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16 July 2019FRCC supports Public toilets in Fortrose and Rosemarkie

 

FORTROSE AND ROSEMARKIE

COMMUNITY COUNCIL

NOTES OF MEETING ON 18 JUNE 2019 AT HIGHLAND COUNCIL OFFICES, INVERNESS

SUBJECT:          PUBLIC TOILETS IN ROSEMARKIE AND FORTROSE

 

PRESENT;

 

Ward councillors:

Gordon Adam (chair), Craig Fraser, Jennifer Barclay

 

Council officers:

Di Agnew (Ward manager), Debbie Sutton (Amenities manager), Erica McArthur (principal planner)

 

FRCC representatives:

Tom Heath, Douglas Stuart

 

Fortrose and Rosemarkie Amenities/Groam House:

Doug MacLean, Barbara Cohen

 

SUMMARY OF POINTS DISCUSSED:

 

  1. SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation)

 

A SCIO has been formed, calling itself ‘ Fortrose and Rosemarkie Amenities Association’ with the aim, amongst other things, of managing the public toilets in both villages. Currently they are awaiting approval from OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator). With this approval, Highland Council will allow the body to take over the toilets on a full repairing and insuring lease. Insurance will also be required, but, as this is still being negotiated, a date for taking over has not yet been set.

 

 

  1. THE HIGHLAND COUNCIL POSITION

THC are very amenable to and supportive of the proposal, and are eager to proceed. However, in the event that the venture is not successful, THC will simply lock the doors and turn off the water. THC are unable to manage the toilets with volunteer labour, and would be obliged to use council employees or an outside agency. Funding for such an arrangement is not available, hence the need to arrange a lease.

 

  1. PARKLANDS FUNDING

Parklands, who are currently building the new care home on Ness Road, have a planning condition that obliges them to fund public art at the site. The sum of £15,000 has been allocated. They are happy to reallocate this fund to enable refurbishment and maintenance of public toilets, subject to council approval.

 

 

  1. PLANNING SITUATION

In principle, the planning condition (16) could be satisfied by placing artwork on the toilet buildings, rather than at the care home site. There has been some discussion between Groam House and local artists regarding mosaics or murals. Any artwork applied to the exterior of the buildings will probably require Conservation Area consent. If the community council is the applicant, the planning fees will be reduced by 50%. This proposal can be considered and arranged at a future date, after the toilets have been passed to the SCIO to manage.

 

  1. CAR PARKING CHARGES

Cllr Adam intimated that consideration was being given to the introduction of car parking charges locally. Proceeds could be used to assist in funding community facilities such as toilets. It was recognised that this was a controversial proposal and would require care in implementation, with the co-operation of the communities involved.

 

  1. SUMMARY

This was a very positive meeting, and councillors and officials were extremely supportive of the proposal by the SCIO to take over the toilets. The formation of the SCIO is clearly the key factor in bringing this about.

Douglas Stuart                                                                                                 2 July 2019

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