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February 2007

Minutes of the Dunnet and Canisbay Community Council meeting held in Castle Arms Hotel, Mey on Wednesday 14 February 2007 at 7.30pm.
John Green - Chair
Chris Hobson - Vice Chair
Irene Hendrie - Secretary
Keith Muir – Treasurer
Eric Green
William Sinclair
Sgt George Murray - Northern Constabulary
5 Members of the community in attendance
1     John Green opened the meeting and welcomed the members of the community in attendance.
2     Minutes of the last meeting had been circulated to the council members and were adopted by the meeting. Proposed Chris Hobson Seconded Keith Muir
3     Matters arising from the minutes. John Green reported that a recent meeting of the Highland Council had agreed that the Caithness Transport Vision should be adopted in full by HITRANS. This would be pursued by the Highland Councillors who are also members of the HITRANS board.
4     Public Meetings. John Green confirmed that community council meetings would be open to the public and those attending a meeting would be invited to contribute in an open forum during the course of each meeting. This arrangement would be formalised in the council’s standing orders which were being finalised.
5     Road Safety in East Mey. A member of the Public was concerned about the amount of traffic flowing through the village, particularly during the summer months. She felt it was dangerous for walkers, cyclists and horse riders as drivers paid little attention to them and did not slow down when passing. There were no speed limits, pavements, footpaths or warning signs in place. She had contacted Richard Guest, Caithness Area Roads and Community Works Manager and a survey had been carried out in September 2006. Irene Hendrie would write to Richard Guest to make the concerns known and to ask for a copy of the survey. Chris Hobson described the role of the Access Panel, how it may be able to help and provided contact details for David Barclay who is the Access Officer.
6     Community Policing. George Murray gave a talk on his role in the community. Having been in post for only three months he outlined his previous service in Stornoway where he was a Detective for eight years. He gave a summary of his first impressions of the area and of the main issues of concern in Caithness communities mainly drug misuse. Stationed in the Wick Police Station he is responsible for a large part of the area covered by our community council from Auckengill to Mey. He was aware of the recent vandalism in John O Groats and confirmed that it had been dealt with.   Eric Green requested that a visit be arranged to Canisbay Youth Club to speak to its members about the dangers of drug abuse. John Green thanked him for coming to the meeting and welcomed his offer to attend future meetings of the community council.
7     Affordable Housing. Ronnie Macrae of the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust had been in touch to confirm that the request for a survey to be carried out in our community would be considered at the next meeting of the Housing Development forum. He was preparing a survey and mailing list for the community council to consider.
8     Rural Action Research Proposal. Irene Hendrie had one member of the community willing to take part in the research programme. She would pass on the contact details to Anna McConnell.
9     Planning.     A member of the public had been in touch with Chris Hobson regarding her planning application to build a house in Dunnet. It was recommended for refusal and would be considered at a planning meeting on 12 March 2007. The draft Local Plan had originally designated the area as PP2 but this had been changed to PP3 in the final document which was now five years old. The council felt that young people should be encouraged to settle in the community. There were concerns about the amount of housing being built in the towns, particularly Thurso. This had the negative effect of drawing families away from fragile rural communities. A member of the community stated that the applicant's family had lived in Dunnet for generations and had contributed to community life, something that the applicant would continue to do. The letters of objection sent to planning did not show any substantial reason for refusal. Irene Hendrie would write a letter of support to the planning department and ask for clarification on the change of status from PP2 to PP3.
Of the planning applications that had contained in the weekly list only one would require further consideration. Irene Hendrie would write to the Planning Department and request the relevant documents and copies of the Local Plan.
10   Funding.   Keith Muir had received a cheque for £750 for the Community Council grant. He would open an account in the Clydesdale Bank.  
11    HGV traffic through Canisbay.   Ferry traffic from Gills was driving through Canisbay village to take a short cut onto the main road south. This was particularly worrying as they passed the primary school where there is no playground supervision. John Green was aware that the Roads Department were applying to have a weight restriction imposed on the stretch of road between Freswick and West Canisbay. Although this might inconvenience some users of the road the main issue was safety in the village and the meeting agreed to write to Richard Guest to support the application for a weight restriction. A letter would also be sent to JBT again asking them to stop driving through the village.
12    Community Council Website.   It would be worthwhile to secure the domain name for the council and build our own website. Keith Muir was happy to build and maintain the site and secure the domain name. Links to the site would be placed on the Highland Life website. 
13    Events in 2007.   George Murray confirmed that the Moray Firth Flotilla would be in Wick on 23 June 2007 with around ten thousand visitors expected. It might be a suitable event at which to do some fundraising. The Caravan site at Dunnet would be open from Easter and the O’Neill Highland Open Surfing championship may hold a stage in Dunnet Bay. The increased prize fund made it a well attended international event.
14    Wind Farm Developments.   A member of the public stated that the Lieurary Wind Farm had been refused planning permission and refused again on appeal. It was being re submitted and if approved would dominate the skyline being prominent from East Mey. Although not sited in our community A member of the public pointed out that wind farms were detrimental to tourism, landscape and wildlife in the county and were there for a matter for the community council to consider. The council did not have enough information about the application to form an opinion. Irene Hendrie would request the relevant documents to allow consideration at a future meeting.
15     Next Meeting    Chris Hobson would approach the owners of the Northern Sands with regard to having our next meeting there. It would be at 7.30pm on Wednesday 14 march 2007
John Green thanked all those who attended for their contribution to the meeting.
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