ST. MONANS AND ABERCROMBIE COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Minute of the ordinary general meeting held in the Church Hall, Station Road on
Monday 17th April 2023 at 7.30 pm
Present: Vicki Salvage (Chair), Marjory Ashworth (Vice Chair), Billy Morris (Treasurer), Diane Martin (Minute Secretary), Eileen Montador, Richard Croker, Morven Syme, Niamh Syme, David Robertson, PC Rob Cook
Apologies: Mervyn Blank, Trish Hardie, Councillor Fiona Corps, Councillor Sean Dillon, Councillor Alycia Hayes
Members of the public: 3
- Welcome and apologies
V Salvage welcomed everyone to the meeting.
- Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
- Previous Minutes and Matters Arising
Item 3 – Community Council elections will take place in late summer/early autumn – a public postal election with the results in mid or late September. Everyone who is registered to vote in Abercrombie and St Monans will be eligible to vote.
Item 5 – carried forward from March meeting – Cllr Hayes agreed to find out from Fife Council what could go in place of the felled tree.
Item 7 – M Ashworth advised that the correct sum deposited following the Burns Supper was £1890.
Item 8 – still a vacancy for a Community Council Secretary
Item 9 – St Monans Church’s Coronation Afternoon Tea Party will be advertised. It will be held on 6th May in the Church Hall between 3-4.30pm.
Item 11 – follow up meeting for Gourlay Crescent will take place tomorrow from 3-5pm in the Church Hall. Leaflets to be printed by V Salvage and delivered by Sandra Mayes. Police, Housing, Safer Communities and Cllr Dillon to attend, together with several Community Council members.
V Salvage congratulated Sandra Mayes, who has been selected as a King’s Coronation Champion.
Item 13 – referred to the proposal to plant 350 trees on the Mair. This planting has been postponed. Various options were discussed. East Neuk Footprint to be invited to the June meeting to clarify our position and concerns.
V Salvage requested that B Morris provide a cheque for the school for £70 before the summer break. This was remaining raffle money from the Burns supper.
B Morris advised that he has spoken to Mrs Mary Wemyss regarding the planned Heritage Gin and that she was very interested and going to look into this.
The previous minutes were proposed by M Syme and seconded by E Montador.
- Chair’s Report
• The Auld Kirk
On Sunday (16th April) V Salvage was approached by David Clark, the East Neuk Cluster Co-ordinator, who introduced her to Brian Porteous, the Interim Moderator for St Monans Church of Scotland – who briefly discussed the situation of the Auld Kirk (building) – with the advice that it was the right time to begin public discussions about the future of the much-loved church building. It was thought that public information could be given via the next Community Council meeting – which happened to be today.
While the Church of Scotland remains in ownership for the time being, the Auld Kirk will no longer be used for church services or activities; these will now take place in the Church Hall. The Church of Scotland is now looking for a different future for the Kirk (Auld Kirk building) and approached the Community Council for input, and to take this forward. There is a lot to be considered, and many possible uses and difficulties were put forward by Community Council members tonight. No sum of money has been mentioned yet. However, the costs of maintaining such a historic building must always be carefully considered in any future plans. The land beyond the church belongs to Fife Council (cemetery). E Montador asked if the church would be deconsecrated but there is no information about this as yet.
Going forward, the Church of Scotland ‘management’ in Fife and in Edinburgh hope the church building will be available and will be used by the people of St Monans. The Kirk will not be sold for use as a private house. No running costs have been released but it is expected that these will be considerable. The purchase and upkeep of such a historic and world-famous Kirk building must be carefully taken into account e.g., maintenance, insurance, running costs, staffing etc. R Croker will attempt to find out the annual running costs of the Auld Kirk. It was decided that a public meeting would be held in the near future to find out the thoughts of the community regarding the purchase and future use of the Kirk. V Salvage advised that several known experts and others should be approached for advice too. Once the news has reached locals, expats etc. we will learn how much interest and support there is to take an Auld Kirk project forward on behalf of ‘St Monans’.
N Syme will find out information about the Aurrie in Lower Largo which is a former church building now being used as a café etc.
