Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council held on Monday, 18 March 2019, at 7.30 pm.
Present: P Copland (Chair); S Bridges (Secretary); V Salvage (Vice-Chair); M Syme; W Morris (Treasurer); H Ironside; M Ashworth; G Bell; S Collier; Cllr Holt and Cllr Docherty
In attendance: Darren Peattie, East Neuk Salt Company
Members of the public: 12
- Welcome and Apologies
PC Robb, Mssrs Bland and Buchan and Cllr Porteous had sent their apologies.
- Declarations of Interest
- Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
3.1 Poor Condition of Bus Shelter on Elm Grove
3.2 Wheelie Bin storage around Forth Street and Miller Terrace
Cllr Docherty read out a report from the official who visited the area to check for bins being left on the pavement. His observations included;
– Forth St. No bins on road or pavement. Bins were visible on private ground.
– East St. Cluster of bin in recess outside no 36. While unsightly, not causing obstruction to pedestrians. Residents of flats have nowhere else to store bins and do not wish to haul bins up and down stairs.
– Miller Terrace. Bins that are out with the boundaries of their properties are at the rear sitting on an unadopted road and facing the playing field The procedure for dealing with bins on the street only applies to adopted roads and pavements, Therefore, no action can be taken concerning bins stored at the rear of Miller Terrace.
3.3 Fife Council outline drawings to replace Churchyard bridge
Nothing to report.
3.4 Gully Cleaning in Abercrombie
Mrs Ashworth advised that there had been no progress in attempts to have the two blocked gully’s, on the main road, cleared. It was also noted that the damaged wall had still not been repaired.
3.5 Grit Bins
Nothing to report.
3.6 8 and 8a West Shore – Old Post Office
Mr Bell had met with the owner and queried when the gallery would open. During the conversation, Mr Bell suggested Easter but the owner was non- committal, but hoped it would be as soon as possible. Mr Bell will follow this conversation up with a formal letter on behalf of the Community council.
3.7 Lack of lairs within East Neuk churchyards
Cllr Holt advised that Fife Council had set aside a 10-year capital expenditure programme of £41,000 pa for cemetery maintenance. There was also a provision for capital expenditure of £1.5m for new land. However, this money would not be released until 2023.
3.8 Fence post on right of way adjacent to 24/26 Station Road
Cllr Docherty noted this continues to be an ongoing issue.
3.9 Traffic concerns on Station Road
There was little progress to report on possible junction improvements at the top of Station Road to the A917. Cllr Docherty has asked Fife Council for a site visit with concerned residents and members of the community Council to Station Road. Once a date is confirmed, Cllr Docherty will advertise the date and time.
3.10 Potholes at two garage sites within St Monans
In the absence of Cllr Porteous, there was no update.
3.11 Water running down Abercrombie Road
Scottish Water has repaired the leak.
3.12 Sustran (Cycle routes within East Neuk)
Mr Copland noted the strong financial support for the Sustran project at the East Neuk Forum for local Community Councils. This project looks to connect Leven and St Andrews with cycle friendly pathways. If any member of the community had an interest in representing the St Monans area on this project, Mr Copland asked them to contact the community Councilors or Sonja Potjewijd, St Monans Community Development officer.
3.13 Potholes in and around 15/17 West End
Mrs Syme agreed to take pictures of the offending potholes to submit to Fife Council as they are considered particularly dangerous to pedestrians and traffic.
3.14 Railings on Station road
Cllr Docherty advised that a blacksmith had been out to assess the state of the railings on behalf of Fife Council. Costs are now being sought to repair these.
3.15 Little Wellies Club donation
It was noted that the Community Council had agreed to make a donation to the recently formed local Toddlers group. The donation covers the premium for public liability insurance for the group as well as healthy snacks for the toddlers.
3.16 International Food Festival and Sunday Club coffee morning
The IFF was a success taking just under £900 on the night. It was also noted that the Sunday Scholl coffee morning, held on the same day, had raised £500.
3.17 2019 Annual Beach Clean
Provisionally, this will be held on Sunday 26 May. Mrs Ashworth is liaising with Fife Council and St Monans Primary school to confirm the date.
There being no other comments, Mrs Salvage then proposed (Mrs Syme supported) that the minutes be adopted. The minutes were approved.
