In response to a consultation on closing (or no longer expanding) cemetaries across Argyll and Bute, we have sent the following letter:
Following discussion of the issue of multiple reports of quantities of material described as “industrial” in some cases being removed from Tiree beaches, and also complaints about potentially dangerous/damaging driving on beaches – it was suggested by TCC at our January 2021 meeting that it would be helpful for everyone to have a clearer sense of what is and is not considered acceptable. There is a general recognition of a need to strike a balance between supporting responsible use for the benefit of traditional industry, tourism and amenity purposes, and potential risks of long-term damage or dangers to the island and people.
The Argyll Estate’s Factor, Hugh Nicol, has subsequently issued the following statement:
Argyll Estates Shorelines on Tiree
Argyll Estates has ownership of an extent of shorelines all around Argyllshire including Tiree, Kintyre, Cowal, Lismore, Mull and other parts of Argyll. This ownership is from the high to the low water mark.
Argyll Estates holds these coasts in trust and welcomes general public use. No restrictions are imposed by Argyll Estates to responsible access. As a result, Argyll has remained a county where restrictions on coastline access is virtually nil unless a neighbouring landowner presents a barrier. This open access is prevalent on Tiree and, together with the beautiful sandy beaches, is one aspect of what makes the Island so special.
A license has been granted on a temporary basis for an operator on Tiree to carry out trials on seaweed fertiliser production. The fee is nominal. This has a limit on extraction, is limited to washed up seaweed and the license has specific rules on disturbance to people and nature. This is necessarily an exclusive commercial license but it does not exclude anyone else on Tiree taking washed up seaweed for their own personal use.
Two local watersports businesses also operate commercially from Argyll Estates shorelines with our approval. Both operate responsibly and there is no fee.
Should a vehicle park on a beach where there is no safe or appropriate land parking area, if the access route is suitable and no risk is taken to pedestrians or animals, Argyll Estates have no objection to this being exercised responsibly. Vehicles should not ordinarily use beaches and should travel at crawl speed and no further than necessary. This includes for launching of boats and the like. Public safety is always paramount and reckless or dangerous behaviour is always covered by Road Traffic and Careless Driving laws and regulations. Argyll Estates would expect no motorised vehicle to exceed 5-10 mph at most.
Sand and Gravel custom and practice on Argyll Estates shorelines has permitted farmers and crofters (including common graziers) to take a free ‘de minimus’ amount for their own agricultural use. To date, in all areas other than Tiree, this has been respected with no issues brought to our attention. In Tiree it is alleged that large scale extraction, sometimes described as “industrial scale quarrying”, has occurred. No tangible usable evidence for a prosecution has been presented for this but the number of anonymous voices reporting the matter has given weight to the likelihood that removal by a few has exceeded the de minimus and reasonable personal agricultural use rules. Without tangible evidence, no action against alleged infringements can be taken.
A good definition of “de minimus” is; “‘too small to be meaningful and of negligible impact’.
On Tiree, there remains many individuals who qualify and the vast majority have always, and still do, stoutly respect the unwritten code permitting responsible use that has existed for centuries. As an unwritten oral tradition, as was once more common in Gaelic society, the lack of historic written evidence can be an issue. However, for the avoidance of doubt, Argyll Estates confirms that the permission exists and it has our approval when responsibly exercised. Argyll Estates recognises the marginal nature of agriculture on Tiree. We also recognise the benefits it provides which greatly outweighing the collection of and amount of aggregate for legitimate use which is “too small to be meaningful and of negligible impact” on our shorelines.
The permission does not grant carte blanch removal. Where there is an agricultural requirement for large quantities of aggregates, this should be purchased lawfully. Tiree has a legitimate licensed source which was specifically created following comment in the past that there was not such a source locally so all sand and gravel had to be taken from the beach. Off Island sources are of course also available and if demand increases, economies of scale improve.
Nor does the permission allow removal for private use other than directly agricultural. The road and substructure for a new or refurbished property belonging to a friend or relation of a farmer or crofter is not permitted. Nor is large scale extraction for bunds or other structural or landscaping use.
Were a resident of Tiree to visit the beach and take a small amount of sand for their private garden use, Argyll Estates, while not expressly granting permission, would be very unlikely to pursue this.