• St Monans information leaflet
V Salvage showed the meeting a Pittenweem information leaflet including a village map and suggested that this is something that could be produced for our village. It is suggested that local businesses could pay £30 to have their business highlighted within the leaflet. Community Council members should consider this proposed leaflet and come to the next meeting with suggested content/list of local services & businesses etc. PC Cook offered to assist with graphic design.
- Police Matters and Report
• E Montador read out an email concerning speeding traffic. The Police have been carrying out speed checks on Elmgrove and at the new builds. There are difficulties with catching culprits due to various reasons and often locals are the issue. ‘Pop up Bob’ is useful and will be re-sited in due course. Crail has now changed to a 20mph limit, but locals are still driving too fast.
• PC Cook advised that there had been 25 calls made to the Police. Three crimes have been committed which include a load falling off a lorry, ladder theft and poor youth behaviour within the village. M Ashworth reported that soil had been stolen from a sown field and PC Cook advised that such incidents should be reported by phoning 999 at the time. PC Cook advised that certain individuals are being monitored and that the community need to report concerns/behaviour to assist the Police in their duties.
• Vehicle thefts (previous minute) – 4 males have been in court regarding the thefts and some vehicles have been recovered.
• E Montador reported that she had received complaints about dogs being exercised in the graveyard and was this permitted? PC Cook advised that the Police did not have powers in this area and that the Fife Council Dog Warden should be contacted for advice. V Salvage will contact the school regarding the production of posters by children to deter dog fouling etc.
• PC Cook was questioned about drug use within the village and asked what the Police are doing about this. PC Cook asked that concerns be reported to the Police who need intelligence and evidence to deal with issues.
• V Salvage thanked PC Cook for his report.
- Members’ Reports
• R Croker provided a detailed update on the blocked off path. He explained that the actions by the owners of the property had de-stabilised the existing link path, which Fife Council then blocked off as it was not considered safe. Following discussion, it was agreed that no further action will be taken here as the Community Council does not have the funds to pursue this further.
• R Croker suggested that it would be beneficial to have a representative of various sub-groups regularly attend CC meetings to provide updates e.g., Residents Association, Beautiful St Monans etc.
• The Residents Association have approached the CC to take on a lease on their behalf for the Memorial Garden. A discussion followed and it was agreed that the CC would not be prepared to do this yet due to insurance/possible liabilities etc. More information is required about exactly why Fife Council have decided that such a lease is necessary.
• We have not yet found caterers for the Old Folks’ Tea, and this had been postponed for the time being, as this month and next are already very busy.
- Treasurer’s Report
• £643 is the balance in the Floral Account
• £5000 in funding has been received from the Common Good fund for Beautiful St Monans. This is £1000 less that the application sum of £6000.
• Fife Council have changed rules and all applications now have to be submitted digitally. R Croker to scan and send a document to assist B Morris.
• Fife Council have agreed to Heritage funding of £1900 for repairs. This money is from the Common Good fund. We have no time left now to carry out repairs, but the money will still be available at the end of the season.
• The hire of the Town Hall for the Burns Supper was paid today (17.4.23)
• The water bills for the Heritage Collection rooms have increased from £42 to £65 per month. Confusion over meeting arrangements meant that B Morris missed the meeting to discuss this. He has requested another meeting but has not had any confirmation yet.
• Flowers were sent following the death of Lord Crawford of Balcarres. B Morris received a lovely card from Lady Balniel thanking the CC for these. Lord Crawford was responsible for the provision of the plaque above the door of the Heritage Collection rooms. B Morris asked if M Ashworth could obtain a receipt from J Williamson for the flowers.
- Councillors’ Reports
There were no reports from the councillors.
- Public Questions
V Salvage – there have been 3 complaints about dog fouling. This has been reported and V Salvage will speak to the school about posters.
E Mathers – for Jackie Dixon. Query about the use of a parking space for disabled drivers on East Street. Someone staying in a holiday let occupied the space normally used by Jackie. It was agreed that if this person was a blue badge holder, there was nothing that could be done, however, V Salvage will speak to Cllr Hayes for further advice here.
Nothing to report.
V Salvage thanked everyone for their attendance and closed the meeting.
- Date and time of next meeting
Monday 15th May 2023 at 7.30 pm.