Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of the St Monans and Abercrombie Community Council held on Monday, 19 December 2018, at 7.30 pm.
Present: V Salvage (Vice Chair); S Bridges (Secretary); M Syme; M Ashworth; V Bland; W Buchan; Cllr Docherty; Cllr Porteous and PC Tetlow
Members of the public: 23
1. Welcome and Apologies
Apologies: P Copland, W Morris, S Collier, H Ironside, Cllr Holt and C Hogsden
2. Declarations of Interest
Mrs Salvage agreed to chair the meeting. There were no declarations of interest.
3. Community Police report
PC Tetlow was invited to provide her report. She advised that there had been a break in on Inverie Street. Although there was damage, nothing was taken. She also reported on the incident at the Bowling Club. No suspects had yet been identified. Finally, she referred to the possible assault near the Post Office. Enquiries are ongoing.
She had been to the local primary school with regards to the reports of speeding. The police had placed a ‘Pop-Up Bairns’ sign by the school – which was proving extremely successful. She had also noted some poor driving by parents. The school are looking for funding to get their own pop up sign as the school Head has noted a marked difference in the behaviour of the parents as a result.
A member of the community said that she had emailed concerns about school-children crossing the road (at the crossing of Station Road and Inverie Street). She said that there was a white transit van parking on the double yellow lines outside the Top Shop which was impairing vision for both children and the drivers.
Another resident said she had had to shout a warning at children who were behind the van and about to cross in front of traffic. PC Tetlow said that they were well aware of the issue regarding the van parked there. A member of the public said that the children also had to cross over at the intersection with Braehead and that this was also a dangerous junction for children. Cllr Porteous advised that he had contacted the Council about the mirrors (which were suggested in order to improve visibility at that junction), but this had been rejected because of the dazzle risk at night. It was suggested he should ask the Council about anti-dazzle mirrors.
Mrs Ashworth expressed concern at the ongoing speeding problem in Abercrombie. The Council had put ‘20s’ on the road and had removed the 30 mph signs. However, this had made no impact. She also suggested that due to the poor signage, some people were now assuming that there wasn’t a speed limit. PC Tetlow agreed to raise this matter with Council official, Stuart Goodfellow. Cllr Porteous noted that he had emailed several times on this subjet. A member of the community suggested putting in a ‘Sleeping Policeman’ at either end of the village. However, this suggestion would provide challenges for agricultural vehicles which use that road. Instead, Mrs Ashworth suggested another “pop up”sign.
Mrs Salvage thanked PC Tetlow for her report and PC Tetlow left the meeting.
4. Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising
4.1 Bin collections at Back of Miller Terrace & Forth Street
Cllr J Docherty said that he was expecting an email, and said that he would send it on to the Community Council.
4.2 Water facilities, parking at Cemetery gates, rotting bridge struts & footpaths in Churchyard
Cllr Docherty said this was as per his last report. Regarding the five designs for a new bridge over the burn to the cemetery car park, he advised that the Council wanted to reduce the five designs to two. Mr Bridges asked whether the Community Council would be able to provide input into the final decision. Cllr Docherty said that he had hard copies and could make them available. It was agreed that for the next meeting, the Community could review the designs and rate them accordingly. A resident asked if the consultation could be extended to the public. It was therefore agreed that the designs would be made available on the website and copies placed in the library. Mr Bridges also agreed to look into the possibility of introducing a Survey Monkey.
4.3 Gully cleaning in Abercrombie
Cllr Porteous continues to pursue this with Council officials.
4.4 Grit Bins within the villages
Cllr Porteous continues to pursue this matter with Council officials.
4.5 Poor condition of St Monans bus shelters
A request to remove the graffiti on the bus shelter by the Wok and Spice has been made to the Council. Cllr Porteous also confirmed that there is some budget to improve the main bus shelter near the Station road junction. He continues to chase the relevant department for an update on a start date.
4.6 Antisocial Behaviour
It was noted that there had been fewer incidents since the previous meeting. Mrs Salvage advised that Fife Council had provided some information regarding Housing Allocation. The number of letting terminations in Braid Court and East Street has increased. Fife Council are keen to reduce this trend and encourage longer lets by improving the facilities in the complex which should, in turn, improve community spirit within the area.
Mrs Salvage read out an email prepared by Mr Collier. He advised that there had been considerable discussion about proposals aimed at selling St Monans to encourage good applications for the properties. We could highlight the culture of the village, community groups and community events. This would potentially help attract people to the village for the right reasons. There would also a focus on learning and personal development activities. Plans are also being considered to improve the Bin Store area and replacing the Drying Area with a small safe play area for the children.
