(Revised version as agreed at Community Council meeting of 14 January 2011.)
Minutes of Community Council Meeting
held in the Burgh Chambers on
Friday 10th December 2010 at 7 p.m.
Present: Alex MacDonald (Chairman)
Bob Smith (Vice Chairman)
Isabel Smith (Secretary)
John Russell (Treasurer)
Cllr Ron Edwards
Cllr George Kay
Attending: Bill Kirkhope (Editor Burgh Buzz); Cllr Susan Leslie; PC Keith Gibb; Gary Cummins; members of the public
Apologies: Heather Leuchars, Tim Hailey, Ken Halley (Locality Manager), PS Scott Murray; Zoè Williamson
1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks and Apologies for Absence
The Chairman reminded those present of the recent death of Gordon Ritchie, former Secretary of the Community Council. Gordon’s contribution in respect of the Secretary’s role, notice-board project and Burgh Buzz revival were noted and one minute’s silence was held as a token of respect.
Those present were welcomed to the meeting and apologies for absence were noted as above.
2. Minutes of Meeting held on 12th November 2010
Minutes approved on motion of John Russell seconded by Christine Dewar.
3. Notification of Community Concerns for A.O.B. – Item 13
13.1 Proposed BCC meeting change of day – Heather Leuchars.
13.2 Scots Verse competition
13.3 Fife Council – Community Council Matters
4 Police Report – PC Keith Gibb
PC Gibb advised of contact details regarding any possible formation of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. The relevant person is PC Kevin Russell (Kevin.Russell@fife.pnn.police.uk or 01592 418945).
The Depute Chief Constable, who had attended the Remembrance Day parade, was impressed with the overall arrangements for the day and his thanks were passed on.
Traffic issues around the school were again causing problems and inappropriate parking will be the subject of Police action over the next few weeks. New speed guns have recently been issued and training of officers is now under way.
In response to a query from a member of the public, PC Gibb said that Police were aware of gatherings of young people close to the railway embankment which posed both a danger and a public nuisance. He encouraged the public to continue to report such occurrences so that an appropriate Police response could be ensured.
5 Fife Council Locality Manager’s Report
In the absence of the Locality Manager, an e-mail was noted from Yvonne Taylor, Customer Services manager, advising that a full-time service had been maintained at the Burntisland local office, despite the extreme weather. Two short periods of closure had been announced following the sudden and unexpected death of Frances Griffin, who worked as a Local Services Advisor.
Ken Halley to provide an update on topics raised previously by e-mail.
6. Snow Report – Cllr George Kay
The Chairman noted that members who had access to e-mail had received daily reports from Cllr Kay, forwarded by the Secretary, regarding the priorities and resources dedicated to the extreme weather conditions. ExxonMobil had cancelled the planned pantomime, to which some 70 senior citizens had been invited; a meeting of the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Liaison Committee on which the Community Council is represented had also been cancelled.
Against that background, Cllr Kay summarised the latest position in terms of resources and priorities. For example, some 500 Fife Council employees were working on the snow response, together with private contractors. At the start of the winter, salt stocks stood at 21,000 tonnes compared to 8,000 tonnes last year. An additional 30 grit bins were on order and due for delivery in January. It was noted that he placement of grit bins depended on local demand, which was often mutually contradictory. It was acknowledged that carers deserved particular credit for continuing to work during very difficult conditions and thereby ensuring that those in need received appropriate support.
It was agreed to request a map of Burntisland showing the current locations of grit bins, so that future placements could be located to best advantage.
Cllr Kay to obtain map of current grit bin locations
7 Environment – Peter George
In continuation of the snow theme, Peter sought and received assurances that as far as could be ascertained, people who cleared snow from the frontage of their house or other premises would not be liable for any insurance claim in the event of a subsequent accident. After discussion, Sheila McGregor undertook to launch a project in time for next winter, in which local shopkeepers would be asked to clear the area in front of their shops, using shovels provided by the Community Council, so that easier access could be ensured for all. It was noted that some snow clearing had been counter-productive, e.g. ploughing snow from the road but piling it in front of garages
Cllr Leslie had confirmed by e-mail that trees and shrubs close to the Broomhill viewpoint had been trimmed and further work was planned on the handrail leading from Lothian Street. In addition, a broken fence at the skatepark has been repaired by Network Rail.
No information was yet available in relation to a possible recycling area serving Piper Crescent. Other topics were still awaiting a response from the Locality Manager.
Sheila McGregor to contact High Street shopkeepers regarding snow-clearing
8. Secretary’s & Treasurer’s Report
The Treasurer circulated an updated report, attached to these Minutes, giving the overall financial position as at December 2010. The current balance stands at £4,323.76, of which free funds amount to £2,420.06. Arrangements for updating the signatories on the Community Council’s accounts are awaiting action by the bank.
9. Burgh Buzz – Bill Kirkhope
In Bill’s absence (due to illness) there was no report, other than to note that the copy deadline for the next issue is 13th January.
10. Ongoing Business Items
10.1 Review of Local Planning Applications – T Hailey
In Tim’s absence it was noted that press reports included a proposal to re-site an electricity sub-station at Kinghorn Road. It was agreed to ask Tim to assess the implications and respond to the Planning Authority on behalf of the Community Council.
