Blair Atholl and Struan Community Council Minutes – March 2022

Blair Atholl & Struan Community Council  

Virtual Meeting – Tuesday 8 March 2022 


Present: Donald Isles (Chairman), Tony Dowson, Fiona Gordon, Lynda Mutch (Minutes), Cllr John Duff, Alistair Smith (Heartland Multimedia), Nathaniel Goddard (Heartland Multimedia)

  1. Apologies for Absence

Viv Cree, Amy Liptrott, Police

  1. Minutes of Previous Meeting

Minutes of the meeting of 18 January 2022 were approved.

  1. Matters Arising/On-going Issues: 
    1. Trinafour 30mph speed limit – Residents are frustrated with time taken for this signage to be completed.  JD has confirmation that, although it has been caught in a backlog, it will be in place by the end of this financial year.

3.2        Village Hall Wi-fi – Heartland’s IT specialist, Corrado Mella, has inspected and will come back to DI with recommendations.  He is currently waiting for some information from BT Openreach.  DI will make application to Digital Inclusion Fund as soon as he has pricing information.  Digital awareness and digital inclusion classes for older people are being proposed in the village hall which would utilise hall wifi for the benefit of the community.

  1. Finance 

Nothing to report.  CC still require a treasurer following LF’s resignation.

  1. Blair Atholl Surgery

Since our last meeting, AS had attempted to follow-up with Health & Social Care Partnership and was informed that they do not hold meetings.   Meetings are held by Perth & Kinross Integration Joint Board which is made up of four elected PKC councillors, four NHS Tayside Board members together with other partners who do not have a vote.  JD confirmed the information about HSCP given at the last community council meeting was not accurate.  Currently, no request to close the Blair Atholl Surgery has been made to the Integration Joint Board.  AS has still had no reply to requests for information from Atholl Medical Centre, or PKC IJB.  JD will follow up with IJB.

At a meeting with the deputy First Minister and some members of the community council on 21 February, Mr Swinney agreed to take forward the following points on behalf of the community:

  • The importance of maintaining healthcare provision in the village
  • The lack of consultation re closure
  • The need for a more solution-focussed approach

We are not aware of any other communities in the same situation who have managed to save their local surgeries and it was agreed that we must ensure that final decisions are not taken before further consultation.  

  1. The Atholl Glens
    1. An event is being planned in the village hall on 2 April to celebrate Eve Muirhead’s gold medal success at the Olympics.
  1. TAG has developed a new tourist map to showcase the area.  This is currently being circulated amongst TAG members for comment.  TD will let us know when the new version has been confirmed. 
  1. Resilience Team

Group has been moth-balled but can be called on in the future if needed.   Our community was held up as an example of good practice recently in the Scottish Parliament.  Lord Lieutenant wrote thanking TD and group for work in community.  HAP is looking into creating a Resilience Group for whole of Highland area, however we are already working closely with the rest of Perth & Kinross and Pitlochry in particular.

  1. Heartland FM

There has been a reorganisation of the news team at Heartland, with Ramsay Beattie largely working on another project, although still reporting part-time for Heartland.  Nathaniel Goddard has now taken on the wider role of both Sports and News.  A student from Blair Atholl has started with Heartland on work experience and a journalist student from Pitlochry is also working for one day per week.

NG is particularly keen to hear from local sports groups for inclusion in the Saturday sports show.

As part of the celebration of Heartland FM’s 30th birthday, there will be special reports and live interviews with community groups from the window of their premises in Atholl Road on 24th and 25th March.  Any group interested in taking part in this should contact for appointments.  TD will pass information on to TAG.

  1. Queen’s 70th Jubilee June 2022

TAG is organising an event in the park.  Full details are still to be finalised.  Atholl Estate will also be lighting a beacon.

  1. Lade

Atholl Estates now has approval from SEPA to complete the work required, however finances still have to be organised.

  1. Etape Caledonia

Will be held on 15 May 2022 and will revert to usual route. 

  1. CNPA

Nothing to report.

  1. Update Reports
    1. 2022 Budget – Budget has been passed with less restrictions than originally expected.  JD explained where much of the council budget will be spent and, in particular, highlighted:
  • Many charities and organisations had purchased a three-year event licence and have not been able to make use of these due to Covid regulations.  Legally PKC cannot reimburse the organisations but will instead discount future licences.  
  • Additional money has been set aside for the community investment fund in acknowledgement of the higher energy costs that local groups may face.
  • Roads infrastructure – a record amount in this budget for roads, footpaths and bridges.
  • Continued funding for the visitor ranger service, increasing number of rangers from seven to ten.
  • Council Tax increase restricted to 2 ½ % which is one of the lower increases in Scottish Local Authorities
  1. PKC Council meeting – tomorrow’s meeting will discuss the situation in Ukraine.  Most councillors have signed up to the motion to denounce the aggression being shown towards Ukraine and to agree to house a number of refugees in Perth & Kinross.  Also on the agenda will be the Council’s response to the National Planning Framework 4.
  1. Council Elections – JD will be standing again, along with MW.  Local resident and chair of TAG, Rhona Metcalfe is also standing as a Conservative councillor.  XM will not be standing for re-election.
  1. AOCB
    1. Dog/Human Fouling, Calvine – This has become a problem recently and DI asked if signage could be erected to advertise 24-hour toilet facilities in Blair Atholl, along with other 
  1. Correspondence – DI will forward correspondence to VC for distribution to wider list.
  1. River Tilt Bridge – some temporary work has been carried out on the bridge with a more permanent solution to be included in the programme of works.
  1. Fuel/Cost of Living Crisis – AS asked if we were supporting local people who may be vulnerable.  JD provided a link for Welfare Rights team at PKC for anyone who is struggling financially, to ensure that they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to. Contact for advice and assistance.  In addition, everyone in properties up to and including Band D will see a £150 credit on Council Tax bills.
  1. Next Meeting

Next meeting will be held on Tuesday 10 May 2022 at 7.30pm. If Hall wi-fi has been installed by then, we should be able to run a hybrid meeting.  If not, we will continue with Zoom until hybrid meetings are possible.

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