Unst Community Council   Unst Community Council
Unst Community Council

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 25th May 2015

at 7 pm at the Baltasound School, Music Huts



Gordon Thomson, Chairperson

Minnie Mouatt

John Peterson

Claire Priest

Janice Priest

Raymond Priest

Hazel Spence

Julie Thomson



Frances Browne, Community Learning and Development Officer

Josie McMillan, Clerk


01/05/15       Apologies:

Pat Burns, Vice Chair

Gary Cleaver, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Steven Coutts, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Robert Henderson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)


02/05/15       Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 27th April 2015 were approved, proposed by Claire, seconded by Julie.


03/05/15       Matters Arising from last minutes

08/03/15.1 70th Anniversary VE Day Beacons Friday 8th May 2015

The Beacon for the VE Day 70th Anniversary celebrations finally arrived on Thursday 7th May.  It was lit on the night by Davie Leask at Unst Leisure Centre. The Tribute was read by Gordon. Faye and Matthew Cox had organised a street party which also involved pupils and parents from the Baltasound School.  This event was open to all the community and was really well attended.  The Clerk will write and thank Faye and Matthew for all their hard work organizing the event.


08/03/15.3  Vodafone 3G Network

Doug Forrest, Clerk to Walls Community Council, replied to our query about the 3G Vodafone provision in Walls. He said that prior to the introduction of the Open Femto system in Walls there were very few places there where it was possible to get a Vodafone signal.  Mr Forrest says that now it is possible to use a mobile phone almost anywhere in the village. The signal range is quite limited and in Walls there are 4 units, three of which are within about a quarter of a mile radius. The other one is about three quarters of a mile outside the village at the mussel factory.  There is one unit attached to the outside of the public hall which has fairly thick walls and it is possible to get a signal anywhere inside.  Mr Forrest explains that the instillation of the units did not take long and even though it requires a dedicated telephone line this is put in and paid for by Vodafone so there are no costs to the community. The equipment has recently been updated by a Vodafone engineer so that it can be monitored and rebooted remotely so from the point of view of the community it has been hassle free.


08/03/15.4  Burial Ground Budget

The Clerk has contacted Mr Spence to find out more about devolving the budget allocated for its Burial Ground grass cutting to the Community Councils for them to cut the grass in the burial grounds to a standard acceptable to the community.  Mr Spence has met with Bressay CC and it has been decided to look at this being a pilot scheme for a project.  He explained that the situation at the moment is that the SIC is collecting information to get an agreement drawn up acceptable to both the CC and the SIC.  The intention being the SIC would get an agreement suitable for any Community Council. Once this agreement is complete then the Council will have a better idea of the way forward.


08/03/15.6 Toilets at Belmont Ferry Terminal

Gino Abrew, SIC Building Maintenance Officer, has replied to our query about the toilets at Belmont.  He says that while undertaking the general refurbishment programme on the other north Isle toilets, funding became limited due to budget cut backs, the SIC then found that they could not complete the project to upgrade Belmont.


08/03/15.7  Roads

Brian Wood, SIC Roads, replied to our email saying that they are aware of the potholes in the Westing Road and are hoping to repair them very soon.  He says they intend to finish work on the Haroldswick Shore Road over the summer, but as yet they do not have a date for when.  Mr Woods explains that they will carry out a more detailed inspection on the Setters Road when they are next in Unst to assess what repairs can be done to improve it.  He states that “the whole section of Road between the Final Check Out and Brookpoint Junction, has issues with width, shape, drainage and crossfall.  Unfortunately with the present budget constraints there are no capital improvement schemes being considered.”  There is a lot of traffic on the Setters because of the visitor attractions and café in Haroldswick, also visitors going to Hermaness.  There are also a lot of visitors who come up and stay at Saxa Vord, and with UnstFest and the new Shetland Reel Music Festival, the amount of visitors will continue to rise.  


10/04/15.1  SIC - Surface Dressing and Re-Surfacing Programme 2015

There has been no reply from Mr Hutcheson, SIC Roads, about our query regarding the Uyeasound Shore Road.  Members thought that this road would be resurfaced right to the old Westside Shop, instead of the Hall as detailed in the SIC Roads programme. 


10/04/15.5  SIC Participatory Budgeting Project Presentation  27-04-15

Frances Browne attended this meeting.  She explained that participatory budgeting is a way of involving the whole community in deciding how funds should be spent.  The community is consulted and given its say on where funds should be allocated.  It involves a lot of work from both the funders and the groups applying for funding.  Frances said that it has been successfully done in several areas in Shetland, including Mossbank.  Members asked if this would involve groups in an awful lot of work with the chance that they wouldn’t get any funds at the end of the process.  Frances said there were a lot of factors in participatory budgeting which had to be considered.  Each Community Council has a different relationship with its community and felt that Unst Community Council has a good understanding of Unst’s aims and needs.


