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Strathdearn Community Website

Strathdearn Community Developments

Openreach vans 02

An open letter from James Machpherson, SCD lead director for broadband project :

Dear Community Members

As you may well know on 16th November 2016 the Moy residents voted unanimously in favour for BT Openreach’ s proposal to install 3 new cabinets within the Moy area, promising speeds of up 80mbps once installed. This solution is to be funded through around £85K Moy Windfarm Community Benefit funds, the Better Broadband Vouchers of up to £350 being claimed by all Moy households and BT’s own investment.

Strathdearn Community Developments, the facilitator in the process, has the challenging ambition of helping to bring superfast broadband to the whole of Strathdearn! This will be a very difficult and challenging task which must be completed in a number of stages.

The Moy upgrade was effectively seen as stage 1 of our strategy for improving broadband within Strathdearn, with following stages addressing the Glenmazeran Exchange, Coignafearn, Clune and  Balvraid and so on until we have managed to achieve superfast broadband throughout the entire community!

The next stage in our plans will be to improve the broadband speeds for properties up to and surrounding the Glenmazeran exchange.

In the latter stages of 2016 we proposed to Robert Thorburn, of BT Openreach (Chief Coordinator for Highland and Islands), the idea of a community dig up to the Glenmazeran exchange, connecting fibre directly to every property en-route, with BT Openreach contributing all the cabling, ducting, installation and connections. Subject to full costing and technical specification plans, this project would have been funded through the community as well as contributions from the property owners. Furthermore, the landowners would agree not claim any wayleave on this line and allow BT access for any ongoing maintenance. Initially we were given the impression that this was a solution that BT would be agreeable to.

We had had hoped that an Openreach surveyor/ engineer would meetup in the latter stages of 2016 so we could plan the optimal route for the new cabling so that we could attain quotes from local contractors, with the ambition of a spring 2017 dig commencing but disappointingly, Openreach did not propose any meeting date, even after a number of reminders.

Having continued to press Robert Thorburn, on a fortnightly basis, Robert has explained that his reasoning for not committing to this proposal is because he would like to explore another option first which may not require quite so much community investment or input.

Robert’s latest March 2017 update is the following:

“BT is proactively looking at provision of an upgrade to both the Tomatin and  Glenmazeran Exchanges from the max headline Exchange Activate speed of 0.5mbps ( Glenmazeran) and the ADSL speed of 8mbps ( Tomatin)  to 20mbps before the end of 2018. Whilst it is anticipated that Tomatin will likely complete during 2017, plans are still being progressed on how Glenmazeran will be deployed too with this technology.   A significant amount of work and investment will be required to make this happen. At this point, I have no clear path to explain how BT intend to do this which will be clearer over the next 2/3 months.

For example - when the upgrade occurs in Tomatin - ADSL customers will automatically benefit from slightly increased speeds predominantly those in the village or within a several kms' - it may not necessarily provide any real improvement for those heading towards Glanmazeran but will provide improved connectivity options which could be important for attracting businesses.
The same principle applies though that the further away from the exchange you are the lower the ADSL speeds will be..

Work continues on developing a FTTP and cabinet based fibre solution to support premises along the Strathdearn as we pave the way to reaching Glenmazeran.”

At this stage I would I think our best option is to wait to see what Openreach comes up with. It may be that a further community partnership will be required similar to the Moy project, but as soon as I have a proper update will let you know.

Yours faithfully,

James

Strathdearn Community Development Company's project to bring superfast broadband to Moy residents has been praised by BT and promoted on their website as a model for other rural communities. BT have promised the new fibre cabinets will be ready to use by Christmas. In an article titled "Breath of fresh air for Inverness-shire community as Moy windfarm helps fund fibre broadband," Robert Thorburn, BT Scotland project director, described the benefits:

“We know the huge impact broadband has had on our lives and it’s fantastic to have personally been involved with the Moy community to find a fibre broadband solution which will benefit local residents of all generations.

“This will allow many for the first time to effectively work or study at home, do  homework and run businesses which has been extremely difficult to do with the current speeds available.

“Additionally, the ability to retain and attract new people to their community harnessing the full benefits available, is massively important.”

The success of the project is largely due to the hard work and commitment of SCD director James Macpherson. Read the full story on BT's website HERE.

