DRAFT Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council held on Monday, 21 March 2022, at 7.30 pm in St Monans Town Hall.
Present: M Ashworth (Vice Chair): S Bridges (Secretary); W Morris (Treasurer); E Montador; M Syme; Cllr Docherty and Cllr Porteous
Apologies: V Salvage, H Ironside, B Buchan, S Collier, V Bland, N Cowie, PC Wallace and Cllr Holt.
Members of the public: 22
1 Welcome and apologies
No declarations of interest were noted at the beginning of the meeting and the Secretary confirmed the meeting was quorate. Cllr Docherty reminded the meeting that he was on the Licencing Board and could not comment on licence matter.
2. Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising
The minutes of the meeting held on 22 February 2022, were taken as read. Under matters arising:
2.1 Old Post Office: Ms Montador had emailed the owners of the former post office to enquire when they planned to complete their renovations and open their art gallery. The response simply acknowledged that it was still their intention to keep the building as a commercial property.
2.2 Residents questions re a food premises on Station Road: Mr Bridges and Mrs Syme confirmed that the resident’s questions raised at the previous meeting had been provided to Mr Peattie in advance of tonight’s Community Council meeting.
2.3 Railings on Station Road: Mr Bridges has not had any response from Fife Council regarding the poor state of the railings. He agreed he will escalate this as a complaint to Fife Council.
Mrs Syme proposed, and Mr Morris supported, the adoption of the minutes. The minutes were signed by the Vice Chair.
3. Plans for a food premises beside St Monans sea pool
Mrs Ashworth noted that the Community Council had received an email earlier in the evening from Mr Darren Peattie, expressing his apologies for not attending the meeting. Mr Peattie had been invited to present his proposals at the meeting and answer resident’s previous questions, but business commitments had now prevented him from attending.
4. Chair’s Report
Mrs Ashworth read out the Chairs report.
The Chair was pleased to report that Fife Council’s proposals to change the leadership structure within the Waid school cluster group have been put on hold.
The Chair regretfully announced that Mr Steve Collier and Mr Bill Buchan had individually decided to step down from the Community Council with immediate effect. Mr Collier had been active in working on anti-social behaviour issues and was instrumental in arranging the Christmas lights at the entrance to St Monans. Mr Buchan had served on the Community Council for over 14 years. On behalf of the Community Council and residents, Mrs Salvage wanted to express her public appreciation to both men for their time and commitment to St Monans and Abercrombie.
Mrs Ashworth then explained the process for electing new Community Councillors. Candidates can register their interest in standing with either the Acting Chair, Vicki Salvage (email@example.com) or the Secretary, Stuart Bridges, up until 12 noon on Monday 21 April. Candidates need to be 16 years or over and be on the electoral role. Candidates will be able to address the April meeting if they wish or send in a short summary (approx. 50 words) about themselves. A secret ballot will be taken by the Community Councillors at the April meeting.
5. Secretary’s Report
Mr Bridges noted that he did not have a copy of the monthly report from the community police officer. Once available, he would upload it onto the community website.
It was also noted that an alcohol licence application had been received from the Giddy Gannet on 10/12 Station Road. The ‘on premises’ licence runs to 2100 each night except for Thursday, Friday and Saturday when it is until midnight. The ‘off licence’ is to 2200 every night. Mrs Ashworth invited the two owners of the premises to talk to their application.
The meeting was told that there were no plans for live music and the owners did not intend to remain open every night to the times outlined in the application. From Sunday to Thursday, it was their intention to close the premises at 4pm.
Mrs Ashworth read out a letter of objection concerning potential noise levels in relation to live music. While generally supportive of the Giddy Gannet, two other residents expressed concern about potential noise levels. The couple lived immediately behind the premises and had formally objected to the application on that basis. They had asked at the Planning application stage if Fife Council could set an acceptable decibels level, but this suggestion had been rejected. They also expressed concern that outdoor drinking would be permissible which would exacerbate noise levels. However, the Giddy Gannet owners stressed that outside drinking had been removed from the current application. It was also pointed out that the maximum seating capacity for the premises would be 24 so noise levels would not be excessive. The owners also agreed to work with their neighbours to mitigate the noise as much as possible.
