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Unst Community Council

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 1st May 2017 at 7 pm in the Baltasound School, English Room


Gordon Thomson

Minnie Mouatt

John Peterson

Raymond Priest

Hazel Spence

Julie Thomson



Frances Browne, Community Learning and Development Officer

PC Simon Findlay

Josie McMillan, Clerk          


01/05/17     Apologies:

Pat Burns

Claire Priest

Janice Priest


02/05/17     Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 27th March 2017 were approved.  Proposed by Julie, seconded by Hazel. 

03/05/17     Matters Arising from last minutes

08/10/15.4  Sign at Belmont

Lesley Gray, North Isles and North Mainland Youth Development worker, is hoping to have the replacement sign in place by the end of May. She says that the hold up now is waiting for some of the company logos to come in.  Lesley has put in a tremendous amount of work to get the sign replaced.  It was agreed to write and thank her for all the work she has put in.

08/07/16.1 Lund Kirkyard

There was no reply from Steve Williams, McJerrow and Stevenson, Joy Sandison’s solicitors, about Lund Kirkyard.  It was agreed to email him again.  The Council own the Kirkyard and the parking place but not the access to it.  Members agreed to wait and ask the new SIC Councillors to see if they can make progress with this.  The road needs fairly major work and also grids put in instead of all the gates.

09/02/17.4  Northern Isles Digital Forum- Shetland (22nd April 2017)

Reports of this meeting were in the local media.  No one from BT attended the meeting.  There were the usual complaints brought up about poor broadband and mobile signals.  Representatives from HIE said there are no funds available to upgrade broadband provision in Unst, Yell and Fetlar.  Members agreed that it is essential to get better broadband services for existing users but also to attract new businesses and people to Unst.            

09/02/17.7  Roads

Neil Hutcheson, SIC Roads, said that there had been holes drilled in the Wester brig to let the water drain away, although the new surface should prevent water gathering there in the first place.   Brian Wood, SIC Roads, replied to our email saying that the pothole on the Heatherbrae road should be patched shortly.  The Council is aware of the damage to the Upper Sotland road and it has been added to their list of outstanding work and they will prioritise it within their Works Programme.  Mr Wood said that they undertook remedial work recently at the Westing Turning Place on the existing armouring and placed additional armour in the area.  He said that it had been checked recently and the armour is still in place and the turning head is still the same size as it was before.  Members felt that there were big stones washing up and there are bits being blown off the house.  The Clerk will email about this.  The spoil heap left after the tarring was finished in Uyeasound is to be used to form the new verge. The Roads Department intends to spread it out to make a wider verge.  They intend to remove the parapet from the old brig and block it up, this should improve the area. It was agreed to write and ask if there could be a hard shoulder put there instead of an earth verge.

09/03/17.6  Belmont Terminal

Craig Robertson, Executive Manager, Ferry Operations replied to our queries about the Belmont Ferry Terminal.  He said that the Council’s Road Service will do the line markings at the various Ferry Terminals. However this work can only be scheduled when there is a period of good weather so the paint can be applied and it will last.  Mr Robertson said that the condition survey of the terminals has identified a substantial backlog of repairs and maintenance. A programme of works is being developed but will be subject to available funding. He said that at this stage the priority is to maintain the integrity of the Ferry Service by repairing and maintaining link spans – they will start work on this project in April 2017 on Yell.  Mr Robertson expressed concern about the level of abandoned cars being left at Belmont. He said that in essence, the SIC is playing its part in improving the facilities but this works means very little, if people are now treating the terminal area as an unofficial dumping ground for abandoned cars.  Gordon has contacted 60 North about these cars, he was told that they would be uplifted shortly.  Members are concerned about the number of abandoned cars being left on public spaces. 

09/03/17.7  Bus Shelters at end of Westing Road and Uyeasound Hall

There has been no reply to our email about the bus shelters at the end of the Westing Road and at the Uyeasound Hall.  The Clerk will email about this again.

04/05/17     Unst Partnership (UP) Update

Gordon said that UP is hoping to provide a skip service for another year, depending on whether they can secure funding and get the same level of community support as it had last year.  At the moment, there have been 15 subscriptions to the skip service, UP needs to have about 40 subscriptions to make this service viable.  UP is bringing out the Unst Tourist Map, as this is paid for by advertising.  The AGM is being held on Wednesday 17th May 2017.  UP is still trying to get funding for a Local Development Officer, but funding is getting very hard to get. Gordon said that there have been some discussions about converting the UP office into a recycling shop but that is a decision that the new directors would have to make.  UP is helping to administer the grant for the Collaster dig which is taking place this summer.  This will bring in a very small amount of income. 

