Unst Community Council   Unst Community Council
Unst Community Council

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 10th August 2020

at 6.30 pm using WebEx Phone Conferencing



Patrick Fordyce, Chair

Claire Priest, Vice Chair

David Cooper

Caroline Hunter

Janice Priest

Hazel Spence

Gordon Thomson

Julie Thomson

Alec Priest, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Ryan Thomson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)



Frances Browne, Community Involvement and Development Officer

Josie McMillan, Clerk

01/08/20      Apologies

John Peterson

PC Angela Manson

Duncan Anderson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Michael Duncan, Community Council Liaison Officer


02/08/20      Minutes from the Last Meeting

The minutes from the meeting held on Monday 22nd June 2020 were proposed by Janice and seconded by Gordon.


03/08/20      Declaration of Interest

Janice declared an interest in agenda item 10/06/20.2 Community Benefit Fund – Energy Isles and 10/06/20.3  Shetland Space Centre Proposed Development.  And also 05/08/20 Unst Partnership (UP) Update relating to Unst Show.

Julie declared an interest in agenda item 10/06/20.3  Shetland Space Centre Proposed Development. 


04/08/20      Matters Arising from last minutes           

There were no matters arising from the last meeting.


05/08/20      Unst Partnership (UP) Update. 

HIE Covid fund  Most of this has now been spent. It will run out at the end of August/start of September.  Corra Foundation   UP have also received £2000 from the Corra Foundation which can be used to boost the Food Fund/Food bank and allow UP to keep trading. Skip service UP paid for an extra skip day from the Corra Foundation fund on 25th July as it had been a while since the last one (UP had hoped SIC might have funded this extra skip but that did not materialise.)   Although white goods and metal could not be collected due to Shetland Amenity Trust (SAT) furloughing its workers, 42 people have taken an annual membership and over 40 people brought their bruck or had it collected on the day. The next skip day is planned for 29th August but it’s unlikely metal or white goods can be taken then. UP are waiting on word from SAT.  UP Shop UP hired a container from Ian Reid for 3 months to go at the rear of the shop, courtesy of the Fire Service. UP took in donations last weekend and plan to open the shop again from 13th August. Numbers will need to be limited so it will remain to be seen how profitable or not the shop will be. They may extend opening hours or have an appointment system, but this is still to be decided.  UP won’t be offering their £3K Participatory Budget event this year as they have not been trading since March 14th and have lost about £1000 a month since then. UP’s one staff member was placed on furlough until this month and UP did receive a £10K grant from the Government Response Fund but has lost about £5000 in lost earnings over this period.  Recycling Centre UP received a £3k SIC Community Development Fund grant towards the purchase of land from Unst Show Committee and design work for a proposed Recycling Centre at Hagdale. They have commissioned Neil Risk Ltd. to purchase the land and this process has just started. UP will need to consult with the community before proceeding with design work. Suggestions so far for the centre have included a repair/recycle facility, gardening area, wood pile, community laundry for larger bedding and household item, food composter and social area. Further suggestions are welcome.  Bike Shed  The Unst Cycle Hire business has now relocated to Unst Leisure Centre (ULC), with support from a Sandison Trust grant applied for by UP for conversion work on the ULC Mower Shed. Sandisons Ltd still have some work to do on the shed but bikes can now be hired from the Centre.  Halligarth Two UP directors met by phone conference with National Trust for Scotland staff recently to discuss work on their properties. NTS agreed on work to secure Roselea, the house north of Halligarth, as it was open to the elements and to fixing a loose gravestone in the Edmondston/Saxby family cemetery. NTS have issued a contract for grass-cutting and maintenance at Halligarth which has been given to Paul Banks. They have just recently agreed to repairs to the south wall at Halligarth and UP are now seeking to engage someone to do this work.


06/08/20      Community Involvement Update

Frances explained that she had been on annual leave.  She has been working with the Fetlar community on “islands with small populations.”  Frances has also been following up on queries from the Community Council relating to anonymous information and how it is treated.


