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Minutes of April 2017 Meeting

Posted on 12 July, 2017 at 6:00

Minutes of Meeting of Assynt Foundation Board of Directors

6.15pm, Thursday 20th April 2017, Glencanisp Arts Studio

Present: Nigel Goldie (Chair), Jeanette McCarthy, Stewart Hill – Quorate.

In Attendance: Gordon Robertson, John Venters, Ken Hamilton, Lewis MacAskill

Apologies: Brendan O’Hanrahan, Mandy Haggith, Helen Simpson.

No declarations of interest.

1. The Minutes of the Board meeting held on the 16th March 2017 were approved, following the insertion of a previously circulated additional comment relating to the Board’s away day.

2. Matters Arising: All matters that required further discussion will come up under the Agenda.


3. Financial Report. KH referred to the Draft accounts.  SH asked for clarity on how grants were handled within the accounts and KH undertook to circulate all the relevant information. 

4. Glencanisp Lodge: Sam and Rachael Kelly Hawkins were now in place and had made an immediate impact. Most of April had been previously let for weekly lets, so the B&B enterprise would not really start until the beginning of May. The advance bookings looked very encouraging.

5. CALLP Update: The work to improve the Suilven path had commenced. Notices were in place to advise visitors. Helicopters will be operating on the 1st and 2nd May to transport rocks to the site. A Blog and photographic record were both underway, to enable the public to be kept updated and to record the work. The Glencanisp Footpath work still required a deer gate, two benches and a Notice Board. GR was liaising with CALLP as it was proposed by the latter to have a CALLP Scheme launch on Saturday 3rd of June. This would be based at Glencanisp and details will be circulated as soon as they are to hand. Circulate details. Action GR


6. AGM: The date had not been finalised but was now likely to be in June and held in the Village Hall. NG will discuss date with AP on his return from leave and this will be agreed and advertised in the normal way. NG stated that the Agenda was still to be agreed. The issue of Crofting, the possible purchase of the Glebe Land and reports on Native Woodland Creation, Hydro development and the operation of the Lodge will all be presented. Furthermore there may need to be resolutions on the ability of AF to let land for grazing for periods in excess of 5 years. It was agreed that the detailed Agenda will be decided at the next Board Meeting.


7. Executive Officer’s Report:


GR reported that nearly 2000 hectares of potential Native Woodland Planting were being evaluated. This involved land running from near Ledmore junction all the way towards Lochinver. The planting may assist with general deer management. Close liaison with FCS, SNH, Historic Assynt and neighbours will take place. Elaine MacAskill has been permitted by the Woodland Trust for Scotland to deliver the Scheme for AF. Progress is being made over securing financial backing and there will be a further opportunity to sell the Carbon Credits to enhance the returns to AF.


The work on Hydro development continues. The firms tendering for the Feasibility Studies have been delving into issues relating to SSE and connectivity. This will continue to be of high priority.


GR will be attending a Seminar on Hutting next week and will report back on the potential. Much work relating to leases, hut styles, planning, and administration has already been undertaken and this will stand AF in good stead if it is decided to move matters on.


8. Low Carbon Infrastructure Programme (LCITP)


This was a Government initiative for Communities to explore imaginative ideas for Low Carbon energy solutions. It was generally felt that this grant may be more suited to the Assynt Community Development group.


Lewis MacAskill (LM) suggested that he might speak to SSE to find out more and which organisation would be best suited to apply. Action GR/LM


9. Crofts.


NG introduced the subject of the Creation of new Crofts on land owned by AF. Expectations had been raised and clarity was required on the way forward. The uncertainty that currently pervaded should not continue, and he felt that whilst this venture was unlikely to proceed in the near future, the door had not been closed. It would be prudent for the Board to await the results of the Government’s Crofting Review and to also proceed with the Native Woodland Grant Application as this could transform the fortunes of AF as a whole. These two matters were related closely to each other and justified proper appraisal.


SH agreed confirming his view that the timing was not right to proceed.


Clarity is required and the matter will be fully discussed when MH is present at the next Board Meeting.


10. The Assynt Foundation. Wider Community Development


NG stated that he felt that it was important for AF to be represented on the Board of The Assynt Community Association. This will enable AF, as the biggest Community Landowner, to promote many issues such as tourism, the arts, camping, and events and to ensure that AF’s vision is clearly understood. It is Important for AF to be engaged. SH stressed his view that AF should always use its assets for the socio-economic benefit of the Community.


11. Board Development. Away day September


NG agreed to circulate Board members with a proposed date in September for an away day. This will be held in the Lodge and HIE will be asked whether they will support this event financially.


Action NG (date for Away Day) GR Check availability of Lodge


Meeting closed at 8.15pm. Date of next meeting TBC.



Categories: AF Minutes