Category Archives: Argyll & Bute

Postal Ballot Result and Submission to A&BC Planning

Applications;

Blackhouse Watersports, Balevullin, 15/03260/PP retrospective

Blackhouse Watersports, Gott, 15/03364/PP retrospective

Tiree Community Council response;

Following local comments and representations to the community council, together with considerable public interest and comment on the Argyll and Bute Council planning portal website, unusually large amounts of press and social media comment, and finally a decision by Argyll & Bute Council that a public hearing would be held on Tiree in late November 2016, Tiree Community Council determined at a public meeting on Wednesday 5th October 2016 that the community council would take a position on this matter.

The motion was passed by a majority vote of 4/1 as follows;

“TCC proposes to undertake a postal ballot of all registered voters on the Tiree electoral roll with reference to 15/03260/PP & 15/03364/PP, subject to confirmation from professional advice that it can be done fairly and within the proposed timescale.” 

Following the 5th October decision, the community council Secretary sought advice from the Area Governance Officer, Argyll and Bute Council on appropriate wording and layout for a postal ballot of registered voters in Tiree. It was decided that the ballot would be entirely anonymised, but with a variety of security measures to ensure fairness and effective governance of the ballot process.

  • Tiree Community Council Secretary requested a current Tiree voters’ role, (AA/53), from Argyll & Bute Council’s Area Governance Officer, and was duly received from the Dumbartonshire and Argyll & Bute Joint Valuation Board on Friday 7th October 2016
  • In view of the potential complexity of running a postal ballot, and ensuring a good response, without the community council taking a position for or against, the community council Convenor composed an explanatory letter to all registered voters on Tiree Role AA/53, as at Monday 10th October 2016.
  • Tiree Community Council duly registered an interest in both applications on the Argyll & Bute Council Planning Portal website on Thursday 6th October 2016.
  • Postal ballot voting papers, together with a stamped addressed envelope and explanatory letter, were sent to all registered voters within Tiree AA/53 on Monday 17th October 2016.
  • A return/closing date for the postal ballot was set as Friday 18th November 2016, giving one full calendar month for voters to return their ballot papers in the stamped addressed envelope supplied.
  • Ballot voting papers returned by Royal Mail were securely stored at Tiree Business Centre in an approved black ballot box, and opened and counted on Monday 21st November 2016 by Rona Campbell, (a certified Registrar), and vigilated by Dr John Holliday , (Tiree Community Council Convenor, and Iain MacKinnon, (retired Local Authority employee).
  • Results of the postal ballot were made available to the Planning Officer on Monday 21st November 2016 at 14.30 by email correspondence.

Postal Ballot Results

Number of ballot papers issued                                                                              535

Number of ballot papers returned                                                                         421

Percentage ballot papers returned                                                                    78.5%

Number of spoiled ballot papers                                                                                 1

———————————————————————————————————

The Planning Officer in the applications by Blackhouse Watersports, reference numbers

for Gott and Balevullin 15/03364/PP retrospective, and 15/03260/PP retrospective, has

‘recommended refusal of both applications’.

 

Balevullin Beach Hut Reference 15/03260/PP Results

Number of votes in favour of recommendation of Planning Officer              314

Number of votes opposed to recommendation of Planning Officer               102

 

Gott Bay Beach Hut Reference 15/03364/PP Results

Number of votes in favour of recommendation of Planning Officer              306

Number of votes opposed to recommendation of Planning Officer              109

 

PLEASE NOTE:-

The ballot does not determine the outcome of the planning process, it simply aims to give a voice to the feelings of local residents, as it will form part of the planning officers submissions to A&BC Councillors.

Police Report Nov 2016 & Letter re: Dog Worrying

Please find attached both the Police Scotland report for Tiree, Nov 2016, and a letter from Police Scotland about dogs worrying sheep, which has been issued to all Community Councils in Scotland.

As neither of these items were available to the public at the last meeting, they are being made available  here.

Police Scotland: Dog Worrying

Police Scotland Report Nov 2016

Bin Collections in Tiree – FEEDBACK NEEDED

Following a meeting with Cllr Roddy McCuish and Jim Smith from Argyll and Bute Council, we can confirm that the bin uplifts will be changing around mid August.

From mid August:

  • General refuse uplift will move to 3 weekly
  • Recycling refuse uplift will remain at 2 weekly

Holiday home owners will be offered the option to pay for an addition uplift at commercial rates.

Argyll & Bute Council will be in touch with all residents in due course. At the moment, though we are keen to get feedback and thoughts from residents and holiday home or second home owners – and we will pass these on to Cllr McCuish.

Please comment using the form below, or on Facebook or by speaking to a Community Councillor.

 

Tiree Community Council news

The Community Council met last week with about ten members of the public and Roddy McCuish, one of four Argyll and Bute Councillors that represent Tiree, who had made the trip out here.