In addition, Mrs Salvage provided an update on the public meeting held in St Monans Town Hall to discuss the possibility of setting up town- wide Tenants & Residents Association. This was called by Fife council. At the meeting, it was stated that if St Monans could be made a place where people wanted to come to by, for example, improving the East Street and Braid Court areas as outlined above, this would improve the quality of life for all residents. To assist in this, it had been suggested that Tenants & Residents Association covering all of St Monans should be created to coordinate this programme.
Cllr Docherty, who was also at the public meeting, agreed and noted that an additional positive outcome would be that, if successful, Fife Council would look to roll the model out to other places.
Mrs Salvage noted that the proposal had the support and interest of all senior representatives.
A local resident queried the specific purpose of such a Residents Association. He also asked what was going to be the division of responsibilities between the proposed Residents Association and the Community Council. Councillor Docherty suggested that people go to the Fife Tenants and Residents Association website http://www.fifefederation.org.uk/Index.asp?MainID=12775 to get a better understanding of what they do. He noted that the remit of the Community Council was wide, but that the Tenants and Residents Association was focused on housing and planning. He also noted that a Community Council representative could attend and provide feedback to the community council.
A member of the public suggested that if you have a Tenants and Residents Association it would specifically be for community housing residents. Mrs Salvage disagreed and stated that Fife Council had made it clear it was to include home owners as well. Another concerned resident acknowledged that there might be some merit in the creation of a new Association, but it could not be allowed to simply become a group of vested interests who determined who could and who could not, receive social housing within the area. Cllr Docherty provided some assurance that this would not be permitted.
In answer to another residents concern, it was agreed that additional clarity was required on the role of the proposed Association and that members of the community would have an opportunity to ask questions at the follow up meeting. Cllr Porteous noted that the initial public meeting was quite well attended, with 14 or 15 local residents. A further public meeting is planned to take this matter forward. However, the date and timing of this meeting would be at a more suitable time to allow greater accessibility and participation by a wider group (ie it will not be on a week day morning).
4.7 Changes to the Provision at St Andrews Community Hospital
Noted that there will be a meeting on Thursday at Fife House with Fife Council and the Scottish Secretary to discuss the hospital closure. Cllr Porteous suggested that discussions would probably continue until spring. Cllr Docherty said that the Scottish Secretary is extending the period because of the pressure from East Neuk communities. The Councillors said that there is a meeting which is open to the public on the ground floor of Fife House on Thursday 20 December at 10 am.
4.8 One-way system on the Dawsie
It was noted that Fife Council are not willing to consider this suggestion as it was not considered practical or appropriate.
4.9 Bowling Club Planning Application for a Full License
Mr Bridges confirmed that the Community Council had written in support of the licence application and Mr Buchan confirmed that the club had now had their license approved.
4.10 8A West Shore – Old Post Office
A member of the public reported that the planning application for No 8 had been approved. However, she did not understand whether that included plans for 8a which included altering the wall to put in a new window. There was considerable disappointment expressed at this news and general agreement from the floor that the four applications for the two properties were confusing. The consensus still remained that this was an attempt to turn a commercial property into a residential one.
Mr Bridges confirmed that the Community Council had formally objected to the second application (no 8a). A resident who had phoned the Planning Department that morning said that she had been told that they had not received such an objection. Mr Bridges again confirmed that it had been issued and an email acknowledgement had been received by Mr Copland. However, he agreed to look into this matter further. During the meeting, Mrs Syme accessed the Councils planning portal and confirmed that the successful application was only for No 8. However, there was no mention of 8a.
From everyone attending the meeting, it was determined that five individuals had objected to the second application.
A member of the public said that there were no neighbour notifications. Cllr Docherty advised that, if this was the case, that would be grounds for an appeal. He noted that neighbours within 300m should have been notified. Cllr Porteous agreed and suggested that if there were sufficient concerns, the Community Council could write to the Head of Planning.
A resident stated that she did not understand why everyone on the Community Council did not object individually. Mrs Ashworth explained that if the Community Council formally objected, it was automatically referred to the full Planning Committee.
There being no other comments, Mr Bland then proposed (Mrs Syme seconded) that the minutes be adopted. The minutes were approved.
