Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council held on Monday, 15 October 2018, at 7.30 pm.
Present: P Copland (Chair); S Bridges (Secretary); V Salvage (Vice-Chair); W Morris (Treasurer); M Syme; V Bland;
W Buchan; H Ironside; M Ashworth; S Collier; Cllr Holt; Cllr Porteous and Cllr Docherty
Members of the public: 24
- Welcome and Apologies
Apologies noted from PC G Tetlow.
- Declarations of Interest
- Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising
3.1 Mr George Brown
On behalf of the Community Council, the Chairman offered his deepest condolences to Win Brown, and her family following the sad death of George Brown. The funeral will be on Monday at 1.30 pm and thereafter an interment at the graveyard. Mrs Salvage said that a wreath on behalf of the Community Council and the Sea Queen Committee would be sent.
3.2 Community Police Report
The Secretary noted that both PC Gillian Tetlow and PC Lee Robb had sent their apologies. However, they had provided him with a brief update which he read out. Regarding the regarding recent break-ins, all enquiries indicate that the perpetrators had come from outside Fife. They are still working on the drugs issue and are dealing with the people involved robustly. Mr. Morris noted that the Crime Prevention Officers had attended the Fish Sheds that day, as they had had two break-ins. He said that they had talked about issues regarding close-circuit television.
It was also noted that the Community police officers would like to consider adopting the “Cops and Coffee” initiative that was being rolled out in other parts of Fife. Officers would drop into the local café and be available for members of the community to come and speak to them. The scheme is fundamentally about interacting with the community and getting to know residents. PC Tetlow had asked for the community’s view on implementing this initiative. Mrs Salvage noted her concern that the residents who are having the problems with anti-social behaviour would not come. However, Mr Collier considered the local café as a good venue for other residents to go along. Mrs Salvage also advised that PC Tetlow had asked if the police could be notified of any community coffee mornings or evenings. Mrs Syme considered this as a positive idea, noting that the police also attend the Waid Community Cafe – she thought once a month – which provided another option for people to meet the police. Mrs Salvage was still concerned that people would be afraid to be seen with the Police. However after further discussion, it was agreed that the Community Council would support this initiative, and monitor its progress.
Mrs Salvage agreed to take on the role of advising the Community Police Officers of any upcoming coffee mornings and evenings.
Mr Collier said that the Community Safety Officer has not yet spoken to the owners of the Vets practice or any of the harbour-front businesses. He said that there are things that they can do for them, for example the introduction of CCTV within their properties. With regard to CCTV, Cllr Porteous had been in touch with the owners of the Netherton Estates and they were looking to meet with their tenants to discuss CCTV because it was private land.
Mr Morris asked that the Community Council noted its appreciation and thanks to PCs Gillian Tetlow and Robb for the work and support they had provided to everyone over the past few months.
3.3 Bin collections at Back of Miller Terrace & Forth Street
Mr Morris said that he had not received a letter or seen anybody regarding this. Cllr J Docherty said that he would chase it up and get a written response.
3.4 Water facilities, Parking at Cemetery Gates, Rotting Bridge Struts and Footpaths in Churchyard
Acknowledging the efforts of Mr Gordon Bell, Mr Copland noted the Community Council had established Fife Council funding to improve the water facilities at the cemetery. Cllr Docherty said that he had previously passed on contact details for both Mr Copland and Mr Morris and was disappointed to hear that no-one from the Council had been in touch. A member of the public asked if anyone had been digging for water, because there is a leak at the car park side of the gate.
Mr Copland also asked if any information had been received from Council officials at Transportation regarding imposing a weight limit for the bridge. Cllr Docherty said that he would raise this again when he went round the site with the Council Officers.
3.5 Possible Sites for Defibrillators
Gillian Duncan (from the First Responders charity) has provided an update on the price of a defibrillator unit to Mrs Salvage. We are still looking to have this located on the Harbour Master’s Office.
3.6 Gully cleaning in and around Abercrombie
Cllr Porteous has raised a request for this cleaning to be completed, together with a time schedule to complete. He had also received an email back from Council officials about the damaged wall next to the farm building. The response acknowledged the problem, but did not deal with those issues.
3.7 Grit bins located throughout the villages
Cllr Porteous has identified where all the grit bins used to be and had sent an email to Council officials asking for them to be reinstated. He said that all three Councillors would have to fight for this as Council policy had been to remove them. A member of the public raised a concern that the emergency services would not go down Station Road if it is icy. Mr Copland queried if there was any potential legal liability on the Council following the removal of these bins. Cllr Porteous was unsure on this point, but would raise it and continue to make the case for their return.
