Community Council Meeting Reports (2004)

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ommunity Council Meeting of 9 January 2004

Because of absences, the meeting was a short one. Chairman Alex MacDonald announced that the Burntisland Development Trust (Alcan Trust) would be holding an open day in the Burgh Chambers on Thursday 5 February from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., with everyone welcome. Local organisations would be encouraged to attend, and would be able to get advice on applying for grants - in private if they so wished. There was some discussion about possible names for the new housing development on the former Fisons site at Lothian Road. Suggestions included The Barns and Barns Court. Sergeant Paterson of the local police gave a brief report. He praised the public spirited actions of the group of local young people who had recently, in their own time, repainted the Links shelter opposite the Erskine Church. The Beacon Centre area would be receiving special police attention, in view of recent problems there. Without giving details, he said that no-one need be worried, following the reports of an alleged assault in James Park Lane recently. Complaints relating to the housing development at the Toll and to the non repair of the Christmas tree lights at the Links entrance will be followed up.

ommunity Council Meeting of 13 February 2004

John AllanPrior to business, Chairman Alex MacDonald presented the Burntisland Community Award for 2004 to the Rev John Allan (pictured left), Minister of the Erskine Church from 1976 until his recent retirement. In making the presentation of a scroll and the engraved shield, he emphasised John Allan's contribution to the coming together of the different denominations - most certainly in Burntisland, and also nationally when he was Moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland. During his 27 years service, many folk in the town - and not just members of his congregation - had been grateful for his friendship, compassion and sense of humour.

Then it was down to business, with a presentation by Messrs Williamson, McCully and Craig of Collinswell Land, the developers of Alcan's Aberdour Road site. The present position is that Collinswell Land have submitted an application for outline planning consent for a housing development with recreational areas, and the Community Council were happy with that. The next stage will be for the company to submit a number of detailed planning applications. The first of these could be submitted in April, and would be the subject of further consultation. However, to give the Community Council an indication of what the detailed applications might contain, members were given copies of an 'indicative sketch masterplan' showing a possible layout for around 250 houses with landscaped areas. It also included the re-opening of the western foot tunnel under the railway, and a car park to serve the Coastal Path. A roundabout would be added at the main Aberdour Road entrance to the development. In view of past problems, a flood risk assessment was being carried out. It was estimated that the development might result in a maximum of 30 additional children requiring places at Burntisland Primary School, matching almost exactly the spare capacity at present. However, some of the school accommodation required improvement, and Collinswell Land had indicated their willingness to refurbish two classrooms to a modern standard. Councillor Edwards added that he was trying to get an audit of the school carried out as soon as possible. As Collinswell Land also owned part of the Red Pond area, they were prepared to take the lead in developing it for recreational use, on a non-commercial basis and in association with Fife Council (who owned the other part). Any such development would be the subject of wide consultation, and they hoped that the Burntisland community might begin thinking now about what the area might be used for.

It has been agreed that the new housing development in Lothian Street will be called "The Barns". The Community Council agreed to support any proposal for a Compulsory Purchase Order for the Palace Cinema. Some information was given about the mini-fairground and restaurant proposed by Messrs Codona for the Roundhouse car park, and planned for the summer months. Members expressed reservations about the idea, citing potential problems with parking, toilets, noise, and the effect on the proposed skateboard rink. The Community Council are hoping to share the shop at 96 High Street with the Burntisland 2020 Development Trust, and to have regular part-time opening hours.

Members considered a planning application for the erection of two houses with garages in Rose Street, and the creation of six flats in the derelict tenements at the corner of Rose Street and Thistle Street. Concerns were expressed about the effect on parking in the area, although it was revealed at the meeting that the Young Community Hall Management Committee had separate plans of their own for the provision of 24 parking spaces on the adjacent enclosed site.

ommunity Council Meeting of 12 March 2004

Scots Verse winners 2004Prior to business, Vice Chair David Plant presented the awards for the Community Council's annual Scots Verse Competition. The competition had been the idea of former Councillor Douglas Kerr, was for the pupils of Burntisland School, and had been inaugurated in 1986. After they had recited their poems, the winners were presented with their trophies and gifts of the book "Bairns' Verse". The winners were: P3 - Lauren Collins; P4 - James Lyon; P5 -Aimee MacDonald; P6 - Heather Gibson. (Pictured are David Plant with (left to right) Lauren, Heather, James and Aimee. Photo courtesy of the Burgh Buzz.)

