Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council held on Monday, 16 April 2018, at 7.30pm.
Present: P Copland (Chair); V Salvage (Vice-Chair); M Ashworth; E Hughes; W Morris; V Bland; W Buchan; P Peddie (Treasurer); Cllr J Docherty; Cllr W Porteous; Cllr L Holt; E Porteous (Minute Secretary) G Bell and PC Tetlow.
Members of the public: 17
1. Welcome and apologies
Apologies: S Bridges (Secretary)
Welcome: S Parsons, Balcaskie estate
- Declarations of Interest
- Last Minutes and Matters Arising
3.1 Area of Ground within the Village for the Corn Bunting project
It was noted that an area had been identified by Fife Council within St Monans to assist in the corn bunting numbers. (Details are available on the St Monans website).
3.2 Traffic restrictions at Rose Street
Cllr Porteous said that this was still on-going.
3.3 Planters opposite the Minimarket
Cllr Porteous noted that Council officials will come and check the site.
3.4 Overgrown hedge
No improvement noted.
3.5 Condition of railings in Station Road
The continuing deterioration of the railings was noted.
3.6 Bins at back of Miller Terrace
Cllr Docherty agreed to raise this matter again.
3.7 Off-road motorcycles and quad bikes
PC Tetlow advised on the legal position regarding quad bike access to land. This is a complex matter as some of the surrounding land is designated as SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest). The coastal path and Miller Terrace for example would fall under SSSI legislation. Quad bikes can go onto certain areas if they have the owner’s permission; and for the Fife Coastal path that would be the local Council. PC Tetlow said that she would be seeking clarification from the Council regarding who is allowed on the coastal path. Once received, she would be in a better position to act. The matter is further complicated by the fact that some drivers had permission to use their quad bikes in farmers’ fields. Mr Copland asked Mr Parsons if Balcaskie Estate had encountered problems with off-road bikers. Mr Parsons confirmed they did and that the Estate Management had never given anyone permission to use their land.
Mr Copland suggested members of the public to take notes of what they witnessed and report it immediately to the police. Distinctive helmets, clothing etc. would particularly assist the police in identifying perpetrators.
3.8 Water facilities, parking at cemetery gates, rotting bridge struts & footpaths in Churchyard
Mrs Salvage noted that Bereavement Services are continuing to look into the various matters raised by the Community Council.
Regarding the poor condition of the struts at the Bridge, Cllr Docherty said he had contacted the relevant Council department and because of the seriousness of the condition, they had sent an inspector the next day. He is waiting for their report. He also advised that Council officials were looking into alternative types of tap to provide water at the cemetery. He also noted that the Council did not provide a list of plumbers, but the problem would be accessing the water main. However, the water main is leaking and it would cost a considerable amount of money to repair.
Cllr J Docherty was pleased to report that ‘No Parking’ signs would be made available and that the Council will be sending out an official to assess the paths in the graveyard and hoped these would be repaired by the autumn.
It was noted that the bench was fitted overlooking the church at Burnside Braes. Mrs Salvage said that several residents had been asking about the bench at the Sandy Kirn and also when the pathway would be in a fit state. She continues to take this up with the relevant council officials.
3.10 Dog Fouling
Cllr Docherty that it would be helpful if residents could identify the worst affected areas to the Council dog wardens. There was a helpful suggestion that people consider using the ‘FixMyStreet’ app. This application allowed a person who spots a problem (eg potholes, pavements and footpaths, dog fouling, street cleaning, abandoned cars, graffiti and street lighting) to send a note of the issue, via the phone, directly to the local authority. It also automatically provided the location and allows for the submission of photographic evidence.
3.11 Potholes – Council criteria for repairing
Cllr Holt advised that Fife Council’s policy regarding required the pothole to have a depth of 2cm for footpaths and 4cm for roads to qualify for repair.
3.12 Water Main repair
Mr Bell has reported the burst water main on the road near the harbour to Scottish Water. It has been put on their list for repair.
3.13 Speeding in Abercrombie
Council plans to introduce a 20 mph speed limit for Abercrombie are progressing.
3.14 Grit bins in Forth Street
Noted, still not provided.
3.15 Bins at Windmill
It was suggested that if the Coastal Path people could provide a bin, the Community Council would offer to empty it.
3.16 Harbour Development
Mr Bell advised that an additional, larger set of plans were now lodged at the Library. Mr Copland suggested that if there are any questions on the plans, these could be brought back to the next meeting of the Community Council. Mr Bell was also pleased to report that the procurement challenge noted at the previous meeting had been resolved. This allows the community to proceed to fundraising to progress the part of the project aimed at improving the facilities at West Pier for local fishermen.
