|1. Welcome and apologies |
No declarations of interest were noted at the beginning of the meeting and the Secretary confirmed the meeting was quorate.
2. Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on 19 April 2021, were taken as read. Under matters arising:
2.1 Lack of lairs within St Monans Cemetery
Cllr Docherty confirmed that Fife Council has identified cemetery funding and plans are being developed to extend cemetery capacity throughout Fife. More details to follow.
2.2 Lockable bollard to prevent vehicle access onto coastal path from Rose St
Cllr Docherty also escalated concerns to relevant officials at Fife Council regarding the unlocked bollard at the end of Rose Street. Mrs Salvage noted that cars are being reported going along the coastal path and it was essential that the bollard was locked to prevent this.
There being no other comments, Mrs Ironside proposed (Mrs Syme supported) that the minutes be adopted. This was approved.
3. Acting Chair’s report
Mrs Salvage advised the meeting that she was still waiting for a response from Liz Murphy at Bereavement Services concerning the reconnection of a water supply at St Monans cemetery. Cllr Docherty noted that this had been raised at previous Community Council meetings and also agreed to chase this up.
On behalf of the Community Council, Mrs Salvage thanked Mr Darren Peattie for an informative tour of the new East Neuk Salt Company (‘ENSC’) premises. She noted they the ENSC is based in the new Bass Rock Business Park in Station Road (former Bass Rock Oil Company compound). The Group was impressed by the modern technology to be used by the ENSC to produce salt from sea water drawn from the purest water available from the Firth of Forth. Mrs Salvage further noted that Mr Peattie is keen on promoting the heritage of St Monans and no one who is similarly interested in local history will be disappointed to discover that the ENSC will use similar- though very modern – processes to those originally used to extract salt from sea water. However, this modern business will be as environmentally friendly as it is possible to be – with nothing wasted in the process. This exciting new venture – which updates “St Monans Salt” by more than 200 years – really is St Monans history in the making! She also stated that before production has even commenced, orders from other businesses had been received. She concluded that everyone on the tour agreed that the future for the ENSC would be both fascinating and exciting – and very good news for St Monans.
4. Secretary’s Report
Mr Bridges referred to an email from a resident in connection with pollution discharge into the Inverie Burn. The resident had reported it to Scottish Water and had brough the matter to the Community Councils attention. We are waiting for a response from Scottish Water.
The proposed site visits by Fife Councils Access officer to discuss the right of way matter between Station Road and Braehead, and the collapsed wooden steps on the public right of way beside the beach at 30/31 West End, had been cancelled due to the official requiring to take a Covid test. Meeting to be rescheduled.
The Community Council had been made aware of the new social housing development work (Mansfield) adjacent to the Lochay homes development. Further detail of this 40-house development is available on the St Monans website.
Beautiful St Monans update (provided by Mrs Elaine Porteous): “Flowers have been ordered for hanging baskets and tubs from Pathhead Nurseries. The installation of the hanging baskets has been arranged, as well as the watering of tubs and baskets. The BSM calendars all sold in the end, although sales were slower than usual this year and we did not make quite as much profit as usual. In addition, BSM has received a sizeable donation thanks to Alison Child’s hard work making and selling face masks. Special thanks go to: Sandra Mayes for her work keeping the Jimmy Braid looking beautiful (and to Peter Peddie for help getting water more accessible there); Angelle and Fraser Shaw for all their work round the slipway, the boats, the tubs and the wellies beside the winch house; Tracy Rathbone and Alison Ogilvie for their work at the East Pier; Jean Mayes and Tina Wright for their work at the top boat; Helen Marshall for her work at the Plerick and Ray Wallace for the tubs by the cemetery. The BSM committee are considering buying a battery strimmer to help with some tasks, like keeping the edge of the burn clear. Although we decided not to replace the 3 tubs by the top boat which were destroyed by a car, we have bought a few new tubs to replace ones within the village that are falling apart. We put a new one last week beside the harbour wall at the bottom of Station Road to replace one that had been destroyed by a van, and plan to put another one at the other side of the information sign to try to stop vehicles parking against it”.
Finally, Mr. Bridges also reminded the meeting that the monthly community police report was available on the website and on community Facebook. It was noted that of the 26 calls received from both villages in the previous month, one had been recorded as a crime. Speed checks in the area have resulted in 10 drivers receiving a warning and 1 receiving a fixed penalty notice. Numerous warrants for substance misuse have been executed in the East Neuk in the last year as a direct result of community engagement and intelligence received. Investigations continue in respect of the off-road bike issues along the coast, as further incidents have been reported.
5. Treasurer’s Report
It was noted that there was no movement in the accounts for the previous month.
6. Members Reports
Planning matters: Mrs Syme noted there was nothing of significant concern in any planning applications submitted for the previous month.
Community support initiatives: Mr Collier reported that Fife Council officials had still to recommence their regular village walkabouts. He also noted an incident of resident intimidation which had been reported to the police.
New Children’s playpark at the Mair: Mrs Ironside provided an update on progress with plans to create a new playpark within St Monans: Overall funding currently sits at over £115,000. Big thank you to local children, Lacy and James Bjork, who had raised £152 Bowhouse have confirmed availability for the committee to fundraise at their 12/13 June weekend market. The local Masonic Lodge had very kindly donated £500 towards the funding. Three new fund grant applications had been submitted. Members of the committee had met with Iain Wilson (Parks Development Officer at Fife Council) to complete a site visit and discuss next steps. During the visit, it was noted that one park bench and one picnic bench were broken with dangerous rusty shards of metal attached to each. Both items were subsequently removed from the park by Council officials. The committee is also working with the Roads department to agree an appropriate, disabled access into the park.
