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Minutes April 2014

Minutes of Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council

Held in St. Clare Hall, Aukengill on

Wednesday 9th April 2014 at 7.30 p.m.


Those Present:           John Green, Chairman
Christopher Hobson, Vice-Chairman

                                    Bill Mowat, Member

                                    Barbara Hiddleston, Member, Secretary

There were five members of the Community in attendance


Apologies:  Apologies were received from Eric Green and Ann Shearer.
Minutes of Previous Meeting:

2.1.      There being no corrections Bill Mowat proposed the Minutes be accepted, which was seconded by Christopher Hobson

 Matters Arising.

Proposed Planning Application for the Erection of a Pharmacy in Castletown.
It had been announced on Radio Scotland this afternoon that the application for the erection of a pharmacy in Castletown had been rejected.

3.2.      Letter to Practice Manager, Castletown & Canisbay Group Practice.

As the pharmacy question had been resolved, it was agreed that this matter would now be taken further, and put on next month’s Agenda                                Action: John 

3.3.      John O’Groats Hall 1914-1918 War Memorial

The Secretary had circulated the first stage of research. This was ongoing and she would liase with Bill Mowat and John Green who had further information.   
The Chairman informed those in attendance that funding available from the Highland Council to cover the cost of repairs to the war memorial in St. Clare Hall.  But it was declined, as their memorial was constantly looked after and in good repair.                   
New Common Grazings Register.

Bill Mowat explained that he wanted someone to give a talk at one of our Community Council’s meetings to explain about the Register of Common Grazings. If not registered, there is a worry that crofters might lose out on their rights.
It would appear that contacting a Crofters Commission representative was proving to be difficult.  It was suggested from the floor that the nearest office was in Strathbeg House, Clarence Street, Thurso, which the Secretary agreed to follow up.           Action: Barbara

Gills Bay Transmission Link 132Kv  - 2nd Exhibition.       

The Chairman reported that he had visited the exhibition, and nothing was new except that it was confirmed steel pylons  would be used as opposed to wooden ones.

Community Benefit – Stroupster Wind Farm.

The Chairman informed those present about the  £150,000 of Community Funding that would be available from Stroupster Wind Farm once it was up and running. 
He had attended a training meeting on Monday evening with Foundation Scotland with whom we have agreed to work regarding its administration and the Community would be kept closely informed of progress.  

      Chairman’s/Secretary’s Report. Correspondence

Lyth Wind Farm near Lyth, Wick.  Planning Permission Appeal.

The Chairman reported that he had received a letter from the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals regarding the proposed Lyth Wind Farm.  He informed those present that there was a site inspection to be held by the independent reporter being carried in relation to the appeal on Monday 28th April 2014 at the 10.30 a.m. Those interested would meet at the proposed access. As a result of this inspection a decision will be made on its future.

Both John Green and Bill Mowat agreed to attend.              Action: Bill & John
Mr. Ed White informed the Members that the Caithness Windfarm Information Forum (CWIF) was making approaches to the Directorate asking for them to make the position clearer.

Proposed closing of Polling Stations in the Britannia Hall Dunnet & Canisbay Hall, Canisbay.

4.2.1    The Chairman read out a letter from the Elections Manger of the Highland Council regarding the result of the Stage 1 of their review of Polling Districts and Polling Places.

From this, it has been decided that Britannia Hall Dunnet and the Canisbay village hall are no longer suitable to be used as Polling Stations. As a result it is proposed that the Polling District to be moved to Mey Hall.

This letter was inviting comments from the Community through our Community Council from the on these proposals. In the process of moving forward to Stage 2, representations should be made not later than Friday 27th June 2014.  The final Report on the Review will be submitted to the Highland Council Meeting on 30th October 2014.
The  grounds put forward for the proposed closures are:-

That both halls have ‘internal lighting issues’.
Dunnet Hall ‘is not accessible to people with mobility problems’.
Whilst Canisbay Hall does have disabled access, it was suggested the polling station be moved on the grounds that there has been low turnouts at previous elections

This caused uproar at the Meeting. After discussion, the main concern was that moving the polling stations out of the villages, where they was accessible to all by walking, to a central hall in the middle of nowhere which would require having a car which not everyone has, seemed both unfair and utterly pointless. 
Christopher Hobson confirmed that in spite of their findings, there was very adequate disabled access into Britannia Hall, and that new lighting has been installed.  Also it was agreed that having a low turnout was not a good enough reason to dismiss the Canisbay Hall. 
Bill Mowat proposed that Christopher Hobson make representation of these concerns to the Elections Manager on behalf of the Community, which was seconded by the Chairman.                                                                                           Action: Chris

4.3.      Proposed change of location of the Roundabout at John O’Groats by Natural Retreats

The Chairman reported that the Community Council had several meetings with Natural Retreats regarding this matter.  The Roundabout at John O’Groats is an iconic landmark as it defines the End of the Road of Scotland, particularly in relation to journeys from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Natural Retreats have given much thought to these changes, and have taken into consideration buses stopping to allow disembarkation for the Ferry.

The final plans are available to all, and those wishing to see them are advised to contact the Chairman.


This is a Project to provide help and access to Computers, budgeting advice and help, to access electronic signing on and JSA claims. It is funded by such sources as Comic Relief and is offered by Ormlie Community Association for job seekers, low-income families and older people who may be disadvantaged by their lack of knowledge or access to IT.
Working in partnership with Citizens Advice Bureau, if anyone wishes to take advantage of this Project, it can be found at their office in Beach Court. Thurso Tel. 07935956732 from 10.00-2.00 p.m. Access is available outwith these times from The Ormlie Centre, Henderson Street, Thurso. Tel.  07935956731 or  01847891789.

Treasurer’s Report.

Christopher Hobson reported that the balance as at March 27th 2014 stood at £3,220.43.
He was reminded by the Chairman that as the next meeting was the AGM, the accounts would be required to be audited.                                                              Action: Chris

Planning – Lists

These were noted.


Earlier in the meeting it had been requested from members of the Community in attendance wished it to be Minuted that the Shop in Aukengill was closing this Friday after providing some 90 years of service.
They also mentioned something about a Van that provided a community service but was always breaking down and required some maintenance. Members agreed to look into the concerns express at the meeting.

The question regarding the issuing of Brown Bins for Garden Refuse was raised. If a house on ‘B’ band in the Country pays the same Council Tax as a house in Band ‘B’ in the Town, who is issued with a Brown Bin, why is a Brown Bin not issued to the Council Taxpayer in the Country? 
It was agreed that the Secretary would write to the Highland Council regarding this matter.

Action: Barbara

On talking to the Members of St. Clare Village Hall regarding their hall chairs, Christopher Hobson suggested that their Committee get together and approach the Chairman to apply for money from the Community Council funds to have them replaced.  Also he advised them that money could be available from the Discretionary Fund.

Date of Next Meeting. 

8.1.      The next meeting, which will include the AGM, will be held on the Wednesday 14th May, in Freswick Hall, Freswick at 7.30 p.m.










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