Unst Community Council   Unst Community Council
Unst Community Council

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 30th April 2018

at 7 pm in the Baltasound School, Music Huts


Gordon Thomson

Claire Priest

Minnie Mouatt

John Peterson

Janice Priest


Frances Browne, Community Learning and Development Officer

Ryan Thomson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio) 

Josie McMillan, Clerk                     

01/04/18     Apologies:

Raymond Priest

Hazel Spence

Julie Thomson

Alec Priest, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Duncan Simpson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Michael Duncan, Community Council Liaison Officer


Pat Burns has decided to resign from the Community Council as of 30th April 2018.  She said that she had enjoyed her term on the Community Council but feels she can no longer commit the time and dedication required to fulfil her obligations.  It was agreed to write to Pat and thank her for all the time and effort she has put in while she has been on the Community Council.  She will be a big miss.  As the vice chair position was now vacant, Gordon asked for nominations. Minnie proposed Claire and Gordon seconded it.  Claire accepted the nomination. 


02/04/18     Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 26th March 2018 were approved.   

03/04/18     Matters Arising from last minutes

02/11/17  Shetland Space Centre

The Shetland Space Centre has submitted its bid to be the UK’s first vertical launch facility.  The UK Space Agency (UKSA) is currently considering a number of funding bids from potential sites.  Frank Strang said there has been a lot of interest in the Space Centre already and they intend to apply for a spaceport licence even if they do not receive Government funding. The Shetland Space Centre is hosting a four day event to showcase the proposed site from the 28th to 31st May 2018. It was agreed to ask Frank Strang for another update and if possible to hold the postponed meeting before the end of May.  There has been a lot of interest in the Community about this.  There was a discussion about an article on the Shetland News site which states that the GMB union is backing the Sutherland bid because of the loss of jobs as the Dounreay site is being decommissioned.  Members felt that Highlands and Islands Enterprise should not be backing one bid over another within the area covered by HIE.  The SIC is submitting another bid to have a fibre optic cable laid to Unst.  The first application was unsuccessful.  Frances will follow up this with Douglas Irvine, SIC Economic Development and ask why the first bid failed.

08/07/16.1 Lund Kirkyard Road

Frances has made a start at looking for funding which the Community Council could apply to for installing a grid on the Lund road.  She thought that an application which just had road repairs on it would be unlikely to attract funding.  The application would need to be widened to maybe include Tourism/Culture/Heritage aspects.  Gordon explained that there are already interpretive walks around this area, which were done through an earlier project. These walks could be revamped.  Gordon has circulated an application for Community Development funding for £1000 for installing a grid.  This application has to be in by 11th May 2018.  The Clerk is to contact the National Trust for Scotland to ask if they would be happy for the Community Council to install grids in the Lund Road if we can get funding. 

12/10/12.2  Festive Timetable

The Clerk will email Michael Craigie, ZetTrans, yet again and ask if the Community Council’s suggestions have been discussed.  Ryan has asked to be copied into the email.

10/11/17.3  Scrap Cars

Gordon said that Lawrie’s scrapyard does have an agreement with Autogreen for the disposal of scrap cars.  Jim’s Garage has a contract to collect cars for Autogreen.  Gordon contacted Jim’s Garage and was told that they had one driver who works with this.  There are seven cars in Unst on the Autogreen list for collection.  At present there are several abandoned cars throughout Unst.  Gordon contacted Patti Dinsdale, SIC and she advised him to contact Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), who issue the contract for scrap car disposal, and also Autogreen.  The SIC put orders on the abandoned cars and then they contact Autogreen to collect the cars.  Abandoned and scrapped cars are an eye sore and with the tourist season already underway it would be good to get rid of these unwanted vehicles.

04/01/18   Chief Inspector Lindsay Tulloch, Consultation on Disposal of Unused Police Premises

Chief Inspector Tulloch replied to our email to say that the house is going to be put on the open market.

08/01/18.3  Ferry Matters – Single Vessel Timetable on Yell Sound

There has still been no reply to the email to Elaine Park, ZetTrans, asking if the ferry can wait for the Service bus if there is a single vessel service running on Yell Sound.  The Clerk emailed after last meeting and copied in Michael Craigie and Maggie Sandison, SIC Chief Executive.  There was a discussion about why Yell Sound went down to a single vessel.  Sometimes it is weather related because they can not get the ferry off the overnight berth and other times it is crew sickness. Yell Community Council are tracking the various reasons for the single vessel service.  Ryan asked to be coped into the emails.

08/03/18.1  SIC Chief Executive invite to visit Unst

Melanie Gorman, PA to the Chief Executive replied to our invite for Maggie Sandison to visit saying that she would discuss it with her and get back to us.  It was decided to email again.

