Unst Community Council   Unst Community Council
Unst Community Council
Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 2nd October 2017 at 7 pm in the Baltasound School, Music Hut


Gordon Thomson

Pat Burns

Minnie Mouatt

John Peterson

Claire Priest

Raymond Priest

Hazel Spence

Julie Thomson



Tavish Scott, MSP

Alec Priest, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Josie McMillan, Clerk           


01/10/17      Apologies:

Janice Priest

Frances Browne, Community Learning and Development Officer

Duncan Simpson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Ryan Thomson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)


02/10/17      Tavish Scott, MSP

Gordon welcomed everybody and thanked Tavish for attending the meeting.  Tavish explained that he wanted to speak about two issues which will have an effect on the community of Unst.  The first is the decision by the Ministry of Defence to restore the radar capability at Saxa Vord.  Tavish had forwarded a letter which he received from Harriet Baldwin, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Procurement.  In the letter Ms Baldwin states that “while there are currently no long-term plans to station any additional personnel at the Saxa Vord site, RAF personnel and contractors will need to attend the site periodically to ensure continued serviceability”.  Tavish said that the MOD has promised to keep all stakeholders up to date.  The second issue he wanted to discuss is NHS Shetland’s plans to redesign their services in the North Isles.  This is being discussed because NHS Shetland is having problems recruiting doctors and nurses to vacant island posts.  He believes that pressure should be put on the Scottish Government to help resolve this problem.  Trainee doctors are being taught to specialize in certain fields rather than as general practitioners.  Tavish believes that these vacant posts must be advertised positively as a lifestyle choice as well as financial.  Shetland has a lot to offer doctors that move here.   He is very concerned about the move towards using Advanced Nursing Practitioners which is being run as a trial in Yell. This nurse will cover some of the night duties, in place of a doctor. Claire explained that the doctor’s posts are now being advertised using the Orkney model for contracts.  Gordon said that he is on the Unst Community Health Support Group as the Community Council representative.  He said that the group had had very little communication from the Health Board so far.

There was a discussion about the really poor broadband and mobile services in Unst and the negative effect this has on professional people who want to move to the island.  Locums working in Unst are restricted in where they can go if they are on call because of the poor mobile coverage.  Locum Doctors working in Unst are on call 24 hours a day.  Appointments waiting times in Unst are fairly short at the moment a lot shorter than Lerwick and some mainland Shetland practices.  Tavish said that there seems to be no succession planning from the NHS Shetland and that is very worrying.


03/10/17      Frank Strang, Saxa Vord Ltd

This item has been deferred to the next meeting.


04/10/17      Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 28th August 2017 were approved. 


05/10/17      Matters Arising from last minutes

08/07/16.1 Lund Kirkyard Road

Gordon has spoken to Christopher Cassels from the National Trust from Scotland.  Mr Cassels told him that the SIC do not want to adopt the road.  After a discussion, it was agreed to try and organize a meeting with all the stakeholders.  Alec will find out who from the SIC will attend the meeting.  There has been no progress in finding out who is responsible for the gates on the road.

09/03/17.7  Bus Shelter at the Uyeasound Hall

There has been no word from Neil Hutcheson, SIC, about this.  The Clerk will email again.  The bus shelter is used by school bairns, so would need to be repaired before the weather get worse. 

10/05/17.6  Skeotaing Stiles

Kevin Serginson, SIC, cannot get any further with this project as one of the landowners does not want people on his land for fear that he is sued if anything happens to them.

10/05/17.7  Greenwell’s Booth and Easting Signs

The Amenity Trust is working on these signs.

11/06/17.5  Hangar at Unst Airstrip

Kenn Allan, SIC Estate, emailed to say that he could “confirm that there are still ongoing discussions regarding the future use of the airfield. Other than information already in the public domain, discussions remain confidential and involve several different private sector organisations who are exploring potential future uses for the site. Any redevelopment would require the airfield to be vacant and the hangar is now being cleared out as part of the Roads and Building Services review of resources. The tippings along the edge of the runway will also be graded out as part of the cleaning up exercise.” Mr Allen states that “should any development proposal progress, then public consultation would form part of any master plan or proposed use. It is hoped that some of the existing facilities may be useful to developers and the removal of scrap and the hanger being emptied will help with this. There are no plans to rent out the hanger, which requires significant maintenance, until all the potential development options are exhausted.”

11/06/17.6  Registrar

It was agreed to write to Sylvia Spence, ex Registrar, and thank her for the excellent service she provided over the years.                      

10/07/17.4  Leawart Road used as turning place

There have been no signs put up yet.  A tourist driving a large vehicle damaged the drive way trying to turn after trying to drive up the Floggie.  The drive way had recently be tarred by the owner. The clerk will contact Neil Hutcheson, Roads, to ask what progress has been made with the signs. 

10/08/17.2  Street Lighting, East Road, Uyeasound

There has been no reply to the Community Council’s query about this.  The Clerk will email again. 

