Minutes of meeting held on Monday, 16 September 2019, at 7.30 pm. Present: P Copland (Chair), S Bridges (Secretary), B Morris (Treasurer), V Salvage, M Syme, M Ashworth, G Bell, H Ironside, S Potjewijd, Cllr Porteous, Cllr Docherty and Cllr Holt
Members of the public: 10
1. Welcome and apologies
Messrs V Bland, B Buchan, S Collier and PC Stecka had all sent their apologies. Mr Copland welcomed Nichola Wallace and Darren Peattie to the meeting.
2. Declarations of interest
3. Primary school vandalism incident
Mrs Wallace, Head-teacher for St Monans primary school, was invited to address the meeting. A large number of youths have been congregating in the playground to drink alcohol over the last few weekends. They were smashing bottles and urinating in the playground. Staff have to clean up the mess before children are allowed into the play area. This has upset the children. The police were now involved and Mrs. Wallace was appealing to the local community for help and support in preventing further incidents. The Schoolchildren have designed some posters to express their unhappiness at these incidents. These will be circulated around the village, as well as on Facebook. Mrs. Wallace had been in touch with the relevant authorities regarding the installation of cctv for the school grounds, but unfortunately, there are direct implications for her budget. One of the Councillors suggested that the Waid Secondary Head-teacher be made aware of the incidents as well as the Safer Communities team at Fife Council. Cllr Holt also suggested that the matter should be raised at the Braid Court Action Group as all Fife council agencies and the police attended this forum. A resident also suggested that the same group had been hanging about the serenity garden and that some had been harassing some of the younger children around the school area.
Everyone was reminded that they should call the police on 101 if they witness any antisocial behaviour.
4. Community police report
Mr Bridges read out the report provided by PC Stecka. Police Scotland received 20 calls from the St Monans and Abercrombie area during August. Of these, two crimes related to the theft of a handbag from an insecure vehicle. Other calls were in relation to assisting members of the public, complaints regarding anti-social behaviour that are currently under investigation, public nuisance and road traffic incidents.
5. East Salt Heritage Company update
Mr Copland invited Mr Darren Peattie to provide the meeting with an update on the activities of the East Neuk Salt Heritage Trust and the East Neuk Salt company. The company is currently processing on a small scale and the owners are seeking new premises to house its evaporating plant.
Re the Heritage Trust, there had been filming of four local residents and local businesses as a video feature to promote St Monans. The film is currently being edited and it is hoped to have a public community viewing in the autumn. The project to rebuild a Saltpans house replica on the original site makes good progress. Working with Historic Scotland, Mr Peattie is going through the process of getting the necessary planning permissions from Fife Council. This would be a major tourist attraction for St Monans. The project will use local tradesmen, and raising funding for the project will be achievable. The design will be based on historical illustrations rather than the original plans. Subject to planning approval, the work will take approximately 14 months to complete. Given the previous discussion about vandalism, Mr. Peattie expressed some concern that the problem was not simply brushed under the carpet.
Discussions are ongoing with the current owner to take the windmill into the ownership of the Heritage trust. Similarly, discussions were ongoing with Colinsburgh primary school to create an education pack. Although he considered the slipway an ideal site, Mr. Peattie nevertheless advised that he was not intending to build a salt production unit down at the harbour front. However, he also stated that he had been in contact with Ross Spiers and Moir Gibson, the officials at Fife Council responsible for harbour matters, to discuss converting the winding shed (on the slipway) as a visitor centre and shop. These discussions had been very supportive.
Mr. Copland thanked Mr. Peattie for his update and looked forward to receiving further updates as the various plans progressed.
6. Community Development officers update
Sonja Potjewijd provided a brief update on her activities over the last two months. She was pleased to report that additional funding for her post has been identified by Fife Council to allow her to continue until January 2020.
– The community newsletter is into its third edition and feedback has been positive. A successful application to the Common Good Fund means that the next six issues will be funded. The intention is to develop self-financing editions thereafter.
– A new Walking group for all ages (‘Walkie talkies’) has been created – Youth activity. This is a difficult challenge. However, plans are being developed to have a pool night at the bowling club.
– Working with Beautiful St Monans and the ‘Mens Shed’ group making planters and friendship benches for the primary school.
– Creation of an Intergenerational café for the community.
– Working with the community council to seek play park grant funding application.
– Completion of the Welcome Pack for New residents to St Monans (started by Mr Collier).
Mr. Copland thanked Sonja for all her work.
7. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
All other matters were considered closed, except for the following:
7.1 Gully Cleaning in Abercrombie Cllr Porteous continues to follow up this matter with council officials.
7.2 Fence post on right of way adjacent to 24/26 Station Road Cllr Docherty advised this is ongoing.
7.3 Potholes, fencing and parking at two garages sites Cllr Docherty continues to chase officials about illegal parking and the council’s impractical suggestion to put up private no parking signs.
7.4 Repairs to railings on Station Road The railings towards the bottom of Station Road are still in poor state of repair.
