall.
BT reminded VS that it is solely members of KCC that were required to declare an interest on any item on the agenda and not the general public.
3. MINUTES OF LAST MEETING:
Some of the residents of Westfield thought that the sub meeting of some members of KCC with representatives of FLS on 9th July 2021 to discuss issues with proposal felling at Loch Eck was a committee meeting of KCC. They were informed that the last minutes meeting of KCC was on 10th March 2020. All people present at this meeting had access to these minutes.
The 10th March 2020 minutes were:
Proposed: Diane Nicholson
Seconded: Dale Mallin Carried
4. MATTERS ARISING NOT ON THE AGENDA
This was a very long section of the meeting and as much detailed has been added as possible but at times the discussion was difficult to follow.
The people in attendance from Westfield are referred to as ‘resident’ as they had requested to remain anonymous.
Westfield Resident – Our issue is that we have received a letter from FS to the entire Westfield community.
She read from the letter from FLS:
‘It has come to my attention that unauthorised failing of trees and shrubs has taken place in the local area online managed by FLS. It also goes on to say you obviously see that this would involve a criminal record blah blah blah (taken from recording).’
The Westfield Resident goes on to say, “This is angered our community so much you have no idea. I don't understand it. Can I just ask do you all live by the shore with lovely views of the loch?”
DN - No, I live in Clachaig and we have thousands of trees that block our views.
CM (a local resident) - Asked resident to identify herself and where she was from
Westfield Resident - stated that she wanted to know what the issue was with cutting down the trees
BT - We had this discussion (which was outside Kilmun Hall) some weeks ago in July. BT- I am of the opinion that the letter should have been sent out to everyone on the shore.
Westfield Resident - The letter shouldn't have been sent out at all
BT - I have seen people cutting down trees that shouldn't have been cutting down trees.
Westfield Resident - I want clarification about what is the issue with the trees? Does it come from the environmental impact? What is it, a sycamore, it is brush, there is nothing that is significant?
BT - I have no idea, I haven't actually seen a copy of the letter
Westfield Resident - So why did KCC makes a complaint to FLS?
One of the Westfield resident’s copy of the letter was passed around the other residents and community council members present at the meeting.
VS - A copy of that letter was shown to you on Thursday the 9th of July.
BT - I asked you to send me a copy as I hadn't seen it.
Westfield Resident - Why haven't you read it? It was back in July
VS - The complaint allegedly came from a member of the community council who lives in Midge Lane. (At this point there was an oral implication of who VS thought it would be).
Westfield Resident – She again questioned why there was an issue with the trees being cut
BT- Said he didn't know there was an issue with these particular trees, but there is an issue with people cutting down trees without consent.
Westfield Resident - Why is someone so annoyed about sycamores? They're just weeds. To clarify the point, I am looking at your minutes from October 2019.13.
(Secretary note – Taken from KCC Minutes October 2019 under heading Any other competent business.)
“13. Any other competent business
GH reported that J Campbell and he had looked at the sycamores growing across from the church. They started to cut some down but as there is a slope there the work is too dangerous.”
Westfield Resident - You can cut trees down, but we can't.
BT-These are the trees that, when you look from the church by the tea caddy houses, that were cut down by volunteers two to three years ago, to improve the sight line along the road.
Westfield Resident - Did they have permission?
RH - Many on the committee and others in (the road) have not seen the letter
VS - The fact that you don't know what this is about is a major problem
At this point There were a flurry of general inaudible comments being made by the residents present in the room.
BT - Have you made representations to FLS who sent the letter out?
Westfield Resident - Yes
BT - What was the reply?
VS - They think these people are hostile.
RH - Where does it say community council on it?
VS - It's in the email
RH - I haven't seen the email either
Other Westfield Resident - The fact that the letter says police action will be taken
VS - If the community council represents a community why has FLS not been in touch with you
RH - We can ask FLS. This is the first I have seen it and it has no reference to the community council
BT - Reminded that VS that he was a community councillor
VS. – That’s why I am sitting here is, I am community myself at this meeting as a community councillor and I am now a member of the common community
BT -You are both Victor.
