Development Officers Report 17th September 2017
Paths Project lead Director, Duncan Bryden, accompanied by C.C. Chair Vivian Roden, SCT chair Edward Usborne and development officer Charles Morgan attended a meeting with Councillor Ken Gowans and officials from roads and planning department at the Highland council offices in Inverness. The objective was to negotiate more favourable planning conditions on the proposed paths sections 7 and 8 (Shop to Juniper Drive). The council were reminded that this summer has seen more and more walkers and cyclists on this stretch of road with regular reports of speeding vehicles.
As previously reported the onerous conditions imposed by Highland Council would add significant costs to the project. The meeting was robust with open discussion taking place and the result was that Highland Council are tasked with offering a compromise solution to enable the completion of the project. Watch this space!
Broadband for Moy:
BT Openreach have commenced work on the project to supply fibre to premises to 49 houses in the Moy area. The contract is due to be complete by December 2017. The cost is sitting at £85k, and will be paid out of Moy windfarm receipts. James Macpherson and Steve Cormack continue to explore broadband options for up the Glen.
Website and communications:
Director Steve Cormack continues to mastermind the web site and improve our ‘digital’ footprint. The hall can be booked on line and regular news items are posted here and on Facebook
As previously reported the final submission of our application was made on the 21st June 2017. Due diligence is still being carried out by the Big Lottery funding officers on our strategic plan. We have a date for the Lottery Scotland main panel to meet to discuss our application. The meeting takes place on the 19th September.
The community faces stiff completion for lottery funding. SCD believes that we have a strong application and we understand that the decision on our application will be made known on the 20th September. Fingers, toes and anything else you can think of crossed! Social Investment Scotland have completed successfully their due diligence work on SCD Ltd and an offer of loan finance for the proposed new hub has been made. Up to £1m of loan is available should it be required.
Please note that other funding avenues are being explored and have been submitted. These include applications to the Regional Regeneration Fund, Scottish Land Fund and Strathdearn Charitable Community Trust (likely to require a community ballot)
Our Building Warrant is now ready to submit - dependent upon the decision on the application for funding to the Big Lottery. The tender process for choosing a contractor is scheduled to commence in October. The chosen contractor to be announced by December.
White River Trading:
White River Trading is the name of SCD’s trading company and runs the village shop. It is with great credit to Lee-Anne and her staff that we can report a break -even situation on the shop accounts April to July 2017.
Whilst there is still a lot of work to do in the shop and previously the shop was trading at a loss and required subsidy, it is rewarding to see the growing support from the community and the increase in trade.
Our development company admin assistant Victoria Cameron Mackintosh has now left the post for another position with the Calman Trust. Victoria will be greatly missed and the board of SCD thank Victoria for her invaluable contribution to the SCD team.
SCD are delighted to confirm the appointment of Mhairi Macsween as the new admin assistant. This position continues to be fully funded through the DTAS grant we receive.
There is still a need for support staff and volunteers for the shop. If anyone would like to volunteer their time, full training will be given by Lee-Anne. Please contact Lee Anne if you would like to help. The Directors are all volunteers too and we would welcome offers of help in project work. Company membership is increasing and we invite more to join.
After long and protracted negotiations, we have finally signed the contract with ENECO for the Moy windfarm opened in May 2016. The first community benefit payment was made to SCD in August.
Improved shop trading is welcome, hall income has fallen as costs have risen.
Date for your diary - SCD AGM – 27th September 2017 from 7pm
MORE SPEEDING COMPLAINTS!
A few weeks ago there was a bit of a debate on speeding in Old Mill Road, which seemed to end fairly amicably. Having said that, I have noticed quite a few heavy construction vehicles, and some smaller ones, passing up Old Mill Road presumably en route for Distillery Wood recently – and some of these could do with slowing down a bit! There have also been complaints about Station Road, where, like Old Mill Road, the legal speed limit may be 30mph – but surely common sense would dictate driving much slower past houses where there are children or older people who might not be as quick on their feet as they used to be (getting to that stage myself these days!)
Speeding is an issue that comes up regularly at Community Council Meetings, and the advice from the Community Police Officer is to forward offending registration numbers to them. But surely, with a bit of goodwill and consideration, that won’t be necessary. We’re a small community with a good reputation for caring about each other – so let’s put that into practice this summer, and ease off that accelerator! The front page of the Courier today shows a wee boy of four, in a hospital bed after being knocked down outside his house in Inverness - don’t let this, or worse, happen in Tomatin or Moy. Nobody wants a tragedy here. It’s lovely to see so many wee ones around the village (Tomatin) now – let’s try to keep them safe!
Dear Moy resident,
In November last year, Moy voted almost unanimously to support an SCD project to upgrade broadband speeds in the area. As per the agreed plan, SCD contracted with Open Reach to install three cabinets connected to Tomatin exchange by fibre optic cable.* Each premise would then be connected to one of the cabinets by their existing telephone line. Everybody would enjoy improved speeds with those houses nearest to the cabinets benefiting most. Most households registered for the Better Broadband Voucher which contributed around £16K to the total cost of £105K.
