Category Archives: News

Image of a green landscape - caption "consultation"

Transient Visitor Levy consultation – a Tourist Tax for Tiree?

A consultation is currently open on the subject of giving Councils the power to implement a “Transient Visitor Levy” – i.e. a nominal charge/tax to be paid by visitors to an area for the purposes of tourism, etc, which could then be used to supplement finances to pay for local services and/or development of amenities. The measure is, among other things, intended as a possible way to address the fact that short term holiday lets result in additional load to civic services such as rubbish collection, water, sewerage etc while often not directly (or proportionately) contributing towards the funding of those services, but can also be used as a way to fund other development and improvements.

The TCC briefly discussed it at our meeting last night but there was insufficient time for a detailed analysis, although points that were made included the suggestion that provided such a scheme were implemented in a way which was not overly burdensome administratively to those operating holiday lets it could be of particular benefit to island communities such as Tiree by raising very useful additional funds.

The consultation closes on December 2nd – which means we will not be able to discuss it further at a future meeting before the deadline – therefore we are inviting members of the community to either submit their own responses in an individual capacity, or to e-mail our new Secretary with your views, and we will aim to submit a consolidated response on behalf of the Community Council that covers the input we receive.

The consultation can be found here:
https://consult.gov.scot/local-government-and-communities/visitor-levy/

Front cover of the Isle of Tiree Sustainable Design Guidance document

Time for an update? – Tiree’s sustainable design planning guidance

At our meeting last night there was discussion about the planning guidance available to local residents seeking to develop their homes or construct new buildings. The meeting agreed it would be helpful to draw to the community’s attention the existing guidance, to which planning decisions must have reference, which was published in 2007.

The document was held to be an excellent and most helpful piece of planning guidance that should be the envy of many other communities, but there was general agreement that there would be benefit in exploring the possibility of it being given an update (the previous consultation on it now being 12 years old) and that in particular it would be useful to develop more detail around the ways in which design of buildings could evolve in future.

Councillors and members of the public suggested that residents keen to explore use of new materials and construction methods might find it useful for the guidance to explore further how a balance could be struck between innovation and having regard for the distinctive look and feel of Tiree.

The TCC agreed to reach out to the Council Planning department to see what options might be available to explore this. The existing guidance can be found on the Argyll and Bute Council website here:

https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/sites/default/files/planning-and-environment/isle%20of%20tiree%20sustainable%20design%20guidance.pdf

Scottish Land Commission logo

Public Meeting – Scottish Land Commission – community land buyouts

Members of the community may be interested to attend this meeting, discussing a subject very relevant to the future community-led development of Tiree. The event is free to attend and open to any member of the public:

Public Meeting: An Talla, Crossapol, Tiree – Monday 25 November 2019, 7pm

Come along and find out how your community can benefit from:

  • transforming vacant and derelict land
  • community ownership
  • community engagement in decisions relating to land
  • modernising land ownership.

This is a free event, open to all. Tea & coffee will be provided.

For more information please contact us on: info@landcommission.gov.scot or 01463 423 300

Public Meeting – Tiree – 25 November 2019

CLANSMAN RETURNS TO SERVICE

MV Clansman is returning to service ahead of schedule.

She will now commence the scheduled service on Oban-Coll-Tiree on Saturday, June 9.

This will allow MV Lord of the Isles to restart the postponed Lochboisdale Mallaig service also on June 9 and service the Mallaig Armadale route as scheduled.

We are fully aware of the impact this period of disruption has had and we appreciate you and your community’s understanding and patience during this time.

Clansman will do a double service to Coll and Tiree tomorrow, 9th June,

Depart Oban 0615 Arrive Coll 0920
Depart Coll 0930 Arrive Tiree 1030
Depart Tiree 1050 Arrive Coll 1150
Depart Coll 1200 Arrive Oban 1505
Depart Oban 1530 Arrive Tiree 1900
Depart Tiree 1920 Arrive Coll 2020
Depart Coll 2030 Arrive Oban 2335

FERRY UPDATE

FERRY UPDATE

23rd May – 31st May inclusive MV Clansman will operate the service on her published timetable.

Note : Weekend 26-28th May MV Clansman will operate normal timetable,
ie  Oban-Coll-Tiree-Coll-Oban one rotation.
 
1st-12th June Tiree will be serviced by MV Lord of the Isles,
which will operate the same timetable as she did in the weeks prior to Clansman return .
Calmac is currently altering the reservations system with the ship change
and the “Lord of the Isles Timetable” which will see all traffic transferred.
If there are any issues with any booked traffic Calmac
advise they will contact those customers directly to investigate
 the best option for that particular issue.
As soon as this is complete Calmac we will open all sailings with available space,
and update all public information regarding  the service.

Email from Robert Morrison Head of Service- CalMac

Tiree CC

Thank you for time earlier to discuss Clansman redocking plans.

As previously publicised MV Clansman needs to return to dry dock for a permanent repair to its propulsion system.

This has now been scheduled for June 1 with her returning to service on June 12.

The vessel will be taken out of service to have a new propeller shaft fitted and these dates were seen as the best option, as work would be completed ahead of the main summer season.  