08/03/18.4  Dog Fouling

This was posted on Facebook and had received a lot of positive comments.  Members felt that it had raised awareness of the problem.

08/03/18.7  Community Ferry Allocation 2018/2019

There are bookings for three community ferry hires:- Unst Yoal Regatta (14/7), Unst Festival Committee (22/7) and Unst Show (25/8).  The Clerk has passed these dates to Fiona Farquhar, SIC Ferries, who has now asked for timings.  The Clerk has contacted the groups to ask about times for the ferry.

08/03/18.10  Roads

The Clerk will email Brian Woods, SIC Roads, and ask if something can be done about the loose chips at the Crossroads at Nordalea. 

04/04/18     Unst Partnership (UP) Update

Gordon said that UP’s application to the Scottish Land Fund for funding to support the purchase of Unit 1 and employing a Development Officer had been approved.  UP is still waiting to hear from HIE about their Asset Transfer request.  UP plans to have the shop open in August.  The Skip Scheme is being promoted, it is hoped to sign up 40 people who will each pay £45 for use of all the skips for a year, occasional use will cost £20.  Unst Tourism Map is now being distributed.  UP’s AGM is on Wednesday 9th May in the Baltasound Hall.

05/04/18     Community Involvement Update

Frances said that Adult Learning had done a survey with the Under 5s group and had identified a couple of tutors to deliver specific courses.  There was a meeting of the Locality Planning steering group on Wednesday 25th May in Mid Yell.  There are three main things to come out of these meetings.  It was decided to look at all the information which has been gathered from consultations already and then pick something from these consultations which would easily achievable.  And the other thing was to go to people where they are.  Frances said that there has been so much work that has already be done.  It will be good to show that the agencies have listened to the suggestions and have been able to make small changes.

Gordon asked Ryan if there was anything he would like to update the Community Council on before he left to catch the ferry. Ryan said that he had met with Humza Yousaf, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands.  They had discussed HIAL car parking charging at Sumburgh.  The Community Council wrote to HIAL and Humza Yousaf about these charges as we feel that it is imposing an extra tax on people from Shetland.  Ryan said that there had been suggestions of adding extra on to landing charges instead of imposing carparking charges.  He said that Loganair had not been happy with this suggestion.  Ryan believes that the introduction of these charges will go ahead.  He said that Mr Yousaf did not know when Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) would be introduced for the North Isles.  This will be applied to passengers and cars, but not the cost of cabins.  Loganair charging has changed, if you do not stay over on a Saturday, then you are not entitled to the cheapest fare. Ryan said that Loganair had lost around £6 million when it was competition with Flybe on the North Isles routes.  Gordon thanked Ryan for attending.  Ryan left the meeting at 8.30pm.

06/04/18     Unadopted Roads

It was agreed to advertise that there are grants available for unadopted roads.

07/04/18     Community Council Finances

07/04/18.1  Community Council Accounts

The accounts will be audited by Voluntary Action Shetland shortly.

07/04/18.2  Community Development Fund – Second Round - 16th March 2018

The Community Council got approval for the Community Development Fund application which is used mostly for Da Voar Redd Up payments.

08/04/18     A.O.C.B.

08/04/18.1  HIAL Parking Charges

The Community Council wrote to HIAL to strongly oppose any attempt to impose car parking charges at Sumburgh. Gordon explained that public transport to the airport from Unst is only available once a day and on a return trip, it is nearly impossible to get a bus back and so a taxi to Lerwick from Sumburgh would be required.  Islands residents therefore find it necessary to take a car to the airport, or to get someone to take them there, at considerable cost. The cost of flying from Sumburgh to the Scottish mainland is already exorbitant, with prices having increased yet again now that there is no competition to Loganair. The Air Discount Scheme is no longer available at the cheapest rate if you do not travel over a Saturday. The cost of living on Shetland is already one of the highest in the UK. The Community Council thought that the scheme is rushed and ill thought-out. Sumburgh is not a short journey from Lerwick as Kirkwall Airport is from Kirkwall. It is half an hour by car, thirty miles in distance and poorly served by public transport.

08/04/18.2  Scottish Parliament, Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, Inquiry into Fish Farming

Michelle Johnson, Cooke Aquaculture, emailed to ask the Community Council for a letter of support for the positive contribution that Aquaculture is making to the local community.  She explained that the Scottish Government’s Environment Committee has completed an Enquiry on Aquaculture, which didn’t go well for the Industry.  The Rural Affairs & Connectivity Committee are now holding a second Enquiry. Ms Johnson explained the industry needs positive representations to counteract statements made by the anti-fish farming lobby and to show the positive contribution that aquaculture makes to the community.  Gordon wrote to support the aquaculture industry and the massive economic contribution that it makes to Unst.

