Board Meetings

Board Meeting 15 August 07

Minute of meeting of Assynt Foundation held at Glencanisp office on Wednesday 15th August 2007 at 7.00pm

Present: Claire Belshaw (Chair), Robbie Mackenzie, Patricia Robertson, Peter Hardwick, Marianne Hutchison, Ted Matheson, Don Campbell, Davy Robb.

In attendance: Mark Lazzeri (Development Manager), Adam Pellant (Project/Marketing Officer).
1. Apologies: Agnes Dickson, Bill Ritchie (Assynt.Biz chair).
2. Minute of meeting 14th June 2007: Proposed Davy Robb; seconded Robbie MacKenzie.
3. Matters arising: None.
4. Development Manager’s report
4.1 Inveruplan:
Mark and Robbie met with Ruiraidh MacLennan of CKD Galbraith at Inveruplan to view the property. The area of land is around 35 acres, including a lot of good grassland. The house is in reasonable condition.
Di Alexander and Ronnie Macrae of HSCHT have expressed interest the possibility of using the property for affordable housing and may be able to help with investigations.
Our formal register of interest in Inveruplan has been confirmed with the Scottish Executive.
All agreed to continue investigating the purchase of Inveruplan.
4.2 Affordable housing:
Meeting being arranged with John McHardy of HC regarding feasibility Study brief, Set for 23rd August in Inverness.
4.3 Ledbeg: Peter has produced a paper on Ledbeg House.
From inspection of the house by Peter, there are thought to be problems with the roof, causing damp. We are required to get listed building consent from HC, for externals. If replacing roof, we would have to replace like with like, and if putting in double glazing would probably have to be wooden framed.
Peter will be organising getting a quote for the windows soon.
A lot of the work will be doable by local contractors.
Peter has discussed the possibility of a grant with Historic Scotland. If renovation grant is below the cost of a new build on the same site, then there’s no reason why we won’t get it.
Peter has been to the Royal Bank of Scotland. Being a company limited by guarantee, we can’t get a mortgage, but we can get a business loan.
We need to get a renovation cost, from a surveyor, and current value, which could be from a valuer.
Pending a written request, £500 will probably be given by the Assynt Community Council to cover the cost of a surveyor. Thanks to Peter for this, and thanks in advance to the ACC.
All agreed to aim to renovate for letting as affordable housing.
Terms for letting: Suggested that HSCHT could help draft terms. To be discussed by housing subgroup.
4.4 Renewables:
HICEC meeting coming up in Durness 1st Sept Need to notify them of attendance by Friday. Action: Mark to check with renewables subgroup.
Public meeting soon regarding AEDG investigations towards Assynt Community Renewable Energy Scheme.
4.5 Lodge: Short notice late availability: Mark and Adam have been negotiating deals, with Assynt.Biz input. This is going pretty well. Davy to organise minor repairs.
4.6 Boathouse: Alastair moving in soon, and also hopefully second trainee from North Highland College.
4.7 Land Management:
Willie Beattie of FCS is coming to look round South side of Loch Assynt tomorrow, to discuss Woodland Grants Scheme, and probably also the Scottish Biomass Support Scheme.
JMT: Awaiting agreement of final draft of management agreement with JMT
Serpid (Son of Seerad): Footpath claim for LMC submitted.
Pigs: Appear to be doing a good job of opening the ground up for birch seedlings.
We are currently investigating options for cattle on the South side of Loch Assynt. As well as helping land management, controlling growth of Molinia, this would open up possibilities for community production of local meat. Help and advice has been given by North West Cattle Producers Association and the SAC in Thurso Possibility being looked into of a community livestock club.
The Board agreed to investigate cattle further.
4.8 Grazing Lease: Local crofter presently has no security on his grazings at Ledbeg We could offer him a short to medium term lease, eg. 3 years, reviewed after 2. All agreed. Action Mark.
4.9 Elphin School: Not heard back from HC about this. Action: Claire
4.10 CKD Galbraith: (see 4.1) Meeting coming up with Ian Russell. Action: Check maps in advance of meeting.
4.11 Conferences/courses coming up: DSC Level1 course for stalkers. 2020 Summer school. Claire Ford may be attending. Macaulay Land Use Research Institute: Mark awarded a Fellowship and going for a week in November as initial visit.
5.0 Project Officer’s Report
5.1 Agreed for small commercial sponsored link to go on website for a year. Action: Adam to arrange with web technician.
5.2 Recent request from a local artist for possible workspace. At the moment nowhere available to offer. Possible space in village
5. 3 Still no definite date for visit from Skerray folk.
6.0 Stalking:
6.1 72 stags sold with deposits paid. Around 120 to be culled in total. 44 days of hind stalking sold. 2 days of camera stalking sold.
Suggestion that clothing hire could be looked into, for camera stalking guests.
Terms and Conditions have now been written up for stalking clients.
6.2 Staff: We have advertised for a trainee stalker. Alasdair MacKay has been offered and has accepted the position. Welcome on board, Alasdair! A further trainee from North Highland College will be coming on a month’s trial. Alasdair has been accepted onto the college course. Both will receive a bursary. It is accepted practice to pay them beyond the bursary. Agreed to pay them £75 per week each.
Agreed Don to be their line manager. Robbie will deal with day to day stalking for all employees assisted by Mark.
Thanks to John Watters and Iris MacKenzie, course supervisors, for their help and support. Thanks to Robbie and Agnes for help with interviews.
7.0 Finance: Financial update to follow by end of August. Current position looking healthy. Action: Mark to produce update.
8.0 Communications
8.1 Agreed to have a noticeboard in the village, to hold latest newsletter, minutes of last meeting(s), general info. Action: Adam to arrange.
8.2 Suggested to have open meeting in Village Hall this summer, and more regular fundays, with possibility for proceeds to go to various local causes.
8.3 Agreed to have AF signposted at bottom of road.
8.4 Agreed to advertise more actively board meetings being open to everyone in the community, and to make agendas public in advance of meetings.
8.5 Agreed that DM and PO reports are to be published on website. Action: Adam.
9.0 AOCB
The Assynt Foundation notes and regrets the untimely death of Mark Campbell. He has been instrumental in the recent moves towards broadening the investigations for an Assynt community-owned renewable energy scheme, and was a calm and measured presence in discussions. He was a great friend to so many of us here in Assynt and elsewhere.
The Assynt Foundation notes and regrets the untimely death of Kris Galikowski, and his sister-in-law, Iwona . Kris had put in a huge amount of good work for us recently around Glencanisp, and was greatly liked by all of us here who knew him.
Agreed to donate £250 to the appeal for Mrs. Galikowski.
9.2 The E.ON Source Fund application form is ready to send. Action: Adam to put round directors.
The Highland Fund application was unsuccessful.
9.3 Agreed to give initial letter of permission for the Lochinver Motorcycle Club to use Glencanisp Estate, as drafted.

Meeting closed 9.30pm