The following is a report from the April meeting of the Stornoway Trust, which includes all the public business discussed.
Golf Club Lease
Having noted that the already protracted negotiations regarding the new lease agreement continue to remain unresolved, Trustees were disappointed to learn that the Club has dispensed with the services of its legal agent. It was agreed that eth Estate solicitor communicate the Trust’s concern to the Club, reminding them tha failure to conclude the agreement before the end of the year could trigger termination of the lease.
Point & Sandwick Power (PSDT) Joint Interim Project
Trustees noted that the 2018 community fund portion had been received.
It was agreed that a meeting of the members of the Joint Interim Committee from the two respective trusts, be arranged at the earliest opportunity.
LWP Equity Option
The Factor informed Trustees that since the Invitations to Tender were issued LWP terminated their interest in the Eishken project.
Following the review of submitted tender(s), there will be a need to consider how best to proceed given the transfer of ownership of the Uisinis project, to the landlord at Eishken.
HIE (Creed Park)
Trustees noted that the conveyance of Plots 1 and 2 will be settled on 1 May 2019.
Scottish Water – Back Tolsta Water Main
Trustees noted that terms over the acquisition of the land at Tolsta have been agreed with the Grazings Clerk. The acquisition of the plot in Back has still to be agreed.
Aignish 50b Application
Trustees noted that applications appealing the Crofting Commission’s refusal to grant the four townships consent under the 50B provisions of the Crofting Act have been co-joined by the court and will be heard in Edinburgh on 4th and 5th June 2019.
Melbost & Branahuie, Sandwick & Lower Sandwick and Sandwick North Street Grazings
Following the Land Court’s refusal to reject LWP’s Section 19A application, the respondents submitted their appeal to the Court of Session. Proceedings have been sisted to allow the section 19A hearing to proceed.
a) Authority to Change Bank Mandate
Trustees approved a resolution permitting the removal of the Trustees who have resigned, from the bank mandate, and to add the co-opted Trustees to the mandate.
b) SYT Land Ltd
Trustees appointed Mr Charles Bruce Nicolson and Mr Kenneth Angus Maciver to the board of SYT Land Ltd to replace Mr Colin Maclean and Mr Alexander John Murray.
c) Western Isles Development Trust (WIDT)
Trustees nominated Mr Donald Nicholson to replace Mr Colin Maclean on the WIDT Board.
Governance, HR & Finance Sub Group
It was agreed that all Trustees should be involved in this group, effectively turning it into a sub- committee of the Trust.
a) Pentland Windfarm
Trustees noted that the uplifted rent paid by Pentland Windfarm represented an increase of 11% on the previous year. The Factor informed Trustees that the performance would have been even greater but there were a number of planned, and unplanned shutdowns. The rent is divided 50:50 between shareholders and landlords.
Trustees were pleased to note that the Scottish Land Court granted an Order approving the Section 19A Application on 29th March 2019, a written judgement is awaited.
c) Community Windfarm Consortium
Trustees noted that WIDT have approved the grant application submitted to help fund bird survey work on the proposed site. It is hoped that this work will start in the near future since two years of data is required.
As the Head of Consultations at OFGEM had indicated his willingness to meet, Trustees endorsed the decision for a delegation, including an officer from CnES to meet with OFGEM on Thursday morning at 9 0’clock in their offices in London. The object of the meeting would be to give assurances that the Trust (and the Comhairle) were focused on delivery and were aware of a number of small projects, which should lift the take up of capacity on the interconnector to over 520MW.
Castle Grounds Regeneration
Charles Nicolson informed the meeting that, as a Trustee, he could no longer represent the Comhairle on the Project Board. The Comhairle will nominate a new member in due course.
Trustees discussed the report prepared by the Project Officer. They were particularly concerned about the cost implication of the excavation of peat at the far end of the bastion wall. They accepted the Factor’s view that whilst this would require careful management by the Project Board, it had been fortuitous in leading to the identification of clay pipes draining into the Castle Green. This meant that an additional drain was required at the bastion wall but should also mean that the ongoing problems on the green are finally solved.
Trustees reiterated the need for frequent meetings of the Project Board and for the Project Team to be mindful of their responsibility to bring all changes and complication to the board.
Trustees were pleased to note that a Head Gardener and a Gardener had been appointed following the recent recruitment process.
Report on Allotment/Amenity Ground
Trustees noted that a list of all the allotments and amenity ground on the Stornoway Trust Estate has been compiled; there are more than 200 sites. A list of those with outstanding rents, absentee tenancies and other issues attached, has also been compiled.
The next stage is to source copies of the resumption plans, so that the Land Subgroup can clearly identify locations. However, it is anticipated that the Land Group will need to visit the individual sites.
General Estate Matters
a) Newton Sea Wall
The Factor reported that he had written to the Newton Tenants outlining the Trust’s longstanding view on the Comhairle’s ongoing obligation over the care and maintenance of the sea wall at Newton. A meeting had been convened by the Association to which the Trust, together with CnES and SPA had been invited but due to another commitment the Factor was unable to attend.
The attendees were informed of the Trust’s position, which concurred with the legal advice received by the Port Authority on the same issue.
b) Salt Barn
Trustees noted that the Comhairle’s Development Service Department has resurrected plans to establish a Salt Barn site at Marybank. The area is currently within the LWP lease but their engineers have confirmed that the proposal can be accepted provided it does not impact on their 8m straight road access requirement.
c) Community Asset Ownership Research
a) Trustees were pleased to note that Ms Helen Haugh, a Cambridge based researcher, funded through a Leverhulme Scholarship, has sought the Trust’s approval to include the formative years of the Trust in her research.
She also hopes to research the Leverhulme Archive at Port Sunlight and has offered to share her findings with the Trust. She has a personal interest in Historic Garden research in her spare time and has already identified folders within the Port Sunlight Archive which might shed more light on the design work and plant mix in the Grounds when Leverhulme was adding to the Matheson legacy.
b) Trustees agreed that it would be appropriate to create an Archive Subgroup to support the work being carried out by Mrs Fairbairn and Miss Macdonald in managing the valuable archive held by the trust.
While Mrs Catriona Murray and Mr Kenneth Maciver were nominated to form the group it was agreed that all Trustees be encouraged to participate in the work involved.
The meeting also considered the following:
– Two offers of pre-emption
– One application for title under the Crofting Reform (2010) Act
– Two applications for assignation of a croft tenancy
– Five applications to sublet tenancy of a croft
– One application for a feu
– One application for the transfer of tenancy of allotment/amenity ground
– Seven requests to use Trust land for charitable/community events.
– Nine notifications of croft registration
– Five applications for financial assistance
– One application for a wayleave
– Four plans submitted
– Five documents for signature
Trustees agreed that the Trust should facilitate a meeting between all users of the Cuddy Point facilities, with a view to establishing a management Group for the area. The remit of the group would be to fundraise for improvements and to manage access to the area, particularly the slipway and boathouse.
Scottish Land Court
Trustees noted a copy letter received from the Scottish Land Court in relation to the registration of land which formed part of a common grazings but excluded from land registered with ROS.
The Court’s conclusion mirrors the solution proposed by the Trust when the problem was first identified.