Here there was a short discussion about Victor’s possible resignation a few weeks ago and his responsibilities as a community councillor.
Westfield Resident - In October 19 you admitted to cutting down trees, we have had complaints made by a member of KCC
At this point, there were personal comments made to community councillor members and oral personal attacks were made to individual community councillors by a couple of residents.
RH - Can I go back to the trees that were taken down. They were taken down to improve the sight line It is not FLS land. They were done by volunteers from the Shore Sweepers
BT - They were actually done by the Shore Sweepers.
RH - It was done from a road safety point of view.
The Westfield Resident then had a general discussion on trees near her property, on safety and trees falling on visitors to her house.
BT - If you've had issues with trees beforehand, why have you not asked the community council to help?
Several comments made by residents implying that, although they were in touch with various authorities, nobody helped them with the trees that were blocking out light
Resident - Comment from resident that the land was maintained, in her opinion, when it was Argyll and Bute Council but not when it was ACHA.
BT - Asked the residents what help they would like from the Kilmun Community Council
One resident said they would like support.
BT - Said the community council would work through the issue if they were given an opportunity to help.
BT - Asked the residents to send a precis of what they wanted to achieve. He said you have my contact, if anyone from Westfield wants to drop him a line to his email to say what their concerns were.
FS – This is the first I have heard about this issue, and I am not understanding why it is being raised to the committee and why you are having a personal go at everyone at the top table?
Various inaudible replies
VS – We are not having a personal go.
BT – It did seem pretty personal.
FS – The comment was - You lot at the top table probably have, How was it, how much we earn?’
Various inaudible replies
VS – “Mr Chair, If this man does not recognise the great socio – economic difference between Westfield and Midge Lane.”
BT – This is not the stage to start talking about what people earn and where they live.
BT - I have been convenor (of KCC) for 2 and half years and you have never been to a meeting.
Another Westfield Resident – I used to come to a meeting
RH – How long ago?
Another resident – 10 years ago.
There was a break in the meeting here as all the Westfield residents present left to catch their bus home. Victor Sandall also left the meeting.
When the meeting reconvened, the agenda published was then followed
5. TREASURER’S REPORT
RH - Said that he was making an application for KCC’s bank account to become digitally because he only gets a statement when there has been some activity so for the last 6 months, he has only had 2 statements.
Carried forward 3046.24
General fund £1409.00
Gardening and Shore Sweepers £123.00
Festive Lunch £154.00
SSE grant £1090.00
Directory donations £7.00
Grant from ABC (For new road sign) £662.00
Overall total £3447.00
Another reason to apply for the bank account to be available digitally is that The Shore Sweepers are getting several donations coming in for the new sign and until RH gets a statement coming in, he doesn’t know what new money has come in.
Report from Police Scotland sent by email to the secretary.
Community Council Debrief
Date: 17th August 2021
Location & Beat: KILMUN – LB49
Officer Reporting: PC Heather McCallum
No. of Incidents reported
(Since last meeting)
16/07/2021 – 16/08/2021
12 Calls of note to Police Scotland
Communications - 1
Assist Member of the Public - 3
Road Traffic - 2
Suspect Persons– 1
Concern for persons – 3
Domestic Incident – 1
No. of Crime Reports generated
(in July August 2021)
7 crime reports raised
Breakdown of Crime Reports
( i.e. 1 x Assault)
1 x Theft
4 x Assault
1 x Comms Act
There is currently a joint initiative with Police Scotland working alongside Argyll and Bute Council. The initiative involves council Rangers and an officer from Police Scotland Patrolling areas in Cowal and Bute that attract visitors such as camp sites, known accommodation sites etc. The patrols are taking place every Saturday and Sunday during the summer months to identify any disorder and educate visitors in being respectful to the area. Lochgoilhead is an area that should benefit from the initiative.