3.8 Dangerous Pothole opposite 18 Station Road
A member of the public noted that this pothole had now been fixed. Unfortunately, a new dangerous pothole had appeared at the Crossroads.
3.9 Poor condition of St Monans bus shelter
Cllr Porteous continues to pursue this with Fife Council. A complication in identifying some budget to repair the shelter is due to the fact that the number 95 bus service is subsidized, and therefore is covered by a number of different Council departments.
3.10 Potholes on the vennel between Rose St and Miller Terrace
Cllr Holt continues to pursue Fife Council regarding ownership of the footpath. She also noted that the Council administration had just published its proposed budget cuts and was looking for officials to come up with proposals to save money. She said that there is a budget for fixing un-adopted footpaths which was now being proposed to be cut. We therefore needed to push Fife Council quickly to see if they can fix the footpath before this budget goes. She is also pressing for the official council map which details all adopted and un-adopted roads. Cllr Porteous said he had also asked for the Vennel to be fixed, but that Council officials were continuing to take the stance that the footpath was not theirs.
A member of the public, who regularly uses the vennel, thanked the Councillors for their efforts. Cllr Porteous confirmed that he would write again as this was still a concern to both local residents and the Community Council. Mr Copland asked if the member of the public and his neighbours could also write in jointly to complain. He also asked other residents who regularly used the vennel to do so. Mrs Syme said that she used it to deliver the mail in the area and would raise the issue with local Royal Mail management to see what representations they could make to the Council.
Mr Copland also suggested that a petition could be organized so that people could sign it to confirm that they regularly use the vennel. The resident concerned agreed that he would arrange for such a petition to created.
3.11 Parking on Station Road
Cllr Porteous advised that he continued to follow this up , but had not been given authority from Fife Council to place large plant boxes on the pavement by the junction (to try to prevent illegal parking). Unfortunately, the Council official who he had been dealing with this was moving roles. Cllr Porteous thanked parents and others who own cars for parking sensibly at the Top Shop.
3.12 Community log book for antisocial behaviour reports
Mr Bridges asked if there had been many reports received in the Community log Book. Mr Collier advised that there were possibly two phone calls. He also noted that he had been approached by someone regarding a disturbance at 3am that morning, where a person was previously arrested. It was suggested that the police were too busy to respond. There was then a general discussion regarding how often the Community Council was forwarding the information from this log. Cllr Porteous suggested that the information should be given to Inspector Jane Combe. A member of the public described an incident with drug users in Station Road and said that there was an attempted break-in in Newark Street. Neither had been reported to the police. Mrs Salvage said that people were still a little suspicious of using the local number and log book. However, she agreed to get the message (to report all incidents) out on Facebook. Mr Collier reminded everyone that the log is not restricted to phone calls and emails. He also confirmed he would be happy to take on the management of the log.
Mr Copland suggested promoting the community contact number and logging incidents to the local primary school. Mrs Ironside (who also sits on the local PTA) agreed that this was worth exploring, although Cllr Porteous noted some caution in doing this. It was agreed that the primary school headmistress should be approached on how to take this forward. Mrs Salvage agreed to do this.
3.13 Community Council Election and contacting members
Mr Copland thanked the residents for the relatively high turnout to vote in the Community Council elections. He noted that both his and the Secretary’s contact details are on the website. The St Monans website lists all the Community Councillors. Mrs Salvage said that in the past contact details of the Community Council members were also kept in the Library, Gerrards Post Office, and the Top Shop. There is also a dedicated email address to contact the Community Council. However, it was agreed that a group picture of the new Community Council members would be useful for including on the website. Mr Bridges agreed to contact Mr David Smith, local photographer, to arrange this.
3.14 Community Action Plan (‘CAP’)
Mr Bridges said that the Steering Group was still working on the producing the final report. Although the aspiration had been to have it published by the end of October, Mr Bridges advised that an end November release date was probably more realistic.
3.15 Changes to the Provision at St Andrews Community Hospital
Cllr Docherty has been urging Community Councils and residents to put in objections to the proposed changes. He also urged perpel to complete the objection cards which were widely available. The cards are being delivered to Fife Council on 18 November. Cllr Holt advised that the Councillors had secured a special meeting of the North East Fife Area Committee, to which Michael Kellet, Director of Health and Social Care, had been invited. He is going to answer questions from Councillors at 2.30 pm on Thursday 25 October, at Fife Council County Buildings Cupar. The public can attend this meeting.