Sergeant Paterson of the local police then reported on current issues - they had been able to charge someone with recent housebreaking offences; they had identified those responsible for most of the town centre vandalism which had taken place the previous weekend; and they had taken action on speeding on Kirkcaldy Road and on inconsiderate parking near the school crossing patrol on Cowdenbeath Road. They were also monitoring the old landfill site near Haugh Road, where trophy hunters had recently been operating.

Secretary George Kay was given the go-ahead to explore the possibility of some festive season lighting for the Burgh Chambers and for St Andrew's Court for 2004. He reported that Fife Council were of the opinion that the mini-fairground which had been proposed for the Roundhouse car park was no longer a live proposition. There was some discussion on the operation of the Common Good Fund, especially in relation to properties leased to local organisations, and it was agreed to invite a representative of Fife Council to discuss these matters at a Community Council meeting. The Community Council discussed a complaint by the Castle Tenants & Residents Association about a recent newsletter issued by the Burntisland Tenants and Residents Association, and decided to invite a representative of the Castle association to attend its next meeting. Members agreed to award a small grant to the Horticultural Society, towards the cost of its annual show. Fife Council have given a grant of £750 towards the cost of the award winning garden at Burntisland School. The Community Council agreed to a request that their quarterly newspaper, the Burgh Buzz, should have a "Councillors' Corner", subject to certain safeguards, and the Secretary will write to both local Fife Councillors to invite contributions. Fife Council have indicated that a drainage scheme at the Toll Park is to go ahead; this will allow proper disposal of the water from the gullies on Kirkcaldy Road.

ommunity Council Meeting of 9 April 2004

Secretary George Kay began with bad news - that Fife Council had done a U-turn on the promised funding for Christmas floodlighting of the Burgh Chambers and St Andrew’s Court this year. No money would be available. The Community Council will now look at alternative sources of funding. Fife Council are, however, hoping to instal decent lighting in the Links car park this year, ‘before the dark evenings return’.

It was reported that the Fife Council committee which administers Burntisland’s Common Good Fund had decided (1) that £2,000 should be made available from the Fund for new curtains for the Burgh Chambers; (2) that the rent-free lease to Burntisland Heritage Trust of the Common Good Fund property at 4 Kirkgate should be renewed for a further year; and (3) that an informal approach from the Burntisland Over 70s Christmas Treat Fund Committee about the possibility of a grant did not meet the criteria, although an alternative grant might well be available from Fife Council.

The Community Council considered a plan for eight additional dwellinghouses at Newbigging steading, and decided not to object to the development. Members agreed in principle to hold a ‘State of the Town’ public meeting in the Young Community Hall, and the Secretary will finalise arrangements. The intention is to brief the community on current developments within Burntisland. Concerns were expressed about the proliferation of broken glass on the Links and about youth disorder at the East Broomhill, and the Community Council will pursue these matters.

Chairman Alex MacDonald reported that Alcan were slightly behind schedule with the work on the Aberdour Road site; their present estimate was that the site would be ready to hand over to the developer by the end of June.

ommunity Council Meeting of 14 May 2004

Sergeant Paterson of the local police reported that they had had a fair measure in success in quelling youth disorder in known trouble spots, although there was evidence that the troublemakers were relocating. He believed that local shopkeepers were behaving responsibly in the sale of alcohol. However, there had been reports of under-age youths approaching adults randomly in the street, asking them to buy alcohol on their behalf. Sergeant Paterson agreed to look into complaints from members of the public about the use of quad bikes on the Links and beach, and about bottles being thrown from the top of the East Broomhill.

Community Council Secretary George Kay was given the go-ahead to seek funding of about £11,000 from the Burntisland Common Good Fund and from Burntisland Development (Alcan) Trust for the cost of festive lighting displays on the Burgh Chambers and St Andrew’s Court. Officials from Fife Council then gave a presentation on the operation of Common Good Funds. Burntisland Common Good Fund has assets totalling £298,000, which includes the value of property such as the Links and the Burgh Chambers. As the capital base had to be maintained, and as the first charge on the annual income had to be property maintenance, the amount available for other projects in any year was relatively small. The officials promised to supply more detailed information in due course.