4. Presentation by East Neuk Salt Company
The Chairman invited Darren Peattie from the East Neuk Salt Company to address the meeting. Mr Peattie introduced himself and explained that he wanted to capitalize on the local St Monans heritage by hand harvesting sea salt. The process involves solar evaporation techniques. His firm was also keen to set up an education hub on the production of sea salt within local schools and was in discussions with Marine Scotland and SEPA about developing this. Although currently working out of premise in Bowhouse, Mr Peattie was looking for premises within St Monans. He expressed the hope that in two years’ time, his firm could be employing around forty people.
Mr Peattie also advised that he was also working with Historic & Environment Scotland, Fife Archaeological Society and Fife Council to determine the viability of reconstructing one of the old salt pans as a visitor centre. Such a heritage site would clearly be an attractive tourism pull for the local St Monans economy.
The Chair thanked Mr Peattie for his informative update and agreed that these proposals were all very encouraging and that the Community Council would be supportive in any way possible to help in this.
5. Community Police Report
The Secretary read out the report provided by PC Robb. Four crimes were reported in the St Monans area over the last four weeks. Two were the same incident but separate reports. There were no concerns for the general public with regards to these incidents. The Chairman expressed some surprise at the report and emphasized the need for residents to report every incident to the police using freephone 101. A local resident raised a concern about aggressive, door to door begging within area and there was a brief discussion around whether this activity should be reported to the police.
- Community Support initiatives
Mr Collier asked to provide an update from his meeting with Council officials and other relevant agencies, including Police Scotland. There were two drug related incidents in the village. Fortunately, no-one was hurt. He therefore considered that the suggestion that there was no need for concern to be disingenuous. He would raise his concerns at the next meeting with Fife Council.
Mr Collier also advised that funding had been found to provide lockable bin stores within Braid Court. These will be installed around 25 March, together with new fencing for Braid Court. He also noted that there would be a scheduled ‘walkabout’ within the village on 17 April by Council officials with the intention of looking at problem areas and issues within the village. The walkabout starts at 11am from the Town hall and members of the public were encouraged to attend. It was agreed to publicise this event.
6. Chair’s Report
Mr Copland provided a summary of the East Neuk Forum meeting. The main topic of discussion concerned the decision by Fife Council to close down many play parks within the region. Play park equipment older than ten years old is no longer considered safe and park closures would result. One potential solution was for Community Councils to take responsibility for maintaining their local parks (and thereby the associated costs). A number of play parks were at risk, including the one next to the outdoor swimming pool and the small site at Newark. Cllr Holt noted that North East Fife had a large number of parks to maintain relative to the rest of Fife. She also stressed that this was a consultation document and the underlying concept was for local communities to take ownership as they would have access to the various funds to maintain the parks. A local resident noted that if the community wished to encourage families in the village, then the community required more children parks – not less.
Mrs Ironside noted that she had been in contact with Alan Bisset at Fife Council regarding this matter. He had advised that he was working on plans for a new park in the area and had been consulting the primary school about this. Cllr Holt suggested that the community should proactively decide on what it wants and, with the backing of the CAP report, press the Council with its demands.
Mr Copland also noted that the St Monans & Abercrombie Residents Group would meet on 24 April. There is still a need for a Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.
7. Secretary’s Report
The Secretary noted he had received an email from the Chair of Balmullo Community Council in relation to the out of hour’s consultation by Fife Health Board. Mr Copland read out the notification that had been received. In summary;
Two delegates sent by Fife Integration Joint Board (IJB) held a consultation in County Buildings, Cupar, with members of north-east Fife Community Councils, to discuss the future of the out-of-hours urgent medical service in the area. They sought our opinion of the current service, gave an account of problems with it, and mooted alternative models, including ones which might be applied Fife-wide.
A unanimous sentiment emerged that the current out-of-hours service based at St Andrews Community Hospital (which has been reduced), should not be reduced or replaced; but that on the contrary that Hospital should be retained as the centre for the service, and moreover that if possible the service should be fully restored and even extended. Many reasons were given why north-east Fife is a distinctive area and the Community Hospital is a valued facility, and why proposals to close the out-of-hours service there, and reduce the two advised emergency centres to Victoria Hospital Kirkcaldy and King’s Cross Hospital, Dundee, are unwelcome. Other small hospitals were mentioned as alternative centre’s for revised out-of-hours services. They included Adamson Hospital, Cupar, and Cameron Hospital, Windygates. But the strong consensus was that for logistical and demographic reasons and for reasons of the available existing facilities, St Andrews Community Hospital remained the obvious choice.