It was noted that there were local GPs who had expressed their willingness to staff the Out-of-Hours Service at St Andrews. Cllr Holt hoped that the GPs would attend the meeting as a deputation. She also said that GPs are concerned about the change in the number of community beds. Mrs Salvage agreed to put details of the meeting on Facebook.
Cllr Porteous said that the three Councillors have been as one regarding this issue. Mrs Syme thanked all the Councillors for their contribution to the public meeting at Anstruther.
3.16 Overgrown Banking at the Burn
This was due to be done. A member of the public complained that the Council had not completely cut back foliage from the common area below Braehead. Cllr Docherty advised that this would be in line with Fife Council policy to be as environmentally friendly as possible by leaving some small areas to revert to wilderness.
3.17 MacMillan Coffee Morning
It was noted that just under £1100 had been raised.
3.18 Fencing on Right of Way
Cllr Docherty advised that this was on-going.
3.19 Trees on Offer
Mrs Porteous observed that before we obtain and plant any tree saplings, it would be necessary to identify places for them to be planted. Mr Buchan agreed to look into suggestions and ideas as to where the trees should go.
3.20 Damaged Wall in Abercrombie
Mrs Ashworth confirmed that the Council have not contacted the farm in relation to this matter.
3.21 Sign Missing
Mrs Ashworth also advised that the ‘Not Suitable for Large Vehicles’ sign had not been replaced. However, she noted that the missing sign had not exacerbated the problem.
3.22 Provision of a traffic mirror at Braehead and Hope Place Junction
Cllr Porteous has raised this request. To date, there has been no response from the relevant Council department other than an acknowledgement that they are investigating.
3.23 One-way system up through the Dawsie
This suggestion has also been raised with Fife Council. However, it was noted that this was a complex request, requiring considerable planning and approvals. It was suggested that a ‘Not Suitable for Heavy Vehicles’ sign should be erected at both ends of the Dawsie. Cllr Porteous would pass on this suggestion.
3.24 Metal shard protruding at the West Beach
Mrs Salvage said that the official at Fife Council, Moir Gibson, had been in contact with her and would reposition the metal plate. However, a member of the public had also been in contact with Mr Gibson stated that his understanding was that the plate would remain in place, but that the council would cut it down in size to make the top safe. The department is still to set a date to undertake the work.
The adoption of the minutes from the previous meeting was then proposed by Mrs Salvage (seconded by Mr Buchan) and agreed.
- Chairperson’s Report
The Chairs report had been covered earlier in the meeting.
- Secretary’s Report
5.1 Armistice day Centenary Anniversary
Mr Bridges said that following agreement with the Estate Manager at Balcaskie, the beacon would be on the private land at the top of the car park adjacent to the war memorial. Members of the public would be able to view the beacon from the car park side. Balcaskie will provide some felled trees for the fire, but Mr Bridges appealed for other contributions of wood from residents. However he did request that full pallets would not be acceptable as the nails in them provided difficulties for the farmers equipment. The beacon will be lit at 7 pm. The church bell would be rung at 7.05pm. A piper has been organised for the beginning of the day and for the act of remembrance itself. It was noted that the St Monans and Abercrombie event would follow the national commemoration plan in all aspects except having a town Crier. A member of the public noted that St Monans used to have one.
Mr Bridges also stated that he was in discussions with the Royal Air force Cadets concerning a bugler. If the RAF they didn’t respond positively, he would contact the music department at Waid Academy. He said he had approached the Police and would contact the Fire Service. The Community Choir are singing at the Church before the lighting of the beacon.
There was a brief discussion, after a question by Mrs Ashworth, regarding the best time to build the beacon. It was agreed that the beacon should be built as close to the event as possible to avoid any acts of vandalism.
Mrs Salvage noted that we are now too late to order a full-size normal wreath for the Community Council. Mrs Ashworth also noted that the Guides are going to Elie for their 11 o’clock ceremony. Mrs Salvage asked if there were any other people who would want to be involved in the ceremony and Mr Bridges suggested possibly the Royal British Legion. Although there was some doubt about their availability, a member of the public noted that there is a branch in Crail and in Cupar. Mrs Syme also suggested the OTC members in St Monans.
5.2 Removal of bunting from streets
Mr Bridges advised that he had received an email from a resident who asked when the bunting would be taken down. She was concerned of insurance liability for any damage to her guttering. Mrs Salvage said that although the Sea Queen committee had arranged to put it up, she said it was up to the Arts Festival committee to take the bunting down. Mr Morris and Mr Collier said that they would attend to this at the weekend – weather permitting.
