East Neuk Forum
The East Neuk Forum has been in existence for over 10 years, and is the shortened name of the East Neuk & Landward Joint Community Council Forum. The main purpose of this forum is to share information, encourage and develop local participation in the decision making process and promotion of community initiatives in the East Neuk and Landward local authority area. Specifically, its constituted objectives are:
1. To conserve, preserve and protect the local area by assisting in the improvement of the local environment while retaining the local history and culture.
2. Provide, in the interests of social welfare, access to facilities for recreational or other leisure-time occupations with a view to improving the conditions of life of people in the local community.
3. Encourage and develop local participation in the decision making process and promotion of community initiatives throughout the East Neuk of Fife.
The East Neuk Forum consists of representatives of 11 Community Councils in the East Neuk of Fife in Scotland. (The Royal Burgh of Kilrenny Anstruther and District, Colinsburgh and Kilconquhar, Largo Area, The Royal Burgh of Crail and District, Cameron, The Royal Burgh of Pittenweem and District, Arncroach and Carnbee, Boarhills and Dunino, St. Monans, Elie and the Royal Burgh of Earlsferry, Kingsbarns).
Notes from East Neuk Forum meeting held on 15 October 2020
There was concern voiced over lack of access to re-cycling centres in the East Neuk which has a high number of visitors to the area and frequent turnaround of households leading to large volumes of refuse being left behind at weekends.
It was noted that owners of businesses are legally obliged to make provision for a refuse collection service. Currently there are 300 businesses which undertake this.
There was also concern voiced about access by householders who only have a commercial vehicle.
After discussion it was agreed that a review would take place with a report issued to the area committee.
It was a hot topic for some areas, with the view taken that there had been a lack of consultation with community councils. As yet, no community council has been given sight of the plans. The information which has been available has been picked up from the Courier.
Whilst it became apparent that the grass cutting programme currently being undertaken by Fife Council, is to be drastically cut due to the unavailability of staff as a result of the pandemic, there was a denial that this was an abandonment of their responsibility. However, it was pointed out the re-wilding was a very different scenario from the abandonment of the grass cutting which was already happening in some areas. There had been no attempt in the affected areas to introduce wild flowers and the uncut grass had been collecting litter to such an extent, when an attempt had been made in Pittenweem last week to finally cut the grass, the mower had been damaged by fly-tipped metal/rubbish.
The plans delineating which areas are to be left uncut (wilded) will be issued shortly to community councils by Fife Council. There is going to be a very short window 2-3 weeks in which these plans can be reviewed and feedback/objections/different proposals put forward.
The general feeling was that community councils should ascertain the views of the public and then call for a meeting with Fife Council on the matter. There needs to be a good discussion on this matter as opposed to a quick fix.
It was noted that St Andrews University has experts on re-wilding.
The police are stretched over calls pertaining to Covid restrictions being broken. It was noted in the monthly report that there have been fewer incidences of crime due to the lockdown. There is however an escalating drug problem which is leading to anti-social behaviour. There has been an armed police raid in Pittenweem and an incident involving a burnt-out car in Crail.
It is proving difficult for the police to get a search warrant. They require 3 pieces of evidence to go before a Sheriff plus eye-witness accounts.
There are insufficient numbers of police on the ground. Additional funding has been made available in the Leven area to deal with this. Funding is going to be sought for additional police support in the East Neuk area.
ENCEPT now has emergency packs ready for each village. Each pack/holdall contains lots of equipment including a first aid kit and snow shovel. Whilst it will remain the property of ENCEPT, villages will need to look for an appropriate place to store it.
Arrangements had been made to provide training on the use of the equipment, however this has been put on hold until next year due to the pandemic.
The Flood Forum noted that flash flooding has been a problem in some areas over the last few years. Some help is being provided by Fife Council in relation to this, but there is a need to identify the houses in each area which are being affected. Advice can then be provided on how to access help.
There is a pump plus other resources which can be accessed by community councils via ENCEPT. Flooding on local roads is an issue for Fife Council to resolve.
The issue of insurance cover for defibrillators housed on council buildings has yet to be resolved. There is also concern that information on their locations may not have been circulated widely enough. However, Ambulance control should now have information on where the closest defibrillator is following a call and able to advise accordingly. The defibrillator has been in use 5 times over lockdown. There was a successful outcome on 3 of these occasions.
ENCAP are currently involved in developing plans for a multi-use, off-the-road pathway in the East Neuk for walkers, cyclists, prams, wheelchair users etc. A decision has yet to be taken on the final route. The pathway will lie close to the main road enabling Fife Council to take over responsibility for its maintenance.
100% funding has been provided from SUSTRANS. A 2 year feasibility study is currently underway with a view to implementation in 2023. The aim is to form a steering group with representation from local community councils.
ENCAP is keen to take on larger projects and can assist with community action plans. They are also interested in creating a cycle path which links to Leven once the rail link has been established plus developing a link to St Andrews and Crail.
Fife Outdoor Tourism Infrastructure Programme
The FCCT want to design a programme of work to deal with the issues confronting rural areas which are being faced with a large influx of visitors and seek funding in support of this. They want to welcome people to the rural areas but in a sustainable way.
Information was provided on the Fife Outdoor Tourism Infrastructure programme and its particular relevance for Ruby Bay where support will be obtained from it to support the implementation of a programme of work to deal with the campervan issues.
It was noted that whilst there are also ongoing issues with campervans at Kingsbarns and Dunino Church, the problems go beyond campervan issues.
There will be a 2 year rolling programme of work. A number of possible projects have already been identified and new proposals are being considered in time for April 2021.
FCCT is seeking support for these projects from individuals and local community councils. The programme of works will be developed in partnership with Fife Council.
It was noted that whilst there was a continuing need for social distancing, this has not always been adhered to. Information had been obtained with regard to a seeming relaxation of the guidance in particular in larger shops/supermarkets in some areas of North East Fife.
A letter was sent to Willie Rennie asking him to seek help from the First Minister in re-enforcing the message that social distancing and other safety measures continue to be required and adhered to by customers and staff in shops and other retail units and should be reinforced as soon as possible by the government and the local Public Health teams through the normal regulatory bodies with spot checks carried out.
Environmental Health Officers are now to be involved in monitoring the situation.