We realise the impact that her absence will again have on your community and apologise for this, however this is an essential piece of work that we wanted to schedule in before the summer season fully started.

We are putting in place temporary arrangements that will see all lifeline services maintained. The temporary arrangements will see an amended service operating on the Mallaig-Armadale route and suspension of the Mallaig-Lochboisdale route.

Customers seeking to travel on the Mallaig-Lochboisdale service will be directed to Oban-Castlebay or Uig-Lochmaddy services. We have organised extra sailings on the Barra to Eriskay route enabling passengers to travel to South Uist via Oban-Castlebay on the same day. The MV Loch Bhrusda will also be deployed on the Skye route to provide additional sailings for the duration of this maintenance period.

We appreciate that this disruption will also impact on communities on Coll, Tiree and Colonsay, as they will be served by the MV Lord of the Isles for the duration with its smaller capacity.
 
We again apologise for the inconvenience this will cause, but hope you understand that this work is unavoidable and appreciate the difficult fleet management decisions forced upon us by the vessel’s absence.

A full scheduled timetable will run again from June 13.

Regards,

Robert Morrison
Head of Service Delivery North
Calmac Ferries Ltd

Letter from Robbie Drummond Managing Director of CalMac

Your email of 19 April to Finlay MacRae highlighting the concerns of the local community about the impact of the delayed return to service of MV Clansman has been passed to me. My apologies for the delay in replying.

I want to stress at the outset that we deeply regret the inconvenience caused by the disruption due to the implementation of the temporary timetable and can assure you that a great deal of thought and planning went into ensuring that all of our island communities continued to have a scheduled service while we worked through the problem.

The current situation is one of the most complex with which we have had to deal in recent times, and it has been a significant challenge to manage. In addition, the MV Clansman’s technical problems have been changing during the period that she has been in refit meaning that information given openly, in good faith, at different times, has unavoidably changed.

You will have seen the communications that we have been issuing this week and I hope that these address the issues you have raised.

Regarding relief vessels, our brokers have been continually scouring the market for additional vessels suitable for operation on our challenging West Coast routes. We have assessed a number of vessels over the last 12 months but as yet none have been identified. We will continue the search.

Finally, I would categorically refute the claim that we have a ’could not care less’ attitude. A great many people across the company are working very hard to minimise the disruption and part of that is doing the best we can in communicating with customers honestly and timeously about the situation as its unfolds.  We care deeply about our customers and communities of which we are an integral part.

In the meantime we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused and can give you assurance that we are doing everything we can to return MV Clansman to service. We are currently on track to have the normal service resumed by 23 May and we will continue to issue updates on our website until we reach that point.

Regards

Robbie
Lr, CalMac Ferries Ltd
Executive Director, David MacBrayne Ltd
01475 650241 / 07766 021415

Letter to Transport Minister Regarding Ferry Provision

Dear Minister,

Our constituency MSP Michael Russell wrote to you on the 20th April regarding the re-arrangement of vessels and timetables due to the continued absence of The MV Clansman from its normal route pattern, Oban-Coll-Tiree.
Tiree Community Council have additionally lodged a formal complaint with CalMac Ferries Ltd, seeking  clarification and remedial action on a number of issues around the recent CalMac press release. However, in advance of any response from CalMac Ferries management team, the Tiree Community Council would ask you as Transport and Islands Minister to look urgently at the current chaotic, and frankly ineffective booking system.
The current displayed timetables for Oban-Coll-Tiree bear no factual resemblance to the reality of the changed situation. Attempts to book an advance ticket any more than one week ahead are met with dismay and confusion by central head office ticketing staff. Those customers with long held existing reservations are being given erroneous information which does not comply with the booking they made, or with email messages that are being sent. Promised text messages to update passengers most often are simply not sent, or contain inaccurate information. Also, the CalMac press release makes reference to a number of important island cultural events due to take place across the network, but somehow, CalMac management have completely forgotten to acknowledge or deal with the fact that Tiree has similarly important scheduled cultural and business events coming up. Currently, there is no indication, and/or plan of what will be done to meet the expected surge in demand, with the unquestionable chaos and confusion that will result. The dreadful state of confusion that was in evidence of the holiday Easter holiday period, is now set to continue.
The whole matter is having an extremely destabilising and demoralising effect on the travelling public, as well as island residents, island business’ and has already to our certain knowledge led to early cancellations of travel.
Tiree Community Council would have expected that there is a current and up to date risk register for an organisation of the size and stature of the David MacBrayne Group, and if this is indeed the case, then we do question why the corporate, reputational, and commercial risks associated with the breakdown of a major vessel have not been pre-determined and contingency measures already agreed well in advance. This would appear not to be the case, as decisions are seemingly taken on an ad-hoc random basis, with enormous reputational damage to the company, as well as considerable financial loss in terms of foregone revenue to the taxpayer.
Tiree Community Council can provide if you wish, both verbal and written evidence to substantiate the above statements. However, there is no time to lose in sorting out the current booking, availability and scheduling shambles that we face from one week to the next, with no apparent forward plan or stability in sight.
Your intervention Minister is urgently sought!