Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council held on Monday, 17 September 2018, at 7.30 pm.
Present: P Copland (Chair), V Salvage (Deputy Chair), S Bridges (Secretary), P Peddie (Treasurer), M Ashworth, V Bland, E Hughes, W Morris, G Bell, W Buchan, Cllr J Docherty, Cllr L Holt, Cllr W Porteous and Elaine Porteous (Minute Secretary)
Members of the public: 20
- Welcome and Apologies
- Declarations of Interest
- Police Report
The Chairman welcomed Inspector Jane Combe of Fife Police Safer Communities to the St Monans invited her to address the meeting. Inspector Combe had been asked to attend the meeting at the request of the three Councillors. She said that, from a policing perspective, she was disappointed that what was being reported to Councillors was not reflected in the reporting to the police. From their perspective, there has been no increase in crime since last year. To illustrate this, she provided figures of reported crime in the St Monans area, which indicated a reduction of reported crime.
Mr Buchan noted that the Multi Use Games Arena (MUGA) had been vandalised, but had not been reported to the police. Inspector Combe said that this highlighted her point – anything that is reported to the police will be dealt with. However, without the public reporting these incidents, she could not put resources onto it.
Inspector Combe reassured a member of the public that residents should not feel intimidated to report incidents to the police. Reporting a crime does not mean that a police officer needs to come to a resident’s door. Residents could state this when contacting the police over the phone. Inspector Combe also advised that her officers were quite happy to meet someone outwith the area. Alternatively, people could go through their Councillors.
She also requested that residents provided specific information in their report; times and dates and what is happening (ie that constitutes anti-social behaviour).
Mr Copland asked if there was any update concerning the ongoing situation in Braid Court and East Street. Inspector Combe advised that the Councillors had brought together all the other agencies, and had agreed a number of action plans regarding people who have moved into this area.
In answer to a question about what else the community could do, for example, the creation of Neighbourhood Watch, Inspector Combe cautioned against locals going out on patrol as this could put people at risk. She also suggested that residents could ask officers to visit residents at home to advise on crime safety and prevention.
A member of the public queried whether residents should report loud arguments in the street. Inspector Combe confirmed that resident should do so. This included naming individuals, where known and providing a description of what they were wearing. It might not end up with someone being charged, but it is still unacceptable.
Mrs Salvage asked for an update regarding the incident at the local primary school. Inspector Combe advised that an individual had been arrested and had appeared in court the next day.
Mr Copland thanked Inspector Combe for taking time to attend the Community Council meeting and she left the meeting.
- Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
4.1 Bin collections at rear of Miller Terrace, East Street & Forth Street
Cllr Docherty advised that he was expecting a report on this by next week. He would update the Community Council thereafter.
4.2 Water facilities, parking at Cemetery gates, rotting bridge struts & footpaths in Churchyard
Mr Copland noted that Mr Bell, who had attended a Council led meeting in Anstruther, had established that Fife council had some budget for maintaining cemeteries and that the work required to provide water to the cemetery as well as upgrades to the footpaths, would be eligible for a grant award. An application would therefore be made for the St Monans cemetery. Mr Copland thanked Mr Bell for identifying this funding source, but noted his disappointment that Bereavement Services had not advised the Community Council of the availability of funding sooner.
Regarding the bridge struts, Cllr Docherty noted he had been escalating this matter with both Bereavement Services and the Structural Engineers team and was hopeful that they would undertake the necessary work, but again it up to Bereavement Services to provide costings. He has asked for a site visit regarding the bridge.
4.3 Possible sites for defibrillators
Mr Bell confirmed that the new owners of the old Post Office were unwilling to have a defibrillator outside their property. He also reported that at a meeting with Fife Harbours he brought up the subject of the defibrillator being placed on the wall of Harbourmaster’s office. There were no objections and the relevant Council official, Ross Spiers, had agreed to find out how this could be achieved.
Mr Copland said that there was some money in the Management Account for fitting the defibrillator. However, the original estimate was several months old, and it was therefore agreed that Gillian Duncan of the First Responders should be contacted for a revised cost. Mrs Salvage agreed to contact the Gillian Duncan.
4.4 Gully cleaning in and around Abercrombie
Cllr Porteous advised that he had been in touch with Council officials in connection with the blocked gully and also how often they do this. He was chasing them up.
4.5 Grit Bins
The grit bin at the top of the Dawsie has been removed by Fife Council. There was some concern expressed that other grit bins had been removed. Cllr Porteous agreed to challenge Fife Council’s decision to remove the Dawsie bin and would check up on the status of all the others.
4.7 Harbour regeneration
The Chair noted that he was not aware of any update regarding the boat building proposal. Mr Bell agreed and advised that in his discussions with the council’s harbour officials, they too had not heard anything regarding this matter.