Development Officers report February 2017

Paths Project:
The SCD board is reviewing the cost of the additional requirements demanded by the roads department to meet the conditions of planning. The cost revision has been carried out by McGowan’s. The decision to proceed with the project will be put to the company members at the forthcoming EGM scheduled for Spring 17
Big Lottery Visit:
 A full strategic plan is now being worked upon by the board to meet the deadline for the lottery fund. Big lottery managers have given permission for the Board to publish progress on the application on the website and social media sites to keep the community informed. The application is time consuming and detailed. The Admin team along with the board members are working on this now.

Broadband:
Lead director James Macpherson has carried out a comprehensive dialogue with various broadband bodies in an effort to improve the broadband service in the remoter parts of the Strathdearn area. Various options and schemes have been discussed and are currently under consideration. The two areas currently under discussion and previously reported, are the village of Moy and surrounding area as well as the upper reaches of the Glen. The board are still in analysis of the data and options and this is very much a work in progress. Several meetings and board minutes reflect the on -going nature of this project. The contract to supply Superfast broadband to the Moy residents has been signed and the work is due for completion by December 2017. Moy residents are encouraged to sign up for the Scottish Government subsidy voucher to reduce the overall cost of the project.

Tomatin Village shop:
The Village shop has had an encouraging Christmas sales period and Lee Anne and her staff are now looking towards Valentine’s day and Easter offerings. Chocolate is on display at very competitive prices. It is important to note that a break-in to the village shop was reported just before Christmas which has resulted in an insurance claim of £1600 to White river trading insurers. The board are now actively considering close circuit recording cameras for the premises.  Review of the shop offering is being looked at with the product offering looking to expand.

Development Company Website:
Lead director Steve Cormack in association with Yellow Cherry marketing has now posted a new website. It is well worth a look as several new features have been added. The website now features an on line booking system for the hall and the sports centre. It is now possible to book and pay for Hall and sports centre bookings through the website. Anyone still wishing to pay by cheque or cash, can do so by paying at the village shop. The changes are to reflect the anticipated New Hall build so we are prepared well in advance.

Old Village hall/ Millenium hall:
A trail pit has been dug to ascertain certain measurements at the bridge. The small excavation was carried out early in the New Year. The results of the trail pit have been submitted to roads department at the Highland council planning department. The board are delighted to report that the conditions for planning have now been met and a VERBAL response has been received that the new Hall/ Hub planning application has been successful. The board hope to have the written planning permission from Planning department very shortly. This is excellent news for the community and triggers the completion of the Big Lottery application, referred to earlier in this report.

New Hall Manager:
Patricia Norton is taking over the position of Hall manager as of January 17. Patricia is part of the SCD admin team and her hours are fully funded by the Scottish government grant received last year. SCD board would like to thank Lee Anne Cornwall for her work on the Hall management and for her help and advice to Patricia during the hand over. The grant received has been extended to June 2017 with the hope that SCD will receive the grant for another financial year to March 31st 2018. Discussions on the continued grant support are on -going with DTAS. When concluded, the results will be published. Patricia is in the process of putting the hall records into a digital format for ease of access on line.  

Articles of Association SCD Ltd
An amendment to the company’s articles of association has been approved by the board to incorporate the addition of the Moy sub- committee. The articles include the addition of the Moy wind farm community benefits through ENECO’s wind farm. The amended articles have met with ENECO’s legal acceptance and SCD’s solicitors are checking the legal validity with OSCAR. SCD’s solicitors are happy that the article changes are acceptable. Please note that the legal bill for this work and amendments to the articles and terms and conditions, is being paid for by ENECO.  It is hoped that when the legal paperwork is complete, the board will hold an EGM to pass the amendments after which the monies from the wind farm at Moy will be received.

The next SCD Board meeting is February 23rd 2017 7.30pm at the Millenium hall.

Paths Project:

The SCD board is reviewing the cost of the additional requirements demanded by the roads department to meet the conditions of planning. The cost revision is being carried out by McGowan’s. The figures should be available this week for the board to decide on the viability of completing the project.

New Community Hub - Big Lottery Visit:

Three members of the Big Lottery funding team met the SCD board at the Millennium Hall on the 9th November.  A full two-hour session with the Big Lottery team took place to examine the plans for the new Community Hub and our request for a significant financial contribution from the Lottery towards our capital costs.  

