Draft minutes of the St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council meeting held on 17 February 2020. Present: P Copland (Chair), S Bridges (Secretary), H Ironside, M Syme, G Bell, Cllr Docherty and Cllr Holt.
In attendance: N Cowie, Manager at ENeRGI.
Members of the public: 10
1. Welcome and Apologies
V Salvage, V Bland, B Morris, B Buchan, M Ashworth, S Collier, Cllr Porteous and PC Stecka had all sent their apologies. No declarations of interest were noted at the beginning of the meeting and the Secretary confirmed the meeting was quorate.
2. Presentation by ENeRGI
Mr Cowie was invited to provide a brief update on the various activities of this organisation. ENeRGI provides support and information for people who have experienced mental health or substance misuse issues, as well as their carers. It has been in existence for almost twenty years. There are currently nine employees, supported by a number of volunteers. Mr Cowie focused on two areas of their work:
– Support work for housing, both short term (up to 2 years) and long term (over 2 years).
– Befriending project to reduce loneliness and isolation within the East Neuk area.
ENeRGI coordinates befrienders and the befriended who meet up weekly. Transport support is provided for the befrienders. In addition, ENeRGI have a Mens group based in Anstruther and a Womens group in Pittenweem. ENERGI have a drop in centre in St Monans and it is open five days per week from 10am to 2 pm. This provides help and support in claiming state benefits and appealing cases. It also acts as a delivery and dispersal point for the East Neuk Foodbank. In response to a question from a resident, Mr Cowie stated that referrals for people who my like to be befriended usually comes from GP practices and district nurses. Mr Copland thanked Mr Cowie for his presentation. It was agreed that the positive work of this local group should be better publicised and it was suggested that an article should go into the community newsletter and that more use of the community website be made available to promote the work of ENeRGI.
3. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
All other matters were considered closed, except for the following:
3.1 Common Goods asset Register
Following the Council request to review this register in September, Mrs Salvage had emailed the group to advise that she had received a copy of the available information from Cllr Holt. Ongoing action: V Salvage (first raised on 09/19)
3.2 Gully cleaning at Abercrombie
No change since last meeting. Cllr Docherty agreed to chase up this matter with Fife Council again. Ongoing action: J Docherty (first raised on 01/19)
3.3 Repairs to railings on Station Road.
The Residents Association continues to follow this up with Fife Council. Closed from a Community Council perspective.
3.4 Speeding problems through Abercrombie
Ongoing, but no update from Mrs Ashworth.
3.5 Burns Supper on Saturday 8 February.
The Burns Supper was a great success with 118 tickets sold. The Chair expressed his thanks to Peter Peddie, Marjory Ashworth, Steve Collier and Vicki Salvage for all their work in making the evening a success. Two residents asked why a raffle had been organised on the night for prizes for the school children as they had thought that the Community Council had agreed to accept the offer from Mr Bell to fund these prizes. While acknowledging that the minutes stated this, Mr Copland was unsure as to the background and suggested that this could be addressed at the next meeting.
3.6 Celebration of the bi-centenary of Millers boat builders in St Monans
Mrs Salvage will be taking this forward and is hoping to hold a sub-meeting for those who are interested in being involved, including Community Councillors, residents and former residents. Ongoing action: V Salvage (first raised on 12/19)
3.7 Overgrown hedge in lane approaching St Monans primary school
A resident complained that this lane was dark and dangerous due to the overgrown hedge. Unfortunately, the hedge is on private property and will need substantial work or even removal. Both the Community Council and the Residents Association continue to push to have this hedge removed or drastically cut back.
3.8 Right of Way beside 24/26 Station Road
Cllr Porteous advised that the owners would be approached for an update after the work on the retaining wall had been completed and the groundwork had stabilised. Ongoing action: B Porteous (first raised on 08/19)
3.9 Dangerous parking on corner of Queen Margaret Street
The commercial van is now parking in a safe place and no longer a problem.
3.10 Dog fouling
Mrs Salvage had advised by email that a complaint had been made to Fife Council. She is still pursuing the removal of the discarded dog waste bags along the side of “Inverie” on Braehead. However, it was not clear from her response, whether she had asked if Fife Council would be prepared to adopt any additional bins that could be purchased directly by the Community Council. Ongoing action: V Salvage (first raised on 01/20)
Mrs Ironside noted that many of the ongoing actions referred to actions from previous meetings and asked if that actions could be dated to assist members in tying them back to the originating set of minutes. The meeting considered this a sensible idea and the Secretary was asked to make the changes going forward. There being no other comments, Mrs Ironside proposed (Mrs Syme supported) that the minutes be adopted. The minutes were approved.