- Treasurer’s Report
- Planning matters
The Chair is still waiting for the developer to contact him with further details concerning their plans for the land to the west of the Manse.
- Councillor Updates
8.1 Recycling Site Changes
Cllr Holt advised that there would be further changes regarding the recycling sites. Any vehicle disposing of household waste using a trailer will be asked to fill in a declaration and bring proof of identification such as a driving licence. There will be no pedestrian access to the recycling sites from 1 January.
- Public Questions
9.1 The Dawsie – needing to be resurfaced
A member of the public said that the Dawsie is needing resurfaced; it is a disgrace and is dangerous. Members of the public were encouraged to write in can complain to the Council and if possible provide photographic evidence.
9.2 Railings on Station Road pavement
A member of the public complained that these continue to deteriorate.
9.3 Family in need of a house in St Monans
A member of the public raised a concern about a local family, with two children at the primary school, who were soon to be evicted from their long-term lease, but which was suddenly revoked. Despite looking everywhere in St Monans and the surrounding area, they could not find any long term rental property. The family are naturally very upset about leaving St Monans. The member of the public was concerned that this was very practical and upsetting example of family homes being turned into holiday lets. She suggested that Truro council had the authority to prohibit the sale of a house if it was not going to be used as a holiday let.
Mr Copland said that this was a matter for the Scottish parliament as it would require primary legislation. Cllr Holt said that Fife Council didn’t have the same statutory powers as Truro. However, there is a Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament which might provide local authorities with some powers to address the challenges of second homes. However, this wouldn’t address the immediate problem. Due to the imminent threat to the young family concerned, Mr Bridges suggested whether it would be possible to appeal to the owners of second property/ rental homes to could come forward to help the family concerned by providing them with a long term lease rather than short holiday let. Mrs Salvage said that the difficulty with that suggestion was that many of the holiday lets were booked up for months ahead. Cllr Porteous agreed with Mr Bridges, stating it was worth widening their plight and that there may be someone within the community who had a second home and would prefer a regular income.
Regrettably, Mr Copland concluded that there was very little practical help that the Community Council could provide. All he could suggest was for the family to raise the matter with Fife Council housing department. Cllr Porteous said that he had already done that on their behalf.
- Any other competent business
10.1 Damage to the MUGA
Mr Buchan queried if there was any update from the Council about repairing the MUGA. Cllr Porteous replied that he was waiting for a response. He also noted that a tennis coach had recently moved into St Monans and that the coach and the local Primary School head were now keen to use the MUGA for school tennis lessons.
A member of the public noted that some youths had been biking inside the MUGA. It was decided to ask Fife Council to erect a sign saying how to use the Tennis Courts. Mr Copland agreed to follow this up.
10.2 Damage to a Fence at Abercrombie
Mrs Ashworth noted that there had been more damage to local fencing with a car going through it in the last 3 weeks (between Abercrombie and Sawmill Corner). It is being reported.
10.3 Inconsiderate Parking around the Primary School
Mrs Ironside has been approached by a member of the public concerning parking outside the school, especially at pick-up time. Children were in danger of getting injured. The PTA and the Community Police Officers have been attempting to resolve this, but with limited success. Previously there was a “walking bus” introduced, but the response had been very poor. It was therefore suggested that the Council be approached to make the road a one-way system. Cllr Docherty agreed to take more details of this issue and investigate the matter further.
10.4 Problems with Postal Deliveries
In response to a question from Mrs Ashworth about recent poor postal deliveries within the area, Mrs Syme advised that it was a local staffing issue at the Post Office.
10.5 Bush Affecting Visibility
Mr Morris noted that he had reported an overgrown bush on council land, beside the Vets practice, that blocked the line of vision for drivers. It has been reported.
10.6 Procedure for purchasing Common Ground
A member of the public asked if anybody could purchase Common Ground without Fife Council or neighbours being notified. She suggested that Fife Council did not know anything about this particular piece of ground and had provided planning permission to build on it. She visited the Land Registry in 2013 to confirm that this was common land and had a copy of the relevant schedule. She also noted that she had papers from the old St Monans Town Council saying that residents could hang out washing there.
It was suggested that it was probably a matter for the Councillors to take up with the Councils Legal department. Cllr Porteous agreed to do so and asked if he could be provided with copies of the correspondence from the local resident concerned.
- Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Community Council will be on Monday, 19 November at 7.30pm.