 Following their visit and after careful deliberation the Development Company were invited to proceed to the next stage of the community assets funding. There were 3500 initial applications for the community assets programme for 2016/2017 and the number of applications being considered is now down to fewer than 10 – of which our project in one.

A full strategic plan for the Community Hub is now being worked upon by the board to meet the deadline for submission. The Big Lottery have given permission for SCD to publish progress on the application on the website and social media sites to keep the community involved, with progress.

Meanwhile…

Planning permission for the new Community Hub complex, that was submitted at the end of July, has now cleared all but one final obstacle prior to a recommendation for approval. Planners were on site with our architects last Monday. A trial pit is being dug to ascertain certain measurements at the road bridge to allow a foul waste pipe to cross the bridge and down Shop Brae to the Scottish Water treatment plant. Once these measurements have been calculated it is hoped that the project will receive consent in the very near future.

Broadband:

Lead director James Macpherson has carried out a comprehensive dialogue with various broadband bodies in an effort to improve the broadband service in the remoter parts of the Strathdearn area. Various options and schemes have been discussed and are currently under consideration. The two areas currently under discussion and previously reported, are the village of Moy and surrounding area as well as the upper reaches of the Glen. The board are still in analysis of the data and options and this is very much a work in progress. Several meetings and board minutes reflect the on -going nature of this project and progress has been made The board are grateful for the continuing hard work, and expertise, James has done on broadband. It has been much appreciated.

Tomatin Village shop:

The shop continues to progress and settle into Community ownership. Please note the shop signs have been changed to show the SCD logo and the name change to Tomatin Village Shop. Please watch for Lee-Anne’s bargain buys for Christmas, on the website and social media sites. The village shop has its own Facebook page. Our thanks to everyone who has taken part in the recent survey. This gives the team valuable feedback on your thoughts and opinions on your community shop. New part time jobs have been created at local level. If anyone would like to work, or volunteer in the shop please contact Lee Anne or the SCD Website. The shop welcomes Ruaraidh Macdonald to the sales team.
Christmas is coming and Lee-Anne’s expertise will ensure the shelves will have plenty of attraction for everyone. The first quarters trading has now completed and we have submitted our first VAT return. A net return of £60 to White River Trading! SCD has now obtained Quick-books and it is the boards’ decision to take the wage roll in house saving overhead cost with accountants.

Development Company Website:

Lead director Steve Cormack in association with Yellow Cherry marketing has now posted a new website. It is well worth a look as several new features have been added. The website now features an on line booking system for the hall and the sports centre. It is now possible to book and pay for Hall and sports centre bookings through the website. Anyone still wishing to pay by cheque or cash, can do so by paying at the village shop. The changes are to reflect the anticipated New Hall build so we are prepared well in advance.

Old Village Hall/ Millennium Hall:

The Old Village Hall has been boarded up due to vandalism. Lead director Jimmy Duncan is removing the bar and a new lock is being installed. This is to allow access to the old hall by user groups that require access to the old hall for stored materials. The key for the lock will be with Steve Culeen and anyone requiring access please ask Steve for the key.
The warning notice to the public should now be in place. Danger Keep Out!

New Admin team member:

Thanks to an underspend with the Scottish Government grant SCD received this year we have received permission to add to the admin team. A part time post (10 hrs per week) has been recruited and Mrs Patricia Norton has started with SCD. Tricia is responsible for social media postings, marketing of the village shop, and Facebook blogs for the community. The position is for the next 6 months and we are delighted to welcome Tricia on board.  

Articles of Association SCD Ltd

An amendment to the company’s articles of association has been approved by the board to incorporate the addition of the Moy sub- committee. The articles include the addition of the Moy wind farm community benefits through ENECO’s wind farm. The amended articles have met with ENECO’s legal acceptance and SCD’s solicitors are checking the legal validity with OSCAR. It is hoped that when the legal paperwork is complete, the board will hold an EGM to pass the amendments after which the monies from the wind farm at Moy will be received.

The next SCD Board meeting is JANUARY 19th 2017 7.30pm at the Millenium hall.

fingers crossed 01

Strathdearn Community Developments (SCD) are excited to announce that we have been invited to apply for the Community Assets Grant. If successful the grant would contribute to the new Community Hub which will house the Village Shop, a café, a play area, kitchen facilities, showers for the outdoor sports facility, as well as a large Community Hall.

