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Unst Community Council

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 18th February 2019

at 7 pm in the Baltasound School, Music Huts



Patrick Fordyce

David Cooper

Caroline Hunter

John Peterson

Gordon Thomson

Julie Thomson


Alec Priest, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Josie McMillan, Clerk

4 members of the public

Patrick welcomed everybody to the meeting, and introductions were made to Ms Høgmo, who was then invited to speak.

02/02/19   Voices for Equity Project

Nina Høgmo, SIC Community Planning and Development Department, explained the background to the Voices for Equity Project.  The project is part of the Scottish Government action for a Fairer Scotland (Fairer Scotland Action Plan) and aims to reduce inequalities in Shetland through participation.  The project is designed to enable people experiencing challenges because of inequalities to share their knowledge directly with decision makers from Shetland’s public bodies.  Ms Høgmo explained that the project already has 10 pairs of participants, who are all based in and around Lerwick.  She said that it is working well so far.  She is very keen to encourage people from Unst and other rural areas to take part so that their views and experiences can be discussed.  Once Ms Høgmo has spoken to people who want to take part they are paired up and the plan is they meet up about 10 times for a year.  The project is contributing directly to delivering the outcomes in the Shetland Partnership Plan.  Ms Høgmo was told that one of the biggest problems is the level of inequalities which people tolerate, so it might be very difficult breaking out of this cycle.  Also there is a history of people’s voices not being heard or listened to so that might put people off.  Ms Høgmo said that this project is different from those being run in big cities. She was asked how the participants had been recruited. She said that they had been working with the different services and agencies.  Ms Høgmo was asked if the participants had to be individuals or could they be a family unit.  She said that it could be families, or very small groups. There was a discussion about the difficulties many people experience because of their location and the length of time it takes to travel to Lerwick, especially if they do not own a car.  Meetings taking place in Unst would be really important.  Ms Høgmo said that she was very keen for this to happen, although there is a small budget for travel and childcare.  Patrick thanked Ms Høgmo for attending the meeting.  She said that she is happy to attend any further meetings.  After a discussion it was agreed that Gordon would put an article in the North Isles News page as a way of advertising the project locally.

Ms Høgmo and the members of the community left the meeting.

01/02/19   Apologies:

Claire Priest

Janice Priest

Frances Browne, Community Learning and Development Officer

PC Simon Findlay

Duncan Simpson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Ryan Thomson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Michael Duncan, Community Council Liaison Officer

Patrick asked Alec if there was anything to pass to the Community Council before he left to catch the ferry.  Alec said he is very keen to follow up on any concerns and issues on behalf of the community and Community Council.  He said that there are discussions going on with the Scottish Government about the shortfall in ferry funding.  There will be more in the media about this shortly.  There was a discussion about the power cables which are being laid over Yell Sound, the fibre optic cable is also being laid at the same time. Patrick and Gordon attended a ferry meeting in Mid Yell and were happy with the outcome.  They felt that the ferry service had listened to the Community Council’s concerns.  The problem with passengers missing the overland bus when there was a single vessel service running on Yell Sound has been resolved.  The ferry will wait for the bus.  The summer timetable will first come into operation on the 6th May and will finish on the 6th October. Michael Craigie, ZetTrans, explained that usage figure for September were a lot higher than April.

03/02/19   Minutes from the Last Meeting

The minutes from the meeting held on Monday 7th January 2019 were proposed by David and seconded by Gordon.

04/02/19   Declaration of Interest

Gordon declared an interest in the two applications for donation (agenda item 8).

05/02/19   Matters Arising from last minutes        

07/09/18.6  Roads

Neil Hutcheson, SIC Roads, replied to all the Community Council queries.  He said that the road from Brakefield to Clivocast has been ditched and all cross drains are clear.  The SIC will tar 3 metres back into the access at the end of the Clivocast road to form a passing place.  The use of priority signs on the Setters Road (A968) would not be appropriate but the SIC will check and replace any of the “road narrows” signage on this length of road that may be missing or faded.  The road into Gardie, Uyeasound, will be patched or resurfaced in the summer.  The road at Hamar will be patched when the weather permits.  Mr Hutcheson said that the SIC has not been consulted regarding any developments at Hermaness but “will take account of any projected increase in traffic when making their comments. This may mean a requirement for the developer to provide passing places.”  He also said that on consideration of the Ordnance Survey map the options for the signs in Burrafirth are either the existing “Upper Sotland” or “Ness of Sotland.” The alternative would be “Sea View Cottage” as it is the last house on the road that is named on the map.  However, there are a lot of “Sea View’s” so this may be confusing for postal deliveries etc. The use of the three house names is not an option and neither is a “private” sign as this is a public road.  The SIC will provide a direction sign to Burrafirth Beach and the Shore Station, to avoid the confusion that currently occurs.  There was a discussion about the road from the end of Hunter’s road to the School/Leisure Centre/Health Centre.  Members wondered if the road could be made into a One Way system or if there could be signage showing which vehicles have priority.  There was also a request to put grit buckets at Setters Hill Estate as there are none there at present.  The Clerk will email Neil Hutcheson and ask when he would be available to come to Unst to meet with Community Council members.

13/01/19.5  SIC Housing – removal of chalet from Nikkavord, Baltasound

The emergency housing chalet at Nikkavord lea is going to be removed. There was a suggestion from residents that the area could be used for a compound for wheelie bins and black bags, although not all residents are happy with this suggestion.  The suggestion and comments will be passed on to SIC Housing.

