Community Council Meeting Reports (2005)

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ommunity Council Meeting of 10 January 2005

The four hour sitting began with the consideration of a motion of no confidence in Chairman Alex MacDonald. Proposing this, Community Councillor Ros Leggatt said that the Chairman had recently deemed that she was not a member, as she had not signed the mandatory declaration relating to the conduct of community councillors. It became clear during discussion that Fife Council had not sent the declaration to Mrs Leggatt, and that they had now apologised for their administrative error. It was also revealed that Vice Chairman David Plant had not signed the declaration until early in January, and that he too had been technically in breach of the requirements. However, the motion of no confidence was defeated by eight votes to four.

The atmosphere became heated again when the proposed viewpoint on the East Broomhill was being discussed. This project is being promoted by Burntisland 2020 Development Trust, and has attracted significant opposition within the town because of its potential as a meeting place for disorderly young persons. Community Council member Heather Leuchars raised a number of concerns about lack of proper consultation of residents in the East Broomhill area; about Community Council members having a vested interest in the project; and about the need for the Community Council to have a full and frank discussion of the proposal. There was a degree of urgency about this, because Fife Council wanted the views of the Community Council, prior to taking a decision on an application for funding for the project. It was eventually agreed that representatives of the Community Council would meet the local residents during the following week, and that there would then be a special meeting of the Community Council, on a date to be arranged, to consider the project and to form a view on it.

It was reported that the surfacing of the footpath from Glebe Place eastwards could be completed for £7,600, and Secretary George Kay agreed to try to identify a funding source for the balance of the cost, over and above the £5,000 which Fife Council had already committed. The meeting was informed that the proposed water feature on the Links was again being delayed, this time because of the carrying out of a further risk assessment in relation to water quality. The forecast date for completion of the project had therefore been put back to June. Apart from weather damage, the new High Street Christmas lighting was deemed a success, and it was agreed to augment the display for Christmas 2005. The Community Council agreed to donate £1,000 towards the cost of the community resource centre proposed for 96 High Street. Further developments on the siting of the fast food stall at the entrance to the Links were awaited, in the light of planning advice that it may be deemed a permanent structure and require full planning permission. The Community Council had been advised that the temporary closure of Rose Street to pedestrians was unavoidable, and Secretary George Kay is therefore following up the suggestion that a pedestrian way be established between Thistle Street and the pend between the Waverley Café and Dickson's Newsagents on the High Street.

The Secretary had examined various options for the provision of disabled access to the Burgh Chambers, and members favoured the installation of a chair lift from the entrance to the first floor. This, together with the conversion of a toilet for disabled use, might cost around £15,000, and Fife Council will now be asked to carry out a detailed examination of the options. With the question of disabled access now being tackled, members agreed by nine votes to one to hold all their future meetings in the Burgh Chambers.

The Community Council decided to support, in principle, the proposed new route for vehicle access from the town centre to the railway station and East Dock, running under the viaduct at Seaforth Place and then along a new road on the east side of the West Dock. Advantages would include double decker bus access to the railway station and also to any future terminal for a new trans-Forth ferry.

ommunity Council Meeting of 27 January 2005

This was a special meeting to discuss the proposed viewpoint on the summit of the East Broomhill. This is being promoted by the Burntisland 2020 Development Trust as a feature which would attract visitors to Burntisland; and which would promote an awareness of, and pride in, the town. However, Community Council representatives had met Broomhill and Manse Lane residents the week before, and there had been unanimous opposition to the viewpoint on the grounds that it would exacerbate the already serious youth disorder in the area. There were also complaints that there had been no meaningful consultation by the Trust prior to the decision to go ahead. After a lengthy debate, six members voted in favour of the creation of the viewpoint and six against. Chair Alex MacDonald used his casting vote in favour. The result will be conveyed to Fife Council, who will now consider a funding application (and in due course a planning application) for the project.