08/04/18.3  Energy Isles Community Liaison Group Meeting - 23rd April 2018

Gordon attended this meeting in Yell.  He said that there will be a public meeting in Unst at the end of May.  There are plans for around 60 windmills in North Yell, this will depend on the interconnector going ahead.  These turbines are larger than the existing Cullivoe windmills.  This liaison group, which will have two representatives from Unst Community Council, plan to meet two or three times a year.  If the windfarm goes ahead there will be Community Benefit Fund set up, this will distribute funds to the community.

08/04/18.4  Shetland Regional Marine Planning Partnership

Charlotte Slater, Marine Spatial Planning Officer, North Atlantic Fisheries College Marine Centre emailed to explain that as part of ongoing work of the Shetland Regional Marine Planning Partnership they are going to be holding a number of public events over the summer to allow consultation on the next steps for the Shetland Islands’ Regional Marine Plan. Ms Slater states that “they would be very keen to come along to a community council meeting to discuss any issues relating to the marine environment that you or your community have identified, consider potential opportunities for actions to address these issues and finally what you value in your community in relation to the marine environment.”  It was agreed to email and ask if they would attend a Community Council meeting.

08/04/18.5  SIC Recycling Roadshow – Baltasound Hall   8th May 2018    6.30pm – 8.00pm

The Council is holding a drop-in session on Tuesday 8th May in the Baltasound Hall to explain the Council’s recycling plans and the introduction of wheelie bins in July this year.

08/04/18.6  Da Voar Redd Up

The Northern Neesicks swimming Group have contacted Shetland Amenity Trust to say that they no longer want to do their Voar Redd Up Stretch.  The Brownies will do it this year and it will be advertised next year to ask if any other voluntary group would like to do it.  Baltasound Junior High is also going to do a second stretch at Collaster Beach in the Westing.

08/04/18.7  Hermaness Visitor Centre

Gordon emailed Graham Neville, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), to ask if the rumours that the Hermaness Information Centre wasn’t opening this year were true and that there wouldn’t be a warden based there either.  Juan Brown, Operations Manager, has taken over management of Hermaness locally. He said that their bid for the seasonal post at Hermaness was turned down this year, due to budget constraints and the prospect of a shared post at Halligarth in future (as part of the Amenity Trust-led project).  Gordon was unhappy with this reason as the Halligarth project is unlikely to begin this year, if it goes ahead at all.  Mr Brown said that the toilets will be open until the end of August, and SNH are continuing to manage the reserve for public access.  Information leaflets are provided in a box at the reserve entrance.  Gordon said that SNH’s publicity material online makes several mentions of the Information centre.  The UP Tourist map for 2018 comes out next week, clearly showing a Visitor Centre. This is a much to valuable an asset to lose. Hermaness is one of the most famous sites for seabirds in the UK.

08/04/18.8  Training Session – Make a Difference - Reducing Loneliness and Isolation in Shetland

Michael Duncan, SIC Community Development, has passed on a training opportunity which is available to Community Council’s and members of the community.  The training is about loneliness, isolation and stigma which was found to be significant causes of inequalities in Shetland by the Shetland Commission on Tackling Inequalities. As a result, Shetland Partnership (which includes NHS, VAS, Police, Fire, the Trusts and SIC) endorsed the roll out of the “Make a Difference” project, which involves individuals attending a short awareness session to explore what we can all do to make a difference to those people who may be lonely or isolated.  The Clerk will contact Fiona Robertson to organise a session in Unst.

08/04/18.9  Notice to Mariners for the area: Yell to Unst – Bluemull Sound

An email was received from Bibby HydroMap Ltd stating that on behalf of the Xodus Group and Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution they will be undertaking a hydrographic & geophysical survey operation across the Yell to Unst submarine electricity corridor.  This survey will be using the vessels MV Cougar and MV Proteus and done on the following dates, weather permitting. Survey Operations with the survey vessel MV Cougar are anticipated to commence on 18 May 2018 and expected to last 6 days. Survey Operations with the survey vessel MV Proteus will be done in two phases.  The first phase is anticipated to begin on the 5 June 2018 and to last 6 days. The second phase will begin on the 15 June and last 2 days.

08/04/18.10  Non Domestic Rates – Community Halls

Members have been told that if a hall has a drinks licence then it has to pay water rates.  One hall queried this when the charges were imposed but did not get anywhere with it, so now pay the water rates.  This information has to be passed on to Michael Duncan.

The next meeting date will be set on Monday 28th May 2018 at 7.00 pm in the Baltasound School

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