5. Chairperson’s Report
Mrs Salvage promoted the Burns Supper on 2 February in the Town Hall to raise funds for community events. Tickets will be on sale in the New Year. Volunteers to toast the lassies and to provide a reply were needed. She was pleased to advise that Peter Peddie would be Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
6. Secretary’s Report
6.1 St Monans & Abercrombie Community Action (CAP)
Mr Bridges provided the meeting with a progress report on the report. It is currently at the printers and will be published and distributed in January. Copies would be available on line and in the library. He also provided a presentation on the seven themes identified in the plan and talked through the five ‘big’ and five ‘small’ ideas for each theme. He noted that some of the ideas were already beginning to happen, citing the possible creation of a mother & toddlers group.
7. Treasurer’s Report
In the absence of the Treasurer, no report was provided.
8. Planning matters
Nothing material to report for this month.
9. Councillor Updates
Regarding the Out of Hours Provision at the Community hospital in St Andrews, Cllr Porteous asked residents to keep up positive pressure on this over the winter. Cllr Docherty agreed and noted an interesting fact: in NE Fife we have the highest number of over 90 year olds.
10. Public Questions
10.1 Church Yard
A resident reported that Kilconquhar cemetery is now full and that families were now being redirected to cemeteries at St Monans, Pittenweem and Anstruther. She said that in the past, Fife Council had refused the offer of a field to extend the cemetery at St Monans. Cllr Porteous agreed to follow this up and raise this matter with Alan Paul of Fife Council Bereavement Services. It was generally acknowledged that there was a shortage of lairs in Fife. Cllr Docherty noted that the Council had been unsuccessful in attempting to purchase land in Kilconquhar and Colinsburgh.
10.2 Smooth Slippery Slope going down from Braehead
A local resident asked about this. Cllr Porteous agreed to raise this with the relevant council department.
10.3 Fence Posts on Right of Way (adjacent to 24/26 Station Road)
A resident reported that fence posts had been put on the right of way adjacent to 24/26 Station Road. Cllr Docherty agreed to look into this matter.
10.4 Large Articulated Lorries in and around the Harbour streets
Another resident expressed concern about the large articulated lorries that the local shellfish companies had recently started using, which pass up Station Road at approximately 5.30 am. These lorries struggle to get past the parked cars.
It was queried whether it was possible to introduce a weight limit round the harbour area. It was also suggested that there is already one in place as the main sewer runs along the harbour road. However, if the authorities enforced the limit, they would also have to prohibit the refuse lorries form using it. Cllr Porteous agreed that he would look into this matter further. Mrs Syme also agreed to contact the owner of the shellfish company and the lorry driver to seek their views.
10.5 Grit Bins in Station Road
Mrs Salvage queried whether any grit bins would be provided in Station Road. Cllr Porteous replied that he had emailed the relevant Council department several times in relation to this request. He will continue to push for this.
10.6 Vehicles cutting dangerously across Station Road junction with A917
Mrs Syme asked if it was possible to get the road markings put back onto the junction. Cllr Docherty said he would take this up with the Roads department.
10.7 Possibility of a Christmas Tree for St Monans
A number of residents have suggested introducing a community Christmas tree for St Monans next year. While this was agreed as a good idea in principle, there was a brief discussion on a suitable location. It was suggested that the tree opposite the Diving Gannet could be used with external lighting. Alternatively, the tree on the left, turning into Station Road would also look good with lights at the entrance to the village. It was also suggested that it would be possible to get solar-powered lights.
11. Any other competent business
11.1 East Neuk Tourist Association and Year of Coast and Water 2020
Following the presentation provided by Mr Gordon Bell to the Community Council Forum, it was noted that St Monans did not have representation on the East Neuk local Tourist Association. This Association is promoting Visit Scotlands Year of Coast and Water in 2020. It is a big opportunity for the East Neuk to bring additional tourism for that period. The only meeting about the promotion of the year will be held at the Bowhouse on 20 February 2019. It should help to promote business in the area and all local businesses were encouraged to attend.
11.2 Co-opted member onto the Community Council
A member of the public asked about whether it was appropriate to have a member of the Town’s Team on the Community Council. It was pointed out that anyone co-opted onto the Community Council could not vote and were principally there to provide updates. Mr Buchan noted that only four individuals were allowed to be co-opted at any one time.
11.3 2019 Calendars to Raise Funds for the Floral Display
Mrs Porteous mentioned that the Calendars were now limited in number, and all those left were now available for sale in the shops in St Monans.
12. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Community Council will be on Monday, 21 January at 7.30pm.