There followed a discussion on Community Council members' conduct. This followed complaints about personal references in a recent newsletter issued by the Burntisland Tenants and Residents Association, the editor of which was Community Councillor Ros Leggatt. It was agreed that all members should be bound by Fife Council's Standards of Conduct, which stipulated that Community Councillors should treat each other with respect and courtesy.

ommunity Council Meeting of 10 February 2005

Presentation of Community Award 2005

Before business, Chairman Alex MacDonald introduced John Rodger, the winner of the Burntisland Community Award for 2005. He spoke of John's caring attitude to all those he came in contact with. He was someone who was always prepared to give help and assistance to anyone in need. John (pictured above, left) was then presented with the Community Award shield and a personal scroll.

Secretary George Kay was absent, but had prepared a detailed report on outstanding items. Fife Council would after all foot the bill for the creation of a permanent footpath from Glebe Place eastwards. The water feature on the Links was being further delayed by water quality issues. It was likely that the fast food stall at the entrance to the Links would still be allowed to locate there from March/April to August each year.

Residents of Links Place then addressed the meeting, and raised the issues of car parking in the area and of youth disorder at the shelter to the south of the Links car park. There followed a lengthy discussion on youth disorder in general, and the Community Council will be represented by Chair MacDonald at a meeting to be held on 17 February to discuss Fife Constabulary's "Pulling Together" initiative for Burntisland and Kinghorn.

Local developer Bob Wilkie, who was present at the meeting, said that work on the Rose Street development had been halted temporarily to allow soil pollution assessments to be carried out. These were required because of the site's close proximity to the site of the former gasworks, and would lengthen the period that Rose Street would remain closed. Network Rail had informed the Community Council that they would be erecting a new security fence on top of the railway embankment retaining wall on the Links side, along its entire length. At the next meeting, the Community Council will consider the creation of a range of sub-committees to deal with various issues. One of these would examine the current state of the railway station. The Community Council has been awarded a Fife Council grant of £750 for floral enhancements to the High Street this year. The Highland Games Committee had applied to Fife Council for a grant of £4,272 from Burntisland Common Good Fund for new seating etc. The Community Council agreed to support this application in principle, with the rider that the Committee should attempt to get compensation for damage to the existing seating while in the care of Fife Council.

It was confirmed that Rosalind Leggatt had resigned from the Community Council. The vacant place will be offered to the second runner-up at the October election.

The Community Council will seek clarification on the present position on speed limits at the east end of the town.

ommunity Council Meeting of 10 March 2005

Prior to business, there was a presentation ceremony for the 2005 winners of the Community Council's annual Scots Verse Competition for pupils of Burntisland Primary School. The winners were Taylor Ferguson, Christopher Mudie, Lucy West and Jordan Sammutt. After the winners had recited their entries, Chair Alex MacDonald presented each of them with a trophy and a book of Scots verse.

Then it was down to business, with a warm welcome to new member Rosemary Innes. Secretary George Kay reported that there would be a significantly enhanced Christmas lighting display in the High Street and Kirkgate this year. Members were very concerned to hear that, even under optimistic assumptions, the new water feature on the Links was not expected to be completed until early July. Further information will be sought. Councillor Edwards explained that the specification of the replacement for the Lammerlaws Road bridge could not be finalised until Forth Ports had made up their minds on the future of the East Dock area; however, regardless of the outcome, it was likely that there would continue to be a road running from east to west through the docks area. It was revealed that Fife Council had refused to grant funding for the proposed viewpoint on the East Broomhill.

In his report, Sergeant Paterson of the Burntisland police said that the Chief Constable, when opening the refurbished Police Station, had stated that it represented a long term commitment to Burntisland by the force. Sergeant Paterson also warned everyone to be on the lookout for bogus workmen who had been operating in the town recently.

