Unst Community Council   Unst Community Council
Unst Community Council

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 14th September 2020

at 6.30 pm using WebEx Phone Conferencing



Patrick Fordyce, Chair

Claire Priest, Vice Chair

David Cooper

Caroline Hunter

John Peterson

Janice Priest

Hazel Spence

Gordon Thomson

Julie Thomson

Ryan Thomson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)



Frances Browne, Community Involvement and Development Officer

Michael Duncan, Community Council Liaison Officer

Josie McMillan, Clerk


01/09/20      Apologies

PC Angela Manson

Duncan Anderson, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)

Alec Priest, North Isles Councillor (ex-officio)


02/09/20      Minutes from the Last Meeting

The minutes from the meeting held on Monday 10th August 2020 were proposed by Janice and seconded by Gordon.

03/09/20      Declaration of Interest

Janice declared an interest in agenda item 10/09/20.6 Energy Isles Submission – Supplementary Environmental Information.

David Cooper declared an interest in agenda item 09/09/20  Application for Donation - Haroldswick Methodist Chapel.

04/09/20      Matters Arising from last minutes           

12/08/20.3  Millburn Park Bin Store

The Bin Store at Millburn Park has been tidied up by SIC Environmental Health.  Ryan was asked if the bin store is exclusively for Millburn Park residents or for anyone in the community.  He said that it is a SIC Compound so anyone can use it.  Ryan was asked if Environmental Health would clean it out again if it gets in a mess or will the essy kert staff clean it more regularly.  Ryan said that once the new essy kert staff were employed they would be told about cleaning it.

10/08/20.5  Social Media

Patrick is going to write a memo to be circulated about this.  He asked if anyone had any views on social media to email him about it.


05/09/20      Unst Partnership (UP) Update. 

Gordon said that the UP shop is now open again 2-4pm Thursdays and Saturdays. Drop off at shop or at container to rear of shop during shop hours or if Gordon is working in the office.  There is no Monday night drop off at present.  The next Skip day is Saturday 26th September 11-1pm.  There has been no word yet on whether white goods and metal can be taken by Shetland Amenity Trust.  The Food fund has been awarded £5k from Foundation Scotland and £750 from Yell Community Council. The scheme will now be operating a weekly voucher scheme, moving to a monthly scheme from October. Only one Food voucher and electric voucher per month. Food £30 individuals, £60 families per month and Electricity £40 pm. There is no need for donations of food or money at present.  UP is having no meetings at present but are planning its AGM and a Consultation on Recycling Centre online in October.  UP has applied to Crown Estate for Development Worker funding and architect costs on the Recycling Centre project – they have not heard back yet.  Michael Duncan said that the Crown Estate funding panel meets next Monday, so UP will hear back after that.

06/09/20      Community Involvement Update

Frances explained that she has been working with Unst Partnership on their applications to the Crown Estate and with Food Bank stuff.  She has also been working on guidance for halls and facilities.  She said that Marvin Smith, SIC, had attended the Yell Community Council meeting and spoken about the Reaching 100% (R100) Scheme, which is a scheme to  ensure everyone in Scotland will have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2021.  It was agreed to invite Marvin Smith to the next meeting.

07/09/20      Application for Planning

There were no applications for planning.

08/09/20      Unadopted Roads

Colin Laurenson, Fjallskar Lea, Haroldswick.  As this is for a new road it will have to be measured before a grant can be awarded.  Hazel agreed to measure it. 

09/09/20      Application for Donations

09/09/20  Haroldswick Methodist Chapel

It was agreed to give a donation of £125 to cover the costs for the provision of all requirements for Covid materials required for the Chapel.  This was approved by John and seconded by Claire.

10/09/20 Correspondence

10/09/20.1  Whalsay Community Council letter

Both Michael and Frances declared an interest in this agenda item.  There was a lot of discussion about the letter.  Members discussed how best to respond to it as Unst Community Council support the case for fixed links for all the islands.  Patrick asked Ryan if SIC Councillors were all in favour of fixed links, Ryan said that all 22 Councillors supported this.  He said the ferries are all ageing and in need of repair and this will only get worse, the older the ferries and terminals get. All ferries have to pass the MCA inspection.  The carbon footprint from the ferries is really high.  There will be no capital funding for fixed links forthcoming from the Scottish Government in the near future.  Its funding for the new Good Shepherd boat has been put on hold because of the Covid pandemic.  There are big commercial businesses operating in the north isles that depend on the ferries and good transport links within the isles.  Ryan said that the SIC want the Scottish Government to fund the ferries: ferry costs impact on the SIC budgets.  Patrick agreed to write a reply to this letter incorporating the Community Council’s views.

10/09/20.2  ASCC Meeting 8th September 2020

Patrick attended this meeting.  He asked Michael if he would summarise what had been covered at the meeting.  Michael said there were four main items discussed – Community Broadband; Community Resilience Funding; Fixed Links and Shetland Community Benefit Funding. The Community Council has agreed to ask Marvin Smith to attend the next meeting to discuss this further.  Highlands and Islands Enterprise are optimistic that they will get more money to put towards the Community Resilience funding, which in Unst has been administered by Unst Partnership.  Ryan had spoken to the meeting about Fixed Links.  There was also a discussion about the Shetland Community Benefit Scheme and how this will potentially increase the volume of work handled by Community Councils and their clerks.  The ASCC will report back to the SCBF Committee that there needs to be resources in place to pay for additional hours.