4. Community Police Report Update
Mr Copland read out the report from PC Stecka. Between 10 January and 10 February 2020, the police received 1112 calls in the North East Fife area, of which 37 calls were to the St. Monans and Abercrombie area. Of these, 2 crimes being recorded both of which were Section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. Other calls were in relation to an ongoing neighbourhood dispute and road traffic matters. Mr Copland explained that s38 of the Act was more commonly referred to as a breach of the peace and included; shouting and swearing; fighting; abusive or threatening behaviour; abusive or threatening telephone calls, text messages and social media posts; disorderly conduct and domestic abuse.
5. Chairpersons Report
Mr Copland again expressed his appreciation to everyone who made the Burns Supper night such a success. He also noted that he will be attending a Council sponsored training event for Community Councillors as well as the East Neuk. He also noted the East Neuk CC Forum is on 19 March at 7pm at Cameron.
6. Secretary’s Report
Mr Bridges noted that an annual general meeting had not been called in 2019, although an ordinary meeting reviewed and discussed the financial statement in May 2019. As a minimum, Community Councils are required to meet quarterly. Our Community Council exceeds this, meeting ten times per year. Mr. Bridges has advised the Community Council Liason Officer at Fife Council of this oversight and asked whether we are required to hold a retrospective AGM. It was confirmed that this would not be necessary and that the next AGM for the St Monans & Abercrombie Community Council could be held on Monday 15 June 2020. This would allow time for the 31 March year-end accounts to be prepared and independently audited. Cllr Docherty is happy to chair this meeting
7. Treasurer’s Report
There was no update available for the meeting
8. Members Reports
Community support initiatives:
Mr Copland read out the report provided by Mr Collier:
‘Introduction to St Monans’ Welcome pack: Mr Collier is in the final stages of formatting the document into a print friendly booklet, which will issued to the Community Council members for approval on Wednesday 19th February. This will go into Kingdom Housing welcome packs and will hopefully be used by Fife Council too. An electronic version will also go on the St Monans website. Mr Copland noted that this was very welcome development but suggested that the distribution was fairly limited as the original proposal was to provide the pack to any new resident coming into the village (ie not just Council residents).
Braid Court Meeting: Police were not present but had reported that figures for crime in St Monans continued to be low. Fife Council also indicated that resident’s complaints had also been very low. This was backed up by the Community Council data. Whilst generally welcomed as good news, all parties agreed that this should not allow us to rest on our laurels. Fife Council indicated that feedback from Braid Court residents to the work undertaken in Braid Court had been very positive. It was also noted that Mr Collier had received similar feedback. . Finally, it was noted that a second ‘village walkabout’ was being planned
A poster advertising against “Fly Tipping” had been put up on the bin cage but someone has taken offence to it and has broken it. Mr Collier will arrange for a replacement to go back up. As far as he is aware, there have been no further instances of fly tipping in that area. No complaints of ant-social behaviour have been made this month (the third month running).
9. Councillor Updates
Cllr Docherty advised that Fife Council propose to undertake another village walkabout. Dates are to be confirmed but he expected it to be in late March. Cllr Holt provided a brief update on her meeting with Fife Councils traffic works committee, noting that East Street was on the priority list for resurfacing. When queried by a resident, Cllr Holt confirmed that the Dawsie is not included. She will push for this. Action: Cllr Holt (first raised on 02/20).
10. Towns Team Update
Mr Bell reported that the minutes between the Towns Team, Fife Council and Mr Peattie representing the consortium looking to restore an old boat in the harbour, had been agreed and distributed to relevant parties. It had been agreed that both parties would provide business plans to Fife Council. With regards to the Trust’s harbour plans, discussions are progressing with Council Planning officials regarding Phase 1 to the project (improving the hoists and reintroducing electrical power for the fishermen). Fundraising for this phase is to go ahead. Cllr Holt asked how the business plan was progressing for the slipway. Mr Bell couldn’t comment on the progress of the consortium’s plan, but noted that the Trust had one in place which was now being revised and updated. Mr Bell again reminded the meeting that anyone could attend the Town Teams meeting. These are held on the first Monday of the month at 7.30pm in the Masonic hall. He also stated that a brief summary of what topics the meetings would cover would be put up on the community website.
11. Public Questions
11.1 Conduct of Community Councillors at the January meeting
Another resident suggested that the use of the term was borderline racist. Several residents expressed considerable dissatisfaction at the way some Community Councillors had conducted themselves at the previous meeting in relation to the St Monans Community Development Officers report. One resident specifically complained that the conduct of some councillors on the evening had been quite distasteful. He also noted that subsequent social media comments had circulated in relation to the meeting which had been non- inclusive, aggressive and contrary to the ethos that the Community Council was there to serve the whole community. The resident provided a specific example against one community councillor in particular*. Another resident agreed, noting that the use of the term “incomers” on social media had been supported by some Community Councillors. Some of the comments could be considered threatening. She considered the term “incomer” to be pejorative, possibly discriminatory and contrary to the Community Councils code of conduct. Another resident suggested that the use of the term was borderline racist. One resident expressed her view that the use of the term ‘incomer’ was not discriminatory.