The Community Council were informed that the study on a possible new trans-Forth passenger ferry service should be published shortly, and agreed to promote Burntisland’s case for being the Fife terminal for any such service. At the same time, members noted that action would be required to cater for the substantial volume of road traffic which a ferry would generate at peak times.

A proposal from a member of the public for new car parking spaces in the Toll Park to serve the school did not attract any support.

The Community Council agreed to a proposal from Burntisland Development Trust that it (the Community Council) set up a steering group comprising representatives of local organisations, to examine the possibility of an application to the Trust for funding for a resource centre in Burntisland. This centre could provide advice, services and office equipment for the use of voluntary organisations in the town. Community Council member Alan Smart agreed to take this idea forward. There was considerable discussion on Burntisland Development Trust’s rejection of an application from Fife Council for funding for the new water feature proposed for the paddling pool area of the Links. The total cost of the project is about £70,000, and Fife Council have found half the cost from their own resources. The Community Council considered a suggestion that they should be involved in seeking additional funding, but the discussion was inconclusive and the matter will be considered again at the next meeting.

Members then considered an application for outline planning permission for the building of between 330 and 337 dwellings on Alcan’s Aberdour Road site. The Community Council will submit detailed observations at a later stage, and for the time being will simply make some general observations on road access questions and on the number of dwellings. There was insufficient time to consider an application for planning permission for the proposed Grange Park holiday village, and a special meeting may be arranged to allow members to consider the proposals.

ommunity Council Meeting of 11 June 2004

Chairman Alex MacDonald explained that the reason for the Burntisland (Alcan) Development Trust's rejection of an application by Fife Council for 50% funding for the proposed water feature on the Links was that the proposal, as submitted, was for a project which would in normal circumstances be financed by Fife Council themselves. The present position was that the project cost was £70,000, and Fife Council were willing to contribute £35,000. A contribution of £5,000 from Burntisland Common Good Fund had also been agreed. Councillor Leggatt announced that the Burntisland Tenants & Residents Association would be undertaking a local fundraising drive for the project. The Community Council decided to accept responsibility for finding the balance required. The key to getting Burntisland Development Trust money might be for the project to be split into two parts - the basic water feature, which would be the sole responsibility of Fife Council, and the 'enhancements', which might qualify for some BDT funding. Secretary George Kay will approach BDT's fundraising advisers for guidance.

It was also agreed that the Community Council would press ahead with its plans for a resource centre for community organisations, which will probably be located in the empty shop at 96 High Street. This centre could also be a base for the officials representing BDT, allowing them to make regular visits to the town to advise local organisations. There followed a more general discussion on the operations of BDT. There was considerable criticism, both from members of the Community Council and from the public benches, of the funding criteria which had been adopted by BDT; for example, some local groups were finding it very difficult to comply with these, and there was no provision for small one-off community grants. There was a lack of information about the Trust's work. The officials administering the scheme, effectively paid by the Trust, were not local people.

The Secretary reported that he had written to Fife Council with the Community Council's comments on the proposed Grange Park holiday village, which had been considered at a special meeting of the Community Council held on 28 May. These were that the Community Council supported the principle of the concept, but had reservations on the following questions - the number of static caravans; the possible effect on rights of way; the visual impact; the need for a roundabout at the access point; the need for sympathetic lighting; the effect on wildlife; the need for safeguards if the venture failed; the effect of litter in surrounding areas; the need for precautions at the old landfill site; and the effect on the sewage system.

The Community Council supported the Fife Council plans for 20 mph restrictions relating to the school - part time restrictions on parts of Aberdour, Cowdenbeath, Kirkcaldy and Cromwell Roads; and permanent restrictions on all streets within the area bounded by Kirkcaldy, Cromwell and Kinghorn Roads. Members suggested that the restrictions should also be applied to Broomhill Avenue and Haugh Road. Efforts were being made to have Burntisland looking its best on 5 July, the day of the Best Kept Town inspection. The Community Council supported Councillor Edwards' attempts to get the town bus to visit West Leven Street periodically.

ommunity Council Meeting of 13 August 2004
(There was no meeting in July.)