The Community Council supported an application from the Pipe Band for a grant of £2,500  from Burntisland Common Good Fund towards the cost of roof and other repairs to the Pipe Band Hall in East Leven Street. The present position on the proposed all-weather pitches beside the Beacon Centre was that Fife Council now had to find the money; previous funding commitments had been withdrawn in view of the change of status of the centre. Construction on the former Alcan site was scheduled to begin in the autumn.

ommunity Council Meeting of 14 April 2005

Report by Community Council member Andy Wight-Boycott

The meeting opened with news that Jim Leuchars was very seriously ill and had resigned from the Council. Gordon McGregor accepted the subsequent invitation to serve as a Community Councillor. The following 45 minutes were devoted to the Water Feature on the Links - the story that unfolded was one of problems, frustration and acrimony. The partnership between Fife Council and the community was characterised by poor communication and mistrust, exacerbated by the recently revealed problem of ‘running sand’. The said sand was likely to undermine the project - literally. The consequences include a redesign and additional expense. Views differed on the likely completion date - Fife Council confident of August, despite the current lack of present planning permission. Community Council members, cynical and impotent, were less confident but keen to see both the schedule and costings.

The next 30 minutes were more positive. Bill Davidson of the Burntisland Public Access Committee (BPAC) gave a presentation on the work of the group, its achievements to date and the work to come. He circulated cards describing 4 Burntisland walks. The subsequent discussion centred on the need for further public education to recognise the balance between Access and Privacy. The debate was enhanced by the presence of local land owners. Issues relating to the High Street followed, specifically forming a small group to ensure that Fife Transportation had a community input for its High Street proposals. A less conclusive debate followed on how best to promote Burntisland as a visitors’ venue, Councillor Leggatt’s plans to promote the Links had considerable merit but lacked constitutional niceties - as a consequence there was a danger of two parallel initiatives to achieve similar objectives.

Plans to provide disabled access to the first floor Burgh Chambers had been discussed with Historic Scotland and Fife Council. The Historic Scotland representative favoured a new access through the Heritage Centre to a lift, to be constructed, at the rear of the building. The Community Council agreed to seek permission and funding for its more pragmatic proposal of a stair lift. The Council went on to form a sub committee to monitor and contribute to ideas and work relating to the Links and Beach - some of which is well in hand, for example the long awaited lighting for the Links car park. The final debate of the evening centred on conflicts of interest - which, or what, interests would debar a community councillor from voting on an issue. The debate was inconclusive - it was immediately followed by consideration of planning permission for the Broomhill Viewpoint - the vote was evenly split. The Chairman cast his vote in favour.

The evening closed with news of a further resignation - that of Andy Wight-Boycott, former editor of the Burgh Buzz, whose retirement plans demand his presence elsewhere. Although lengthy the meeting was well attended and improved by the addition of several new faces and voices.

Additional note by Community Council Chair Alex MacDonald

Nearly eight years ago the Burgh Buzz was launched on the inspiration of Andy Wight-Boycott, who had spotted a gap in the Community Council's activities. Andy had frequently attended Community Council meetings and contributed as a member of the public, long before being first elected as a full member.

Now, Andy and his wife Jinti have decided to pursue other interests, whilst retaining a home base in Burntisland. However, those other interests mean that Andy can no longer dedicate the time to the Community Council which he feels a responsible member should do.

The legacy which Andy leaves is not only the Burgh Buzz, but also the Burntisland 2020 Development Trust, which again was forged out of his leadership and strategic vision for Burntisland. With a series of projects now under the 2020 belt, Andy can justly be proud of what he has accomplished.

At the April meeting of the Community Council, Andy formally tendered his resignation, and received in return the very best wishes of the remaining members, and also those members of the public who attend meetings regularly and who have enjoyed his many valuable contributions to the debates.

We hope to see Andy again from time to time, as and when his diary permits.

ommunity Council Meeting of 12 May 2005

Report by Iain Sommerville

Around 70 people were in attendance in the Parish Church Halls to hear public presentations by the promoters of five major projects in the town.

Alan Lodge of the Fife Historic Buildings Trust described the components of the Burntisland & Kinghorn Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) which was being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. One of the main aims was to secure the restoration or replacement of the former Palace Cinema, which was likely to become a listed building very shortly. A new use for the old Station House in Forth Place was also a priority, although its owners, Forth Ports, had not so far been very forthcoming. Viable schemes for both buildings would be considered, and it was up to developers and community groups to come forward with such schemes. £155,000 would be made available for small grants for certain types of improvements to shops and houses within the THI area. Mr Lodge hoped that the THI would be formally launched at the beginning of July.

