Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council held on Monday, 21 January 2019, at 7.30 pm.
Present: P Copland (Chair); S Bridges (Secretary); V Salvage (Vice-Chair); W Morris (Treasurer); M Syme; S Collier; M Ashworth; Cllr Holt; Cllr Docherty and Cllr Porteous.
Members of the public: 9
1. Welcome and Apologies
Apologies had been received from Ms Ironside, Mssrs Bland, Hogsden and Buchan.
2. Declarations of Interest
3. Community Police report
There was no report available for this meeting.
4. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
4.1 Poor Condition of Bus Shelter on Elm grove
4.2 Antisocial Behaviour
Mr Collier reported that there was another meeting at Waid Academy on 22 January.
4.3 Bin Collection
Mr Morris expressed considerable frustration at the lack of progress on this matter as the resident had originally made a complaint about bins being kept outside people’s gardens, 13 months ago. Cllr Docherty said that council officials would be going out to inspect the area shortly and said he would chase it up. A local resident also asked that the council inspect the area around the foot of Forth Street as bins were not being kept within the bounds of some properties.
4.4 Fife Council outline plans to replace Churchyard bridge
Mr Copland noted that he had received copies of seven proposed designs to replace the churchyard bridge. Fife council were inviting comments on the designs. Mr Bridges was asked to publish the drawings and seek community views on their favourite designs.
4.5 Gully Cleaning in Abercrombie
Although this cleaning is done on a regular basis, Cllr Porteous noted that the Council would also come out if requested. He had put in such a request and suggested that Mrs Ashworth and the other Councillors could do the same to reinforce the urgency of the request.
4.6 Grit Bins
Although Cllr Porteous has asked for a number of grit bins be returned to the village, he has still not received a satisfactory response from Fife Council. Cllr Porteous continues to chase the relevant council departments.
4.7 Proposed development at no 8 and 8a West Shore – Old Post Office
It was noted that there has been no update on the application for 8a but the alterations to No 8 had been approved as a commercial property.
4.8 Lack of lairs within East Neuk churchyards
Cllr Porteous advised that he had been in touch with officials at the Bereavement Services department at Fife Council several months ago because it had come to his attention that land to the other side of the car park had been offered as potential land for the St Monans cemetery. The acknowledgement received from the Council confirmed that there were no current plans to do anything about this.
4.9 Fence post on right of way adjacent to 24/26 Station Road
Cllr Docherty said that a council official would be coming out to inspect the site as it was an offence under the Road Scotland Act to put fence posts on a public walkway.
4.10 Large articulated lorries in and around the Harbour streets
Cllr Porteous confirmed that there are no weight limits on the streets surrounding the Shore. Mrs Syme has spoken to the proprietor of East Neuk Shellfish (and owner of the large vehicle) and he had agreed to attend the next council meeting to discuss the matter.
4.11 Traffic concerns on Station road
Cllr Docherty said that Stephen Gethins (constituency MP) had been approached by a concerned resident about dangerous driving around the Top Shop junction. Cllr Docherty noted that Mr Gethins was looking into the possibility of introducing pedestrian crossing traffic lights. It was generally agreed that this would be beneficial at school times.
Cllr Holt suggested that the primary school Head Teacher be approached to determine if the ‘Safe Routes to School’ Plan is up-to-date. Cllr Holt said that she had written to relevant council officials to ask what the procedure is to put a Pelican Crossing there. Cllr Docherty said that he had also asked about traffic awareness training for children.
Mr Copland also agreed to contact Fife Council regarding junction improvements at the top of Station road to the A917.
4.12 Lighting for community Christmas Tree and St Monans Church
It was noted that the suggestion to place Christmas light netting over the tree (at the entrance to Station Road) had been favourably received by the adjoining neighbours. The Session Clerk, Duncan Reekie, is to be asked for the cost of lighting the church for the whole month of December. Mr Bridges agreed to contact Mr Reekie.
4.13 Co-opted members on to the Community Council
Mr Copland reminded the meeting that the co-opted members were invited to Community Council meetings to provide updates on behalf of other community groups – a practical example being the work of the Town’s Team.
Mr Morris queried whether the statement from the previous meeting’s minutes was correct in stating that up to 4 individuals were allowed to be co-opted onto the Community Council. The Chair referred to Fife Councils Standing Orders for Community Councils and confirmed that the rules stated that the number of co-opted members could not exceed one quarter of elected members. Practically, this means two individuals may be co-opted onto the Community Council.
4.14 2019 Calendars
Mrs Porteous said that there were only a few calendars left and available in the Diving Gannet, Gerrards, and the Top Shop for a reduced price.
There being no other comments, Mrs Syme then proposed (Mr Morris seconded) that the minutes be adopted. The minutes were approved.
5. Chairperson’s Report
Both the Chairman and Mr Collier had attended a meeting to discuss the NE Fife Area Local Community plan. It will be published in March and its reporting period will last for three years. The report considered what existing assets can be built upon within the area; future challenges; what do we want; how do we help people to feel emotionally connected to the plan; how can local communities engage in the plan; Community aspirations; the need for thriving community services and local health services. The plan identified four major challenges:
- poverty and rural poverty
- unemployed and also low income – people below the living wage;
- faster broadband connectivity – how people access services;
- how the closure of local offices, banks and libraries are affecting people.
Mr Copland also noted that the report considered cyber-crime to be very important in the North East community. Members of the Anstruther community, who also attended the meeting, were very vocal about antisocial behaviour, drug use and perceived lack of appropriate police presence within the area.
6. Secretary’s Report
The St Monans CAP committee are organizing a public meeting on Saturday 26 January to launch the publication of the CAP report. Mr Bridges said that he had issued invitations to all the various community groups. Copies of the reports had also been issued to the Chief Executive of Fife Council and to other stakeholders and interested parties. The meeting will allow for a question and answer session and to discuss next steps. Printed copies will be available in the library and available on the day. He invited everyone to attend.
