Assynt Foundation

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December 2016 minutes

Posted on 25 January, 2017 at 5:35

Minutes of Board Meeting of Assynt Foundation, 15th December 2016, Glencanisp Office, Lochinver

Meeting began 6pm

1. Present/In Attendance /Apologies

Present – Nigel Goldie (Chair) (NG), Brendan O’Hanrahan (BOH), Helen Simpson (HS), Mandy Haggith (MH)

In Attendance – Gordon Robertson (GR), Adam Pellant (AP), Alex Dickson, John Venters (JV), Rebecca Macleod (RM)

Apologies – Stewart Hill (SH), Jeanette McCarthy (JM)

Declarations of Interest: None

Minutes of Last meeting - were approved.

2. Actions and Matters Arising

• AGM - Waiting to see about croft creation and timescale for any related resolutions needed at a general meeting, before a decision is made on AGM date.

• Challenge Event - North Light Events visited the site, and have made a date for the 8/9th April next year. There will be a 12-mile trial run to start with.  HS reported that Vanessa Ling will get back to her with further information relating to her previous research.

• Inverpolly Section 7 Deer Management Plan - BOH stated it may be a few months until the new section 7 DMP to include Drumrunie Estate is finalised.

• SRDP Funding - BH told the board he hopes application for reduction cull funding on part of Glencanisp may be approved, but still awaiting official confirmation.

• Eagle Hide - JV/SB hope to complete the eagle hide tomorrow, and the hide should be ready to use next year. SNH have approved change of site from Drumrunie to near Ledbeg.

• Drumrunie Track - BH, GR and JV to meet with Tamara.

• Skills Audit - NG to send round his paper ahead of the planned Board Away Day on the 16th February 2017. Action NG.

3. Financial Report

NG summarised the Financial Report from KH. This report had been considered at the Assynt Biz Meeting held prior to the Foundation’s Board Meeting. The closure of the coastal road to Achmelvich for water mains replacement is thought to have discouraged a number of users of the NC500.

4. Governance

In a drive to find new board members, it was agreed that we need to be pro-active, and seek to find a balance of skills on the board. HS suggested that it may be possible to find ‘seasonal directors’. These might be people who have visited the area in the summer months on a regular basis. 

5. Executive Officer Report

• Hydro - Green Highland Renewables are coming on the 22nd for a site visit, in advance of appointing a company to carry out 100kW scheme feasibility study.

• Glebe – Action GR to speak with local Church Of Scotland representative to try to resolve the problem with Church of Scotland progress.

6. Friends of Assynt Foundation

AP reported that OSCR suggested we ask CVS North in Durness for advice re legality of offering direct benefits such as price discounts to our members.

7. Croft creation

The meeting held on Saturday the 3rd was a success. MH told the board how helpful it had been. Issues were clarified. Specific questions had been identified for presentation to a lawyer with specific experience in Croft creation and registration. The process for the selection of future croft tenants is being further refined following consultation. Other issues relating to identifying croft boundaries, access, planning and advertising were all being actively considered by the working group. The timescale is estimated to run into 2018. It was good to see the potential crofter’s ideas. The notes of the Meeting held at Glencanisp Lodge will be circulated. (Action GR)

A meeting with a lawyer had been held earlier in the day, to receive informal but specialist advice. Estimated legal costs were given for the creation of crofts. The costs may be up to £30,000 for all three townships. The tenancy contracts will need to be prepared carefully and terms approved. MH will write notes of meeting and circulate. (Action MH)

Criteria for Selection: This topic will undoubtedly be controversial, but a clear process will be essential. The Board will need to be aware of the requirements of OSCR when considering the granting of benefits to a number of private individuals by croft assignation. NG suggested that changing our M&As could be considered if there is any suggestion that OSCR will not allow allocation of crofting tenancies, as we need to be very clear.

NG advised that the Board could consider other land use options for the ground planned to be brought into crofting tenancy/common grazing, as part of a full options appraisal. BH suggested a half day meeting to look at these issues with the board.

MH will draft a list of selection criteria for future circulation to Members once agreed by the Board.

BH will seek cost estimates from other lawyers for their professional fees. (Action BOH)

8. AOB

BOH – Boyd Alexander is leaving CALL as his contract has ended. It’s expected that the draft revised CALL Plan will be circulated soon.

MH – Asked about staffing set-up.  Action AP to send on the organogram recently produced for HIE showing staff set-up.

Assynt News – recent editorial about beavers, deer and woodland management, mentioning JMT and AF – agreed that there was no need for AF to respond.

Crofting P&J Article – P&J report of crofting meeting by Lisa MacDonald has been passed onto Ullapool News and Assynt News.

9. Date of Next Meeting – Thursday 19th January 2017


Categories: AF Minutes