Tim Hailey to review and respond to electricity sub-station proposal
10.2 Strategic Projects Group – War Memorial – A MacDonald / R Smith
The Vice Chairman reported on a recent meeting with Hurd Rolland on possible landscaping options for the site adjoining the War Memorial. After reviewing the alternative plans, it was agreed to retain the existing trees but trim them to an appropriate scale. This was considered to be a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solution.
The Chairman reported that a pre-proposal had now been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund, seeking their initial response to the eligibility of the project for funding. An application would also be made to the Common Good Fund.
Bob Smith to progress the overall project and obtain updated costs.
Alex MacDonald to continue with funding applications.
Cllr Kay to identify the current status of the Common Good account.
10.3 Links Accounts – latest figures: John Russell
The Treasurer gave a very comprehensive report on Links funding over the years, highlighting a growing disparity with respect to other financial indicators. The available costs indicated that the Links were not being managed cost-effectively over the past 30 years and that the Common Good Fund was losing income as a result. The overall picture was complicated because the Community Council does not have current information about the arrangements under which the Links are leased to Fife Council, either in respect of the lease amount or the associated terms and conditions.
The Chairman gave a brief background, explaining that in response to earlier concerns, the then Scottish Office had put leases in place to ensure that the local authority paid a fair commercial rent for Common Good property which it occupied or sub-let as offices. The Burgh Chambers are not leased at all and are managed directly from the Common Good Fund. The Links were leased at a peppercorn rent as a public park, taking no cognisance of the business impact of the fairground. The leases were for periods from 25 to 100 years and all subject to review every 5 years. On a previous occasion the then local authority had failed to review the leases on time and a retrospective payment had been made.
Cllr Kay noted that there might now be a willingness on the part of Fife Council to consider enabling the Links to be managed by an independent Trust. It was agreed to seek information about the current status of the relevant leases and for the Councillors to have a preliminary meeting with Grant Ward as the relevant official.
Alex MacDonald to seek information on the Common Good property leases.
Cllrs Kay, Leslie and Edwards to discuss the implications of forming a Links Management Trust.
10.4 Community Council election – new members: Alex MacDonald
The Chairman reported that two applications had been received from interested individuals, one of whom had recently moved to Burntisland and was not currently on the electoral register. After discussion, it was agreed to invite Zoè Williamson to join the Community Council as a full member. Zoè had provided a short biography explaining that she had spent most of the last 15 years in Burntisland and is a Doctor of Education, within the Moray House School of Education at Edinburgh University. The Chairman explained that she had given apologies for this meeting due to a hospital appointment.
It was agreed to defer consideration of Brian Partridge until such time as he was able to fulfil the residential and / or electoral registration requirements of the Scheme for Community Councils in Fife.
Gary Cummins intimated his willingness to volunteer as a member and would submit a short biography for the next meeting.
Secretary to provide Zoe’s contact details to Fife Council for compliance purposes.
Gary Cummins to submit a short biography.
10.5 Christmas lights – Gordon McGregor
Gordon confirmed that the Christmas lights had now been erected and are in operation, despite difficulties with accessories, spares and the weather.
10.6 School site – A MacDonald
The Chairman read out the letter which he had sent to the Director of Education. The letter acknowledged that a decision had now been taken; expressed concern that the purported consultation had fallen well below any reasonable standard of acceptability; and requested a step change in the quality of engagement with the local community.
10.7 Clock chimes – Cllr Kay / Morag Douglas
The Chairman congratulated Morag Douglas and John Russell on the publicity which they had managed to secure following the November meeting. Cllr Kay reported that motion of censure had been approved by the Kirkcaldy Area Committee of Fife Council. A meeting to progress matters with officials had been planned for two weeks ago but had been postponed in view of the extreme weather conditions.
Cllr Kay to progress the meeting with officials.
11. Awaiting update
The following topics remain open:
11.1 Scottish Water – Haugh Road flooding: meeting with Fife Council officials (Cllrs Kay and Edwards)
11.2 Common Good Fund property review (Tim Hailey)
11.3 Common Good accounts discrepancy - Rossland Motel, Kinghorn (Cllrs Kay / Edwards / Leslie)
11.4 Signage to beach (Locality Manager)
11.5 Bicycle parking – site visit (Cllr Kay / Gary Cummins)
11.6 Outcome of proposed visit to 104 High Street (Cllr Edwards)
Cllr Edwards reported that the action against Fife Council for maintenance work on Common Good property was now closed.
12 New Business Items
13 Any Other Business
13.1 Proposed BCC Meeting change of day – H Leuchars
On Heather’s behalf, it was noted that she had found it increasingly difficult to attend meetings on a Friday evening and she asked whether it would be possible to change to a different evening. After discussion, it was agreed to retain Friday evenings for ordinary business meetings of the Community Council.
13.2 Scots Verse competition
The Chairman reminded members that there had been confusion last year in getting information from the school about the schedule and winners of the Scots Verse competition. He recommended that we approach the school now to ascertain the current status.
Secretary to seek information from school.
13.3 Fife Council – Community Council matters
In view of the time, and the need to hold the next item in private, it was agreed to carry this topic forward to the January meeting.
Secretary to place on the agenda for January.
Date of next meeting;
Friday 14th January 2011 at 7pm in the Burgh Chambers.
Community Award 2011
The members of the Community Council met in private to consider the nominations for the Community Award 2011. After discussion, a decision was taken and the winner will be announced on Hogmanay.
Appendix – Treasurer’s report