3.17 Mobile telephone mast
Mr Morris noted that this was not yet operational as essential wiring work was still to be completed
3.18 Old Post Office – Possible change of use from commercial premises
Mr Bell continues to work with the Council, and within Data privacy requirements, to identify the new owner of this property with the intention of writing a community letter of welcome to the business owner.
3.19 Loose steps to Church
To check with M Ramsay.
3.20 Establishment of a St Monans charity
Mr Collier was invited to provide a brief update on his progress with the creation of a dedicated St Monans charitable organisation. The charity will be known as the St Monans Charitable Fund. He noted that, in addition to himself, the following had volunteered to be Trustees; Gareth Shaw, Brenda Allen and Ruth Craib. He advised that an application had been submitted for approval to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). It can take up to three months to get approval. Initial projects considered for supporting include: Beautiful St Monans, signage for the village and signage round the village for visitor points. The Trustees are also investigating whether they can use the official St Monans Crest as the logo for the charity. However, it was acknowledged that there may be legal restrictions regarding the use of the town crest. In response to a question as to what the structure of the Charity was, Mr Collier replied it is an Open Charity.
3.21 Report from PC Tetlow
In addition to the discussion concerning quad bikes, PC Tetlow noted that over the previous six weeks there had been three local crimes, none of which overly concerned her.
3.22 Holiday homes within Elie
Cllr Holt provided feedback on the public meeting held in Elie where there was considerable concern raised about having more second homes within Elie. Many people spoke about the number of planning application consultations at this time, with developers wanting to try to build as many homes as possible. Approximately, 30 per cent will be affordable homes; many of the remainder could potentially end up as second homes. Potentially, Fife Council would lose revenue as second homes are not eligible for council tax if registered as a business. It was noted that Fife Council would still have to fund the infrastructure, but would lose revenue as second homes are not eligible for council tax when registered as a business. Fife Council has made representations to the Scottish Government to try to get the relevant tax legislation changed. However, even if people with second homes have to pay Council Tax, that would not stop them having second homes. And, of course, some of these homes are only used for four to five weeks in a year.
3.23 St Monans & Abercrombie Community Action Plan 2018-2023
Progress on creating a CAP continues. The Steering committee is looking at various funding applications and continues to work on the basis of promoting the CAP survey to all households during May and undertaking the survey during June.
3.24 Blockage in Sewage pump at bottom of Braehead
Noted that Scottish Water has been working to repair this.
3.25 Increased cost of hiring the Town Hall
Noted that the cost of hiring the town hall had increased but it was not a significant increase.
3.26 Items taken from the old Burgh Chambers
Mr Morris confirmed that the Baillie’s chairs are safe and the Burgh council table is in the Heritage centre. He also confirmed he had located the four prints from original oil paintings. He has also discovered a photograph of the paintings which proved these prints belonged to St Monans. One of the paintings was by Eugene Dekkert. The Provost’s Chain was still unaccounted for, but he noted that Pittenweem had recovered their old chain. The Baillie’s Bench, which was used in 1651, is still missing. However, as the last known appearance of the bench was in the 1830s, it is unlikely to ever be found.
3.27 Damage to the road in East Street and Virgin Square
Council officials have carried out an inspection and accepted that repairs are necessary. However, Cllr Porteous noted that there was currently some dispute as to ownership of the ground.
3.28 Pittenweem Recycling Centre
Noted that from 2 April 2018 this site will be closed on a Monday and Wednesday and will shut for lunch between 12:00 and 12:45 pm. Opening hours from April to September, 9:00 am – 5:45 pm
3.29 Town’s Team Meeting
Mr Bell provided a brief update on the last meeting, noting that the focus had been on the Bowhouse project and the creation of the new St Monans Charity. There was also an update regarding the Community Action Plan.
3.30 Structural Damage to Sea Wall and Uncovered Sewage Pipe
Cllr Docherty noted that there had been a lot of damage to harbours and sea walls following the recent severe weather. It was also suggested that visitors were coming down to the car park and removing the boulders.
Following Mr Bland’s proposal, and seconded by Mrs Salvage, the minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
- Community involvement in Bowhouse Weekend (12-13 May)
Mr Copland introduced Sam Parsons from Balcaskie Estate, reminding the meeting that the community has been offered an opportunity to have a ‘community table’ at this Bowhouse event. The community could raise funds at the event. However, it was noted that we could not sell coffee as this would conflict with other coffee suppliers. Mr Parsons was hopeful to get us involved in working and participating with children. He mentioned that the RSPB are taking children round the farm to do bird spotting. There will also be Alpacas and there was a possibility of providing strawberries and cream to the public. It was hoped that our involvement would demonstrate to the Bowhouse visiting public what St Monans is about.
