Unst Community Council   Unst Community Council
Unst Community Council

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 23rd March 2020

at 6.30pm in the Baltasound School, Music Huts


Patrick Fordyce, Chair

David Cooper

Gordon Thomson

Ryan Thomson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio) dialled into the meeting.



Josie McMillan, Clerk


01/03/20   Apologies:

Claire Priest, Vice Chair

Caroline Hunter

John Peterson

Janice Priest

Hazel Spence

Julie Thomson

Frances Browne, Community Involvement and Development Officer

PC Angela Manson

Alec Priest, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Duncan Simpson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Michael Duncan, Community Council Liaison Officer


Ryan dialled into the meeting.  Patrick thanked him for attending by phone. 


12/03/20   A.O.C.B.

12/03/20.1  Inter-island Ferry Travel

Patrick asked Ryan about what was going to happen with the inter-island ferries as Maggie Sandison, SIC Chief Executive, was on Radio Shetland outlining new measures for ferry travel.  She said that inter-island ferries should only be used for essential travel, not for social or recreational travel.  There would also be a ban on non-essential travel to the islands by non-island residents.  Ryan said that the ferries were running to a Saturday timetable, but every service was being looked at on a day by day, often hour by hour basis.  So further reduction in the service was possible.  Patrick asked about what was classed as essential travel.  Ryan said this would be frontline service personnel, delivery vans, hospital appointment and travelling to work for people who are unable to work from home. Guidelines would be published outlining the restrictions.  Ryan said that the SIC is also doing away with cash fares on the ferries in the meantime and implementing an accounts-based system. Every precaution must be taken to protect the ferry workers, because if one of them gets the virus, the rest of the crew would have to go into self-isolation. 

12/03/12.2  Health Concerns

Ryan was asked if there were measures in place for the transfer of any patients from Unst with COVID-19 as the local ambulance would not be allowed to take them, would Oscar Charlie be deployed.  Ryan said that he thought Oscar Charlie would transfer patients, but he would check on that and get back to the Community Council.  He was unsure if NHS Shetland would always use RAF aircrafts to transfer patients to Aberdeen.  NHS Shetland will not use the air ambulance for COVID-19 transfers.

12/03/12.3  Community Council Operating Procedures

Ryan was asked if there were going to be changes in legislation for Community Council and Council meetings.  At present decisions can not be made by phone or email, they had to be made at a meeting.  One of the main purposes of tonight’s Community Council meeting was to discuss devolving powers to the Chair and Vice Chair.  Ryan said that decision making in these unprecedented times is to be discussed at a SIC meeting on Thursday.  He will let us know what is decided.

12/03/12.4  SIC Job Security

Ryan was asked to confirm that the SIC had no intention of making employees redundant during these difficult times.  He said that there were no plans whatsoever to make people redundant because of this pandemic.  He said that Nicola Sturgeon had reassured all local authorities would not be out of pocket.

Patrick thanked Ryan for attending the meeting by phone. Ryan left the meeting at 7pm.

02/03/20   Chris Bunyan, Shetland Community Benefit Fund

This has been postponed until a future date.

03/03/20   Minutes from the Last Meeting

The minutes from the meeting held on Monday 24th February 2020 were proposed by David and seconded by Patrick.

04/03/20   Declaration of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.   

05/03/20   Matters Arising from last minutes        

There were no matters arising from the last meeting,

06/03/20   Unst Partnership (UP) Update. 

Gordon said that the shop is closed until further notice.  The Tourist Map may go ahead in digital form, but not in paper form.  The Uyeasound Kirk has been sold but it was not to the Community bid.  UP directors are looking to purchase land to site a large shed, which could house various different facilities,  recycling centre; men’s/person’s shed; laundry; café; social area and community recycling. The Community Council were asked for a letter of support for this project.

07/03/20   Community Involvement Update

Frances will update the Community Council by email.    

08/03/20   Application for Donation

08/03/20.1  Unst Festival Committee

This application will be carried forward to the next meeting.