Questions & Issues Raised
As there was no police office representative present at the meeting, these issues will be fed back to them for attention.
The excessive speed of vehicles along all of the shore Villages, Blairmore, Strone, Kilmun and also through the village of Clachaig.
There are problems with parking at Blairmore just on the blind hill after The Blairmore Café and Blairmore Hall. This is particularly severe when the Waverley visits Blairmore on a Tuesday.
There was general discussion about lapsed MOTs and the possibility that many of the speeding drivers may be uninsured.
7 Correspondence (Already been circulated to committee members)
From Scottish and Southern Electricity – Booklet on the Dunoon 132kV Overhead Line rebuild Project – Alignment Consultation. This has been received by post by many households. The link to it has also been added to the KCC website. BT said that he is in communication with SSEN and if anyone has any issues just let BT know. He will be having a meeting with SSEN and has been asked by several landowners up at Glen Masson to become involved as KCC of their behalf as they do not believe they are being listened to. These are only proposals now.
BT said he had received an email in July from a person that Brian had offered to help and the reply that he got was in any case you are corrupt as a community council. This has been passed to our governance officer and as far as BT is aware there is no issue of corruption anywhere within KCC, but I am mentioning here as it was actual correspondence to me. There is no evidence, and no mention has been made of since and it is thought it was an ad hoc comment.
BT said that he had been in contact with one of the Westfield residents who had just left the meeting to try and resolve some issues, but it was obvious she did not want any help.
9. Community Matters
The Shore Sweepers
It has been so positive to see is that, throughout the pandemic, residents have been clearing the beaches and looking after the plant pots individually. Everyone has been ongoing with all the work we have been doing without us having to get together to do it.
As was said in the previous minutes, March 2020, the Shore Sweepers were successful in getting £660 in funding from the ABC sustainability fund towards the cost of buying a sign “Welcome to the Shore Villages’ from Plantscape. Unfortunately, the funding did not cover the complete cost but, now we are getting back on track and have had several generous donations of £100 from local businesses, The Shore Café, The Strone Inn, The Blairmore, Baileyfield self-catering and Ardentinny Community Council. The Shore Sweepers would like to request that Kilmun Community Council also donate £100 towards the project.
A vote was taken with the members present. BT abstained as his wife is also a Shore Sweeper. The request was agreed.
Bird Hide at Kilmun
GH- Since the last minutes, we have had several grants. A hard-core path has been put in, the angle of which can be used by wheelchair users. We have removed the old structure, apart from one back wall which we are debating about as it will hold back any mud slides or anything that would come sliding off the road. We have now bought all the material for building the hide. We are hoping to start soon. We have just received another grant from ABC to put in armco barriers round on the paths so that anyone going down on a wheelchair does not slide down. RH - We are at the process now that we can start to build the hide.
Highgate Hall and Tyneshandon
BT - Said that he had made an obligation at the last meeting to speak to Graham Thomson, one of the trustees of the hall, but he has not done that as yet, but will do so. There were at one time 4 trustees of the hall, but this is now reduced to 2 which includes the lawyer, but we need to find out the situation at Highgate Hall as it is now in a really poor condition, but not as bad as Tyneshandon. BT had sent an email to ABC about Tyneshandon but the report that has been returned appears to be confusing Tyneshandon and Dunselma Court.
BM - said that the subject of Highgate Hall has been on the agenda for as far as he can recall, and nothing seems to be done.
RH said that he has had two people speak to him interested in buying it. He has just referred then to Graham Thomson.
JH - Several people have emailed me to say there is a section of road where you can’t see the traffic coming and that is where Gordon and John volunteered to clear a couple of years ago, to cut these saplings down. The feedback from many people thought it was wonderful as it had made driving the road much safer. However, it is dangerous for them to be doing that work and Argyll and Bute Council need to come along, professionally, and do that job. BT said that there have been road rage incidents on this stretch of road because of the problems with the sight line.
