Strathdearn Community Developments Co. has begun the 'Small Wins' programme which we announced some time ago. The idea is to tackle smaller jobs which will have an immediate benefit for our community but don't require all the planning and permissions of a bigger project.
In response to comments from several people about the state of signage in the area we employed local window cleaner Myles Evans & Co. Ltd to clean 12 signs in the Strathdearn area (see below) and all of the windows at the Millennium hall at a cost of £165. This was completed on the 16th March 2018.
Most of the signs came up well however, some had a surface that was disintegrating - the three signs marked with an asterisk in the list below were notified as being the worst. These have been reported to the Highland Council and a response is expected by the 05/04/2018, the community council have also been notified of this action.
Glen Road Sign
Steve Culeen has removed the wooden sign outside the hall so that it can be dried out, cleaned up and re-varnished.
Station Road pot-holes
We are very grateful to SSEN (Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks) for offering us a 'volunteering day,' whereby personnel from the company provide a day's labour to help the community in some way. SCD suggested that the potholes on Station Road could be filled in as this was highlighted as a problem at the community council meetings.
Neil Macdonald, Site Construction Manager at the Tomatin substation, and the Construction Manager of Amey are happy to help for 8 hours with manpower and the use of equipment (which they don’t normally offer) and they hope to provide a motorised roller and possibly a mini digger.
Due to the weather they won’t be able to commence until April 2018. On Monday 19th March they visited the site and plan to meet with SCD Director Jimmy Duncan to discuss any further requirements.
Once a date has been agreed then SCD will purchase 20 tonnes of 20mm stone & dust scaplings (as recommended by the quarry) at a cost of £17.31 a tonne + VAT = £415 including delivery from Daviot quarry. The company can turn around a delivery in a day.
SCD will buy 4 timber planters and 1 hanging column planter which will be sited at the shop and hall. Carol James, Chair of the Strathdearn gardening club, has agreed to look after these floral arrangements. Moy sub-committee is investigating purchasing similar installations for the Moy area. Once the total number is settled, the planters will be ordered and hopefully be in place six weeks later.
If you have any ideas for future 'Small Wins' projects, please let us know.
We've had some excellent news this week - the Scottish government will give us half a million pounds towards our new community hub building. The grant was won in the face of fierce competition, largely due to the persuasive skills of SCD development officer Charles Morgan. Well done and thank you, Charles. The details are contained within the following press release :
Hub funding a welcome boost for Strathdearn
Strathdearn residents are celebrating an injection of £500,000 to help build their new community Hub in Tomatin. Strathdearn Community Developments, the local community company, is one of several bodies in the Highlands to get support from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund. Further funding for the Hub will come from community benefit associated with local wind farms.
The funding secured by the Highland Council on behalf Strathdearn Community Developments will help develop a 21st century community hub that will include the community run village shop and café alongside new community space and the covered sports pitch.
This forward-looking building will be highly insulated with renewable energy features, digital technology and charging points for electric vehicles and cycles. The Hub will showcase local food and drink, arts and crafts and traditional music events. Interpretation at the Hub will be centred on the unique culture and heritage of the upper River Findhorn, enhancing the visitor experience and promoting economic opportunities.
This exciting new project will strengthen the community in Strathdearn create a better place for people to live and visit and help ensure a sustainable future. The Hub is a key stone in a range of projects being delivered by the community company including ultra-fast fibre broadband to 50 households in Moy, a carer scheme to support elderly and ill people in their own homes and an improved path network. Further broadband and affordable housing projects are in the pipeline.
Richard Cooling, chair of Strathdearn Community Developments, said “We are delighted to get this support through the Highland Council and Scottish Government. We hope to start on the site in the early summer and open in 2019”. He added “with a thriving primary school and young families moving into the area, healthy visitor numbers at Tomatin Distillery and improvements to the A9 – the Hub project will really make Strathdearn one to watch!”
Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson wishes Richard and his team the very best with their plans. She said: “It is terrific news to get the confirmation that this funding is in place and credit must go to everyone involved for their hard work and efforts to secure this money. I look forward to seeing work on this exciting project get underway as it’s going to play an important role in breathing new life into the community.”