Last year there were no funds available for a Big Lottery Community Assets grant so this year there were an increased number of applications for a smaller than usual total amount. An initial 140-odd applications were whittled down to a short list of 42. Our Community Hub was one of them largely due to the hard work and persistence of Charles Morgan, SCD Development Officer.

A team from the Big Lottery travelled to Tomatin on 8th November for a lengthy interview with the SCD Board. Our background and planning was scrutinised and they were kind enought to compliment the thoroughness of our application. Now, three weeks later, we are among the single figure of applicants who have been invited to apply for a grant.

So fingers crossed everyone. There is still a lot of work to be done, and strong competition for the limited funds available, but we are in there with a shout. We will keep you posted.

 

Paths Project:
As reported at the last meeting, difficulties were being experienced in obtaining an open roads permit to complete the last section of the paths project. The senior roads department manager Mark Clough has over ruled the decision for the installation of a 1 in 200 years flood system, and reduced this to the submitted design for a 1:30 year flood scheme. This is welcome news and the contractor McGowan outdoor has been instructed to carry out a cost revision on Section 8 Juniper drive to review the feasibility of the project. This revised costing will determine whether the project is completed. There is still detail to submit to comply with planning which is being carried out now. A report will hopefully be available for the next C.C meeting  

Big Lottery Visit:
Funding managers from the big lottery are due to visit the development company tomorrow November 9th. The SCD board will meet the Big Lottery team at the millennium hall to discuss the community hall project and assess our application for funding. Preparation for this meeting has been on- going for the last few weeks with the admin team of SCD compiling all the relevant data for the meeting.  A summary on the visit will be in next month’s report.

Broadband:
Lead director James Macpherson has carried out a comprehensive dialogue with various broadband bodies in an effort to improve the broadband service in the remoter parts of the Strathdearn area. Various options and schemes have been discussed and are currently under consideration. The two areas currently under discussion and previously reported, are the village of Moy and surrounding area as well as the upper reaches of the Glen. The board are still in analysis of the data and options and this is very much a work in progress. Several meetings and board minutes reflect the on -going nature of this project and progress has been made The board are grateful for the continuing hard work, and expertise, James has done on broadband. It has been much appreciated.

Tomatin Village shop:
The shop continues to progress and settle into Community ownership. Please note the shop signs have been changed to show the SCD logo and the name change to Tomatin Village Shop. New part time jobs have been created at local level. If anyone would like to work, or volunteer in the shop please contact Lee Anne or the SCD Website.
Christmas is coming and Lee-Anne’s expertise will ensure the shelves will have plenty of attraction for everyone. The first quarters trading has now completed and we have submitted our first VAT return. A net return of £60 to White river trading! SCD has now obtained Quick-books and it is the boards’ decision to take the wage roll in house saving overhead cost with accountants.

Development Company Website:
Lead director Steve Cormack in association with Yellow Cherry marketing has now posted a new website. It is well worth a look as several new features have been added. The website now features an on line booking system for the hall and the sports centre. It is now possible to book and pay for Hall and sports centre bookings through the website. Anyone still wishing to pay by cheque or cash, can do so by paying at the village shop. The changes are to reflect the anticipated New Hall build so we are prepared well in advance.

Old Village hall/ Millenium hall:
The old village hall has been boarded up due to vandalism. Lead director Jimmy Duncan is removing the bar and a new lock is being installed. This is to allow access to the old hall by user groups that require access to the old hall for stored materials. The key for the lock will be with Steve Culeen and anyone requiring access please ask Steve for the key.
The warning notice to the public should now be in place. Danger Keep Out!
The planning permission for the New Hall complex that was submitted at the end of July has now cleared all but one obstacle. Planners were on site with the architects last Monday. A trail pit is being dug to ascertain certain measurements at the bridge. Once these measurements have been calculated it is hoped that the project will receive planning in the very near future.

New Admin team member:
Thanks to an underspend with the Scottish Government grant SCD received this year we have received permission to add to the admin team. A part time post 10 hrs per week has been recruited and Mrs Patricia Norton has started with SCD. Tricia is responsible for social media postings, marketing of the village shop, and facebook blogs for the community. The position is for the next 6 months and we are delighted to welcome Tricia on board.  

The next SCD Board meeting is DECEMBER 8th 2016 7.30pm at the Millenium hall.

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