FINDERNE Community Council held their January meeting at Rafford Village Hall.
Preventing speeding in the area was one of the main topics for discussion with ideas about how to encourage motorists to slow down, particularly in Rafford.
Police Inspector Grant McCutcheon who went along to meet the recently convened community council. reported that there had been one report of a missing youth in recent weeks. He also told them that although the Finderne area had a very low rate of incidents, that a handful of break-ins around the wider area should encourage residents to be vigilant and take preventitive measures. New police reporting procedures were discussed.
Speed limits in Rafford between the upper and lower parts of the village were brought up by the public, with some of the speeding attributed to agricultural vehicles in the 30 mile per hour limit.
Insp McCutcheon agreed that if resources were available he would position officers with a speed gun in appropriate positions within the next few months. Other preventitive measures could inlcude placing of a warning smiley face or speed matrix sign. Costs for installation and if planning or other permissions are required from the council will be investigated.
Visibilty for vehicles emerging onto the A940 from the Mundole road junction has also been under discussion.
The group heard that there is a definite reticence regarding improving the sightlines as Moray Council’s planning criteria provides that such an improvement would encourage faster speeds into the bend for traffic coming from Forres. However, one community councillor said this wasn’t true because of the physicalities of the bend.
He added that if the proposals for a windfarm at Clash Gour go ahead, then it will have to be addressed, with the likelihood of heavy loads and contractors using the Mundole turn, coming down from the Inverness direction.
Moray Council have agreed to look at financing modern and appropriately placed ‘Mundole’ signs both north and south of the junction in order to minimise late braking incidents, which is believed to have been the cause for a four vehicle collision in 2016. The council would look to fund this in the next financial year and consultation is ongoing with Forres Community Council as there is a shared border.
High speed broadband was also discussed with members reporrting improvements in parts of Rafford following some upgrade work by BT Open Reach. Concerns were voiced about the piecemeal approach for improving connectivity which was not helpful in improving broadband facilities throughout
The A96 dualling programme was also on the agenda and Brian Higgs reported that he had attended a meeting, along with other community councillors from the area with the developers. No further information on preferred route is available. A range of issues were discussed including the concern at the lack of input from Moray Council to both community councils and the wider public, particularly on their preferred route options and how this would integrate into local development plans. A minute of this meeting would be available in due course and circulated and residents will be kept informed, with another meeting planed during July.
A windfarm on the Hill of Glaschyle Windfarm is currently scoping, which will offer a community fund like the adjacent Berryburn wind farm; talks with landowners Logie Estates and developers Muirden Energy are ongoing about whether the two funds will be joined for dispersal, with the current Berryburn fund, and the same committee taking charge of applications and grants.
Finderne members said that they would like the Finderne area to benefit more than in the past and it was agreed that there needs to be more promotion around the local community. Suggestions included whether funds could support large scale initiatives such as improving broadband, support for low cost housing, improved energy provision of localresidents, which could bring wider and a more long-term benefit to the community. A portion could also be retained for supporting smaller scale local project through applications and grants, similar to the Berry Burn fund. A paper outlining ideas will be presented to community council soon. .