Applications had recently been submitted for grants towards the costs of the water feature on the Links and of the new Christmas lighting scheme. The Showmen's Guild had made a donation of £320 to the Community Council, and it was agreed that this should be used for the Christmas lighting. Councillor Edwards informed members that Fife Council had decided to purchase the Palace Cinema building - hopefully by agreement, but by Compulsory Purchase Order if necessary.

The Community Council confirmed their support for an application by the Civic Week Committee to Fife Council for a £750 grant for new bunting for the High Street. Councillor Edwards sought the views of the Community Council on a proposal by Councillor Leggatt for a Burntisland Forum, comprising Burntisland's two Fife Councillors and representatives of the Community Council and the Burntisland Tenants & Residents Association. This forum would be able to present a town view on major proposals. Members agreed that this was one of the functions of the Community Council, and that a new forum was unnecessary. They did however agree to review their working practices, with a view to making their structure and meetings more effective. Details of the new Fife Council Scheme (constitutional arrangements) for Community Councils were given. This was now in effect, and the main changes were that (1) Burntisland Community Council would be reduced from 15 to 14 members; (2) before taking office, new members would have to sign an undertaking relating to their conduct; and (3) a casual vacancy on the Community Council need not be filled, but, if it was, the vacant place would have to be offered in the first instance to the runners-up at the previous election in the order in which they came in the poll.

The Community Council were favourably inclined towards the proposal for a new shop in Dollar Road; and also the proposal for the new St Joseph's Catholic Church. They noted with satisfaction that there would be an increased number of parking spaces at the new church, compared with the old one. The Community Council will ask Fife Council to address the problem of rats, which had been reported in various parts of the town.

ommunity Council Meeting of 10 September 2004

This was the last meeting before the elections on 7 October. Secretary George Kay announced that Burntisland Development Trust (Alcan Trust) had awarded the Community Council a grant towards the cost of the new High Street Christmas lighting. This brought the total available to £13,500. The Community Council will therefore press ahead with its plans, with a view to having the lighting installed in time for Christmas this year. Burntisland Development Trust had also agreed to a grant of £15,500 for the proposed water feature on the Links, and the results of applications to other potential funders were awaited.

Members discussed a letter from Fife Council, which purported to clarify questions relating to the management of the Burntisland Common Good Fund. There was general agreement that the letter did the opposite, and it was decided to recommend to the new (post election) Community Council that this matter be pursued with Fife Council at a senior level. Members were informed that the pavements of the western section of Kirkbank Road will be resurfaced shortly, but in the same unsatisfactory manner as the eastern section. Councillor Edwards revealed that Fife Council were in discussion with Network Rail, with a view to having the new Lammerlaws Road bridge constructed in 2006. The Community Council agreed to support the cross-party Fife Council campaign for better central government funding for Fife Constabulary. Andy Wight-Boycott agreed to prepare a press statement on behalf of the Community Council, putting forward the case for Burntisland to be the Fife terminal for the proposed trans-Forth passenger ferry.

No objections were raised to the plans for the redevelopment of the former Porte Cinema, which showed new apartments within the existing shell, and garages for the apartments at ground level on the Rose Street side. Zander Williamson, the developer of the Alcan Aberdour Road site, announced that the remediation work had been completed, and that he had taken possession of the site on Wednesday.

ommunity Council Meeting of 25 October 2004

This was the inaugural meeting of the new Burntisland Community Council, following the recent election. The main business was the selection of officebearers, and the following were appointed: Chair - Alex MacDonald; Vice Chair - David Plant; Secretary - George Kay; Treasurer - Aneris Grant. Alex MacDonald was appointed Community Council representative to Burntisland Development Trust. Owing to ill health, Ian Quinney was unable to take his seat on the Community Council, and the first runner-up in the recent election, Rosalind Leggatt, was selected to fill the vacancy. A number of non-controversial changes to the constitution were agreed, thus clearing the way for Fife Environment Trust to consider a grant towards the proposed water feature on the Links. It was agreed that the regular Community Council meetings should be held on the second Thursday of each month at 7 pm. There was some debate about the venue, because of the absence of disabled access to the Burgh Chambers. This question will be considered again at the next meeting.

ommunity Council Meeting of 12 November 2004

A loop system for the hard of hearing had been installed in the main Council Chamber. Secretary George Kay announced that the installation of the High Street Christmas lighting would commence on 16 November. The total cost was just under £13,000. There would be displays on the Burgh Chambers and on St Andrew's Court, and seven additional decorations on buildings between these two. It was agreed that the lights should be switched on at 4 p.m. on Sunday 21 November. The Community Council agreed to apply for a £750 floral enhancement grant from Fife Council, with a view to the provision of displays in the High Street next year. In response to an early consultation exercise on local government boundary changes, members agreed that their main concern was that Burntisland should under no circumstances be split between different wards. After a lengthy discussion, the Community Council agreed in principle that the Burgh Chambers should be its long term home and that the provision of disabled access should be a priority. Alternative arrangements would be considered in the interim, with the January meeting likely to be held in the Salvation Army Hall.