10/08/17.4  Janice Hawick, Energy Advice Service, Shetland Citizens Advice Bureau

It was agreed to invite Janice Hawick to a meeting later in the year to give a presentation about what the Energy Advice Service can do for clients.

10/08/17.6  Unst Show

Craig Robertson, Ferries, replied to our complaint on behalf of the Unst Show Committee.  He said that “there is never a right time for any community to have their vessel out of service for maintenance.  They do however try to minimise the disruptions (where possible) considering a number of factors.”  He goes on to say that “one of the key issues that dictates the dates for maintenance periods is Vessel Certification (MCA) and Vessel Classification (Lloyds) dates - they have no flexibility around meeting those dates and have to plan towards those dates or they are in danger of having boats tied up.”

10/08/17.7  Fixed Links

Gordon asked Alec if there had been any further word on fixed links.  Alec said Fixed Links are the only affordable alternative to ferries.  There are ongoing negotiations with the Scottish Government to find replacements. The SIC fund the inter-island ferries 100%.  The operational costs on Yell Sound are in the region of 5.8 million pounds, with fare collections on that sound around 1 million pound.  There was a discussion about how critical ferries are to the North Isles communities.  Alec said that Norway are continuing to build tunnels, so are obviously satisfied with them.  Some of these tunnels take up tolls.  There are new regulations being brought in soon which will limit diesel emissions, this will affect ferry operations.  The Scottish Government have committed 47 million on linkspans for the Western Isles.  The Council has agreed to update the Input/Output Study which was done in 2010/11.  Transport links with the North Isles are vital to the economy of Shetland with over 130 million pound of salmon being exported for the isles each year.


06/10/17      Unst Partnership (UP) Update

Gordon said that UP is looking to convert Unit 1 to a recycling centre/nearly new shop.  They have to prove that there is a case for it, and get enough community support.  UP has approached the Scottish Land Fund for funding towards the costs of buying Unit 1.  The next skip day is Saturday 28th October 2017, from 11 – 1.30pm.  Gordon is hoping that there will be a Shetland Amenity Trust skip for the metal and white goods.

Gordon thanked Tavish and Alec for attending the meeting. Tavish and Alec left the meeting


07/10/17      Community Involvement Update

This item is carried forward to the next meeting.


08/10/17      Application for Donations

Baltasound SWI applied for funding towards the bairns Christmas party.  It was agreed to give a grant of £390 towards the costs.


09/10/17      Application for Planning                     

Planning Ref: 2017/281/PPP

Proposal: Erect single storey dwelling house (planning permission in principle)

Address: Clivocast, Uyeasound, Unst, Shetland ZE2 9DL

Applicant: Stephen Gary Betney

Date of Consultation:  07 September 2017

There were no objections.


10/10/17      Application for Unadopted Roads

There were no applications.

11/10/17      Community Council Finances

The income and expenditure spreadsheet was discussed.


12/10/17      A.O.C.B.

12/10/12.1  NHS Shetland

See agenda item 2.

12/10/12.2  Festive Timetable

Pat has suggested some minor changes which would mean extra linking ferries for Bluemull Sound. She will email these around.

12/10/12.3  Benches in Uyeasound

Ruth Grainger has suggested putting benches along the shore in Uyeasound.  Walkers would be able to sit and enjoy the view.  The Community Council supports this idea.

12/10/12.4  Ferries Issues

There was a suggestion that the timings of starting and stopping the summer timetable be changed. The summer timetable could be started later, at the beginning of May, and ending later at the end of September.  The ferries are really busy in September.

12/10/12.5  Community Asset Transfer and ownership and the role of Community Councils  

Michael Duncan, External Funding Officer, SIC emailed with some clarification about Community Asset Transfer.  He explains that “Community Asset Transfer is an area of activity that potentially may become increasingly relevant to Community Councils.”   He says that for clarification Community Councils currently cannot apply for an asset transfer from the Council or other relevant authorities as to do this requires the “anchor organisation” to be a legal entity i.e. having a governance structure such as Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG), Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisation (SCIO) or equivalent

12/10/12.6  Shetland Citizen’s Advice Bureau(CAB)

CAB asked the Community Council to write a letter of support to go with their funding application to the Climate Challenge Fund. CAB have been offering an outreach advice service in rural and island health centres (including Unst and Yell) for the last year and a bit. Unfortunately, the funding which allows them to do this is coming to an end at 31 March 2018. They are seeking Climate Challenge funding to enable them to continue providing an outreach service which would run from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2020.

12/10/12.7  Broadband Services

Broadband services in Unst are very poor, this is putting people off moving to the island.  Mobile coverage is also very patchy.  EE have got the contract to provide cover for the emergency services.  They will be erecting masts in Unst. 

12/10/12.8  Baltasound Pier

Tullochs are working on the Baltasound Pier.  They have been repairing a hole and are going to replace the tires and fendering.  There was a discussion about whether anything could be done about getting a pontoon and what the options were.


The next meeting will be held on Monday 13th November 2017 at 7.00 pm in the Baltasound School

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