Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council held on Monday, 21 May 2018, at 7.30 pm.
Present: V Salvage (Vice-Chair): S Bridges (Secretary): M Ashworth: E Hughes: W Morris: V Bland: W Buchan:
P Peddie: G Bell: Cllr J Docherty and Cllr L Holt.
Members of the public: 11
- Welcome and Apologies
Apologies: P Copland (Chair), Cllr W Porteous, E Porteous and Pc G Tetlow.
Welcome: E Riches, East Neuk Emergency Planning.
Mrs Salvage noted Mr Copland’s apologies and agreed to chair the meeting.
2. Declarations of Interest
3. East Neuk Emergency Planning
Mrs Salvage invited Elizabeth Riches to address the meeting.
Ms Riches explained that the East Neuk Communities Forum (ENCF) was exploring the possibility of creating an overall plan to support the villages during emergencies such as the severe weather conditions experienced following the “Beast from the East”. The proposal was to identify two local community emergency plan contacts for each village and to identify emergency resilience resources and storage areas. Practical examples included a list of 4×4 owners, tractors, snow shovel supplies etc. In addition, each village would identify an appropriate refuge centre. It was noted that currently the nearest refuge centre was at Waid; otherwise dedicated centres were available in St Andrews and Leven. In answer to a question from a member of the public, it was noted that each community would not be expected to provide a list of vulnerable people within their village. The project was still at the initial planning stage and the ENCF coordinator, Gillian Duncan, would develop the plan further with interested community groups.
The meeting was very supportive of the plan and it was agreed to be involved in this initiative.
The Chair thanked Ms Riches for taking time to present to the meeting. Ms Riches left the meeting.
- Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising
4.1 Bin collections at Back of Miller Terrace & Forth Street
Cllr Docherty continues to pursue this matter with the Council’s Environment department on behalf of local residents. It was also noted that the bins at the bottom of Forth Street were also not being emptied and he agreed to include this in his escalation to council officials.
4.2 Water facilities, parking at Cemetery gates, rotting bridge struts & footpaths in Churchyard
It was noted that there is still no water facilities at the cemetery, despite persistent complaints by members of the Community Council. Mrs Salvage will continue to push for this to be fixed by the Council. Unfortunately, the council is yet to erect the ‘No Parking’ signs that its officials had agreed with Cllr Docherty would be made available.
4.3 Public benches
Mrs Salvage was very pleased to report that a bench was now in place at the Sandy Kirn and also confirmed that the pathway was now in a fit state.
4.4 Dog Fouling
Some members of the public requested that additional dog anti-fouling notices be made available throughout the village. Cllr Docherty agreed to raise this request with the relevant council department.
4.5 The Old Post Office – Possible change of use from commercial premises
Mr Bell advised that he had received a reply from the new business owner, thanking him for his letter of support. She advised that family circumstances had prevented her from opening her business sooner, but she expressed the hope that she would open in late summer. She was very appreciative of the letter from such a “pleasant and welcoming community”.
4.6 Establishment of St Monans Charitable Fund
The Chair invited Mr Collier to provide an update on the new charity. He was pleased to advise the meeting that the trust deed, establishing the legal status of the charity, would be signed the following day and would be submitted to the Office of the Scottish Charity regulator (OSCR) as part of the application process.
4.7 Report from the Community Police officer
Noting PC Tetlow’s apologies, the Chair advised that there was not a community police report for this meeting. A member of the public expressed disappointment at this absence, as the individual had a specific point they wished to raise with the police in relation to drug addicts within the village. In particular, it was alleged that drug dealing was occurring within specific areas of St Monans. The member of the public also expressed the view that too many drug addicts were being placed by the local authorities within St Monans. A number of residents agreed and considered the current situation as totally unacceptable. Another member of the public suggested that the local authorities could not simply place drug addicts in the community without proper facilities and support.
In response, both the Chair and Cllr Dochert both stressed the importance of reporting all such suspicions to the police by calling 101, a dedicated confidential report line for non-emergency situations such as suspecting drug use or dealing within the neighbourhood.
Cllr Holt went on to explain that the local authorities had a statutory duty to house people with drug addiction problems. Fife Council had adopted a “scatter flats” approach whereby a combination of houses in both the private sector and social housing were identified to house addicts. In theory, these houses would be used to accommodate addicts for two or three years then would be returned back to the normal market. However, as “scatter flats” in social housing was considerably cheaper than private sector housing, this three year rotation period was not working and effectively social housing was being used indefinitely. Cllr Holt was raising this issue with the Housing committee of Fife Council and was pushing to change the current approach.
Again she stressed to the meeting and to every resident that every suspicious activity should be reported using the 101 confidential number to help the police and local authorities tackle the problem.
Mrs Salvage then called for the minutes to be adopted. A small error was pointed out in relation to section 10.8 Dangerous potholes (It should have been ‘Rose Street’ and not ‘Forth Street’) and this was corrected on the minute.
Following Mr Bland’s proposal (and seconded by Mr Peddie), the minutes of the previous meeting were then approved.
5. Chairperson’s report
Mrs Salvage was pleased to report that there had been a magnificent turnout for the annual beach clean with 40 individuals (from 3 years to 78 years old) helping to fill the large skip provide by Fife council. She also noted that two visitors from Geneva had taken part. The Committee noted its appreciation to all who had helped and to Mr Peddie, Mrs Ashworth and Mrs Win Brown for organizing this successful event.