4.8 Dangerous pothole opposite 18 Station Road
4.9 Poor condition of St Monans bus shelter
Cllr Porteous said that this has been reported to the Councils Passenger Transport Service Manager who would consider the request to install a new seat in the bus shelter. Cllr Porteous also advised that hanging baskets on the bus shelter would not be approved by the Council, but flower tubs would be acceptable providing they did not block the public footway.
4.10 Potholes on the Vennel between Rose St and Miller Terrace
Mr Bridges had been asked by a member of the public to raise the ongoing matter of the dangerous state of the Vennel. He read out some of the email correspondence provided to him by a resident that demonstrated the Council’s poor understanding of the area. Nevertheless, the correspondence suggested that the vennel was unadopted. At the previous meeting, the councillors had agreed to pursue the possibility of having the vennel upgraded to an adopted road. However, it was pointed out that Fife Council will not adopt such roads unless they are in a state to be adopted ie they had to be in good repair.
Cllr Holt noted that there was a limited a budget of £150, 000 for fixing unadopted roads, with council officials applying a scoring system to assess the damage. Mr Bridges asked that the vennel be assessed and Cllr Docherty agreed to follow this up.
In answer to some Member of the Public’s comments, Cllr Holt also suggested that there is an official council map which identifies adopted and unadopted roads and footpaths within the area. She agreed to try and locate this map for the next meeting.
4.11 Parking on Station Road
Mr Copland asked Cllr Porteous whether there had been any update re placing large plant boxes around the junction to prevent illegal parking. Cllr Porteous advised that, although the Beautiful St Monans group were happy to provide the boxes, they believed that permission was required from Fife Council.
Cllr Porteous also expressed his gratitude to residents and parents in the area who had been a little more cautious and careful about where they are parked. He also noted the lack of a School Patrol person in the area which heightened safety concerns.
4.12 Amendment to Previous Minutes
A member of the public said that she had reported the fence posts and not, as the draft minutes stated, the three Councillors. That was not correct. The Secretary agreed to amend the minutes accordingly.
Mr Copland then called for the previous minutes to be approved. This was proposed by Mr Buchan and seconded by Mr Peddie.
5. Chairperson’s report
5.1 Antisocial behaviour
The majority of residents have now received a letter and ‘who to contact’ postcard from the Community Council. A members of the public confirmed that none had had yet been received in Forth Street, Rose Street or Miller Terrace. Councillor Porteous proposed a big ‘thank you’ should to all the volunteers who have been prepared to go round in their own time to deliver these.
In previous meetings, we have been told that there have only been 3 reports of antisocial behaviour, when we know that there have been about 8 that have been made. These discrepancies were difficult to understand. As a result, Mr Copland reminded the meeting of the Community Council initiative to set up a dedicated Community Council mobile number and email address to log local incidents. Details were provided in the community letter. By providing this information, the Community Council would be better prepared to challenge any discrepancies in figures provided by Fife Council.
5.2 2018 Community Council election
This is the last meeting of this session. Mr Copland noted that Ena Hughes and Peter Peddie had both decided to step down from the Community Council and on behalf of the community, he thanked them both for their work and dedication. Those at the meeting also expressed their appreciation. Mr Peddie agreed that he would carry on in the interim as Treasurer until a new person was elected to the role.
It was noted that there were 16 nominations for the Community Council, but two names had since been withdrawn. As a result, we have a list of 14 candidates for 10 vacancies. We would therefore have an election to determine who will serve on the Community Council for the next 4 year term. This would take the form of a postal ballot and voting papers would be required to with Fife Council by Thursday 4 October.
- Secretary’s Report.
6.1 Community Action Plan (‘CAP’)
Mr Bridges provided a brief update on the CAP Open Day held at the beginning of September and advised that the presentation used was on the St Monans website – stmonans.org.uk/blog/regeneration/community-action-plan. The event attracted approximately 100 visitors. A number of community organisations participated in the event. The CAP steering group are now pulling together all the results and proposed actions into one report. Once published, copies will be provided to the Library and to the residents upon request. A copy will also be placed onto the website.
6.2 ‘A nations’ tribute’ – 100th Anniversary of the ending of World War One
Plans are progressing with regards to the nationally organised event to commemorate the ending of the First World War on 11th November, including a beacon lighting ceremony, ringing of the Parish church bell and the services of a piper. He noted he was still trying to secure a bugler. Mrs Ashworth suggested that Mr Bridges could contact a person from the Waid School Music Department – Callum MacLeod.
7. Treasurer’s Report
It was noted that there is money to come out of the Floral Display budget and from it the contractor, who had provided watering services for the hanging baskets, had now been paid. Mr Peddie was also pleased to report that the Common Good application had been accepted.
8. Planning matters
Mr Copland said that the Community Council had been formally advised by the Developers agent, that a development company was looking to apply for permission to build on the land to the west of St Monans manse. At this stage, he was not aware of any detail, but the developer anticipated having an ‘Open Day’ in October in order for them to put their plans on the table. The developers are Lochay Homes.