07/08/20      Application for Planning

There were no applications for planning.


08/08/20      Unadopted Roads

There were no applications for unadopted roads.


09/08/20      Application for Donations

There were no applications for donations.


10/08/20 Correspondence

10/08/20.1  Shetland Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) – Grant Scheme

Gordon said that there is an online meeting on Wednesday night which he plans to attend.  He explained that with the Viking Energy Project going ahead, each Community Council will get £10,000 a year to distribute within the community.  Details of how this funding will be allocated have to be finalised.  Gordon believes it will be a straightforward form and application process.  There will be three tiers of application, with applications for larger amounts being decided by the SCBF committee.

10/08/20.2  Community Benefit Fund – Energy Isles Ltd

Gordon said that there is an online meeting on Tuesday night which he is planning to attend.  He said that there have been no Energy Isles Ltd meetings for a while. 

Gordon will update everyone on the outcomes of both these meetings.

10/08/20.3  Shetland Space Centre (SSC) Proposed Development

Frank Strang replied to our email answering several queries.  He said that Saxavord, the Resort, will not be opening this year but will be open for key workers, Space Consultants and Contractors throughout the year.  Mr Strang answered the query regarding the rumour that the Space Centre might move to Scatsta.  He said that he had spent the last 3 years battling to put Unst on the Space map and look to regenerate the economy. He said that Scatsta is of interest but as a satellite of Unst, he is keen to refurbish Baltasound airstrip.  Mr Strang said that Skyrora has an agreement with the Shetland Space Centre to launch Orbital rockets when they and SSC are licensed.  SSC are looking at setting up a series of sub orbital launches with Raptor in the autumn and engaging the Community with those and setting a template as to how the protocols should be followed.  SSC are in daily contact with Lockheed Martin regarding design etc. and are also looking at a very exciting opportunity with the European Space Agency that would really cause a lot of excitement if it happens. They have 7 companies that wish to launch from Unst.  Patrick had met with Frank Strang, Scott Hammond, Paul Riddell and Elizabeth Johnson recently.  He said that there was nothing new or significant that came out of this meeting.  The full planning application should be submitted by the end of September.  SSC is planning to set up a public consultation in early September, they will advise the Community Council as to what format this meeting will take.  Members said that it will be good to view the full application to see specifications etc.  Frances reminded Councillors that once the application is in, the Community Council can put in comments, these have to represent the whole of the community. Patrick had got a copy of the questions and answers from the consultation in May from Elizabeth.  Patrick said he would check with Elizabeth if he could get a version to circulate.  Frances said that it will be helpful for Community Councillors to look at the questions and answers.  Gordon said that this document is on the Shetland Space Centre website. 

10/08/20.4  ASCC Meeting 8th September 2020 – Agenda Items

Patrick is planning to attend this meeting.  The deadline for submitting agenda items is the 17th August 2020.

10/08/20.5  Social Media

Patrick is going to write a memo to be circulated about this.

10/08/20.6  Outdoor Basketball Court

An email was received from Gemma MacGregor requesting that an outdoor basketball hoop and half or full court be installed somewhere in Unst so that children and adults would have the opportunity to play.  After a discussion it was agreed to forward the email from Gemma MacGregor to Linda Thomson who is the Active Schools Co-Ordinator, as she works for the SIC Sports and Leisure Service who run and maintain the multi courts.

10/08/20.7  Burning of plastic etc on beaches

The Community Council has been contacted about the burning of plastic, rubbish etc on beaches.  This had made a mess on the sand and when the tide came in debris had been spread all over the beach.  Members thought it was probably because there has been no Redd Up this year.  They agreed that if people want to gather up the plastic etc, they could but not to burn it.  There have also been complaints about the amount of dog fouling around Setters Hill Estate and down the Gutter Street pavement.  Gordon was asked if he could put an article in the newsletter, Facebook and also “Isles View” about this. Gordon agreed to draft something and send to Patrick and Claire, before publishing it.