Mr Bridges reminded everyone that the community collectively owned the ideas and that community involvement was essential to take these ideas forward. By way of a practical example, he referred to the work Helen Ironside and Sonya Potjeewijd (Local Community Development Officer) had started to set up a local Mother and Toddlers Group. He also noted the Mrs Potjeewijd is actively considering setting up a Youth Group.
7. Treasurer’s Report
There was no update provided.
8. Planning Matters
The alterations to the Church Hall have been approved for a disabled toilet at the entrance.
There has been no update on the possible housing development to the West of the Manse.
9. Councillor Updates
Cllr Holt advised of a traffic closure notice on the West End (outside properties 9 and 10) on 28 February to allow Scottish Water to carry out work safely.
Cllr Porteous thanked all who helped and supported him in his ‘Movember’ charity fund-raising. Money was raised for East Neuk After School Club, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and East Neuk Wheelchair Appeal.
Cllr Porteous continues to work with Bereavement Services to provide a disabled path to the Kirk. He also said that he was chasing the 20 mph limit signs for Abercrombie and he said he had raised the fact that from one end of Abercrombie large vehicles are not recommended, but it says nothing about this at the other end.
Last year Sustrans awarded £800,000 for cycle paths. Cllr Porteous suggested that there was a need for a local ‘champion’ to push for cycle paths within the area. Cllr Holt agreed, noting that they had started this in Anstruther and had been successful in attracting funding.
Cllr Docherty said that the long-term plan for cycle paths is to have one from Newburgh to Leven.
Cllr Docherty said that in the event of snow and severe weather conditions Fife Council had a statutory duty to provide safe passage of pedestrians. If there is a danger of snow locally, you can contact Fife Council on Facebook or telephone 03451 555 859034.
10. Public Questions
10.1 Council vehicles to Upgrade House
Mrs Salvage had received correspondence from a resident regarding the attendance of eight council vans at a house on Queen Margaret Street. Each van had one or two drivers and the resident considered this a wasteful use of council resources. Cllr Porteous said he had already been in touch with the relevant council department to raise this matter, as well as to report the inconsiderate parking of the said vans.
10.2 Potholes at Garages
A resident complained about the potholes at the garages at the bottom of Queen Margaret Street. Mr Copland encouraged residents to complain directly to the Housing department at Fife council.
10.3 Water Running Down Abercrombie Road
Mrs Ashworth said that there is water running down Abercrombie Road. Although she had reported it to Scottish Water in November, nothing had been done to fix this. Cllr Porteous asked her to forward the email and agreed to chase it up.
11. Any other business
11.1 Problems with Emergency Hospital Admission Exacerbated by Closure or Out-of Hours Service at St Andrews
Mrs Salvage recounted her experience of emergency out-of-hours service when she recently accompanied a neighbour to Nine Wells hospital. She said that the waiting room was overflowing, the corridors were overflowing and ambulances were stacked up outside. Her neighbour had to remain in the ambulance for an hour until a space was available within the hospital. One of the staff had suggested that people were avoiding small hospitals like St Andrews between Arbroath and Edinburgh and going straight to Ninewells. It was also suggested to Mrs Salvage that people are bypassing St Andrews because they think that they will be turned away from the hospital. Mrs Salvage said that she was going to send a letter to the local MSP, Willie Rennie, about her experiences.
Cllr Holt said that the MSP was interested in looking for experiences of people who have had to seek urgent aid between midnight and 8 am (but not emergency care) and were being referred to their GP or Kirkcaldy instead; and the number of people who are put off going because they know they would be simply referred onto Kirkcaldy hospital. Such information would be used to counter the claim made by the Health Board that there is no impact on the level of care by referring East Neuk cases to Kirkcaldy.
11.2 Upcoming Events
Mrs Salvage reminded the meeting of the Burns Supper on 2 February. She said that on the same night there is a Quiz Night at the Masonic Club raising money for TAC Children’s Charity.
11.3 St Monans International Food Festival
The St Monans International Food Festival will be on Saturday 2 March.
11.4 Coffee Morning in aid of Sunday School funds
A Coffee Morning is planned for Saturday 2 March from 10-11.30 am in aid of Sunday School funds.
11.5 Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (‘TRA’)
Mrs Salvage advised that a further community meeting had been called to discuss the creation of a Tenants’ and Residents’ Association. At the previous meeting, there were 6 local residents in attendance. The poor attendance was attributed to the event. In order to become effective, the TRA requires a Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and some board members. Any resident in rented accommodation or property owner was welcome to join the TRA.
The next meeting for the TRA will be Wednesday 27 February at 6.30pm in the Masonic Hall.
Cllr Holt said that she had attended a meeting in Anstruther to set up a TRA. It is run by the Community, but it is different to a Community Council. Each TRA is an independent legal entity and has certain rights and Fife Council is obliged to consult with them. A Housing Officer will be appointed by Fife Council to attend each meeting, report and escalate issues. She endorsed the creation of a TRA for St Monans, noting that it would not conflict with the Community Council.
Mrs Salvage had a copy of the draft Constitution and would make it available to anyone interested in the broader work of the TRA.
After the public meeting, Mr Bridges distributed a copy of the CAP report to each member of the Community Council.
The Community Councillors also agreed to the creation of a subcommittee to focus on addressing the Community Support initiatives identified in the St Monans & Abercrombie CAP (‘Theme 6’). The sub-committee members were agreed as: Steve Collier; Vicky Salvage; Billy Morris and Morven Syme.
12. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Community Council will be on Monday, 18 February at 7.30 pm.