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Unst Community Council

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 11th January 2016 at 7 pm at the Baltasound School, Music Huts



Gordon Thomson,

Minnie Mouatt

John Peterson

Claire Priest

Raymond Priest

Hazel Spence

Julie Thomson



Catriona Waddington

Josie McMillan, Clerk           


01/01/16       Apologies:

Pat Burns

Janice Priest

Gary Cleaver, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Robert Henderson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Steven Coutts, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)


02/02/16       Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 3rd December 2015 were approved, proposed by Julie and seconded by Raymond.


03/02/16       Matters Arising from last minutes

07/07/15.4 Historic Environment Scotland (HES) – lack of parking places at Muness Castle

A reply was received from Anne Marie O’Farrell, Assistant Factor at Historic Environment Scotland, about the lack of parking at Muness Castle.  She explains that Muness Castle is in the care of Scottish Ministers through a 1955 Guardianship Agreement.  The access route she describes in her letter is incorrect.  Ms O’Farrell explains that HES has been in negotiation with the landowner’s solicitor for some time with a view to formalizing the use of an area of land for visitor parking but as yet have had no response.  It was agreed to take photos of where the cars park and the mess they have made of the area and also to include a map which shows the proper access to the Castle.  The Castle is a very popular tourist attraction.  Visitors are inadvertently damaging land when parking which doesn’t belong to Historic Environment Scotland.

06/09/15.6  Roads

There were several new road matters discussed:- the lack of road markings at junctions and cat’s eyes in Hunters Road; and the lack of verges in Uyeasound for people to use when walking and needing to get off the road for vehicles.  There was a discussion about what could be done to widen the roads e.g. putting in pipes in the drains of the roads and covering them (although in the past the SIC have said this was too expensive).  The Clerk will write to Roads Department about these matters.

08/10/15.4  Musical Boat, Belmont

Derek Jamieson has removed the chimes from the musical boat at Belmont and is storing them until the boat is replaced.  He has also volunteered to remove the old boat.  It was agreed to look at replacing the boat later this year.


04/01/16       Unst Partnership (UP) Update

Gordon said that Kellie Naulls has been appointed as the North Isles Tourism Development Officer.  This post is funded by the Coastal Communities Fund until the end of December 2016.  Because of state funding rules, it is proving harder to fund years 2 and 3 of this project, as was previously intended.   The Hydrogen project research is now nearly finished.  The next skip day is Saturday the 20th February.  UP’s core funding runs out at the end of March this year so the group might have to carry on on a voluntary basis.  The UP office will still be used for the Unst Tourism Development Officer and North Isles Tourism Development Officer till the end of December 2016.


05/01/16       Application for Donations

There were no applications for donation.


06/01/16       Application for Planning

There were no applications for planning.


07/01/16       Community Council Finances

The budget spreadsheet will be circulated with the draft minutes. 


08/01/16       A.O.C.B.

08/01/16  8.1  Lund Kirkyard

There have been several complaints about the state of the kirkyard at Lund.  There are sheep in the yard leaving a mess and eating the flowers.  The sheep are getting in at the south west corner of the yard.  The Clerk emailed William Spence, Executive Manager Environmental Services about this.  He said that two of their burial staff had spoken to the farmer and asked him to repair the fence.  Mr Spence also believes that the damage to the road down to the kirkyard is caused by agricultural machinery moving bales and tractors turning on the road.  There was a discussion about this and members were disappointed with the reply.  They believe that it is the Council’s duty to keep the sheep out of the yard.  They also feel that a lot of the damage to the road is caused by other users and the weather.  Gordon has agreed to take photos of the yard and also damage to the road.  Members believe that a funeral bus would no longer be able to get down to the yard because of the road condition.   

08/01/16  8.2  Catriona Waddington - Equality Commission

Catriona Waddington attended the meeting to update members on what has been happening with the Equality Commission which was set up last year.  She explained that there had been a meeting in Lerwick recently.  The commission looks at equity across Shetland.  It focuses on different inequalities e.g. geographical; fuel poverty; income etc.  The Commission has produced a draft report which groups can comment on.  The report highlights several statistics about Unst – the population between 2001 and 2011 has declined by 14%;   there has been a decline in the 0-24 ages group of 27.3% in Unst/Fetlar and a 19.4% decline in working age population (15-64) in Unst/Fetlar over the same period of time.  The average household income is less than £20,000, with unemployment at 2.4% in Unst/Fetlar.  The report does not mention schools which members believed should be included as schools and proposed closures have fairly huge implications to local communities.  Catriona explained that islands need to be looked at as a whole.  In the report Unst and Fetlar come out as the most fragile.  Residents see Unst as a vibrant community which has “bounced back” in recent years from fairly major blows, closures of the airport (1996), RAF Saxa Vord (2006), 2 Schools and 4 shops.   Catriona said that it was important to keep flagging up geographical inequalities.  She was asked what the point of the commission was.  She said that it had three main aims 1) describe the main inequalities 2) come up with measures to lessen the inequalities and 3) measuring and keeping an eye on the inequalities.  Members were concerned that the Council is looking again at school closures.  Gordon thanked Catriona for attending.  She will email the “Reality Check” document to the Clerk who will circulate it to members.  The Community Council will put in a submission on the report.  

08/01/16  8.3  Police

The Police have been up in the North Isles and breathalyzed several drivers at the ferry terminals. 

08/01/16  8.4  Community Ferry Hires

There have been two enquiries about Community Ferry Hires for next year.  The Community Council has an allocation of 4 in total.  It was agreed to charge a fee for community ferries, similar to the system that Yell and Whalsay Community Councils use.  This will allow the Community Council to have extra hires.  The Clerk will email Ferries Department to find out the cost of Community Hires before replying to the requests.

08/01/16  8.5  Whalsay – the case for a fixed link report

There was a discussion about this report.  The Community Council has been asked for figures of      usage for Bluemull Sound to be included in the report. Gordon will check if he has figures from previous reports; if not these figures will have to come from the Ferries Department.

08/01/16  8.6  Ambulance Cover

There was an occasion in December when the ambulance was called out and there was no one available to drive it.  Gordon explained that if no-one is available in Unst the next point of contact is Yell, then Lerwick.  He said that it is fairly rare that there was no-one to cover the rota.  There is a small remuneration for being on the rota and for crewing the ambulance.  The ambulance is called out regularly and volunteers can be away for up to four hours or more.  It is a big commitment for anyone on the rota.  The clerk is to write to Peter Smith, Scottish Ambulance service, and ask about recruiting additional volunteers.

It was agreed to write to Jim Mouatt who has retired from the Ferries Department and thank him for all his work with the ferry service.


The next meeting will be held on Thursday 18th February 2016 at 7.00 pm in the Baltasound School

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