10/08/20.8  Unst Leisure Centre

A message was received from Leisure Centre staff asking the Community Council to write or email the MP/MSP asking why local authorities cannot make the decision as to whether gyms/pools can open.  Clickimin Leisure Centre staff are running some classes outside.  After a discussion it was decided that there was not enough information.  And that the Scottish Government has a well-planned exit from lockdown so would not be influenced into changing their roadmap.  Ryan explained that the Scottish Government have 28 days to reply to any communication, so by the time they have replied it will be near the date set for opening anyway, which is the 14th September 2020.  The clerk will contact the Leisure Centre about this.    


11/08/20      Community Council Finances

There has been no expenditure since the last meeting.


12/08/20      A.O.C.B.

12/08/20.1 Watlee Brig and Bin and Gutter Street Path

It was brought up that the Watlee Brig was damaged when a vehicle crashed into it earlier in the year and is in need of repair.  The bin at Watlee is full of empty Tennents cans with a lot lying on the opposite side of the road as well.  The bin hasn’t been emptied for weeks.  Ryan said that he had a meeting with the Roads and Cleansing Departments on Wednesday so would bring up both these matters.  Ryan got back to the Community Council to say that the Watlee Brig Repair has a works order for the replacement of the barrier.  This is expected to be done during September.  Gutter Street Path (and paths generally) - Road repairs and general maintenance working starts again before the winter as things stand.  Due to Covid the staff are playing catch up, and there are further issues with staff having to take statutory annual leave.  This will impact how much work gets done, however the Council are aware this is a job which needs doing and will get to it as soon as they can.

12/08/20.2  SIC Scheduled Road Works

Ryan was asked what was happening to the programme of scheduled Road Repairs for 2020.  He said he would check up on this and he got back to the Community Council after their meeting to say - that this year's programme for machine patching, surface dressing and resurfacing were all affected by the safety measures required by the pandemic.  As a result, there has been a complete change of schedule.  It's expected the resumption of work which had already started at Aywick would commence in March 2021, with all planned roadworks in the isles to follow.  Patrick said that he had sent an email to Neil Hutcheson about Unst Roads and he had not had any reply.  Janice had also had no reply to her email either.  Frances suggested resending the emails and copy the clerk in.  It was also suggested that they copy in the SIC Councillors.

12/08/20.3  Millburn Park Bin Store

A complaint was received from a Millburn Park resident that the bin store there is being used by people who do not live on the scheme.  There is a clear sign on the bin store saying it is to be used by Millburn Park residents only.  There are bikes and a microwave dumped there as well.  The Essy kert drivers are not taking burst bags. There was a debate about who can put black bags in these compounds as one member had been told they could be used by the general public.  Ryan is going to follow this up for the Community Council and get clarification as to who can use the bin store.   Gordon said that he would go and have a look at what is in the bin store and see if UP can pick it up and put it with their next skip at the end of August.

12/08/20.4  SIC Ferry Cards

Ryan and Alec were asked about the SIC Ferry cards and what rate were ferry users being billed.  Ryan said that it is the discounted amount that residents and workers are billed.  He felt this is a fairer way as many people cannot afford to buy the multi journey books of tickets.  Ryan said that contactless payments should have been in place by now but had been held up by the COVID pandemic.  It is hoped that this will be in place by the end of the year.  There was a query as to whether the SIC might introduce a system similar to the Northlink’s Friends and Family scheme.  There was a discussion about how confusing the present scheme is for tourists or people who are not familiar with the ferries.  One example was a tourist had completed the form but had not been told what would happen next.  Alec said they would speak to the Ferries Department about this.

12/08/20.5  Fibre Cable Roadworks

There was an enquiry about the company laying the fibre optic cable, and when they would be repairing the roads that had been dug up for cable crossings.  Ryan said that the contract finishes at the end of September so all remedial works should be completed by then including road crossings.  SIC’s past experience of the contractor gives them plenty of confidence that they will leave things neat and tidy.  The Council will liaise and monitor.

13/08/20      Date of next meeting

The next meeting is set for Monday 14th September 2020.  Format to be decided nearer the time.



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