CM said that the trees need cleared trimmed/ not because of her view but to prevent her car wing mirrors being clipped and the possibility of an accident
JH this issue affects everyone on the Shore from Ardentinny downwards and is made worse by the speeding.
BM. The section in Paradise Bay is almost as bad. BT explained to AR where Paradise Bay is situated.
10. DISCUSSIONS A&BC LOCAL COUNCILLOR AND NATIONAL PARK REPRESENTATIVE
Councillor Alan Reid reported
Road Capital Programme
This roads capital programme works I reported in the last minutes were postponed due to Covid. The work was re-scheduled for this month and completed.
The only issue raised recently is the state of Tyneshandon. Building Standards replied saying it’s not dangerous, but some of their comments indicated they have got it mixed up with another building. I’ve emailed them back asking them to check this.
Outstanding issues from before lockdown.
Mobile speed indicator devices
This work was suspended during lockdown. I’ve reminded roads of the outstanding requests for them to be used in Kilmun and Clachaig.
Footpath in Midge Lane
Road’s response, “This fault has been inspected and is below the threshold to be classed as a safety hazard, this would not be suitable for filling as material wouldn't adhere to the underlying surface. We are therefore not going to action this at this stage but will monitor and action only if it becomes a safety hazard.”
Dislodged capstone on the seawall opposite Strone Church
Road’s response, “Works are prioritised across Argyll and Bute within the financial constraints of our maintenance budgets. With a coastline of several thousand kilometres, and engineered defences of several hundred kilometres within the Council area, this means that works must be prioritised to deal with the most critical issues first. Unfortunately, at this time the work will not be prioritised this financial year. However, if there are multiple small repairs in one area these may be brought forward as it is more cost effective for someone to travel and complete them all in one day.”
Blocked gulleys between Strone Brae and the shop
Have been cleared
Overgrown Hedges, Blairmore
Road’s response, “We will monitor throughout the growing season”
Flooding outside Vadaran
Works have been completed.
Missing bus stop sign at the Crescent
This work has been completed.
Drains blocked opposite Younger Hall
This work has been completed.
Pothole on main road through Blairmore
Repeating 30mph signs in unlit stretch of road in Blairmore
Strone sign discoloured
BM - Just wanted to compliment the top-quality job that had been done on the pavements at Strone. However, he said that other areas need attention e.g.at Blairmore Pier. BT also added Paradise Bay where it is all overgrown with weeds growing out of the pavement.
Bob Darracott (Loch Lomond Representative)
Not a lot to report and most of the work has been done virtually.
Dunselma and Tyneshandon - Some of the planning team went out to look at these properties, but there needs to be a meeting with the owners. However, it doesn’t look much worse than it has in the last couple of years.
The National Park has been holding, and will continue to hold, a number of community based virtual seminars which have been quite well received. The last one was on the 22nd July though no one in this group participated in that but that was like a mid-term report in terms of how the National Park and how the key pressure points were doing. These are mainly over in Luss etc. There is a newsletter which has details of what to do if there are any complaints and how to report them. KCC did not receive the link to this, but Bob will pass that on. See attachment with this email of minutes.
No big planning issue in our area but further afield there are 2 major planning application in. One for a fish farm at Argarten. The application for the fish farm in Ardentinny was withdrawn. The 2nd, the application for the Riverside Development at Loch Lomond (Flamigoland) has been resubmitted.
After several tragedies with drownings in Loch Lomond itself, there is a water safely partnership with the NP and RNLI who are carrying out a very intensive water safety audit. An interesting comment which was made to Bob was that all of those who drowned could not swim.
The National Park are looking at new ways of working, although no conclusion has yet been reached. Staff are now beginning to filter back into offices, but a lot has been learned during the pandemic and the park are looking at perhaps a hybrid system with some working from home.
