It has been a difficult year for us all – when the CC was contacted in March 2020 to prepare for an emergency by setting up a volunteer resilience group, we had no idea what was ahead of us. We now know that despite the terrible death toll nationally we in Carrbridge were not overwhelmed as had been initially thought by authorities. The helpline was set up very quickly with help from VABS and HC. Many people stepped forward to volunteer which was very heart-warming – a good number were in the vulnerable group themselves which said a lot about the selfless attitude of so many. As the helpline evolved not all were required but thanks to them for offering and to the volunteers that were used. Pharmacy runs were the vast majority of requests. The helpline was gradually run down as restrictions eased at the end of April 21.

Grateful thanks to all who were involved- you know who you are. However a very special mention to Ruth Walker who helped so much with the setting up of the helpline and then lead on it with great efficiency.

The CC has continued to function throughout the pandemic and although we hoped to have village hall meetings by September/October of last year it became clear that was not going to happen and with the help and support of VABs and HC we commenced virtual meetings. This initially had its challenges for CCrs and members of the public but eventually we all got the hang of it! However chairing such meetings I haven’t enjoyed as the zoom atmosphere for whatever reason is so much different from the village hall where we seem to be able to have much nicer and pleasant meetings.

With the resignation of a recently elected CCr our number was reduced to 5 . As 4 is our quorum minimum we all had a concerted effort to canvass residents to bring us up to our maximum of 8 and were pleased when Denise,Helen and James agreed to be co opted as CCrs. Co opted Ccrs have full voting rights – the only thing they can’t do is vote for or against the co option of another CCr.

We were also pleased that Alan McNeilage agreed to be our new minute secretary for which we are very grateful. I would want to put on record our thanks to Heather our previous min sec who retired in 2020.

Speeding: This continues to be a concern for many residents. The HC are to introduce a 20mph limit in the village, along with some traffic calming measures, in common with many other areas of Scotland and the UK.

We await this implementation and will take note of resident’s feedback.

A9 Dualling/NMU: We continue to liaise with Transport Scotland.

The Tomatin to Moy section will apparently commence in 2022 but no date has been given for our section – Dalraddy to Slochd.  Along with HC,CNPA,Boat and Aviemore CC we lobbied Transport Scotland (TS) for a NMU preferably parallel to the ‘old A9‘ to Kinveachy and then to Aviemore. TS have consulted with communities and we have noted the surveying taking place along the route.

Young people: The last 16 or so months has not been easy for anyone but perhaps particularly young people who are used to being free and able to do what they want. Using Jigsaw proceeds from David Ritchie Snrs initiative we subsidised a programme of Mountain Bike for Teens instructor lead sessions and helped to successfully get a grant from HC for a Youth Club which is being set up. Thanks to HC for supporting. We also made contact with the Police who with limited resources it seems tried to do what they could.

Porridge – Golden Spurtle: Charlie Miller leads on this for which the CC is very grateful. 2020 and now 2021 has been cancelled due to Covid but a virtual event is being planned. Last year’s virtual event produced a small profit!

Carve Carrbridge: This too was cancelled in 2020 and understandably will be again this year 2021. However the organisers keep awareness of it alive on social media and we all look forward to 2022.

Struan: We continue to actively liaise with THC. The HC are progressing with compulsory purchase which we all hope will conclude sooner than later.

Seniors Christmas lunch: This was understandably cancelled in 2020.

 Cairngorms Capercaillie Project : this CNPA-led project continues,with local spin-off projects identified and progress made.

 Defibrillator: Our village defib sited at the Old Police Station courtesy of Charlie and Davina continues to be maintained by Charlie for which grateful thanks.

Ellan woods flooding: The CC liaised with concerned residents, Landmark, THC and Seafield estate. Various measures were put in place by Landmark and we believe they are getting professional advice to look at it further.

 Orchid Place: The 23 houses here are now finished and the development has met the needs of quite a few local and some not so local people. However there is disappointment that at least one is now an Air B&B. There have been concerns by some Crannich Park residents that the water table behind them is higher as a result of the build. The CC met with their spokesman and CNPA on site.

Village Litter pick: This didn’t happen in 2020 .  However a limited one will take place soon . In addition the CNPA rangers on their weekly and sometimes twice weekly visits have taken to pick up litter as they go round.

Ellan Bridge: This bridge is effectively ‘owned ‘ by the CC. No one else takes responsibility for it or claims ownership. Continued thanks to John Walker for inspecting the bridge on an annual basis – a legal requirement. If this was to be done commercially it would involve the village is a hefty expense. However, every 6 years and in 2020 a full inspection was required . John helped to organise with a suitably qualified and registered engineering firm. The report highlighted works which were carried through by McGowans Outdoor Access (£1596 paid by CBA) and Stephen Blair Tree Surgery ( £1176 paid by CC with the support of a £1000 grant from the CNPA for which we are very grateful)

CNPA Local Development plan: Following the well attended Village hall CNPA led drop in event and other representations the CC submitted a response to the LDP 2020-2025. The major concern was H1 – the field opposite Carr Place known by some as the Football Field ,Boys Brigade Field or Bulls Field which the park had proposed 36 houses in half the field. The CC objected to this very strongly preferring to see the whole field developed at once.

The Community Council were opposed to 36 houses on half the original H1 –as  it was clear that that meant another 36 in the next plan on the other half.

We advocated a maximum number of 40 houses on the whole field in the long term. In the event the Local plan published 2021 has allocated 47 houses of which 11 are HC/housing assoc. Planning permission has subsequently been given for this.

There is continued concern about Carr road due to its narrowness and lack of space for pedestrians. There will be a 20mph speed limit and traffic calming measures out in place. We are closely monitoring this with Denise Stott our planning rep in dialogue with HC. A safe route to school path at Carr farm house down through the field to the school is to be built by the CNPA with monies from developer contributions included in the legal agreement for the development. Denise will continue dialogue with CNPA on this.

In all there are 12 planning conditions that have to be met before building commences and we will continue to see that those are adhered to.

Thanks- Finally thanks to all CCrs for the time that they give voluntarily.

To Bill Lobban ,our Highland Councillor who rarely misses a meeting and is very supportive towards Carrbridge. Liz Cowie our HC area Manager for all the support she has given us.  Karen Derrick and Mairi Brown, VABS for their continued advice and support.

Also , just to name a few ,those others in the community who step forward to help – Porridge, Carve, Duck race, Bunting, Litter pick.  I would like to mention two in particular – Andrew McInnes who keeps the grassy area beside the bridge tidy at no cost to HC or to the CC and to Dougie Edwards who does so much for the village often without people knowing it was him.

Andrew Kirk

June 2021