The Chair welcomed members to the Fearnan Village Association to the AGM.
Apologies: Peter McKenzie, Ros Grant
Adoption of Minutes of 2015 AGM and Business Meetings
The Minutes were published on the Blog after the last meeting. There were no comments and the Minutes were proposed by Julia Lane, and seconded by Elaine Melrose.
The Chair paid tribute to Laurie Lane who passed away on November 2nd last year. Laurie was a member and enthusiastic and generous supporter of the FVA, and Treasurer as well.
This year, social events have continued to fulfil their aim of bringing people together. A Saturday “Soup ‘n Roll” was introduced, alongside regular events.
The Blog continues to increase in popularity and both Fearnan’s history and its Archive have attracted interest.
Work has continued towards: obtaining a better broadband signal; safety at the Fearnan Brae junction; improvements to the War Memorial; and monitoring the latest Main Issues Report for the next Local Development Plan, 2018-23.
The Chair expressed her thanks to Neil & Fiona Ballantyne, Julia Lane and Peter McKenzie for their commitment and hard work throughout the year. She also thanked Julia, who represents us on the Hall Committee and through whom we now have a very good working relationship with the new Hall Committee; Jim Fair for scrutinising the accounts; those members who stepped into the breach with help during Laurie’s illness; and all our members for their continued involvement and support.
Finances: A copy of the FVA’s Income and Expenditure Statement was circulated.
Membership currently stands at 74 individuals. The subscription year for everyone now runs from 1st Feb and this, along with the fact that most people take a 3-year subscription, means the administration involved is significantly reduced.
Events: Ten events were held this year. Costs and income are consistent with the previous year.
Donations: The Remembrance Day event generated a donation of £41 for Help For Heroes, and we also gave a donation of £100 to the McLean Hall.
Amendment to Constitution
February is a busy month for the FVA and to reduce the work in that particular month, the Chair tabled the following amendment to the Constitution:
Change: “An Annual General Meeting shall be held in February ………”
To: “An Annual General Meeting shall be held within 60 days of the end of the FVA’s Financial Year…….”
(The FVA financial year ends on the 31st January every year.)
The change was proposed by Fran Donovan and seconded by Nick Grant.
The FVA Committee was reduced following the death of Laurie Lane. The Chair tabled the appointment of Fran Donovan to the FVA Committee. This was proposed by Joan Millar and seconded by Nick Grant.
Nick Grant proposed a Vote of Thanks to the Chair and the Committee. Joan Millar thanked Fiona Ballantyne for her work on the Blog.
The Chair closed this part of the meeting.
Local Development Plan (LDP): The 5 Year Local Development Plan is now under review. Developers had proposed some sites for Fearnan, but the Council accepted none of the proposals for inclusion in the Plan. The reason given was that a previous LDP Inquiry had determined that Fearnan is a fairly remote rural settlement with few employment opportunities and the developments would not be consistent with the Plan’s vision for sustainable economic growth.
This means that the village boundary will remain unchanged. This plan will run from 2018 to 2023.
Broadband: It hasn’t arrived yet! There are 2 plans that might deliver it. The Highland Perthshire Community Project plan, which would spread from the east, has got some pilots up and running but seems to have stalled. The other plan is a community one from the West (Ardeonaig) and they have planning permission for 3 additional masts, which could mean the service is capable of reaching Fearnan. Mast construction has been held up by the bad weather but the Chair is in contact with the manager of the initiative and will keep us informed.
Fearnan Brae Junction: A vehicle activated sign has been put up on the lochside road (A827) that alerts west-bound traffic if there is a vehicle approaching from Fearnan Brae and issues a ‘slow down’ warning.
War Memorial: There are two issues – getting the Memorial tidied up, and a safer arrangement for the steps. As far as the first is concerned, the Council has a schedule for tidying war memorials, and we are on the schedule.
PKC had agreed that they would inset some steps into the wall. However, they are now querying ownership, and say the Memorial does not belong to them. It is understood that a previous owner of the Tigh an Loan Hotel gifted the war memorial to the community. We need to follow this through and clarify where responsibility lies.
The Blog continues to attract regular readers, both in the village and beyond, with regular readers in America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and, this year, Russia. People who are thinking of moving to the village also visit the site for information .
The Blog has prompted a number of contacts from people with family links to the village – links that often go back several generations.
The Fearnan Archive has been used by researchers a couple of times in the last year, and copies of relevant articles from the Blog have been added to the Archive, including the Hall’s 60th Anniversary, Fearnan Literary Society 1886, and the Fearnan Air Crash 1943.
Ian McGregor’s Book, Fearnan, The Story of a Highland Village has just been reprinted.
Social Events and Dates – FVA Events 2016-17
Tuesday 15th March
Tuesday 12th April
Tuesday 17th May
Tuesday 14th June
Tuesday 6th September
Strawberry Teas: Saturday 23rd July
Soup n’ Roll: Saturday 15th October
Remembrance Sunday: Sunday 13th November, followed by coffee or tea, and a tot.
Mulled Wine & Mince Pies: Saturday 3rd December
Pudding Night: Saturday 18th February 2017 (Provisional)
Flooding: Flooding has been a significant problem for properties on the edge of the village on the Fortingall Road. Linda Milne reported on her dealings with the PKC Roads Department (RD), her last conversation having been only the previous day.
RD have discovered there is a collapsed drain close to the field drain that is adjacent to Arcady, therefore it is not working efficiently. They are proposing putting in a new system which will drain the water that sits in the corner of the field, plus add 4 additional drains in front of the 4 cottages from Arcady to the Fearnan Gallery. They also have put in a drain beside the existing one at Rowan Cottage. The kerb will be extended from outside Arcady to the Gallery.
The new pipe that takes water from the road across the Hall car park to the burn, which was put in this year, will be redone in the new financial year as the bore of the pipe used by the contractors is too small. There will be a road closure.
Whilst the PKC Roads Department staff have been both responsive and helpful, the work done only alleviates an existing problem, and a successful solution will depend on the Council being able to co-ordinate different departments (Roads, Flood Team, etc).
Fraser MacLean also outlined the problems he had experienced due to flooding and problems with the drainage system.
Concern has been expressed about the next stage of tree felling as this has exacerbated the flooding problem. We have been advised that before next phase of felling, the landowners will be asked to produce a water management plan to show there is sufficient drainage to manage excess water.
Following the meeting, Fiona Ballantyne wrote to the Community Council on behalf of the FVA asking the Community Council to raise Fearnan’s flooding problems with the Roads Department and local Councillors, and to ask how we get this issue appropriately prioritised and resolved. The project also needs leadership so that we have a single contact within the council.