Mrs Syme pointed out that much of the external drinking, and associated boisterous noise was due to visitors and tourists taking their own alcohol down to the harbour. This was illegal and she had often pointed out this fact out to perpetrators. The Giddy Gannet could not- and should not- be blamed for such activity. It was agreed that the Secretary would write to the Community police officer, PC Wallace, to highlight this perennial problem.
Several residents in the audience expressed their support for the application, one stating that it was a great idea for the village.
After due and careful consideration, Mrs Ashworth proposed that the Community Council vote on whether to support or object to the Licence application. The meeting unanimously voted in favour of supporting the application. The Secretary will notify the Licencing Board.
Finally, Mr Bridges advised that Fife Council had confirmed that their contractor has had to delay commencement of the play park redevelopment by a further 3 weeks. This is due to ongoing delays in materials which is severely affecting the contractors’ projects programming. Staff sickness due to covid is also still having an impact
6. Treasurer’s Report
Mr Morris noted that the outstanding expenses from the Burns supper, beach clean 2021 and Beautiful St Monans had been paid.
7. Members Reports
7.1 Planning matters: Mrs Syme noted there was nothing of significant concern in any planning applications.
7.2. Heritage Centre: Mr Morris noted the roof had now been sorted and is now watertight. The dampness in the wall now needs to be addressed and Mr Morris is now seeking two new quotes to address this. He also noted that he had been approached to use the Heritage Centre as a small wedding venue for a resident who was terminally ill. The Centre was set up for this but, unfortunately, the lady concerned could not make it. Mr Morris mentioned this to highlight the venue’s potential use in the future.
8. Councillor Updates
Cllr Docherty advised that he has not been selected as the SNP candidate for the East Neuk & Landward ward in the forthcoming local council elections. Despite ten year’s loyal and hard-working service to the communities within the East Neuk, his objection to Council group decisions which negatively impacted the East Neuk, had been a factor in this decision. Many residents and every Community Councillor at the meeting expressed their sadness and disappointment at this news and many hoped that Cllr Docherty would stand as an independent candidate, offering to sign his nomination papers if required.
Cllr Porteous began by thanking Cllr Docherty for the opportunity of working with him over the last four years and for his enthusiasm and dedication to the residents of St Monans and Abercrombie. He again appealed to the Community Council to consider leading the work on a new Community Action Plan later in the year. It was also noted that Cllr Porteous is retiring as a Ward Councillor in May and next month’s meeting would be his last as a Councillor.
9. Public Questions
Mrs Ashworth then invited questions from the public.
9.1. Right of Way at 24/26 Station Road: A resident asked whether there had been any progress on reopening this right of way. The meeting was reminded that it would cost a substantial amount of money to make the right of way safe for pedestrian use and that Mrs Salvage had previously agreed to look into possible funding opportunities to undertake this work. Ms Montador agreed to take this matter up with the Road traffic department at Fife Council.
9.2 Parking down at the harbour: Another resident asked what could be done about the haphazard car parking near the Smoke House slipway. The problem was compounded by the extremely poor visibility of the car park signage around the village. Mrs Ashworth responded by stating that the Community Council had tried unsuccessfully over the years to get the signage improved. However, it was agreed to raise the matter again with Fife Council and also express concerns about potentially dangerous parking to PC Wallace.
10.1. St Monans primary School parents Council: On behalf of the local Parents Council, Ms Abbie Conners (Acting Chair) asked the Community Council what could both organisations do to celebrate the platinum jubilee between 2 and 5 June. It was suggested that a collaborative steering group should be established with other community groups to organise and take forward a series of family orientated events for the whole community. Mrs Syme agreed to join the Parents Council meeting on 24 April to discuss this further.
11. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Community Council will be on Monday 21 April 2022 at 7.30pm.
There being no other business, Mrs Ashworth closed the meeting.