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Minutes June 2015

Minutes of Dunnet & Canisbay Community Council Meeting

Held on the Wednesday 17th June, 2015

In Mey Hall, Mey at 7.30 p.m.

Those Present:           Chris Hobson, Vice-Chairman

                                    Ann Shearer

                                    Barbara Hiddleston, Secretary

                                    Eric Green

                                    Councillor Gillian Coghill

Apologies:  Apologies were received from Bill Mowat and John Green.

1.         Minutes of Previous Meeting

1.1.      As there were no corrections, Ann Shearer proposed the Minutes of previous meeting held on the 20th Mey 2015 be accepted, which was seconded by Chris Hobson.

 2.        Matters Arising.

2.1.      Cllr. Coghill had successfully contacted Stuart Black of the Planning Dept. regarding the road  management works at Keiss.

2.2.      A letter had been sent to the Tecs Services on the 27th May regarding concern of the sight lines on             junction in the village at Dunnet, which had not been acknowledged.  The Secretary agreed to send  a reminder.                                                                                                                    Action Barbara

2.3.      John O’Groats Mill, Huna.  Enquiries into this matter was in hand.

 Action Bill    

2.4.      Proposed Improvements due at Dunnet Bay and on Dunnet Head.  Cllr. Coghill had contacted Ann Hackett, Principal Projects Officer, who gave an update and provided a draft programme.

Project Manager: Emma Whitham.
Consulting Engineers: Mouchel Consultancy
The contracted had been advertised the week of the 27th May
Those shortlisted invited to tender at the beginning of June which would last 4 weeks and end mid-July.
The Tender to be awarded by the end of July
Construction would begin at the end of August and completed by October.

2.5.      John O’Groats and Northern Retreats plans for the Car Park.

2.5.1    A letter of objection had been sent to the Planning Dept. but to no avail as the proposed plan had been granted outline planning permission. Cllr Coghill explained that any objections that had been raised would be noted when the next application for the specifics in the Car Park are applied for.

2.5.2    Much discussion then ensued, and it was felt by the Community Councillors present, Highland Council were paying absolutely no attention to the voice of the people of John O’Groats who did not want such drastic changes to their car park, and that Natural Retreats were not interested in their opinions either.

2.5.3    Apart from the café, there is little interaction between the locals, visitors and those who use Natural Retreats and both those who rent the chalets, and those that use the ‘virtual’ John O’Groats House Hotel which is not accessible to the local people.   Natural Retreats appear to be quite self-contained and don’t encourage contact.

2.5.4.   It was also felt that neither Highland Council nor Natural Retreats quite understood the concept of the ‘end of the road’.  If the decision to redistribute the car parking space, and not encourage the coaches to reach the ‘end of the road’, the coach companies will stop coming to John O’Groats and the local trade will severely suffer.

2.5.5.   Cllr. Coghill agreed to pass on our views to the planning department. She also agreed to find out if it were possible if a meeting could be set up with the Stake Holders regarding the carpark, and in particular to include the Highland Council.                                               

Action Cllr. Coghill

2.5.6.  Ann Shearer was pursuing the social network Petition.                                

Action Ann

3.         Chairman’s Report.  There was no Chairman’s Report                                                      

4.         Treasurer’s Report.

4.1.      The balance stood at £5,650.

4.2.      The Ward Manager had written to the Treasurer informing him that our Community Council had been granted £1,280.83.  This would be paid out as soon as a recent certified financial report had been submitted, which was in hand.                                                                     

Action Chris

4.3.      The Village Officers Fund has been set at £980 for each Community Council.

4.4.1    A discussion then arose on how best to find out how both these monies can be used by the Communities.             Eric Green proposed that the Village Hall Committees should be approached, and that a notice be put onto our Website which was unanimously approved. The Treasurer and the secretary agreed to follow this up.                                                        

Action Chris & Barbara

Also each of the Community Councillors make enquiries from within their own area.     

4.4.2    Barbara Hiddleston suggested that a Weight Restrictions sign could be put up to prevent the heavy traffic from using the Seater to and from Gills Ferry.

4.4.3    Eric Green proposed that the grass around Nybster Broch ought to be strimmed as it is a popular spot for visitors.  The Secretary agreed to contact Caithness Archaeological Trust who have an interest in this site.                                                                                                  Action Barbara

4.5.      The Secretary reminded the Treasurer that £20 levy was due to the Association of Community Councils.    

                                                                                                       Action Chris

4.6.      Canisbay Primary School Parent Council Request. The Secretary agreed to contact the Secretary of Canisbay Primary School Parent Council and the Treasurer will pay the agreed £250.                                                                                                                                           Action Barbara

5.         Secretary’s Report.

5.1.      Cares Grant. This was the funding that paid for the Community Plan drawn up by Sandy Anderson, taken from suggestions given by members of the public in the area on how they wanted the money from Stroupster Windfarm Community Fund best spent. As yet we have not yet received the Plan.  The Secretary agreed to contact Eilidh Gunn, Foundation Scotland, regarding this matter. 

                                                                                                                                Action Barbara

6.         Planning – Weekly Report. 

6.1.      Proposed Tresdale Windfarm.  Ref.15/01261/FUL. It was reported that this application has caused much distress to those living within the surrounding environs and was dividing the village. During the debate that followed, concerns were expressed about unanswered questions.  Eric Green agreed to send the relevant information to the Secretary who would write a letter to the Planning Dept. expressing these concerns.                                                                                                      

Action Eric & Barbara

6.2.      Proposed Windmills at Freswick. Ref: 15/02096/FUL, at land near Midtown, Skirza Head, Freswick and Ref:15/02095/FUL Craigwell Farm, Freswick. These would be published in the local paper tomorrow.

7.         AOB.

7.1.      BT Broadband.  Eric Green reported he had been talking to H.I.E. regarding the possibility of Broadband upgrade for John O’Groats.  Whilst Keiss and Barrock are due to be upgraded by next year, there are no plans to upgrade John O’Groats because as a remote community it poses great problems to provide broadband.

7.2.      During the discussion that followed it appeared the Dunbeath Community Council had found another way to get broadband, The Secretary agreed to contact their Chairman regarding this matter.                                                                                             

Action Barbara        

8.         Date of Next Meeting.  The next meeting which will be the AGM will be held on Wednesday 22nd July in Freswick Village Hall, Freswick at 7.30 p.m.                        


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