Cllr Holt noted that private opinions should not be confused with opinions stated by an individual in a public capacity. The Secretary, after a brief consultation with the Chair, read out Fife Council’s guidance for making complaints against Community Councillors and advised the meeting that if anyone wished to pursue such a course of action, they should put their complaint in writing to the Chairman.
Another resident stated that he had recently written to the Chair to express his dissatisfaction about the disgraceful outbursts of one Community Councillor at the January meeting. He believed her conduct had been contrary to the code of conduct. He now wished his email to be treated as a formal complaint.
*Shortly following the meeting, the resident noticed that his comment re the Community Councillor was incorrect and has withdrawn the allegation. He has also personally and unreservedly apologised to the said Community Councillor.
11.2 Funding good causes within the village
Another resident noted her unhappiness at the apparent over reliance on the Common Good Fund to fund the many projects being proposed. She hoped that fund raising would continue as it had done in the past.
12.1 Sea Queen Committee under the auspices of the Community Council
Mr Collier is looking into the possibility of bringing the Sea Queen Committee back under the auspices of the St Monans & Abercrombie Community Council. This will help reduce expenditure, particularly public liability insurance costs which amounted to over £600 last year. Mr Bridges noted that the Community Council had public liability insurance through cover provided by Fife Council. The policy explicitly covered events such as village gala days and fetes. He had been in discussions with Mr Collier regarding the constitution of the Sea Queen committee and the role that Community Councillors play on the committee. Historically, a number of Community Councillors have always served on the Sea Queen Committee and had regularly provided progress update reports to the full Community Council meetings. The Sea Queen Committee could be considered a defacto sub-committee of the Community Council, but this would need to be reflected in the Sea Queens constitution. It was also noted that the Sea Queen Committee currently included Mrs Salvage, Mr Morris and Mr Collier. Both Mr Bridges and Mr Collier agreed this would seem a reasonable course of action to take with the approval of the Community Council. Cllr Holt agreed that it was important that the Sea Queen constitution accurately reflected the f the situation. She mentioned issues that Elie Community Council had encountered with the common insurance due to inconsistencies in their sub-committees constitution. It was agreed that Mr Bridges and Mr Collier would review the various constitutions and report back to the next Community Council meeting. Action: S Bridges/S Collier (first raised on 02/20)
12.2 International Food Festival
In the meantime, Mr Collier reported that this year’s fund raising event, would be held on Saturday 7 March. It was noted that there are still a couple of tables short, so if there are any volunteers able to take a table please contact a member of the Sea Queen Committee. The committee members are Steve Collier, Vicki Salvage, Billy Morris, Linda Anderson, Kim Cameron, Alean Morris and Linda Collier. Also, if anyone is willing to make a pudding for the dessert table that would also be extremely welcome!
12.3 Beautiful St Monans
The Beautiful St Monans Gardening Group have raised some questions for the Community Council to consider: – Could someone from the Community Council take responsibility for finding someone to take up and take down the hanging baskets for this year and find someone to do the watering – There are currently over 100 hanging baskets in St Monans. The order is already in to Pathhead for this year. Given the practical difficulties in watering these baskets, does the Community Council want to consider if there should be a reduction to the number of hanging baskets for 2021? – Would the Community Council want to reallocate more hanging baskets for Gourlay Crescent? If so how many?
After a brief discussion, it was agreed that Mr Copland and Mrs Syme should meet with the members of the BSM group to discuss their request in more detail and to provide the next Community Council meeting with an update. Action: P Copland & M Syme (first raised on 02/20)
12.4 Appointment of independent auditor for financial statement
The Secretary noted that Mr Colin Wilson had kindly agreed to audit the annual financial statement for the Community Council. He therefore proposed (Mr Copland supported) the appointment of Mr Wilson as auditor. This was unanimously agreed.
12.5 VE day – 75th Anniversary commeration at St Monans primary school
Mrs Ironside noted that the primary school and the Parent Council had started its preparations for the VE day anniversary on 7 May 2020. This would be part of the national curriculum. The school would be opened was looking for family members and the Community to provide stories from the war years. Contributions from the local community would be very welcome.
12.6 Bowhouse Event – 29 February
Noted that the Bowhouse was hosting the St Andrews University charity fashion show on this date and plans were in place to mitigate the noise levels as much as possible.
13. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Community Council will be on Monday 16 March 2020 at 7.30pm. +