Mr Bell said that he had also held a meeting with the Bowhouse Marketing Manager and he too was asking the community to try to avoid selling teas and coffees. He agreed that the priority was to project St Monans as a vibrant place. He noted we had enough volunteers to have between 5-7 locals who would staff the stall throughout the weekend. Mrs Porteous suggested a treasure hunt for the children and a member of the public suggested bingo for the children with flowers instead of numbers.
On behalf of the Community council, Mr Copland asked Mr Parsons to pass on the Councils gratitude for the opportunity to participate at the Bowhouse weekend.
- Chairperson’s Report
Nothing to report this month.
- Secretary’s Report.
In the absence of the Secretary, Mr Copland noted there was nothing that the Secretary wished to bring to the attention of the meeting.
- Treasurer’s Report
The Treasurer handed out copies of Community Council Accounts from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 listing income and expenditure up to March. He noted that the accounts were self-explanatory and that there was nothing material to report to the meeting.
A copy of the 2017 Accounts is attached to these minutes.
- Planning matters
The Chairman noted there was nothing material to report regarding recent planning applications.
- Public Questions
A planning application by Fife Council to combine three flats into one, in Johnston Close, was noted.
- Any Other Competent Business
10.1 Parking Concerns
Cllr Porteous was invited to address the meeting to raise the matter of parking concerns here and in other villages. He said that he had been in touch with Council officials to start discussions with local councillors, the police and members of the community regarding longer-term parking solutions.
Mr Bell said it has been noticeable how congested St Monans had been this year, even at weekends. It was suggested better signage to the car parks might help. It was also noted that occasionally cars are starting to park against the harbour wall side of the road. This had implications for the movement of emergency service vehicles. A member of the public agreed, stating that it would be difficult for an ambulance to access the Nuck. Another member of the public asked about a sign for heavy vehicles going up the Dawsie. Cllr W Porteous said he would take up individual cases.
The Community council agreed with Cllr Porteous that a wider discussion led by the Council was now necessary.
10.2 Annual St Monans beach clean
Mrs Ashworth confirmed that she had submitted the application forms regarding the beach clean on 20 May. She continued to make enquiries about the provision of a forklift truck, but was struggling to get a driver from the local estate or elsewhere to assist on this. She had also been in touch with the school about their support. It is her intention to provide coffee and tea to the volunteers, but would like people to bring flasks. Fife Council are still to confirm that they will provide the cleaning materials and equipment necessary to support this community initiative.
10.3 NE Fife Council Facebook page
Cllr Docherty said that Fife Council has started our NE Fife Facebook page ‘a place to share and find out what’s going on in your community’ – giving details of up-coming events and relevant Fife Council information along with any local ‘good news’ stories, as well as contact details.
10.4 Community Council attendance at ‘East Neuk Forum’
Cllr Porteous said St Monans is one of 11 community councils that support the East Neuk Forum. This organisation has been in existence for over 10 years and its main purpose is to share information, encourage and develop local participation in the decision making process and promotion of community initiatives in the East Neuk and Landward local authority area. Cllr Porteous thanked St Monans CC for their support of this organisation.
10.5 School Secretaries
Cllr Porteous noted that Fife Council is rationalising the employment of school secretaries. If residents have any concerns about this decision, he suggested that they contact Fife Council and make representations to: firstname.lastname@example.org
10.6 Scottish Fire & Rescue Service – review of local fire services
It was noted that Scottish Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) has launched a consultation seeking to gather public opinion on the safe and planned transformation of SFRS to meet modern risks. The Service wants to find out everyone’s views as it prepares to bring in sweeping changes designed to support firefighters to do more to protect Scotland’s communities. Cllr Porteous noted that this may affect the Anstruther and St Monans Stations.
Cllr Holt referred residents to the following link for further information: http://www.firescotland.gov.uk/transformation.aspx
10.7 St Andrews community hospital
Cllr Porteous also advised that St Andrews community hospital had now lost its ‘out-of-hours’ (ie from midnight to 8 am) doctors service. This is initially for a three month period. It was suggested that residents might want to make representations about the loss of this critical community service. Representations can be made to the director of Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership: email@example.com
10.8 Dangerous Potholes
Mrs Hughes had been approached by a resident to report a dangerous pothole at the Wynd (particularly at the top of Miller Terrace down to Forth Street on the footpath).
Close and Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held at 7.30 pm on Monday, 21 May 2018 in the Church Hall, Station Road.