- Councillor updates
9.1 Changes to the Provision at St Andrews Community Hospital
Cllr Holt reminded everyone of the meeting at the Waid on Thursday evening (20 September at 6.45pm) concerning the changes to the provision of services at St Andrews community hospital. The Minor Injuries Unit is also at risk. Cllr W Porteous and Cllr Docherty noted that all three Councillors are strongly against these proposals and urged everyone to attend this meeting.
9.2. Thanks to Community Councillors
On behalf of all the Ward Councillors, Cllr Porteous thanked all the previous and existing Community Councillors for their work over the four year term. He noted that the upcoming Community Council elections demonstrated that people are taking a real interest in their local community. The East Neuk Ward has the most elections in the whole of Fife. Cllr J Docherty reiterated what Cllr Porteous had said regarding thanking the Community Councillors for their service.
9.3. Overgrown foliage around the banks at the Burn
Cllr W Porteous advised that the council had now identified a contractor to cut back the foliage on around the burnside.
9.4 MacMillan coffee morning
Mrs Salvage reminded the meeting that the MacMillan coffee morning was scheduled to take place on Friday morning from 10am -12 noon.
10 Public Questions
10.1 Matters in relation to the Harbour area
Mr Morris said that a member of the public had complained to him about dog fouling at the harbour. He also queried who owned the overgrown garden behind the old Post Office. Although no-one at the meeting could confirm this, it was suggested that it was owned by Fife Council.
10.2 Fencing on Right of Way to Braehead (adjacent to 26 Station Road)
A member of the public queried whether anyone from the Council had been to examine the fencing beside the right of way between 26 Station Road and Braehead. Cllr Docherty agreed to look into this.
10.4 Trees on offer
Mr Buchan reminded the meeting of an offer made to the community of Willow, Rowan and Oak trees, and said it had been suggested they could be put near the burnside. Mrs Salvage agreed to raise this again with John Haskall as they may not now be available.
10.5 Damaged wall in Abercrombie
Mrs Ashworth reported that the coping stones to the wall through Abercrombie were still damaged, and in danger of collapsing. This damage had been as a result of Fife Councils decision to divert traffic through Abercrombie earlier in the year. Cllr Porteous said this matter was raised at the time, but he would raise it again with the Council.
10.6 Warning sign removed from Abercrombie
Mrs Ashworth also reported that the ‘Not Suitable for Large Vehicles’ sign at Abercrombie had been removed by Fife Council for safety reasons.
11.1 Mirrors at Braehead, Hope Place Junction
Cllr Porteous advised that he had been approached by a resident with a suggestion to install mirrors at the Braehead/Hope Place junction. He had raised this suggestion with the relevant department at Fife Council.
11.2 One-way system up through the Dawsie
It was also noted that another resident had suggested to Cllr Porteous that there should be a one-way system from Craigmillar Restaurant to the top of the Dawsie. Cllr Porteous had also emailed the Council to consider the implications for such a suggestion.
11.3 Repairs to West Beach
A member of the public asked if there had been any progress regarding the repairs proposed by the West Beach. These were proposals contained in the harbour improvement plans. Sections are exposed and in particular, there is one large metal shard now exposed and the rubble is worse than it ever was.
Mr Bell said that as part of the ongoing discussions over the Harbour regeneration plan, he had recently met with the Council Harbours Officer. Currently, the only part of the plan where action is being taken is in connection with the Fishermen’s facilities at the West Pier. A note of interest for funding from the European Fisheries Fund had been submitted. The Fund administrators had encouraged us to put an application in. With regard to the rest of the plan, including the beach improvement, these would all be subject to separate funding.
During his meeting with the Council, the official did discuss the beach; in particular concerns were raised about what is under the grass and is coming out through the erosion. The official also shared with Mr Bell the toxicology report for the harbour. This had highlighted that the harbour had been one of the most polluted in Fife. However, following the recent dredging, it was in a better condition.
The member of the public said that he had photographs going back over 9 months demonstrating the large metal shards now exposed. Mr Copland suggested he send up-to-date photographs to Moir Gibson, Head of Harbours and raise the matter as a health and safety issue. Mrs Salvage also offered to check the beach on behalf of the Community Council and liaise with Mr Gibson.
11.4 Beautiful St Monans, Sea Queen and Arts Festival Thanks
Mr Bell asked that the Community Council formally thanked the residents of St Monans and Abercrombie for Beautiful St Monans, the Sea Queen Day and for the Arts Festival weekend events in 2018. The Town has been buzzing and a great number of new visitors have positively commented on all three events.
12. Date of Next meeting and Inaugural Meeting
The next ordinary meeting of the new Community Council will be on Monday 15 October. It will be preceded by the Inaugural Meeting at 7pm, at which the new Community Council would elect its office bearers. Cllr J Docherty kindly agreed to chair the Inaugural Meeting.