 05/05/17     Community Involvement Update

Frances Browne said that North Isles Learning Partnership bid to Shetland Communities Choices for a North Isles Family Learning Project had been unsuccessful.  The participatory budgeting event in Fetlar has been postponed until June after the hall suffered external damage.  Frances asked if members felt that elderly local folk were losing out on attending the dentist because of the cost of getting there.  She asked if there were people who were isolated in the community.  Members believe that in some cases this is the case.  Frances has agreed to do some research on this.  The cost of attending Daycare now is £11 a day, which is a lot of money for many elderly people. Gordon said that he had been invited to attend a new group which has been set up - the Patients Participation Group.  This group will look at how the Health Board is working in the community, and also looking at Social Care.

 06/05/17     Application for Donations

 There were no applications.

 07/05/17     Unadopted Road Grants

07/05/17.1 Patrick Fordyce, Annsbrae, Burrafirth

It was agreed to give a grant of £552 towards the costs of tarring the road into Annsbrae.

08/05/17     Application for Community Ferry

08/05/17.1  Unst Show Committee for 26th August 2017

This community ferry request was approved.  The Clerk will book it with the Ferries Department.

09/05/17     Community Council Finances

09/05/17.1  End of year accounts

The accounts were approved at the last meeting.  Gordon signed them, so they will now go to Voluntary Action Shetland to be audited.

09/05/17.2  Core Funding  2017 – 2018

The grant of £8423 has now been paid.

09/05/17.3  Community Development Fund

The application for this grant has been approved.  The Community Council was awarded £3000, which is mostly used for Voar Redd Up payments and UnstFest.

10/5/17       A.O.C.B.

10/05/17.1  Local Fire Review and Development of New Local Plan

This was noted.  Members asked why the scaffolding was still up at the Fire Station as the work had been finished several months ago.  The Clerk is to contact Myles Murray, Group Manager Shetland, and ask about this.

10/05/17.2  Da Voar Redd Up

The Voar Redd Up letters were sent out once the funding had been awarded.

10/05/17.3  Baliasta Kirk Yard

William Spence, Executive Manager, SIC Environmental Services, contacted the Community Council to say that he was in Unst last week and had a look at the old kirk in the Baliasta Yard following a concern from the grave digger.  He said that stones have fallen from the east gable over the winter and there is concern that some more are loose and will fall off if there is any wind.  This is a safety concern but Mr Spence does not know who is responsible for the kirk.  He has asked the Community Council to let him know who owns the old kirk.  Mr Spence says that there seems to be loose stones in the gable and it is important to make the area safe.  Gordon will try and find out who owns the old kirk.

10/05/17.4  Police Report

PC Simon Findlay said that he was glad to finally be able to attend a Community Council meeting in Unst, even though it had fallen on his day off.  He explained that he tries to be in Unst as often as he can, although he has to cover Unst, Yell, Fetlar, Skerries, Whalsay and the North Mainland.  PC Findlay said there had been 6 incidents in Unst in March, 5 were of a routine nature and one involved motoring offences.  There was a discussion about the abandoned cars which are at Belmont and at other locations throughout Unst.  SIC Environmental Services have been up and put notices on some of the cars.  PC Findlay was asked if he used the Police House in Baltasound and if he knew what the plans for it was.  At a meeting, last year Chief Inspector Lindsay Tulloch believed that it might be sold.  PC Findlay said that he did occasionally use the house but he didn’t know what Police Scotland’s plans for it was.  The Clerk will email Chief Inspector Tulloch and ask about this.  Gordon thanked PC Findlay for attending the meeting.

10/05/17.5  Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) Meeting, 27-04-17, Baltasound Hall

Minnie attended this meeting.  SSE is going to put a new cable across Bluemull Sound. The existing one runs from Cullivoe to Snarravoe.  They explained that they need this cable “to ensure the security of supply to the homes and businesses we supply.”  SSE only needs a few strands of fibre optic cabling to achieve this.  Members believe that the Council should be lobbying to get extra fibre optic cables put in at the same time as SSE’s cable is put in, or it would be a missed opportunity.

10/05/17.6  Skeotaing Stiles

It was agreed to contact Kevin Serginson, SIC, and ask if there has been any progress in replacing the styles at Skeotaing.

10/05/17.7  Greenwalls Booth and Easting Signs

It was agreed to contact John McKenzie, Shetland Amenity Trust, to ask if these signs could be replaced as they are in poor condition.

10/05/17.8  Oil at Lund and Woodwick

There have been “balls” of oil washed up on Lund and Woodwick beaches.  These were reported to SIC Environmental Services.  The Coastguard were notified to check these out.  They found an oiled bird at Woodwick and took samples of the oil to send it away for analysis. Members are concerned about this as Unst, and Shetland as a whole, is heavily dependent on the aquaculture industry.  If there was a major spill to the West of Shetland it would cause severe damage to industry which benefits the whole of Shetland’s economy.  It was decided to write to BP and copy it to Tavish Scott, MSP and Alistair Carmichael, MP.


The next meeting will be held on Monday 29th May 2017 at 7.00 pm in the Baltasound School

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