04/05/15      Unst Partnership (UP) Update

Gordon explained that Tom Morton, UP Tourism Officer, had had a health scare and had been in hospital and off work for a while but is now back working two days a week in Unst.  He is contracted until the end of September and will prioritise some of the projects he has been working on before he finishes.  He is keen to get an “end-to-end” sign at Burrafirth similar to the one at Dumfries and John O’ Groats.  Members thought that maybe this sign should be on Saxa Vord.  Mr Morton is also keen on a Round Unst Trail, with styles in fences so that walkers can cross easily.  There was a discussion about Unst getting a sign similar to the one that is in Northmavine.  Julie is to ask her mother about costings for this as she was involved in getting that sign.  Megan Burns, UP Development Officer, has got dates for when the skips will be available in Unst.  There is still time for people to join this scheme.  There is a charge of £45 for a year or £15 for occasional use of skips.  Megan’s contract finishes at the end of June.  UP Directors are meeting to discuss what happens between then and when Verona comes back to work in December.  Megan is working on the food composting project and she has also been looking at funding for a pontoon at the Baltasound Pier.


05/05/15       Unadopted Roads

There was one application for unadopted road grant from Robert Thomson, The Creek, Haroldswick.  This road is 430 metres long.  It was agreed to give a grant of £220, refunded on receipt of a paid invoice.


06/05/15       Community Council Finances

Core funding for this year is the same as last year: Administration £3968; Environmental services £356; Grants to local/district groups £1543 and Roads £2556.  A total grant of £8423.


07/05/15       A.O.C.B.

07/05/15.1  Shetland Community Benefit Fund Ltd – representative

Gordon has agreed to be the Community Council representative on this committee.  If Gordon is unable to attend another Community Councillor will go in his place.  The Clerk will notify Chris Bunyan who is chair of this committee.


07/05/15.2  Facebook Page

It was agreed to set up a Facebook page for the Community Council.  It was also decided to keep our page on the Shetland Community Portal for publishing minutes.


07/05/15.3  Ferry Bookings

There was a discussion about ferry bookings and how, at present, there are no bookings taken for the 0630 from Belmont or the 1655 from Toft.  This is due to the number of Petrofac workers staying in Unst.  The situation has been exacerbated by one of the big ferries on Yell sound being away for its annual maintenance.  There have been complaints that people needing to catch the early flights from Sumburgh are unable to book and guarantee getting on the 0630 ferry.  Gordon said that Yell Sound should be back to having two big ferries very shortly.  He also said that there was no guarantee how long the Petrofac workers would be staying in Unst.  In the past this contract has stopped with very little fore warning.  Members asked if Petrofac’s usage of the ferries would benefit Unst and its ferry usage figures.  Gordon explained that Petrofac had tried to book its own ferry but that had proved to be too complicated.


Ferry Survey The SIC has commissioned Peter Brett Associates LLP to undertake a survey to gather information from all adults who are residents of islands served by SIC ferries.  The survey is available online and also in paper form.  It was agreed to write to Michael Craigie saying the survey does not ask the right questions.  It asks people to answer on an individual basis not as a household, but one of the questions is about household’s annual income.  There is no mention at all about costs or impact of costs upon your income.  If you complete the questionnaire online, only one person can complete the survey using the same computer.  Many households have two or more people who use ferries regularly, but only access to one computer.  These questionnaires have also been handed out to tourists who cannot fill them in so these forms are being dumped.  This survey runs until the 21st June 2015.  The Community Council is getting 4 Community hires this year.  Frances explained that Yell Community Council puts a charge on their community hires.  This money is then put towards extra hires.  There was a problem discussed about the Online booking service.  To get the late ferry out from Unst you need to book the ferry from Gutcher to Belmont as well.  The Clerk is to write about all these issues.


07/05/15.4  SIC Housing

Gordon was contacted by Annette Stickle, SIC Housing, to say that there are several houses available on Unst at present that the SIC is keen to let.  There was a discussion about the SIC allocation policy.  There were concerns that tenants were being allocated houses in Unst and were moving here without many of the backup services they need.  In one case a tenant had been allocated a house and arrived with no furniture and also had difficulty getting into the house.  Many of the tenants do not want to move here in the first place but it is one of the only places in Shetland that has empty social housing.  If they have no transport this makes it even harder.  There was a discussion about people moving to a community where they knew no one; there was no housing officer, no Police or social work presence.  They also have no contact details for the area.  The Clerk is to write to Anita Jamieson, SIC Housing to express these concerns. Several single people have had to be moved from three bedroom houses in Unst to single bedroom houses.  The houses that have been allocated by the Council are three bedroom houses to single tenants.


07/05/15.5  Roads

There were several road matters discussed.  There is a big pothole in the stand-off place on the Belmont road where the big tourist map of Unst is situated.  The verge at the Mailland grid is down which causes problems when meeting cars, the upper side of the turn of for Quoys needs repair.  There are big potholes at Clivocast in Uyeasound and at Sandfield in Burrafirth.  Both these roads are used as laybys.  The top of the Minister’s Road in Uyeasound also needs repairs.


07/05/15.6  Meeting for North Isles Community Councils – Emergency timetable for Bluemull Sound

There is to be a meeting between the North Isles Community Councils and Ferry Services to see if it is possible to work out an emergency timetable for Bluemull Sound on occasions when the Geira needs to be removed to other sounds as the cover vessel.  This will be held within the next few weeks.


07/05/15.7  Bottle and Can Banks

These big recycling banks are going to be removed and replaced in the longer term with household bins.  The SIC is only recycling a small percentage of its targets to reduce landfill, so need to increase this total.


The next meeting will be held on Monday 29th June 2015 at 7.00 pm in the Baltasound School

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