08/03/20.2  Shetland Seafarers Association – Merchant Navy Memorial

After a discussion it was agreed to give a donation of £100 to this group.

08/03/20.3  Shetland Rape Crisis

It was agreed to give a donation of £100 to this group.

09/03/20   Application for planning

09/03/20  Shetland Space Centre (SSC)

There was a discussion about the Shetland Space Centre.  The Community Council received documents showing the submission of Shetland Spaces Centre’s formal proposal of application notice to the Shetland Islands Council prior to a full planning submission in June. Details about this are available at www.shetlandspacecentre.com Documents were submitted to the Community Council outlining objections to the Shetland Space Centre Proposed Development.  It was agreed to circulate the document to all members and discuss it more fully at the meeting on 27th April 2020.  It was felt that all members would need to read these documents before they can be discussed in detail.                              

10/03/20   Correspondence

10/03/20.1  Shetland Rape Crisis – Annual Report 2018/2019

This was noted.

10/03/20.2  SIC Bin Men

There was a discussion about this.  It was agreed to email the SIC and ask that when these jobs are advertised, they are opened up to applications from people in Unst and the North Isles.

VE Day – 8th May 2020

Celebrations of this event have now been cancelled.

Da Voar Redd Up – 25th and 26th April

This was noted.  There has been no word from Shetland Amenity Trust to say whether this has been cancelled.  Members wondered if it could go ahead later on in the year.

11/03/20   Community Council Finances

11/03/20.1  Community Development Fund Application

There was a discussion about the Community Council’s application.  Members believe it will be important for small groups to be able to apply for funding, especially if Da Voar Redd Up is cancelled.  The clerk will submit the form.

11/03/20.2  Community Council Core Funding Application

Core Funding has been applied for.  This is the same as in previous years - £8423.

11/03/20.3  Accounts prepared to be audited by Voluntary Action Shetland

The accounts will be prepared for the financial year and taken to VAS once ferry restrictions are lifted.

12/03/20   A.O.C.B.

12/03/20.5  Delegation of authority to Chair and Vice Chair

There was a discussion about delegating authority to Patrick and Claire and how to implement this.  The clerk had contacted Michael Duncan.  He emailed to say that Corporate Services had advised him that for granting delegated authority it must be for specific agreed matters and not just anything.  Granting delegated authority has to be agreed at an actual meeting.  Mr Duncan said that “this will then enable the Chair & Vice Chair to take decisions for the CC for the foreseeable future.  Both the chair & vice chair must fully agree on decisions that need action.   All decisions and actions taken by the chair & vice chair under delegated authority must be recorded by the clerk and reported to the next meeting of the CC.   Once the CC meets again it should consider when to withdraw the delegated authority and return to normal practise.”  It was agreed to grant delegated authority for the Chair and Vice Chair to respond to all necessary applications.  Mr Duncan also said that “matters requiring a decision of the CC may be emailed out by the clerk to all members for a response.   In the event a unanimous decision reached on the course of action by all CC members then that decision can be taken forward.   The decision must be formally ratified retrospectively at the next meeting of the CC.   Should even one CC member disagree, then it will not count as a decision and will need to be taken forward to the next CC meeting.  Failing to reach a unanimous decision could leave a Community Council open to a complaint.   Therefore, all matters decided by email in the short term requires every CC member to reply to the clerk with their answer, and for the decision reached to be unanimous.”

12/03/20.6  Contacting the Community Council

It was agreed that the Community Council could be a contact point for anyone in the community who has any concerns at these difficult times.  The Community Council could put people in contact with the relevant body.

12/03/20.7  Unst Foodbank

Gordon explained that there are no foodbank supplies being collected in Unst at present.  He wasn’t sure if this was because there is no demand, or as one member thought, food boxes are being delivered from Lerwick.  The Partnership has a small amount of money which could be used for provisions.  The Community Council can be contacted confidentially by people in need.  They will then pass it on to the relevant people.

13/03/20   Date of next meeting

The next meeting date is 27th April 2020 at 6.30pm in the Baltasound School, Music Hut.


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