Representatives of Burntisland Playgroup, who were present at the meeting, explained their need for short term financial assistance to tide them over a difficult period until an anticipated increase in enrolled numbers during the course of next year. Possible funding sources included Burntisland Development Trust and the Burntisland Common Good Fund. The Community Council agreed to support the Playgroup's applications for funding. ExxonMobil had donated two batches of tickets to the community - for a pantomime and for a Christmas Lunch - and Christine Dewar agreed to take on the task of allocating these within the town. Nominations are being sought for the Burntisland Community Award for 2005, and further information on this can be had from George Kay on 872901. It was revealed that Fife Council had agreed a three year contract with the owner of the fast food stall at the entrance to the Links, and that it would remain there all the year round for the full three years. Members deplored the fact that the Community Council had not been consulted on this. The Community Council then went into private session to discuss questions relating to the annual summer fairground.

ommunity Council Meeting of 10 December 2004

Members noted with appreciation that the Burgh Chambers sported fine new curtains, something which had been missing for a number of years.

The main discussion of the evening was on questions relating to the summer fairground in 2005, and representatives of the showmen and local shopkeepers were present on the public benches to put forward their views. The Community Council had to decide on recommendations to submit to Fife Council, who would be taking the final decisions shortly. A pre-meeting survey of Community Council members had indicated a preference for a reduction in the duration of the fairground from the present twelve weeks to ten weeks in 2005 and nine weeks thereafter. An important factor influencing this had been the relatively low number of shows in place in the weeks at the beginning and end of the season. However, representatives of the showmen outlined a number of measures which they would be implementing in 2005 and which would result in significant improvements in the environmental impact of the fairground - a formal stewarding system, with five stewards already elected; the erection of 2 metre high net screening; the removal from the Links of non-essential vehicles; a later (1 p.m.) opening time on a Sunday; and no music after 6 p.m. on a Sunday. They were also requesting a sliding scale of charges for pitches, to encourage more shows at the beginning and end of the season; and they were prepared to co-operate in concentrating their operations within a smaller overall area at times when the number of shows present was relatively low. They also offered to give up their right of vehicle access to the fairground from Kinghorn Road. In the light of these proposals, the Community Council decided by a large majority to recommend to Fife Council that the fairground be allowed a twelve week period in 2005 to see how effective the improvements proved to be; and that the position should then be reviewed.

Members then discussed proposals relating to the organisation and timing of the Remembrance Sunday parade and service at the war memorial, and, as a first step, decided to ask Fife Council to devolve these matters to the Community Council for subsequent discussion and decision. It was reported that all options for the Palace Cinema site were still effectively open, and that Fife Council would be inviting developers to submit proposals in the new year. Councillor Edwards confirmed that Fife Council were examining options for disabled access to the Burgh Chambers. The question of the presence of the fast food stall at the entrance to the Links throughout the year may be easily resolved. The owners of the stall were present at the meeting, and said that Fife Council's new contract terms were for the full year, but they were as unhappy about paying rent for the winter months as the Community Council were about the all year presence. It is hoped that Fife Council can sort this out quickly to everyone's satisfaction. The Community Council noted that there was a proposal that Rose Street should remain closed for a further lengthy period, and they will demand that permission to close the street to vehicles should be subject to the provision of a safe pedestrian way along the street. There was general opposition to Fife Council's proposal to introduce charges for the uplifting of bulky refuse, and members will circulate petition forms to local organisations. The controversial proposal for the creation of a viewpoint on the East Broomhill was discussed briefly, with a number of members voicing their opposition to the project; this will be discussed again when a formal planning application is submitted. The Community Council then went into private session to consider the nominations for the Burntisland Community Award for 2005.

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