7.5 St Monans Residents Group The next meeting will be on 25 September in the Masonic hall at 6.30pm.
7.6 Community notice board replacement Ongoing.
7.7 East Neuk Community Emergency Planning Team (ENCEPT) The ENCEPT pack is now available and has been distributed to all local Community Council chairs.
7.8 Fife Health board out of hours consultation Cllr Porteous advised that out of hours consultation had been reintroduced at St Andrews. The nursing staff are working on 3 hour shift rotas and feedback on this arrangement has been mixed. He also noted that the GP pool car was being relocated for St Andrews to Kirkcaldy on the basis that potentially more home visits can be made from Kirkcaldy. All three councillors expressed doubt that the new arrangements could work effectively and there was widespread consensus from those at the meeting that the new set up had been deliberately set up to fail. Balmuno Community Council have written to the Fife Health board to express similar concerns.
7.9 Common Goods asset register. A resident had suggested that it would be beneficial for the Community Council to go to Land Registry at Meadowbank, Edinburgh to check what land remained within the Common Good. Online booking is necessary. Mrs. Salvage agreed to look into this matter further.
7.10 Camper vans parking overnight within the Cemetery car park Cllr Porteous advised Fife Council were producing a ‘No Parking’ notice to place up at the entrance to the car park. He also agree to check out the viability of erecting a height restriction barrier at the entrance to the car park.
7.11 Condition of road surface in East Street Cllr Holt advised that this has been placed at the top of the priority list for resurfacing next year. There was considerable agreement that the Dawsie also need to be upgraded (from 32 West End upwards).
7.12 Update of the St Monans Charity No update as Mr Collier had sent his apologies.
7.13 Broken Drain Cover on Station Road Both Ms Ironside and Cllr Porteous have emailed Fife Council about this.
There being no other comments, Mrs Salvage proposed (Mr. Morris supported) that the minutes be adopted. The minutes were approved.
8. Chairperson’s report
On behalf of the community, Mr. Copland expressed his thanks to the Art Festival Committee for their hard work in delivering a very successful weekend. He also noted that the Coastal Watch group had recently purchased a new flagpole for the windmill.
9. Secretary’s report
Noted only one item of correspondence. Pittenweem Tennis club have submitted an enquiry to the Community Council to use the MUGA for tennis classes within St Monans. It was noted that the St Monans Trust and Fife Council were responsible for bookings rather than the community council.
10. Treasurer’s report
Mr. Morris advised that all bills had been paid. He noted that the contractor’s bill for watering hanging baskets was £650 for one month. A question was asked whether it would be cheaper to do it with volunteers. However, this was agreed as a matter for the Beautiful St Monans committee to determine.
11. Members reports
Planning Matters: Mr. Copland noted there had been a new application in relation to a proposed new build at the foot of the Dawsie. He has escalated the fact that the plans are not available to view on the Council website. CllrDocherty suggested that the Community Council therefore ask for an extension to the statutory notice period for objections.
Community Support initiatives: No update as Mr Collier had sent his apologies.
12. Councillor updates
Following her attendance at a meeting of the Fife Equality Network, Cllr Holt reminded the meeting of the numerous Fife Agencies that were on hand to provide support for EU citizens under the EU sttlement scheme. Cllr Docherty is a trustee of the Fife Quality Network. Cllr Holt advised that more information could be found at: centreforequalities.org.uk/EU referral
Cllr Porteous noted that Muir Homes had offered to close off the lane to Netherton Estate to help in the development of cycle path.
13. Towns Team update
Mr. Bell was pleased to report that the stmonansdot.biz website was ready to launch, but that there was still a need to populate the site with local tradesmen. He also briefly summarized the successful opening launch of the Jim Mathers Camera collection at the Arts Festival weekend of 14/15 September. The collection is housed in the old salvation army hall and a charitable Trust had been created to take ownership of the collection on behalf of the local community. Considerable thanks was due to Mrs Dorothy Mathers and her family for the generous offer of the collection and the hall.
14. Public questions
14.1 Road sweeping on Station road A resident complained about the lack of road sweeping on Station road. Cllr Porteous agreed to follow this up with the relevant Council officials.
14.2 Dangerous condition of West Shore (adjacent to Welly garden) A resident raised a concern about the deteriorating condition of the road around the manhole cover, which was itself, unstable (and held up by some slabbing). Cllr Holt stated that this sounded like an emergency repair and agreed to take this up with relevant department officials at Fife Council.
15. Any other business
Newark castle: A member of the public asked what, if anything, could be done about stabilizing the remains of Newark castle. There was a suggestion from the floor that the castle had been purchased by a Canadian in early 2000’s but that nothing had been done to improve or stablise the castle since. Fife Council has put up emergency barriers to prevent people from entering the site which was now considered dangerous and unsafe. It was also suggested that an official had suggested that the castle will now simply fall into the sea.
St Monans Bowling Club: Mr Copland expressed the community’s congratulations to the local Bowling club for winning the East Neuk League.
16. Date of next meeting
The next meeting of the Community Council will be on Monday, 21 October at 7.30 pm