David Brown of Fife Council Transportation Service then described proposed improvements to the High Street, which would include a reduction in the width of the carriageway; new parking arrangements; safer street crossings for pedestrians; the planting of trees; and new street furniture. There was some vociferous opposition to these proposals, although it was difficult to judge its extent. The proposals will now be developed in detail, and it is hoped that work will start at the east end of the High Street in September.

A team of three Fife Council officials then described the proposed new water feature, which would be constructed on the Links paddling pool area. It was hoped that work would start on this at the end of August and last for five weeks. When completed, it would operate only when there was an attendant present.

Mr Zander Williamson of Collinswell Land gave a brief update on development of the Alcan site. The creation of the infrastructure would take 30 weeks and would begin as soon as a contractor had been selected. The first dwellings to be constructed would be the apartments and town houses on the north-eastern part of the site.

Councillor Ron Edwards then described the Seamill and Castle Improvement Scheme, in which Colinswell Land also had an interest. A trust or similar body would be set up to manage the project. The first areas to be tackled would be the 'bottle coup' off Haugh Road, and Ross Point including the burned out hut.

The promoters of the Grange Holiday Village had been invited to the meeting, but were unable to attend. However, they had told Community Council Secretary George Kay that there had been no recent changes to the project plans, and that work might begin in about a year's time.

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to selected items of conventional business. Rosemary Innes had resigned from the Community Council and William Hepburn, the final runner-up at the last election, had declined to be co-opted. There are now two vacancies on the Community Council, and anyone interested in becoming a member should contact the Secretary, George Kay, on 872901. Mr Kay informed members that the Showmen's Guild had decided to donate £1,000 towards the costs of the 2005 Christmas lighting in the High Street. The Community Council decided to ask Fife Council to set up a new Events Committee for Burntisland. They also agreed to Fife Council's proposal that the east Links toilets and shelter should be refurbished and a shutter fitted to the shelter, with both being opened only when an attendant was on duty. Burntisland Playgroup had applied to Fife Council for a grant of just under £500 towards their rent payments in the late summer period; the Community Council decided to reserve judgement on this, and to invite a representative of the Playgroup to attend the next meeting to clarify points of concern. Members agreed to support a planning application from Burntisland Shipyard AFC for a new building containing changing rooms etc at Glebe Place.

ommunity Council Meeting of 9 June 2005

Report by Community Council member Avril Coventry

There could be a four week slippage in completion of Water Feature if planning has to go to the Scottish Executive due to objections about noise and visual impact. Work will not start before the shows go away. £1500 has been released from Locality budget towards the Christmas Lights. £7000 still required. Drawing for the new layout of the High Street was presented for approval. Some members of the public still have reservations about layout and width, but in general the plans were approved. They can be seen in the window at 96 High Street. This office is open on a Saturday morning. £750 is available for tubs and hanging baskets. Shopkeepers will be approached to participate. Council has agreed to meet cost of insurance for Bonfire Night. Pallets are urgently required. Volunteers to fundraise and to collect monies on the actual night would be welcome. Seagull feeding continues to be a source of complaint. It should be pointed out to bird lovers that if numbers of birds constitutes a public nuisance then they would be culled.

ommunity Council Meeting of 12 August 2005

Notes by Community Council member Avril Coventry

Burntisland Development Fund turned down application for grant of £2,500 for Christmas Lights. An appeal to be made. Criteria for getting grants should be looked at. Design for High Street area still causing debate as to whether a business impact assessment has been made. Community Grants available to groups. BCC would liaise with Linda Thompson and groups. Water Feature's cost escalated to £133,000 due to redesign. Costing for upgrading of Burgh Chambers for disablement access to cost £29,000. Floral enhancement still going ahead with tubs and bulb planting. Burgh Buzz in need of a new Editor. Clamour for a new central Community Centre. East end Toilets in dispute again. Promises made to have this facility open for the summer have not come to pass. Three young volunteers have come forward to push for facilities for Basketball and night-time sporting activities. To work with Cllr Edwards.

There were no reports for subsequent C
ommunity Council meetings in 2005.

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