The main topic of discussion was the library service on Tiree. The Council had announced last month during their latest round of cuts that all school librarians were losing their jobs. Tiree Community Council and the Tiree Parent Council had joined forces to fight this, penning an article for the Oban Times and talking to the Mull and Iona Library Action Group. I wrote a personal letter to all District Councillors, saying that we were ‘implacably opposed to this proposed cut’ and calling for talks. Out of thirty five Councillors, fifteen replied (we are still waiting to hear from our MP), nine of whom supported our position. One reply, however, stood out. It was from Rory Colville the lead Councillor for Education. He told us that the library was not closing after all, but was being kept open full-time as a community public library, run by a senior library assistant rather than a Chartered Librarian as present. Opening hours which included evening and Saturday opening for the general public had been suggested, and the facility would be open all year round and not just during term time. This would bring it into line with smaller, single-manned libraries on the mainland. Because of a new security review it was suggested that it might be difficult for members of the public to access the library during school hours. Having faced the complete loss of our library, we welcomed this development in principle, although a lot of work was still needed to get the best out of this service for all the community and the school.

The Community Council had also been involved in negotiations with Argyll and Bute over the future of the Customer Service Point in Crossapol, which, it had been proposed, would be passed over to either the Tiree Community Business or the Trust to run with reduced hours. After some haggling the Service Point will stay as a Council post with slightly reduced hours.  During the meeting a member of the public pointed out that that she had tried to go there that very day and the office had been closed because the staff member was on holiday and cover was no longer being provided. Roddy McCuish said this was ridiculous and he would take this closure up with Council officials.

A draft ferry timetable for next winter had been welcomed by the Tiree Transport Forum and is now on the website for comments. We also received a letter from Brendan Dick, a senior BT manager, saying the break in the fibre optic cable caused by a (non-island) fishing boat had been repaired and that he hoped the first Tiree customers would be connected to the faster broadband service in June. A member of the public said that her Vodafone signal had suddenly deteriorated following an engineer’s visit to the mast, and we will investigate this. We decided to respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation about Air Passenger Duty, even though it doesn’t apply to Tiree’s Twin Otter service. There has been mounting frustration over the failure by Argyll and Bute to deal with the abandoned trailers around the island, and Councillor McCuish said he knew which cages to rattle. Rosemary and I had attended some training on planning, where we had been encouraged, as a Community Council, to be more active.

Dr John Holliday, John MacCaskill, Alison Kennedy, Iona Campbell and Ian Gillies were present. Roddy said he would try to get more visits from the other three Argyll and Bute Councillors, or at the very least set up a monthly video conference with us. Councillors’ expenses had been slashed too in the latest budget, and the travel and overnight stay to Tiree ate into his allowance. Finally we thanked Alison Kennedy, who is leaving the island, for serving as our Secretary. It is a time-consuming job, and her ‘furious’ letters will be greatly missed! Do come along to our next meeting, look at our brilliant new website (thanks to Rhoda Meek), email, write or pester us on the street about any issues that are bugging you!

Tiree fury at library cut

Tiree High School Parent Council and Tiree Community Council have issued a press release in response to the proposed cuts to the library service, which will result in the loss of library facilities in Tiree.

Tiree High School Parent Council, Tiree Community Council, and local residents of Tiree are furious over the Council cut to their library service, joining the community of Mull who are also up in arms about the proposal. Argyll and Bute Councillors decided, as part of their budget for next year, that Tiree, along with Mull and Iona, should lose their secondary school libraries. This decision has sent shock waves through the community, as the librarian on Tiree also serves the thriving primary school and the wider community.

Paul le Roux, Vice-Chair of the Tiree Parent Council told the Oban Times, “We are appalled by this short-sighted decision. The Scottish Government has made the improvement of literacy and numeracy a priority, yet Argyll and Bute want to take our only public access to books away from this island community by removing our librarian at a time when use of our library by the community and children is growing year by year.”

A Tiree resident, who has children at the school but asked not to be named, said, “Tiree High School library caters not only for the High School, but also for the island generally, including Bookbug for under 5s. This is a community that cannot head down the road to another public library – it is our only library. Buying books online is not a replacement for a public library service. Not only does it cost money, but on the one hand we are encouraging children to reduce their screen time, while taking away the opportunity to be able to offer them a good old-fashioned book in its place. Tiree will be losing our library while Argyll and Bute council reassures us that their hanging baskets will be protected – although I haven’t seen many of those on Tiree.”

Dr John Holliday, Convenor of Tiree Community Council, said, “The Community Council is outraged by this decision by Argyll and Bute, which is possibly in breach of their statutory obligations. If this cut goes ahead our nearest public library will be a four hour ferry ride and an overnight stay away. Our librarian, as part of our community school, provides a wonderful service for older members of the community, for many of whom their day out to the library is one of the high points of their week. It works both ways; the school pupils benefit from the books that the Library Service sends out to Tiree. The Council cuts have been described as ‘salami slicing’; this is throwing the whole sausage away.”