Following some discussion, the Community Council unanimously agreed with the points made above and agreed to submit the following statement to the Fife IJB:
The current out-of-hours NHS urgent medical service based at St Andrews Community Hospital should not be reduced or replaced. That Hospital should be retained as the centre for the service in north-east Fife. The service, moreover, should be fully restored and if possible extended, given the distinctive character and problems of the area and its population.
The Secretary will arrange to copy this letter of support into the Balmullo Community Council Chair and other East Neuk Community Councils.
- Community notice board
Mr Bridges also advised that he had been in contact with Mr Bland about sourcing additional keys for the community notice board on Station road. Currently, there is only one key. However, on inspection it was agreed that the notice board was leaking internally, in poor repair and also difficult to open and close. As a result, it was agreed that Mr Bridges should seek estimates for replacing this notice board. He also suggested that a second community notice board could be erected in or around the Queen Margaret and Castle street vicinity. There was broad agreement to this suggestion and a resident suggested that a suitable site could be at the old telephone box. She also suggested that a public bench could be provided on the notice board site on Station road.
8. Treasurer’s Report
Mr Morris circulated the latest financial update to the meeting. He noted that the Community Council had donated to £230 to the Little Wellies Parents & Toddlers group. On behalf of the group, Mrs Ironside expressed her thanks. She noted that since starting three weeks ago, over thirty children were now attending.
9. Planning Matters
Mr Copland advised there was nothing to report.
10. Councillor Updates
Cllr Holt encouraged residents to attend the 17 April ‘walkabout’, mentioned by Mr Collier. She noted that all the findings from the day are all minuted by Fife council.
Cllr Docherty publicized a new free helpline for children affected by alcohol abuse. The number is 0800 0086 811. The line is manned for 10 am to 10 pm.
11. Towns Team update
Mr Copland invited Mr Bell to provide an update on the Towns Team activities. Mr Bell noted that Willie Rennie, MSP had been to the village to discuss the CAP report, progress on the harbour development and other current social issues. He was very supportive of all the initiatives being considered within the community.
A business website (StMonans.biz) was at an advanced stage of development. Finally, Mr Bell advised that Bowhouse had nominated their May weekend for the St Monans Community. Last year, a number of community groups raised a total of £2,000 through selling strawberry teas and providing a tombola. The intention was to repeat this successful approach to fund raising. Prizes for the tombola would be welcome and volunteers for the community group who wished to participate, where invited to contact Mr Bell.
12. Public Questions
There were no questions from the residents attending the meeting.
13. Any other business
13.1 St Monans Community Choir
The East Neuk First Responders has been chosen as the nominated charity for this year. Any money raised would go towards getting a third defibrillator for the village. Although nothing had been confirmed, the Community Council are still pushing for one to be placed on the wall of the Harbour Masters office. It is expected that the office will be refurbished at the end of March.
13.2 The Easton family visit to St Monans
Mrs Salvage expressed her thanks to Billy Morris, Steve and Linda Collier for organizing a successful weekend for the St Monans visit by the Easton descendants. She also praised the piper, Audrey Clarke. The family were overwhelmed by the generosity of the village. During the Easton photography exhibition and reception held at the Heritage centre, it was noted that the toilet facilities were in a very poor state of repair. This event was organised by the St Monans Sea Queen Committee as a fund raiser for St Monans Sea Queen. Donations from the public were collected over the weekend, this included a generous donation from the Easton family. The event organisers agreed to use some of the funds collected to arrange for new toilet facilities to be installed in the Heritage Centre to thank them for their collaboration and for the use of their premises.
13.3 St Monans Senior Citizens Tea party
It was noted that this would be held on 30 March.
13.4 20 mph speed signs in Abercrombie
Mrs Ashworth advised that the signage had now been installed, but there wasn’t any signage coming from St Monans into Abercrombie.
13.5 Trees for the community
Mrs Ashworth also reminded the meeting that she still had over forty tree saplings in her garden waiting to be dispersed and planted throughout the area.
13.6 Community Council prizes awarded to St Monans primary school Burns contest winners
Mr Collier and Mrs Salvage were pleased to be invited by the primary school Headmistress to a special full school assembly, where they were invited to present the book token prizes that were sponsored by the Community Council. The school staff were especially glad to have these prizes to encourage the children with their interest in the Robert Burns Annual Contest and Scots poetry in general. Mrs Salvage suggested that this involvement should be continued in future years.
14. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Community Council will be on Monday, 15 April at 7.30 pm.