Since that time, there have been developments in Open Reach's technology and their strategy for improving broadband in rural areas.** As a result, Open Reach have approached SCD with a new proposal. Instead of installing fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), they offer to install fibre to the premises (FTTP). They will do it for the agreed price (£105K - £16K vouchers) and honour the agreed timetable (finish by December 2017). This would bring much higher broadband speed to EVERY house or business.
Both proposals bring fibre optic cables to Moy area. The difference is in how your premise is connected to this main fibre cable. The FTTC scheme connects to it using the existing copper telephone line, delivering estimated speeds of 1.6 to 80 Mbps, depending on your location. Under the new FTTP proposal, Open Reach will install a further fibre optic cable directly to your house delivering speeds of up to 330Mbps to ALL premises.
FTTP is also more future proof. Connection nodes will be distributed throughout the area which are cheap and easy to connect to, making the Moy area more attractive for new homes and businesses.
Initially there will be only 2 service providers to choose from - BT and Zen - although more will enter the market as FTTP becomes more common throughout the UK. Houses and businesses will be able to choose from various packages offering speeds from 40Mbps to 330 Mbps. The Zen website offers an unlimited usage basic package for £43.99/month (incl line rental), which is exactly the same monthly price as the basic FTTC option.
|Broadband Service||Download speed (Mbps)||Upload Speed (Mbps)||Cost/month (including line rental)|
|Standard broadband (what you have now)||17||1||£32.99|
|fibre to the cabinet (FTTC)||38||9.5||£43.99|
|fibre to the premises (FTTP)||40||10||£43.99|
|fibre to the premises (FTTP)||80||20||£46.99|
|fibre to the premises (FTTP)||330||20||£116.00|
[Please note. These are “up to” speeds. We know that the existing standard broadband which is “up to 17Mbps” is actually less than 1 Mbps in many areas of Moy. Similarly we were told by Open Reach that FTTC speeds of “up to 38Mbps” would be as low as 1.6 Mbps for those furthest from the cabinet. However Open Reach assures us that the FTTP speeds will be close to the “up to” speed for ALL 50 premises in the scheme, regardless of their location.]
There will be some temporary inconvenience to some properties while installing the proposed new scheme. Open Reach will have to install a fibre cable to every premise. In most cases, it will follow the route of the existing telephone line and cause no disruption. However in some cases the cable will have to be laid underground so some disruption to lawns, flowerbeds, etc may be necessary. Open Reach engineers are compiling a list of such properties.
There is no obligation to connect up to this service. Premise-owners may choose to keep their existing broadband service and connect to the fibre service at a later date.
In summary, Open Reach are offering a faster, better, more future-proof service to every premise at no extra cost.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the new development and give you an opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns. However we don't want to lose our place in the Open Reach work schedule which envisages work beginning in late August - early September and finishing in December. SCD would like to give Open Reach the formal go ahead without undue delay. I would therefore be grateful if you would contact me with any questions or concerns by Friday 21 July.
Steve Cormack (SCD director)
Old Post Office
Tomatin IV13 7YN
tel : 01808-511496
* The proposal was to "install 3 new Fibre cabinets, one at Dalmagarry (delivering to properties estimated speeds between 1.6 - 60.2mbps) and 2 cabinets in Moy (24.7 – 80.0mbps and 27.8 –42.6mbps)."
** This offer is possible due to a new method of armouring fibre optic cable which means that expensive ducting is no longer required - the cable can be buried directly in the ground. Further savings are possible because the cable doesn't need to be powered and branching the cable is easier. (The cabinets required electricity to be routed to them and all connections had to be made within the cabinet).
Information sheet describing FTTC vs FTTP : https://www.scotlandsuperfast.
Zen website : https://www.zen.co.uk/yourhome/
The SCD board of directors have been discussing options to strengthen the viability of the current hall complex.
There has been some discussion regarding a service offering campervans a space to park overnight in the village hall carpark. This is a low key proposal aimed at a couple of camper vans (no tents or caravans), maximum stopping overnight – say 7.30pm – 10 am in the far corner of the car park. The benefits would be:-
(a) Advance booking (and payment) online – vans would submit registration number so we will know who is using the site. We would also encourage further donations.
(b) Additional income for the hall which would cover opening and cleaning for toilets as well as waste disposal charges.
(c) Accommodate vans already visiting the area who are looking for places to park up overnight (sometimes in unsuitable places like gateways etc)
(d) Anticipating trends that suggest the number of camper vans visiting the Highlands will continue to grow.
It has been noted that vans have already been in the car park asking if they can stay overnight and some may have done so already.
These are just initial thoughts at present and is in the very early stages of consideration. SCD would like to gauge the opinion of the community regarding this venture.