The two bodies are calling upon Argyll and Bute council to engage with the Tiree High School Parent Council and Tiree Community Council and to rethink their decision to deny their community this valuable resource.

A petition has already been set up to gather support for all libraries affected in Argyll and Bute. You can sign it here https://www.change.org/p/shout-out-for-school-librarians-in-argyll-and-bute

Please also consider liking the Mull and Iona libraries Action Group on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MullandIonaLibrariesActionGroup/

Sign the petition save Argyll & Bute Libraries

Along with Mull and Iona, Tiree is at risk of losing its only library. This is the one situated in Tiree High School. Council Cuts will axe the librarian post at the school. It is a valuable community resource, and Tiree Community Council is supporting the Mull and Iona Library Action Group (MILAG) in their endevours.

Please sign this petition to show your support:

https://www.change.org/p/shout-out-for-school-librarians-in-argyll-and-bute

Where will Argyll Council Budget Cuts Hit Tiree?

The first headline indications from Thursday 11th February A&BC 2016/2017 budget meeting are noted below.

  • Tiree Service Point service to be provided through voluntary sector contract in line with Jura and Colonsay
  • Tiree High School will no longer be provided with a librarian
  • School clerical assistant ports will be cut by 5%
  • Scarinish Public convenience will remain open
  • Three weekly refuse bin collection will be introduced
  • reduced level of funding support for events and festivals
  • reduced level of funding for arts development
  • Manage cover for ASN assistants from within current devolved individual school budgets and deliver ASN efficiencies to match resources to greatest assessed need
  • Budgets reduced for pre-five education
  • Primary school supply teacher cover will be at a reduced level
  • Reduce devolved budgets to individual schools
  • Education psychologist budgets reduced by 7%
  • 5% reduction in Tiree High School clerical support budget.

Disappointingly, Tiree Community Council have received just one single response from Councillor Michael Breslin to our letter on the 18th January to all thirty five elected Members of Argyll & Bute Council. We can only but hope that the other thirty four elected Members are hard at work finding a way out of the damage that the Council’s `service choices’ will wreck on Tiree, and throughout Argyll. Tiree Community Council have written again to all A&B Councillors, in a final effort to provoke some change in current thinking. The full text is below.

Tiree Community Council
Dear Councillor,
Argyll & Bute Council, Service Choices Consultation.
Tiree Community Council has considered the content of the consultation paper, Service Choices and Planning Our Future, but has difficulty responding in any positive manner, given both the style and overall presumption within the consultation toward low level service and job cuts. The proposals outlined within the consultation documents also appear to be entirely Officer led and do not reflect any serious input from elected members.
Although as a Community Council we were not specifically invited to attend any of the Council appointed consultants `workshops’, Tiree Community Council’s preference is to encourage elected members of Argyll & Bute Council to urgently consider taking a more fundamental look at the way that A&BC conducts its business, with far greater emphasis and thought around strategic vision, and the longer term future of the Council area than these thoughtless, ill-judged, and punitive proposals suggest to us.
The Council must look at the way that it conducts its business and provides essential services to the population of Argyll & Bute in a much more thoughtful and innovative way. The suggestions and recommendations to Argyll & Bute Council, as contained within the Accounts Commission Best Value Audit 2015, give sound advice and are well worthy of members consideration, certainly in advance of any agreement to the ill-conceived `Service Choices’ scenario. Rather than proposals for piecemeal and highly damaging low level cuts, the Council should seriously consider ways in which it can move away from an existing, and highly expensive centralised service, to a far more devolved range of services, where the Council genuinely, and proactively engages with communities to establish where, and how, services can be more efficiently provided.
Argyll & Bute continues to experience significant population decline, along with a resultant decrease of economically active residents, a lack of entrepreneurs, and a growing propensity towards second home ownership and an increasingly ageing population. Despite investment by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Government, in high speed broadband provision, and vastly improved ferry/air links to the island, none of the proposals contained within the `Service Choices’ consultation recognise or take any advantage of these infrastructure investments.
As such, Tiree Community Council is regrettably unable to engage with the online `Service Choices’ consultation. We do however remain committed to working with the Council wherever possible to explore any innovative ways in reducing future year’s budget expenditure.
Yours sincerely,
Dr J. Holliday, Convenor,
Tiree Community Council.
The Island Centre,
Isle of Tiree,
PA77 6UP

All respect and credit is due to our Highlands and Islands Members of The Scottish Parliament, (MSP’s), Jamie McGrigor, Michael Russell, Rhoda Grant, and Mike MacKenzie who unfailingly respond in a positive manner to all correspondence from Tiree Community Council. Our concerns on the A&BC budget cuts have also been swiftly answered. We have also received acknowledgements, with a promise of a more substantive response, from both the Depute and First Ministers. A&B Councillor Bruce Marshall has also responded to give support to Tiree Community Council.

Tiree Community Council Service Choices follow up 8th Feb 2016