A resident challenged Cllr Docherty on whether the SNP manifesto commitment to spend £60M in playpark refurbishment across Scotland would be kept and, if so, was it not considered a waste of Common Good Fund money to support the re-development of the playpark? Cllr Docherty noted that every Councillor attended Community Council meetings on behalf of all constituents and did not attend simply to represent political parties. The resident responded that this was a lousy answer and pressed his point, asking if St Monans would get its money back for the playpark and suggested that it was an overpromise that was not going to happen. Cllr Docherty said he would write to the Scottish government to ask about the election commitment and how it would be implemented.
7. Councillor Updates
Cllr Holt reported on her site meetings in both villages with Lesley Craig, Head of Traffic Management, Mrs Ashworth and Mrs Salvage. Initial feedback was constructive and Ms Craig was horrified at the state of Station Road. Regarding speeding at Abercrombie, it was noted that introducing speed bumps would not be a solution, but consideration would be given to painting ‘dragons teeth’ on the road going out towards St Monans.
Cllr Porteous noted that discussions were ongoing re the creation of a National Park designation for the East Neuk. He also noted the good progress on the playpark and was pleased to hear that Iain Wilson was being so supportive to the local committee. He also reported that the Jim Mathew Camera Trust would be opening for visits, by appointment, in July. Cllr Porteous agreed with the comments made by Cllr Holt regarding the condition of Station Road and referred to his correspondence with Fife Council about their decision to start permanent repairs in July. The point has been made that temporary repairs are needed now due to the severity of the degradation (classed as a ‘level 3’ repair) followed up by a permanent repair in July. All three Councillors agreed this approach was necessary, as did the Community Council. In response to a question from Mr Collier, Cllr Docherty stated that it was important to take a picture of every pothole in any claim a resident had against Fife Council for any vehicle damage.
Cllr Docherty provided an update on his attempts to allow telephone access to the Pittenweem recycling centre booking service. Not everyone had internet access. Residents were actively encouraged to email the Council to complain about the restricted hours and inadequate booking arrangements, as there was to be a full Council meeting on Thursday 20 May about the issue. Cllr Holt noted that the Johnstone Close meeting with Fife Council Housing officers, Kara Watson and Colin Whyte, had agreed an action plan on several matters, including relocating the bin storage, introduction of caged bins and a community consultation about parking and traffic management around the area. It was also noted that the painting of the external building had now completed.
8. Public Questions
Mrs Salvage then invited questions from the public.
‘Welcome to St Monans’ pack: A resident asked for an update on the ‘Welcome to St Monans’ packs that the Community Council had agreed to produce as she was working on a similar proposal with the parish church. In response. Mr Collier reported that he had prepared such a pack over a year ago, but due to Covid restrictions, it had not yet been published. He hoped that this could be produced shortly.
Fife Council ‘rewilding programme’: The Councillors were asked for an update on the Re-wilding programme. Given it was now grass cutting season, it appeared that common areas where being left to grow wild. Cllr Porteous thought that the programme had been shelved. However, Cllr Holt disagreed and thought the consultation had completed and the programme was going ahead. She agreed to look out the relevant report and share it with the Community Councillors. It was clear that there was uncertainly on the approach. Mrs Ashworth noted that the programme encouraged ticks – a point confirmed by Mrs Syme. It also encouraged vermin. She also complained that weeds were coming through her fence (and her neighbours) into their gardens.
Parking in St Monans: Cllr Porteous noted the massive increase in cars within the village and suggested the need for some radical solutions to address parking. He noticed that Wilsons had increased their parking spaces recently and asked for residents to provide ideas and possible solutions to the Community Council and Councillors.
Café Inc: Caroline Berry, Fife Council had contacted Mrs Ironside to promote Café Inc for children from 8 years old upwards. The Covid restrictions would mean that the format would be different with an emphasis on outdoor activities. The use of the MUGA was being considered. One challenge would be in providing wet weather alternatives. Packed lunches would be available too. It might not run every day but attempts would be made to have it running as often as possible during the summer holiday period. Cllr Porteous noted that the Town Hall was now available for bookings.
After noting the positive conversations of the Community Council and Councillors, a resident noted that a lot of “free food” was being handed out at the Town Hall. He argued that no more local money should be going into projects that provided such handouts. He suggested that we were creating a system whereby certain residents could receive food and use the saved money to continue their drug habit. He also stated that St Monans was an affluent village and local people did not need this support. Mrs Salvage interrupted the resident and reminded the meeting that there were genuine cases where some residents needed such assistance. Both Cllr Porteous and Cllr Holt agreed wholeheartedly with Mrs Salvage, noting that although the resident had expressed a viewpoint, it was for a wider discussion about general inequality within the community. However, no-one should be complacent about inequality. It was also noted that such a topic was not a matter for a Community Council meeting.
Vacancy on Community Council: Mrs Salvage noted the resignation of Mr Chris Hogsden, due to business commitments. She expressed her thanks to him on behalf of the Community Council and advised that details of the vacancy replacement procedure would be discussed the next meeting.
Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Community Council will be on Monday 21 June 2021 at 7.30pm. Due to ongoing Coved restrictions, this will be by conference call. Details will be publicised on the Community website and on social media.
There being no other business, Mrs Salvage closed the meeting.