A 'Taste of Game' evening was held in the Strathdearn hall on Saturday to raise awareness that the Tomatin Community Shop will be stocking a wide range of this delicious, locally produced food, as from 25th February.The night was a huge success. Jenny McCallum, of the Tomatin Moorland Group, described the evening for us:
The Taste of Game night exceeded all expectations. We had over 30 people from the area and the room was packed with a real buzz and included a few of the local estate staff. There were quite a few questionnaires returned to gauge interest of what people would like to see in the shop and everyone in the room was really positive about game being supplied there. They also wanted to see stocks of the Crossbill gin and the Connage cheese, so it all went down a storm. There was an appetite for another cookery event and also requests for hare and venison liver.
Cara Richardson, the chef, came across really well and when she compared a chicken breast to pheasant there was no comparison. She showed everyone how to cook a venison fillet in minutes and how to wrap it tight in cling film and freeze, to then serve up as a carpaccio. Not many people had eaten raw venison before and the plate was cleared. The goujons of pheasant and grouse were also a super easy and a great introduction to grouse. Some had never tried it before and were definitely converted.
The Tomatin Moorland Group are very grateful to Cara and Elaine Hepburn for their help on the evening and to Mhairi MacSween and Lee-Ann Cornwall for their assistance with the event.
SCD would also like to thank everyone for turning out on the night. If you couldn’t manage along please remember to fill out your questionnaire, which was delivered with your newsletter, or pop in and speak to staff at the shop to help plan future supplies.
Strathdearn is on the map .... the weather map! Now we have a daily weather forecast created by a local man using locally gathered data.
Highlands & Islands Weather has recently installed a new weather monitoring station in Tomatin. This records temperature, rainfall and wind speed automatically and loads the data online.
Highlands & Islands Weather is a donation run service operated by Lee Schofield of Carrbridge in his free time. Lee has a vast knowledge of meteorology and uses this to provide accurate local forecasts for the area each day on his Facebook page which has 90,000 followers. Non-Facebookers can view a forecast based on the data HERE.
Highlands & Islands Weather have a large network of reporting stations across the Highlands & Islands area which feed live data to them 24/7 enabling Lee to warn people in all corners of the area of low temperature, high rainfall or strong winds being recorded in their immediate vicinity.
[This article will be archived under 'Community Council News' for future reference]
Section 42 application – extended working hours
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission plc (SHE Transmission) sought to reach an agreement with the Community Liaison Group (CLG) prior to formally submitting an application to The Highland Council for the amendment. We recognised that there is a general resistance to any Sunday working on the Tomatin substation site. Our latest consultation with members of the Community Liaison Group indicated a strong resistance from the community for any earthworks or construction activity being carried out on a Sunday but there was a general compromise to a full working day on a Saturday and an increase to weekday working hours.
Following these comments, our revised proposal seeks to further limit any works which could cause any disturbance on a Sunday whist still allowing for some progress to be made when the fitting and cabling/wiring of equipment is required (Electrical Works). Electrical works can be carried out with minimal impacts on the wider area in terms of construction noise. We propose to carry out Electrical works on Sundays from circa May 2018 – February 2019. There would be no Civils works carried out on Sundays. The Electrical works do not require heavy vehicles and machinery and by its nature is a very quiet form of working with much of it taking place inside the building. The proposal is as follows: Week day working: 7.00am – 7.00pm – Summer months 8.00am – 6.00pm – Winter months Saturdays 7.00am – 5.00pm – Summer months 8.00am – 4.00pm – Winter months Sundays 8.00am – 4.00pm – for Electrical works only (from May 2018 – Feb 2019).
SHE Transmission and the Contractor will work closely with Dalarossie Church on the schedule of church services. The proposed Sunday electrical working (from May 2018 – February 2019) will not be noisy and with the Church being some distance from the site there should be no impact on the church or other services. Nevertheless, we will ensure ongoing liaison with the Church to ensure that there are no negative effects on the services. Works at Tomatin substation are currently scheduled to be completed by March 2019 to allow the additional generation to connect to the National Grid. This will see the construction of the substation take place over two winters, the first Winter will see groundworks, earthworks and concrete works. Due to the nature of these activities and the exposed nature of the site, it is highly likely that there will be delays in construction activities due to adverse weather conditions. In particular, high winds but also potentially heavy rain/flooding and snow/ice. The exposed nature of the access track is a further factor which may lead to lost construction time if the road is closed. The Contractor has made some allowance of weather risk in the programme, however we are conscious that during the access road works in the summer months of 2017 we still lost 2 weeks of work due to adverse weather conditions (heavy rain). The full application can be found at: