Minutes of meeting held via Zoom on Wednesday 28th October 2020

PRESENT: A Kirk (Chair), C Miller, A Buttress, G Dyer (minutes), D Stott, H Deery, J Bracher, Cllr W Lobban, L Cowie (THC), F Angella, G Gerrard, A Baird, D Baird, F Law, M Brown, M Pashke, J Rice, M Moe (audio only), L Duncan (no audio or visual), M O’Reilly (part meeting),  D McDonald (CNPA), C Robertson (CNPA)


INTRODUCTION: A Kirk welcomed all to this first Zoom meeting of C&VCC and explained the protocols and procedures which would apply. He gave a brief resume of how the Community Council had operated since March – zoom meetings, phone calls and explained that plans for a September meeting had had to be delayed as we were not quorate, due to resignation of M O’Reilly due work commitments. Much of what would be reported had been contained in the community newsletter published in July, but would be recorded to-night for the minutes.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING: AK explained that as no meetings had been held since February, the draft minutes had been published on the website and on local notice boards.  Adoption of the minutes of 17th February 2020 was proposed and seconded by C Miller and A Buttress – Approved.

CO-OPTION OF COMMUNITY COUNCILLORS: Since November 2019 we have had 6 councillors, 2 short of our quota.  We have been trying unsuccessfully to co-opt, but the resignation of M O’Reilly has made this more critical.  AK advised that we now had three people who were willing to be co-opted – Denise Stott, Helen Deery and James Bracher.  He read a short statement from each and they were unanimously elected by the councillors present.  Andrew explained that they could now participate fully in the business of the Community Council, except for election of any additional co-opted members, should the need arise.  AK also advised that the council could have Associate members and Youth members, with various conditions attached to such appointments.

COVID 19: AK gave a comprehensive report on the steps taken within Carrbridge to form a Resilience Committee to provide assistance to the community during this pandemic.  He expressed particular thanks to Ruth Walker, Alison Murray and John Walker for their efforts in setting up processes for call handling, leaflet distribution, prescription uplift, shopping collection, medical visits etc.  VABS and in particular Mairi Brown have been a great help throughout.  Over 60 volunteers stepped forward to share the tasks – a superb demonstration of this community’s spirit.  VABS will continue to pay for our call handling system until March at least.  He thanked Kireen and staff in the Spar, David in the Post Office, the Carter’s for adapting their Friday operation, the Carrbridge Kitchen for their take-away service and Dougie in the Garage.  When restrictions were relaxed, Gareth and Colin provided more of what was needed. AK finished by expressing his pride in how Carrbridge had tackled the challenges of the pandemic.

CAIRNGORMS CAPERCAILLIE PROJECT: AK reported that due to the restrictions imposed by the lockdown, the council had not formally endorsed this project, which had been awarded funding from the proceeds of gambling through the National Lottery fund.  He asked fellow councillors to indicate whether they endorsed the project or not.  Taking into account the results of surveys (both official and alternative) and with the acknowledgement that there remained a small but vociferous opposing minority, all councillors agreed the project should be supported. DS wanted more engagement by the project leaders to address repeated concerns raised by residents, particularly regarding access, in the hope of finding a resolution to these ongoing concerns.

CEMETERY BIN: AB reported that problems with overflowing bin near the cemetery had been resolved due to contacts made by R McInnes.

CARVE CARRBRIDGE:  G Gerrard gave a report on this year’s virtual Carve, which attracted much interest on all media platforms, reaching over 20,000 people and with over 3,000 people directly engaging with the event.  A total of 11 carvers participated, with the Claymore Trophy being won by Sam Bowsher and the online People’s Choice by Ian Williams. As well as videos of the carvers at work, the day included our piper, green woodworking, a virtual tour of the village carving trail, a colouring competition for youngsters and even a virtual ceilidh!!   Congratulations to all involved, but everyone is looking forward to the real thing in 2021!!

GOLDEN SPURTLE: CM reported that the virtual competition had gone very well, with 18 participants from 6 countries and had been won by Chris Young just one point ahead of Lisa Williams, the reigning champion.  Thanks to the work of the volunteers and the main sponsor Hamlyns, the event had made a profit of £264!!

ELLAN BRIDGE: AK gave brief history of bridge and advised that its 6 yearly full inspection was required this year.  This had been undertaken by a suitably qualified engineer who reported that no major structural repairs were required, but a fair amount of vegetation clearance needed to be carried out prior to some maintenance work on the bridge’s wire support system.  Estimates are being sought and CNPA have promised £1000 towards costs for which the CC is grateful. The  CC will pay up to £1200 including the grant and Carrbridge Ahead will be asked to cover the additional costs, which could amount to several thousand pounds.

RIVERSIDE WALK FENCE By Garage: Temporary repairs have been carried out by R McInnes and the Outdoor Access Officer of CNPA advises that they will hopefully carry out and pay for permanent remedial action.

A9  DUALLING: It is anticipated that it will be quite some time before any work starts on “our” section of the project.

NMU TO KINVEACHY TO AVIEMORE: AK reported that since 2013, CCC had been campaigning with others to achieve a traffic-free route to Aviemore and other communities in the Strath.  Surveys showed that there was overwhelming support for this and when there were no plans for the NMU in the A9 Dualling proposals, a concerted campaign by CCC, Sustrans, THC and CNPA ensued.  Objections to the lack of NMU provision in the A9 Dualling proposals were lodged  and following a Public Enquiry by a Reporter appointed by the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland agreed to undertake a survey into the feasibility of such a route.  Having received suitable reassurances from TS, earlier this year THC and CNPA withdrew their objections and CCC followed suit in late April.  Planning and surveying work continues and it is hoped that a public consultation will be held in the near future. It is almost certain that CNPA will call in the planning application for determination.

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY: AK reported that special arrangements would apply this year, due to Covid and that no public service would take place at Carrbridge War Memorial.  There will be a simple wreath-laying ceremony attended only by R McInnes representing CCC and individuals from Carrbridge Church and the Fire Service.  Members of the community were invited to pay their respects in their own ways.

SENIORS CHRISTMAS LUNCH 2020:  For obvious reasons this has been cancelled this year. The traditional Christmas Hamper donated by Janice McLaughlin in memory of her mother usually drawn at the Soup Lunch will be subject to a random draw . M Brown reported that Carrbridge Primary School pupils would be producing pictures , stories and poems which would be distributed to all residents.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS & TREE: AK reported that after their complete overhaul last year by Neil Fraser (THC), our lights would again be erected this year, but that we would probably require to pay about £700 for this.  We were to receive our tree again from Reidhaven Estate, with Carrbridge Hotel personnel erecting it and THC decorating it.  Many thanks were expressed to all.

SPEEDING & COUNTER MEASURES:  DS reported that the promised measures (30mph repeater posts, repainted chevrons, count-down markers etc) had still not been achieved and reminded all that this was now approaching two years since THC undertook to do something Jacqueline Rice had written to Drew Hendry, local MP, who had been in contact with THC and had received assurances that the work would be done soon.  There were also concerns about heavy haulage movements speeding through the village and it was agreed that a sub-group be set up under D Stott with J Bracher and others in order to ensure the promised works were actually carried out and speeding concerns addressed.  Cllr Lobban advised that any left-over moneys from the “Spaces for People Fund” could come to Carrbridge as it was on the list to receive some.  It was hoped that through linking to the “Twenty’s Plenty” campaign, a meeting would be held in the next few weeks and that if moneys became available they could be used to allow the setting up of a 20mph zone throughout Carrbridge.

STRUAN HOTEL: AK gave a lengthy report on this saga, confirming that the CCC had adhered to a requirement for confidentiality for a considerable time, but that it was now common knowledge the THC were endeavouring to progress redeveloping the site through Compulsory Purchase powers.  The evidence of recent communications from Fergus Ewing, local MSP, confirmed this intention and it was hoped that the matter would now show signs of progress.  M Pascke expressed concern about the delay in progressing this matter and AK reassured her that the feeling was felt by all. (Note: subsequent to meeting, Members of Highland Council’s economy and infrastructure committee gave their support to officers to secure a compulsory purchase order for the derelict Struan Hotel under Sections 9 and 10 of the Housing (Scotland) Act )

MINUTE SECRETARY POSITION: It was reported that H Davidson had tendered her resignation as Minute Secretary on health grounds and AK advised that a small gift had been given in recognition of her many years of service. The post attracts payment of £30 per meeting and efforts continue to fill this post.

PLANNING: Bullfield Housing: GD reported that the proposed development had been signed off by the Scottish Government Reporter who had attached 15 conditions, 12 of which were to be achieved prior to building start.  Compliance will be closely monitored. The developer had selected a couple of possible names for the area and CCC had chosen from that “Pinefield ” when asked to comment on a name.  Mast on B9017: Residents affected in the vicinity had been consulted on this proposal and all were in agreement that improved coverage was essential.  CCC felt that a less obtrusive siting on the east side of the road would have less visual impact.  DS to respond to THC planning dept.

Woodlands Development: CCC expressed disappointment at the lack of movement of the 30mph signage before any residents have moved in.  DS to raise with THC. It was agreed that in future D Stott would coordinate all planning matters on behalf of CCC.

TREASURER’s REPORT:  C Miller reported that the account currently held £4,811.79.


THC Winter Resilience Programme – It was agreed that we would not participate in this scheme. It was felt it was just not sustainable being volunteer run .The supply of some equipment and materials could benefit areas not covered by THC work teams. Graves of service veterans in Carrbridge Cemetery – RMcI had laid crosses on all local graves along with Mr Fraser and Mrs McInnes and was thanked by AK.  It was noted that the paths within the cemetery had been weeded and tidied up, but the main driveway appeared waterlogged.

A Buttress reported that a resident had complained about the number of horses and bikes using the paths in the woods, but would tell the complainant that if used responsibly, the paths were for all..

H Deery reported cases of unsociable behaviour by local youths. It was agreed that she and M Brown make contact with the Youth Development Officer from Highlife Highland to discuss the issue.  It was also agreed to request Police Scotland organise more patrols in Carrbridge.

J Bracher was concerned about obstructions being placed across public paths and woodland trails.  It was very dangerous for bikers and should be reported to the authorities.            Carolyn Robertson (CNPA Capercaillie Project) thanked CCC for support and agreed to try to meet with those opposed locally to scheme.  She introduced D MacDonald, the new Local Ranger.  M Moe asked about Windfarm money.  AK explained how initial discussions were with CCC, but as Carrbridge Ahead (CBA) was the type of organisation structured to receive this community benefit they had taken on this and AK also reported that it was just two weeks ago that the first of 25 annual payments had been received (£23,215).  Any questions or requests should be addressed to CBA.

M Brown reported that the original part of the playpark required new woodchip and she was advised to liaise with THC.  AK reported that there was still just under £1,200 held by CBA on behalf of playpark.

G Gerrard raised the matter of THC response to Climate Change Emergency with Cllr W Lobban and was subsequently sent the link to a THC subcommittee meeting scheduled on the subject.  It was agreed to put the item on agenda for next meeting.

AK thanked all for participating and announced that the next meeting of CCC would take place on Thursday 8th December, due to prior commitments of councillors.