It was noted that this year’s Sea Queen day would be held on 25 August. This year had some new highlights, including the presence of members of a local regiment, a pipe band and the guest appearance of the original sword belonging to Robert the Bruce. Mrs Salvage explained that his descendent, Lord Charles Bruce, had agreed to this due to the connection between St Monans church and the Bruce’s son, King David II of Scotland.
On behalf of the meeting, Mrs Salvage thanked Billy Morris for arranging both the visit of the local regiment and the historic sword to St Monans.
Finally, Mrs Salvage gave notice of a fund raising activity being organised by the Community Council and Sea Queen Committee to raise funds for the 2018 Sea Queen weekend. The Tractor race night was to be held in St Monans town hall at 7pm on Saturday 16 June.
6. Towns Team update
Mr Bell was invited to provide an update on the community participation at the Bowhouse weekend on 7/8 May. It was noted that the community had three stalls in good positions within the grounds and through the commitment and hard work of a number of volunteers, the community had collected £2,214. Allowing for expenses of £720 (notably the purchase of 300 punnets of strawberries and a number of children’s wellington boots!) there was a profit of £1494. It was agreed that the profit should be split between the following community groups who had manned the stalls;
£300 each for St Monans Arts festival; Sea Queen committee; St Monans Charitable Trust and the Towns Team; £100 (plus £200 in stock paid for from the money raised) for the Beautiful St Monans Committee and £200 towards the Community Action Plan (CAP) project.
Particular thanks were expressed to Toby Anstruther and the Bowhouse management team for providing the opportunity to raise the funds and to Pam Bell who had organized and coordinated the stalls over the weekend.
7. Secretary’s report
Mrs Salvage invited Mr Bridges to provide his report. He noted that he was also Chair of the St Monans & Abercrombie Community Action Plan (‘CAP’) steering group. He reminded the meeting of the purpose of the CAP i.e. to identify, through a community wide survey and follow up ‘Open day’, what improvements residents would like to see developed within St Monans & Abercrombie. He advised that every household would receive an explanatory leaflet towards the end of May and that the survey would be undertaken from late June onwards. Primary school participation had also been agreed with the schools Headmistress. The steering group had already started to receive funding to undertake this project. He stressed that the surveys were confidential and the engagement would also include interviews with key community stakeholders (including, for example, the Church, local shops and businesses). It was also planned to employ two individuals on a temporary, part time basis to work on collecting and collating the information.
Mr Bridges also advised that he had been notified of plans for communities to participate in “a Nation’s Tribute, 11 November 2018”. The event will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War 1, as well as paying tribute to the millions that either died or returned home wounded during or after the War ended on 11 November 1918. Broadly, every community in the UK would be encouraged to follow the same programme on Sunday 11th involving; a piper playing a lament at 6am; 11am service of remembrance; 6.55pm a bugler to play the last post; 7pm the lighting of beacons within the village to be followed by the ringing of church bells at 7.05pm. Many members of the public and the Committee were fully supportive of this plan and it was agreed that the St Monans & Abercrombie community would participate in this national event.
8. Treasurers report
Mr Peddie advised that he still had not received confirmation on the Community Councils application to the Common Good Fund for £5,000. This had been submitted in late March. Both councilors present were unaware of the application and Cllr Docherty agreed to follow this up with the relevant department.
Mr Peddie also advised that his earlier plan to transfer the Community Councils bank accounts to the TSB branch at Anstruther had been deferred due to the banks ongoing and widely publicized technical difficulties. He noted that there were currently four separate accounts held by the Community Council and that he would rationalize and reduce the number of bank accounts held.
9. Planning matters
The Chair noted there was nothing material to report regarding recent planning applications.
10. Public Questions
– It was noted that there was some rubbish on the beach beside the old castle. However, this may now have been collected following the beach clean day.
– A large bush in the garden of 28 Station road was overhanging onto the road at Braehead. Mrs Salvage said she would approach the owner to discuss.
– The public bins along the harbour front are not being emptied and regular refuse collection appears to have stopped. Cllr Holt agreed to look into this.
– The “old men’s seat” bench down by the harbour is broken. The ends are made of cast iron and may be repairable by welding. Mrs Salvage agreed to speak to David Brisland about this.
– Noted that Braehead sewage pump had been blocked five times.
11. Any Other Competent Business
11.1 The impact of second homes on the long term viability of villages within the East Neuk
Although Cllr Porteous was not present to discuss his motion to Fife Council, Cllr Holt noted that a new Planning Act was going through the Scottish parliament and it was hoped that some new powers would be made available to local authorities to restrict new build homes for second homes. Even if this was successful, she cautioned that such powers would be further restricted under the five year Development plan that had already been approved by Fife Council. It was also noted that these changes would impact Crail and Elie rather than St Monans as both communities have a larger second home issue.
Cllr Docherty also stated that the Community Empowerment Act will provide Community Councils with greater influence on local planning matters.
11.2 Ambulance services within Fife
Concern was expressed at the apparent lack of ambulance services to residents who had used the 999 service, with some residents being advised that ambulances would only be dispatched for stroke or heart attacks. Cllr Docherty asked that anyone who had received such advice should contact him and he would raise the matter with the Scottish Health minister.
11.3 Provision of council weeding on public roads and pavements
Mr Morris raised a point concerning the lack of weed clearance from around the village, noting that the foreshore was particularly disgraceful. The council had not sent anyone to spray the gutters and kerbside with weed killer. Regrettably, many local residents had not taken any responsibility to clear outside their own properties. Cllr Holt agreed to raise the matter with the relevant council officials
12. Close and Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held at 7.30 pm on Monday, 18 June 2018 in the Church Hall, Station Road.