Community Polytunnel 12/06/19
A huge thanks goes to very special ‘Birthday’ lady – Happy 85th Birthday, Nancy –for 11th June. Nancy worked alongside the chaps all afternoon today, lifting and stacking the wood that was being cut for the boxes.
Due to various unfortunate circumstances, Jackie Vass damaging his foot and being unable to continue with the floor, Ross’s wife having spent emergency visit to Raigmore, work had fallen a wee bit behind schedule. Various people have stepped in to make up for the loss of time.
Huge thanks goes out to volunteer Andrew MacDonald (Joiner) who worked tirelessly and got the floor laid inside Polytunnel and who has volunteered to get the decking done on the outside.
Today saw work being carried out at a terrific gallop. Huge thanks to volunteers Hugh Smith for providing equipment and bringing along Doyle and David Pace. Together with Ross they worked tirelessly all day cutting wood and making flower boxes. Tomorrow boxes will have their bases attached and lined ready for compost and planting out in desired locations.
If anyone is around and can give some time to help tomorrow – please give Norma (07818024200) or Ross (07505772092) a call. We will be working at house (Aith Voe, Hilton) in morning and in and around the Polytunnel during the afternoon. We will be happy to see you and will find something for you to do – young or old.
Community Polytunnel Committee: Extend an invite to members of the community to come along to the Polytunnel at Balintore, Village Green, on Tuesday 7th May, 2.30pm Please come and help us re-pot 2000 seedlings to be planted end of June throughout the villages Gloves etc will be provided. There will be seats for those that wish to sit.
Ask for Ross Balfour on arrival.
30/04/19 – Poly tunnel committee have taken delivery of 2,500 plugs of varies species of flowers these all require to be planted on and ulimately planted in containers within the villages over the coming months. Work is ongoing at the polytunnel and changes are continuing on a daily basis. At the moment Ross’s green house is over run with plants waiting to be transferred to the site. Once we can get in to work I am sure a ‘cry’ for help will be posted on site – so please keep your ears pinned to the ground!
The Seaboard Poly Tunnel Group has had 18 months of planning to bring the Polytunnel to the stage we now see on the village green today. During that time full planning permission in detail and a Community Asset Transfer with a 20 year lease on ground has been successful. At a public meeting it was decided that it was desirous to have a Polytunnel, three areas were put out to the public and the harbour site was deemed the best and was supported 100%. Ross did a lot of research and took advice from Alness and Tain Task Forces who both have successful ‘polytunnels’, in their communities. Ross wished to mention Carolyn Wilson, Fiona Robertson and Alison Mackenzie who have given tremendous amount of support to the project. Funding was then applied for before progressing any further – the total cost of project £27500 funds raised £27400, contingency has been built in so we are not underfunded in anyway. Three options were looked at for providing the polytunnel and it was agreed that Northern Polytunnels from Yorkshire were the best available and that professional contractors should be taken in to ensure it was built to a high standard. Recently the site was cleared – this raised some concern with various persons in the village. The Polytunnel committee would like to point out that information was well distributed throughout the village via newspaper/planning and on 3 separate occasions through the local newsletter, the BHCC have also reported on the project several times and a sign was erected on the site for some considerable time. The footfall within the polytunnel since it has been erected from both visitors and within the community has been fantastic and there has been a huge amount of offers of support.
The work has started, the polytunnel is up, there are various landscaping issue that will be addressed by DH Munro shortly. Struan Mackay will be building a safety fence around the polytunnel and work will hopefully commence week of 22nd April.
Wood was purchased for the building of raised beds within the tunnel to allow for young and old to access. Ross extended a huge thanks to volunteer Jackie Vass who has worked tirelessly this week in seeing that they have all been built. Ross also pointed out that the Polytunnel group due to an anonymous call, have had a visit from SEPA. Ross said that the complaint stated that unauthorised infill from the polytunnel site was being put into the harbour when harbour was being excavated. SEPA came down to investigate and carried out a full inspection. They are 100% happy that there has been no wrong doing involved and they were extremely happy with all the works carried out. SEPA have advised that if the group receive any more adverse comments to direct these to them and they will deal with. Ross also intimated that signage will be erected showing the main fund raisers. The Polytunnel group applied to the Ward Discretionary Fund last year and have been awarded £500. This money has gone to order wood to make flower boxes for throughout the villages and 2400 bedding plants which will arrive within the coming weeks. Jackie Vass – retired joiner has very kindly offered to help to build the boxes.Ross Balfour
Committee Members: George Skinner, Norma Balfour and Sandra Skinner
04/03/19 – Clearance of Polytunnel Site
01/03/19 – Delivery of much awaited Polytunnel to site – Many thanks to Rod Mackenzie, Hilton Farm for coming to the rescue and unloading the pallets.
20/11/18 – Ross Balfour advised that all was progressing well but due to winter there would be no visible activity on the site. A Community Asset Transfer request has been submitted and a decision is awaited. The project has now met its target of £27,500K. The interest throughout the community has been excellent.
Back in 2016 I was driving through Alness and was really impressed by the beautiful display of flowers on the High Street and right out to the roundabout at the west end. No wonder they have been winners of Britain in Bloom more than once. I then went into Tain and saw they had an excellent display on the High Street and other areas. I got to wondering how they did it. How did they grow the plants? Who did all the work?
Through knowing Carolyn Wilson, Alness Task Force and Alison Mackenzie, Tain Task Force I discovered the secret: • Engage with the public to gain their support • Provide a facility to grow on plug plants ready for planting out • Find a partner to make it economical to purchase everything necessary for planting up tubs.
Wanting to progress the idea of the Seaboard competing with Alness and Tain in floral displays I called a public meeting to gauge support for the erection of a community polytunnel and generate interest in the whole concept of the villages being an area worth visiting to view our floral displays.
The meeting was well attended and there was unanimous support for a community polytunnel. It was encouraging to have people come forward to offer their help and support. A steering committee was formed tasked with costing out a polytunnel, investigating the permissions required and plan fundraising.
An initial estimate was prepared which indicated a probable cost of £15 – £20k. Quite an undertaking. Undaunted we set about obtaining a more detailed estimate, looked at all the implications of the proposed project and commenced fundraising. After full estimates were received the total cost came to approximately £27.5k.
Our fundraising efforts have been successful and we have received grants from The Pebble Trust, Climate Clever Fund, The National Lottery and The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation.
We have received full unrestricted planning permission and currently we have a application submitted for a Community Asset Transfer for land at the village green, Balintore harbour.
We hope to commence erection in the early spring with a completion of the polytunnel by mid-April 2019.
Working in conjunction with Alness Task Force we plan to obtain our plug plants and accessories wholesale and grow on the plants in the polytunnel before planting out in tubs throughout the villages.
We are keen to recruit helpers – young and old, able bodied and disabled – to help with planning, planting and ongoing maintenance.
Please come forward if you would like to be involved.
An information event is planned for early spring to let the community know all about the project.
For further information or to offer your help and support please contact
Ross B Balfour email@example.com Tel 07505 772092.
SEABOARD COMMUNITY POLYTUNNEL PROJECT
To erect a commercial community polytunnel centrally located to grow vegetables, flowers, fruit and trees. The project will address social activities within a deprived community (as identified by Highland Council). A strong community spirit exists and we plan to provide flowers for tubs and baskets throughout the community to enhance the appearance and to attract visitors.
Vegetables will provide fresh goods to a rural area where transport links to supermarkets and large stores are limited. Our aim is to educate the community to ‘grow local’ – ‘eat local’, encourage composting and incorporate a ‘man-shed’ to raise male participation in community activities.