Board Meetings

Board Meeting June 2013

Board Meeting of the Assynt Foundation
13 June 2013, Glencanisp Lodge, Lochinver

1. Present: Helen Steven (HS) Chair, Clive Sheppard (CH), Brendan O’Hanrahan (BOH), Jeanette McCarthy (JM), Fergus Stewart (FS), Nigel Goldie (NG), Andy Summers
In attendance: Jane Tulloch (JT), Adam Pellant (AP), John Cullen (JC), Davy Robb (DR), Hughie Donaldson (HD) HIE, Alex Dickson (AD)

2. Apologies:
Apologies: Stewart Hill (SH), Sarah Corkish (SC)
Meeting began 5.45pm

3. Appointment of Chair
Helen Steven will be stepping down as Chair for family reasons, and apologised for this. She wished to thank everybody who sent messages of support. Helen will be staying on as a director and signatory.
It is suggested that Stewart Hill takes on role of Interim Acting Chair until the AGM but Stewart must have support from directors for his other roles on the board, i.e. treasurer and lead on hydro.
Proposed: CS, Second: JM
SH appointed Acting Chair.
The board and staff would like to formally record their thanks to Helen for her excellent chairmanship, and to express their sympathies for Ellen’s illness.

4. Declarations of interest: JT – groundworks, JC – grazing.

5. Minutes of last meeting:
Minutes should read: Sarah to work on options for mortgages etc for Ledbeg House – not stated.
Gordon Sleight given permission to dig at Cnocnaneach.
Proposed CS, Second BOH. Minutes approved.

6. Actions and matters arising:
Boat House: Counter to be researched/ordered/installed. JC - ongoing
Lease for Boat House required.
JM – ongoing – required ASAP.
Business Plan: Vision Statement to be produced. JT – completed
Expert sections to be delegated. JT - completed

Deer Management working group: Local person who previously offered deer management expertise to be taken on. BOH/JC – no longer applicable.
Housing WG: Collate and review all housing documents to date. JT - ongoing.
Ascertain state of play with Manse; is it to be sold? (Church of Scotland).
- Manse is not to be sold. Is being renovated in preparation for new minister.
ALL SUBGROUPS to prepare individual Terms of Reference for next board meeting. All - ongoing
Directors induction pack to be updated. JT – ongoing

7. Financial Report
Notes: IACS payment overdue – HD stated no reason to delay if annual recurrent payment. Could be at risk due to budget removal next year.
Action: Adam to contact agent.

8. Log Building Update
Long discussion held on disposal of wood offcuts from log building project. Decision: as much as can be stored for lodge use, then waste to be chopped and sold to public as firewood. [Note: local firewood contractor was approached first, but did not want excess]
Action: JT put ad in AN when ready.
An open day will be held on 6 July comprising log building demos and training plus an overall lodge and grounds open day with entertainments.
Action: JT to put ad in AN and around village.

9. Business Plan
Action: Sections to be completed by Subgroups before next meeting.

10. Land Management
Ledbeg/Leases: [JC left whilst discussed]. Two applications for Ledbeg grazings were received at fair market price. Decision: grazing granted to both as seen. JT to inform applicants.

JM left 7pm.

Land Manager: Possibility raised whether scope for funding for a Land Manager post for AF, who would have oversight of all aspects of land and possibly other management and to pull together the various strands and give a point of reference for staff and directors. HD reported that it is a common struggle to find a land/overall management ‘slot’ and quoted Knoydart as an example. Requires further discussion.

Forest Plan: Local contractor who now lives abroad has worked on and off for the last two years on the Forest Plan, the draft of which has just been forwarded to directors. AS distributed maps and draft docs.
Action: All directors to read draft plan. Sub group to meet to discuss. Scoping meeting in September. AS to meet with Claire Belshaw.

FS left 7.20pm.

Fire Plan: Brendan to circulate draft.

Crofts: Working group meeting held 12 June at Elphin. Jane to circulate report from meeting. Notes: Biggest issue with potential crofts will be planning and infrastructure – access, water, electricity, etc. Board gave subgroup authorisation to talk to local planning councillors. Planning Aid Scotland can give free planning advice.
Cnocnaneach discussed: Action: BOH to find out parameters of Cnoc’ as a croft.

11. Staff Reports

Notes: spike camp December cancelled, February going ahead.
Require authorisation for payment of Argocat and stalking equipment, as agreed.
Decision: board agreement.
Need to decide about croft/deer farm. Impact on deer if crofts. Soc/eco impact.

Agenda cut short at this point due to lack of time.

• NG and BOH attended recent CLS conference in Edinburgh – brief report given.
• Enquiry whether log builders can use timber lying around estate, e.g. larch. Decision: yes.
• JT spoke to Jane Matheson about memorial tree for Ted. Jane requested Scots Pine.
• JMT volunteers have been working on paths. Action: JT to send letter of thanks.
• AD requested a motion that mounted gazelle heads be removed from lodge wall. Proposed: HS, Second: AS. Carried.
• AD requested that new directors research the history of the Glebe and Manse re the housing issue.
• AD drew attention to SNH’s forthcoming Wild Land designation in the remit of the potential hydro project and suggested major objections could arise. AD’s comments were noted.
• HD suggested funding for a visit to other, similar croft creations.

HD expressed thoughts from HIE about board structure, governance, and AF fiscal strategy. Suggested that board attend a guidance day to progress matters. Further concern with riparian rights, land boundary resticting road access, etc. Financial rigour paramount, concern about where income coming from.
Action: HS/HD to progress matters.

Meeting ended 8.15pm. Directors held a further in-camera session.
Date of next meeting: 11 July 2013, Lochinver Community Room