A new constitution is in place at Blairmore Hall
Forestry and Land Scotland - John Hair (FLS)
At the meeting John Hair was not present but submitted a report the following day.
At the Meeting:
BT said that FLS 10-year plan has been abandoned because of the amount of felling that needs to be done due to the larch disease Phytophthora ramorum.
RH – They have also abandoned the wild rhododendron cull
BT – Said they do not have the funds to do the rhododendron
CM – could I also bring attention to the concerns about water run off behind the tea caddy houses because we have a problem with flooding where the water comes down the hill. What I wanted to make sure with forestry that when they were mass cutting down the trees behind us that they were giving true consideration to water run off which they said they were. They have trimmed the water run offs but thrown the cuttings into our side of the culverts. CM said that she was in the process of contacting them again.
BT – said to be kept in touch with what is happening and said that FLS are aware that their communication with KCC has not been as good as it should have been, and they want to improve that. The meeting in July was about Loch Eck and BT now has the copy of the Freedom of Information request for Loch Eck. It is a very large document. Contact BT if you would like a copy sent to you.
John Hair’s report which was received the following day.
LARCH FELLING PLAN –
The current land management plan for Cruach Benmore (which includes Kilmun Hill, Pucks Glen, and Glen Massan) is due for renewal this year, as the current plan is now 10 years old. We would normally conduct a scoping exercise with stakeholders to invite suggestions, views, comments on how plan for the next 10 years should be developed, and this would normally include a presentation to the Community Council with a subsequent “drop in” session for the community to speak with FLS staff.
However, the larch disease Phytophthera ramorum has had a significant effect on Cruach Benmore Forest – as infected trees are identified, a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN) is served on FLS by the regulator, which compels us to fell the diseased tree or trees plus all larch trees (infected or not) within 250 metres. This process requires felling of other species to allow access to the larch and to ensure exposed edges aren’t left which may blow down in later seasons. Our experience tells us that any larch not currently infected is likely to become infected within the next few years, so we have decided to prepare a plan which seeks approval to fell all remaining larch, with associated other species required to access larch, within the next five years. All felled areas will be replanted with a range of conifer species (pine, fir, spruce, cedar but NOT larch) and native broadleaved species (oak, alder, willow, hawthorn, hazel – with birch and rowan likely to self-seed into the felled area). The plan – the Cruach Benmore Larch Felling Plan – will be put onto our website for people to look at for an extended period, and to feedback comments. The link to the website will be given once the plan is available, and we intend having a “drop in” session to allow members of the community to discuss proposals directly with local staff. A hard copy can also be made available if required.
CURRENT FELLING –
There are currently nine SPHNs being worked in the Cruach Benmore area, from Blairmore Farm round to the Coylet/Paper Caves area. Good progress is being made, however felling in some of these is likely to continue well into next year due to the steep ground and the shortage of specialist harvesting machinery required to remove the trees. There are several conservation protections (nesting birds, breeding squirrels) which limits the time felling can take place in some areas. Preparatory work is taking place on west Loch Eck (road upgrading, construction of harvesting facilities) prior to felling starting. FLS acknowledges the disruption this is causing to residents and other road users and is working with the Community Council on ways that these works can be better communicated and will seek ways that disruption can be minimised.
PUBLIC ACCESS –
Harvesting operations (especially in steep ground sites) is a hazardous and dangerous activity, so we will be limiting access in certain areas for the duration of the harvesting operation. We will have signage in place to warn forest users when forest roads and trails are temporarily closed and will update our website as these closures happen. Unfortunately, despite the signage, a small number of visitors continue to access active sites forcing our contractors to stop work until the visitors have exited the site boundary. The main closures currently are in Kilmun Hill (above the water treatment works) and Pucks Glen (the route to Inverchapel is closed, although the Pucks Glen car park is open with a short section of the gorge walk closed due to an unsafe bridge).