The de minimus allowance is given on trust that it will be used responsibly and should only be used for the crofter or farmers own agricultural use. Sale of sand and gravel taken without permission would be considered as theft and the purchase of illegally taken goods is also a criminal offence; specifically known in Scots law as “reset”. Sale or gifting of aggregates removed under this de minimus rule is specifically excluded other than where one farmer or crofter assists another with their de minimus sand and gravel collection for no monetary return.
In the past few years, and with most again this past year, Argyll Estates has engaged with a variety of individuals and we have specifically contacted the following organisations:
- Argyll & Bute Council
- Tiree Community Council
- Tiree Community Development Trust including the Ranger Service
- Police Scotland
- Crown Estates Scotland
- NatureScot (SNH)
- Contractors operating in Tiree
While most are sympathetic, it is clear to Argyll Estates that without the people of Tiree assisting and speaking up when necessary, the alleged abuse of the permission by a few can and will continue. Understandably, no organisation wished to jump in and take on this matter particularly when there is no firm evidence and all individuals reporting an incident wish to remain anonymous. Most of those in a position to take leadership, while clear and vocal ‘in camera’, in public take a different tack. Positively however, I do see a stronger confidence forming amongst all involved or interested in this matter.
My hope is that with this matter discussed openly and with “guidelines” set out for this previously unwritten matter relying on responsibility and trust, there is now a better basis to proceed without varying or terminating this ancient tradition. If there are any who did not understand the gift we share and did not realise that nature itself dictates that it is not an unrestricted and endless entitlement, I hope that this note has helped to clarify matters. Tiree is an Island community that needs everyone involved to work constructively, respectfully, openly and honestly together. Without it, more than this valuable tradition may fall apart.
Factor, Argyll Estates, 19 January 2021
Downloadable version: Argyll Estates Shorelines on Tiree
Tonight the Community Council agreed there is a need to set up a working group that takes a longer term view about the future of the island, in particular issues relating to the changing climate and sea levels, and the impacts that scientists are warning we should now expect to face.
Tiree, as a particular low-lying island, is likely to be among the most deeply affected parts of Scotland. Recently published estimates for the range of possible change in sea level we could see within the century make for sobering reading, especially when the effects of coastline erosion in light of increasingly stormy weather is taken into account.
Transition away from fossil fuels is likely to need to be greatly accelerated, and it will be vital to our island’s future that our infrastructure is prepared for that, and that local businesses are supported.
If you are interested in taking part in this group and beginning a discussion about these issues and what we might be asking be done in preparation – please get in touch with TCC member Phyl Meyer by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
A consultation is currently open on the subject of giving Councils the power to implement a “Transient Visitor Levy” – i.e. a nominal charge/tax to be paid by visitors to an area for the purposes of tourism, etc, which could then be used to supplement finances to pay for local services and/or development of amenities. The measure is, among other things, intended as a possible way to address the fact that short term holiday lets result in additional load to civic services such as rubbish collection, water, sewerage etc while often not directly (or proportionately) contributing towards the funding of those services, but can also be used as a way to fund other development and improvements.
The TCC briefly discussed it at our meeting last night but there was insufficient time for a detailed analysis, although points that were made included the suggestion that provided such a scheme were implemented in a way which was not overly burdensome administratively to those operating holiday lets it could be of particular benefit to island communities such as Tiree by raising very useful additional funds.
The consultation closes on December 2nd – which means we will not be able to discuss it further at a future meeting before the deadline – therefore we are inviting members of the community to either submit their own responses in an individual capacity, or to e-mail our new Secretary with your views, and we will aim to submit a consolidated response on behalf of the Community Council that covers the input we receive.
The consultation can be found here:
At our meeting last night there was discussion about the planning guidance available to local residents seeking to develop their homes or construct new buildings. The meeting agreed it would be helpful to draw to the community’s attention the existing guidance, to which planning decisions must have reference, which was published in 2007.
The document was held to be an excellent and most helpful piece of planning guidance that should be the envy of many other communities, but there was general agreement that there would be benefit in exploring the possibility of it being given an update (the previous consultation on it now being 12 years old) and that in particular it would be useful to develop more detail around the ways in which design of buildings could evolve in future.