10/09/20.3  SIC Roads - Gritting Routes 

The Community Council were asked by the local bus operator for a change in the gritting routes so that it includes the routes to Muness and the Westing where the school bus has to pick up schoolbairns.  Neil Hutcheson, Roads, sent back a proposal which would mean that “the alternative route that they propose would have the gritter parked overnight in Haroldswick so that in the morning it can run north to south on the priority 1s meaning that they have all been treated when the gritter reaches Belmont. The first priority 3s to be treated would then be in the south end of Unst meaning that the Muness and Westing roads would be treated before the arrival of the school bus. The disadvantage of this alternative is that the gritter would get to Belmont 10-15 minutes later than it does on the current route. The gritter is usually at the ferry terminal between 06:15 and 06:30 depending on conditions.”  The local gritter drivers are happy with these changes. It was agreed to reply to Neil Hutcheson confirming this option.

10/09/20.4  SIC Roads - Westing Road and Burrafirth Road

The Community Council wrote to Neil Hutcheson about a layby in the Westing road which is being used by visitors who go down to the “secret” beach.  They leave their vehicles in the layby which blocks it for vehicles needing to use it as a passing place.  (The reply came back from Mr Hutcheson the day after the meeting but has been included.)   Mr Hutcheson replied that “the hope is that the majority of the inner end of the Westing road will be resurfaced next summer. There is also a section that will be patched then surface dressed. The aim would be to surface the outer end of the road the following year in summer 2022. This, of course, is dependent on developments with the Covid-19 pandemic.”  He also explained that “the Roads Service does not have a budget for the provision of new capital works such as passing places and lay-bys. New capital works are funded centrally, within the Council, and must go through the  “gateway” or business case process to show that their provision would result in economic benefit for the Council or community.” Mr Hutcheson said that however there was recently some discussion regarding the benefits for tourism (and road safety) of having parking areas or lay-bys for cars and buses at visitor attractions. These discussions included the possibility of a budget for this type of project throughout Shetland. The lay-by at the Westing and passing places to the Shore Station would certainly be eligible if this came to fruition.  He said he would get back to us when he knows more about this.

10/09/20.5  Setter Hill Estate 40 mph speed limit

A resident from Setters Hill Estate contacted the Community Council about vehicles travelling along the 40mph stretch exceeding the speed limit.  There are a lot of young children on the estate and many playing close to the road.  The Clerk wrote to PC Manson to ask if it was possible to get the “grumpy/happy” face sign so that motorists can be reminded about the speed limit.  PC Manson said that this sign belongs to the Council so the Community Council will need to approach them.  She said she would try and organise a presence there, with another person, to carry out speed checks.  Ryan said that he would follow up about getting the speed sign with Dave Coupe, SIC Roads.

10/09/20.6  Energy Isles Submission – Supplementary Environmental Information

Energy Isles have submitted their Supplementary Environmental Information to the Energy Consents Unit, the full details can be found at the link below.  There are 710 documents along with the application.   https://www.energyconsents.scot/ApplicationDetails.aspx?cr=ECU00001844.

10/09/20.7  Gutcher Ferry Terminal – breakwater slippage

Ryan explained that officers are aware of this issue and there has been an inspection with an Engineer from an external company and arrangements are being made to repair the issue.  Ryan will update the Community Council once he knows when this will be done.

11/09/20      Community Council Finances

There has been no expenditure since the last meeting.

12/09/20      A.O.C.B.

12/09/20.1  Energy Isles - Community Benefit Fund

Gordon said that one related item for the Energy Isles Meeting on Monday is a discussion on what the Unst Community Council thinks should happen with the Energy Isles/Statkraft Community benefit money. Several options were discussed but it was decided to put this on the agenda for the next meeting.  Gordon will send an email which will be circulated so that all Community Councillors can put forward their views.  Energy Isles are predicting about £800K a year in CBF money.  Gordon said that there is no guarantee that what UCC propose will be acceptable to Yell and Fetlar CCs, as it has to be a joint agreement.

12/09/20.2  Shetland Space Centre (SSC)

Patrick had met with Frank Strang and Elizabeth Johnson last week.  Mr Strang is happy to attend a meeting to update everyone on their progress.  The application for full planning permission has been held back due to an archaeological enquiry by Val Turner, Shetland Archaeologist, looking at the RAF Skaw WW2 buildings on the proposed site.  Frances said that Unst Community Council will have to comment on the planning application once it has been submitted.  It is very important that all views from the community are represented as the community views are split for and against.  Contacting Planning Scotland’s free independent advice service to get advice on how to put in a response which represents the views of all the community would be helpful. 

12/09/20.3  Roads

There were several more road matters brought up, the road into Alma and the Setters road.  The Alma road is on the SIC list to be repaired.  The Setters road need signage to advise which vehicle have priority. Patrick said these matters were both discussed with Neil Hutcheson when he was in Unst.  Another road safety matter discussed was tourists parking on the side of the road when visiting the White Wife statue.  The parking notice is only seen when they have already stopped.  Vehicles parked there block visibility especially when travelling south.  Ryan said that as there had been several road matters brought up, he would take details of them all to his meeting with Dave Coupe, SIC Roads.

12/09/20.4  Amenity Trust Staff

The abandoned vehicles at Belmont Ferry Terminal have now got official removal notes, so should be removed in the near future.  There are other scrap vehicles which need to be collected.  There is no word when the local Amenity Trust “Muck and Bruck” squad will start work again after the furlough scheme finishes at the end of October. 

12/09/20.5  Community Newsletter

Gordon said that the September newsletter is the last one through the existing funding.  There was a discussion about whether there was a need for further newsletters and how they could be funded.  It was suggested that the newsletter could be put online which would reduce costs.  There could be an opt in/opt out options for paper copies.  Some members felt that many people are not online nor going out at the moment so wouldn’t get the benefit of the newsletter.

Patrick thanked everyone for attending, especially Michael, Frances and Ryan.

13/09/20      Date of next meeting

The next meeting is set for Monday 26th October 2020.  Format to be decided nearer the time.


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