13/01/19.11 Scottish Water

Jim Anderson, Scottish Water, replied to our email to say that “the section of main which burst on three occasions over the past months was actually renewed 3 years ago. Unfortunately, due to an ongoing legal issue Scottish Water has been unable to bring this new main into service.”  Mr Anderson goes on to say that the issue is now almost resolved which should allow them to gain access to connect up the new main and protect their customers supplies in the area.  Mr Anderson said that the issue at New Year was that they couldn’t get a network operative into the isles to make the actual repair. He explained that the repair of any water main is a specialist job and requires to be completed in a controlled manner in order to ensure that the integrity of the public water supply is not compromised.

06/02/19   Unst Partnership (UP) Update. 

Gordon said that the last skip day had been successful and there was another one planned for the 9th March.  That would be the final one before the end of their financial year. UP is hoping to run the skip scheme next year.  The second hand shop is doing really well.  UP has applied for a Fair Food grant to purchase a fridge/freezer to store food for the foodbank.  This will be kept at the Leisure Centre.  There is also money in the grant to provide a storage cupboard/shelving for cans, toiletries etc.

07/02/19   Community Involvement Update

Frances sent her apologies.  This agenda item will be carried forward to the next meeting

08/02/19   Application for Donation

There were two applications for donations.

08/02/19.1 Unst Festival Committee (UnstFest)

Unst Festival Committee applied for £1000 towards the costs of advertising and promotion of the annual festival.  It was decided to give a donation of £1000.

08/02/19.2 Unst Partnership Ltd

Unst Partnership Ltd applied for £300 towards the costs of their annual skip project.  It was decided to give a donation of £300.

09/02/19   Application for planning

Mr James Johnson, to demolish existing derelict building and erect new building with treatment plant and air source heat pump.

There were no objections. 

10/02/19   Community Council Finances

The budget for this year has all been allocated.

11/02/19   A.O.C.B.

11/02/19.1  Shetland Space Centre (SSC)

Alec was asked if there had been any further progress with the Space Centre.  He said that SSC and Goonhilly Earth Station have joined forces to develop rocket launch and tracking business capabilities. They have also announced a major partnership with the Ariane Group. Plans are progressing to establish ground station/s to gather information from the satellites as they pass over Unst.  So it was all looking very positive at the moment.

11/02/19.2  North Isles Dental Services

Brian Chittick, Dental Director, NHS Shetland replied to Gordon’s email.  He said that “Dental treatment for Yell, Unst and Fetlar will continue to be provided from Yell Health Centre.  NHS Shetland sees this as an enduring role and will strive to maintain this status quo.  The Childsmile Team regularly visit Yell, Unst and Fetlar to provide preventative care in both the school and community setting.”  Mr Chittick said that “there is a dentist in Yell 3 days per week and a dental therapist works on the other two days.  There are also regular hygienist visits. This means that the single chair practice is at full working capacity and is in use every day of the working week.  The therapist has also adjusted his working hours in order to spend more time in Yell treating patients.  The current patient to clinician (dentist and therapist) ratio for NHS Shetland Public Dental Service registered patients is 1886:1. In the North Isles it is 1357:1.   The waiting list is taking time to work through. This has been due to the high index of treatment need and the team have worked hard to prioritise and see those who need treatment most.  Last year with respect to the Yell Dental Clinic there were 160 appointments for which patients did not attend for their booked appointment; a total of 70 hours and 20 minutes of wasted clinical time.  This is the equivalent of 211 checkup appointments; at present there are 125 patients on the waiting list for a routine checkup appointment.  Mr Chittick said they would like to encourage everyone who has a dental, or indeed any healthcare appointment to ensure they cancel if they cannot make it.  Figures for non-attendance are very frustrating for the Public Dental Service as they continue to strive to cut down our waiting lists.”  Mr Chittick said that they are currently in the process of succession planning for the continuity of care in the North Isles when the current dentist finishes her contract in June. 

11/02/19.3  2019 Community Council Meeting Dates

Michael Duncan has asked the Community Council to set meeting dates for the remainder of this year.  It was agreed to set meeting dates at intervals of 6 weeks.  These dates might need to be changed nearer the time.  The dates set are 25th March, 6th May, 17th June, 29th July, 2nd September, 21st October, and the 2nd December.

11/02/19.4  Service Bus – Yell Sound Single Ferry Service

This matter has now been resolved as the ferry will now wait for the overland passengers if the ferry service is down to a single ferry.

11/02/19.5  SIC Active Travel Plans Update

This was noted.

11/02/19.6  ASCC Agenda Items for meeting 26th March 2019

The Community Council has no agenda items to add to this meeting.  Attendance at the meeting has to be confirmed by the 20th March 2019.

11/02/19.7  Climate Change Conversations

The Community Council has been contacted by Ragne Low, who would like to organise a meeting to discuss the issue of climate change and the actions that can be taken to adapt to its impacts. The Conversation lasts just over an hour (around 70 minutes).  The Clerk has emailed to say that the Community Council is willing to take part in this discussion.

11/02/19.8  Road to Rocklea, Uyeasound

The Clerk will write about the coastal erosion at this side of Uyeasound. 

11/02/19.9  Police Report

PC Simon Findlay sent through a police report which the Clerk could not open. The report will be circulated when it comes in a form we can open.

11/02/19.10 Community Council Elections

There are two people standing for a single vacancy on the Community Council.  There will be a postal ballot which will be begin around 22 February, with ballot papers to be returned by 21 March.

11/02/19.11 Bluemull Sound Monday Timetable

There was a discussion about the Monday timetable on Bluemull Sound.  The 1.50pm ferry from Toft does not link with the 2.30pm from Gutcher.  The next ferry from Gutcher is 3.35pm.  If the ferry left Gutcher at 2.40pm vehicles would be able to catch it.  The Clerk will write to SIC Ferries.

12/02/19   Date of next meeting

The next meeting date will be set on Monday 25th March 2019 at 7.00 pm in the Baltasound School.

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