ONGOING ENGAGEMENT –
Monthly updates will be sent to the Community Council, with a member of the local team attending 2 – 3 meetings per year to give feedback and to discuss any other local issues that might arise. Certain issues may require other staff to attend – this can be arranged depending on the issue of concern. Any issue that requires a more immediate response should be sent to Fraser MacDonald, who will either deal with the issue or ask a colleague to respond if appropriate.
A very successful Mary’s Meals was held on the hall on Sunday. Slowly coming back, but we probably won’t go back to having the flea market until the end of September at the earliest. We are very fortunate that we got a grant early on and we still have enough money to open for a year without opening.
BT thanked the hall for everything they that has been done to help to organise the hall safely for the KCC meeting. You have made us fully complaint and comfortable.
RH – It has been used as many know for the Covid injections and, because we have the grant we haven’t charged the NHS for the use of the hall, but it has been really ideal for that use.
JH - said that they have a new constitution. See attachment to the email with these minutes
Julie Fish, HT at Strone Primary – first attendance at a KCC meeting.
JF – There has been an issue of vandalism at the school. More so when the children went back to school after the lockdown in March/April. Items in the playground destroyed. Play chalk boards in the playground smashed to tiny bits. This makes things difficult as we can’t leave anything out now and it must go away every night and as much as we want to make things beautiful it is hard. That is the position we are at. We haven’t had any further instances of vandalism, but we haven’t had anything left out to be vandalised.
We are very much about the community.
DN - Did the community help?
JF –The police were involved, and they did door to door but that wasn’t successful.
We are still following the covid restrictions that were in place before the summer holidays for the next 6 weeks and then it will be reviewed by government. Then we will know how we can move forward and get the community back into school with the tea rooms etc and getting us out and about in the community.
BT – If there is anything KCC can do to help just let us.
JF – HELP have been doing some work in the school grounds and the hut has been removed for health and safety reasons as it has also been vandalised.
DN – How did the wildlife meadow get on?
JF – While we were on holiday the vandals removed the canes marking the area and, in addition, the grass was cut where the meadow was to be so we’re no further forward.
JH – Some yellow rattle did come up and there are some wildflowers there.
DN – Maybe next year.
RH - With all the new families coming in are there any children?
JF- No, new children. The new families had their children at existing schools in Dunoon. We had no primary 1 starts this year. We have a Facebook page @ Strone Primary School. It is our main way of communication what is happening in the school.
11 CURRENT ISSUES
BT – We have been away so long. Just let us know for the next meeting if there are issues needing raised
13. Any other competent business
CM – The ship that has been dumped at the end of the Holy Loch for a year and a half. CM said she has contact NP, ABC, Dunoon and then finally learned that it is the responsibility of Peelports. Peelports have said that they are in negotiations with the owners of the boat. CM thinks that it gives the impression that it is ok to dump your rubbish in the loch and that it has also become a tourist attraction and it is part of Wreckspeditions tour. CM would like KCC to contact Peelports as it is dangerous,
BT – Asked CM to send an email with name of the person that she had contacted Peelports as many people are also concerned about the wreck.
CM - Also asked about people dumping garden rubbish in the loch.
JH – We have tried to do lots about this issue, and I have been in touch with Environmental Services in ABC to see if there is any support they could give. As yet, I have not had a reply.
BT – Asked AR if he could ask on our behalf who is responsible to enforcing the legislation around fly tipping garden waste etc into the loch(s).
Meeting finished at 19.18pm
As this meeting was delayed by a week our next meeting will be in October.
Place: Younger Hall
Date: Tuesday October 12th @ 7.30PM
Meetings held Second Tuesday each month alternating between Younger & Blairmore Halls.
Kilmun Hall – January, March, May, July (Recess) September, November
Blairmore Hall – February, April, June, August, October, December t5
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