Councillors and members of the public suggested that residents keen to explore use of new materials and construction methods might find it useful for the guidance to explore further how a balance could be struck between innovation and having regard for the distinctive look and feel of Tiree.
The TCC agreed to reach out to the Council Planning department to see what options might be available to explore this. The existing guidance can be found on the Argyll and Bute Council website here:
Members of the community may be interested to attend this meeting, discussing a subject very relevant to the future community-led development of Tiree. The event is free to attend and open to any member of the public:
Public Meeting: An Talla, Crossapol, Tiree – Monday 25 November 2019, 7pm
Come along and find out how your community can benefit from:
- transforming vacant and derelict land
- community ownership
- community engagement in decisions relating to land
- modernising land ownership.
This is a free event, open to all. Tea & coffee will be provided.
For more information please contact us on: email@example.com or 01463 423 300
Your phone box needs you!
The project to restore our island telephone boxes is ready to start, and all we need is a little help…
Tiree Community Council have co-opted John Patience to coordinate the project, and we are now looking for volunteers who are interested in being involved in restoring the telephone box nearest to them, or one which they are particularly fond of. We hope that if enough people are interested, each community will be able to take charge of their own box.
We will need leaders, painters, planners, DIYers, dreamers, tea-makers and bakers… in short anyone is welcome!
The Community Council Coordinator will work with each team to coordinate replacement parts and paint, professional help with electrics, doors and joinery, and provide general guidance and help as it is needed.
Each team will restore their box using a guide that has been drawn up after an extensive audit of the Tiree telephone boxes.
Once the repairs are complete, it gets really fun! It will be up to each team to decide:
What colour the box is
How it is decorated
Whether or not it has a theme, a task or a role
What it does/offers/represents
What about a beach box, a library, a coffee stop, a museum, a mini gallery… The options are endless! We really hope that this project will not only showcase the incredible skills and enthusiasm of our community, but also that it will ensure that the telephone boxes remain part of our landscape for the foreseeable future.
How do I get involved?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him which box you would like to be involved in helping with. If there are a group of you ready and willing to get involved, so much the better!
Once we have enough interest, we will hold a meeting for the teams and go through what needs to be done.
What about doors, and glass, and electrics, and…?
We have written up an action plan for each box, with guidance, and we will make sure that you have help and advice when you need it. We are planning to get professional help for some of the tasks. We won’t leave you stuck!
Who’s paying for this?
We are working on raising the funds needed to pay for the items needed to do the repairs.
I don’t want to do any repair work, but I’d like to contribute financially
Fantastic! We need that type of help too! Please feel free to email John with any pledges. We anticipate needing to raise £10,000 to complete this project and every little helps.
Tell me more!
Sure thing – check out the Tiree Community Council website for the entire project document: www.tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk
Tiree Community Telephone Box Project
Read this document for full details how TCC intends to develop this project
When the Royal Bank of Scotland announced revised hours of opening last year, Tiree Community Council were asked by members of the public at that time to request further clarification from RBS. As it was apparent from correspondence with RBS that the decision to introduce shorter opening hours would not be reversed, Tiree Community Council felt that the provision by RBS of 24 hour cash dispensing and balance enquiry by the installation of a ‘hole in the wall’ cash dispenser, or ATM, at RBS Scarinish would provide additional convenience for the public.
Further enquiries to RBS by Tiree Community Council asking that consideration of 24 hour cash dispensing be looked at has not at this time met with success. However, in order to build a suitable business case, the local RBS branch manager has requested that Tiree Community Council provide RBS with some evidence of the numbers that would potentially make use of 24 hour cash dispensing at RBS Scarinish.
To help Tiree Community Council provide some factual evidence to RBS, we would be most grateful if you would take the time to complete a very short and simple survey. We will then pass this additional information to RBS to allow them to make an evidence based decision.
You can answer the survey in the box below, or you can do so at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/M23GZMP
This is a reminder that Tiree comes under ‘Phase 3’ of the change to domestic bin collections from the week commencing 28th November 2016.
General waste will move to a three weekly collection. Recycling will remain at fortnightly.
The Council have assured us that new timetables will be sent out to all householders. In the meantime, do keep an eye out in local press for any updates from Argyll & Bute.
When a new calendar is available, it will show here. However, do bear in mind that this page DOES NOT currently show the new collection information.