Minutes of Elie and Royal Burgh of Earlsferry Community Council meeting held on 7th March 2023 at Earlsferry Town Hall
Present: Angela Anderson, Angus Meldrum, Patricia Ritchie, Grizelda Cowan, Kirsty Barclay and Cllrs Alycia Hayes and Sean Dillon.
Apologies from Sandy Bingham and Carol Birrell.
No new declarations of interest.
January minutes – Trisha pointed out an inaccuracy in January’s minutes. Minutes should have recorded that the survey carried out in 2018 showed 85% of householders and 82% of full time residents did not support the construction of more than 25 affordable homes. With that correction January minutes were proposed by Trish, seconded by Angus.
As there has been some confusion over which Constitution we should be adhering to. It was decided that Cllr Sean Dillon would investigate the difference between the two versions we have seen and advise on the one appropriate for the CC.
Following on, the meeting unanimously agreed to formally adopt recently co-opted members Carol Birrell and Kirsty Barclay. They both become full members of the Elie and Earlsferry Community Council and both have full voting rights (according to 7b of the Constitution).
Cllr Sean Dillon
Fife Council Budget 2023/24:
At the last full council meeting, a council tax and rent rise of 5% was approved. While mindful of the cost-of-living crisis that we are currently experiencing, this rise will ensure that the problems that are most important to residents are addressed including the roads which will receive £3.5 million in additional funding as well as to allow greater support for those struggling financially.
Subsidised Bus Consultation:
The council is currently carrying out a consultation on supported bus routes including the 95 and the Go-Flexi service. Any comments will be used to help influence the future of these routes from August 2023. If anyone is interested in taking part, please use the link below:
Local Transport Strategy Consultation:
Fife Council is currently consulting on its local transport strategy for the next decade. You can find details of the strategy and give your views using the following link:
Fife recycling centres are now unable to take small electric items due to the fire at the Perth Depo. Residents are advised to store such items until the service can resume.
Fife Council offices will be closed on the day of the Coronation of Charles III
Fife Council has updated information on Short Term Lets regulations and confirmed that existing businesses have till the end of September to apply for a licence. All updated information can be found here Short Term Let Licensing Information - Fife Tourism Partnership
Questions from the Public
The meeting welcomed Cath McIntosh who updated the meeting on all activities at Elie Sports Club:
Michael Bradfield, Head PGA professional has formally taken over the pro-shop.
ESC has approached Madras college and Waid Academy to provide an opportunity for students in the departments for additional support (special needs) to try putting and bowling as part of a four week programme after Easter. The initiative is aimed at encouraging participation for disabled young people in sport. Michael and his team of golf professionals will be supporting by coaching putting and ESC will be asking for volunteers from the bowling club to help in the delivery of bowls.
After school golf coaching sessions will start up again after the Easter break. Details have been circulated via the WhatsApp group to parents but if anyone has any queries or would like to lodge an interest, contact Michael Bradfield.
New play equipment has been installed in the children’s play area.
There is to be an official opening day for the tennis courts on Sunday2nd April 2023, the Pavilion will provide a BBQ. The tennis courts will be open free of charge on the day and the tennis coach Skip Martinez will be available to offer guidance and tips. With the new tennis courts in place it is hoped that players will form a tennis club.
Possible future projects include:
- Paddle tennis
- Improvements to the driving range.
Traffic/parking problems in the villages
We are still awaiting the traffic survey promised several years ago. Our spirits were raised in 2021 when Lesley Craig was appointed Lead Consultant, Traffic Management at Fife Council. From CC minutes March 2021: The meeting agreed that there is now some urgency to address the expected problems in the coming months. Cllr Linda Holt confirmed that she would speak to Lesley Craig who has taken over from Colin Sterling to request some short term measures to address the problems. * * Since our meeting Cllr Linda Holt has contacted Lesley Craig who is being been very proactive and is seriously looking into ways in which our traffic congestion problem can be alleviated.
However, despite FC’s promises, we are still in the same position two years on.
A further meeting is planned with Robbie Blyth, Angela, Neil Grieve and representative from FC. Cllr Alycia Hayes explained that Lesley has been inundated with requests from all over Fife and is dealing with the ‘backlog’. The meeting felt that, as our problems go back to pre-Covid times they must be included in the ‘backlog’.
Fife Council has surveyed the flagpole and we await their decision on it *
Discussion followed over whether the trees on Toll Green should be pollarded or pruned. Following a vote, 2-3, it was agreed that FC should be asked to prune the trees.
Redundant Road Signs
Most of them have been removed.
We are still waiting for a reply from FC re our request to be a retrospective Consultee regarding the development plans at Wadeslea and the Grange.
Concern has been expressed over the damage and disruption caused at the two building sites in the village at Four Winds and Chapel Green House. It was hoped that, on completion, the builders will make good all damage caused.
Concern has been expressed by some members of the public over the planned eco-cemetery on Elie Estate - 22/03401/FULL. The EECC has requested that they be a Statutory Consultee on this application. Anyone who has an interest in this proposal should record their comments on Fife ePlanning portal - https://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=RJC1GCHFLIT00&activeTab=sum or convey them to the CC so that we can accurately pass on the views of the community.
We have been asked to complete a survey compiled by SEPA. We await receipt of a detailed copy of the survey to enable the CC to discuss it.
Angela met with Bridget , Tara Nairn and a representative from FC to discuss the way forward. It was agreed that a request should be made to FC for funding from the Common Good Fund. It is understood that they are hoping for funding from the Scottish Government for year 2023/4.
The seaweed by the Harbour Beach has been removed by a local farmer and the meeting expressed thanks to the Harbour Trust for arranging this and to the local farmer for obliging at no cost.
The damage to the harbour wall is being repaired and it was agreed that a request be made to the Harbour Trust for updates on their activities. Nicola agreed to action this.
Whilst some general tidying and weeding has been going on throughout the village over the
winter months, our thoughts are now turning to organising a big spring tidy-up, litter pick and
planting. The Toll Green in particular needs some TLC, especially the areas where the wooden
bothies have been sitting and the grass has died off.
New barrel planters have been ordered along with galvanised steel stands being manufactured
locally for them to sit in. These are to replace the square planters on Elie Church gates (2),
Earlsferry Town Hall (2) and Wadeslea (2), which are beyond repair.
The task list for the EAG team includes:
Repaint planters (4) located at the base of the flagpole on Toll Green.
Flagpole on TG. Work required involves dropping the (hinged) flagpole to repair the
halyard pulley, re-position upper stays (to prevent flag tangling) and repaint the flagpole.
Progress has been made with FC, who seem willing to adopt and maintain. Neil Grieve is
leading with CC.
Tree pruning on TG. FC appear to be more responsive to this request and are looking at it.
Memorial Tree for Jim Robertson. On hold awaiting result of tree pruning on TG.
Organise a Village Spring Tidy & Litter Pick.
Repair/refurb of Victorian lamps (Church Gates). This continues to be taking much longer
than anticipated. Mike Duncan (Blacksmith) latest promise is 14 March.
Repair/refurb of Victorian Water Pump. No further update.
Name signs for Archbald & Hyde Parks. In hand.
Earlsferry Town Hall
Emma Campbell has been appointed as Development Officer in the new role funded by TNL Community Led fund. The EHT goes from strength to strength with loads of activities planned.
For information on all the EHT has to offer from bridge, table tennis, yoga, pilates, concerts, lectures, wine club go to https://www.earlsferrytownhall.org.uk/
The new toilet block at Ruby Bay car park is expected to be installed by the end of March
Next meeting Tuesday 4th April 2023, 7.30pm, Earlsferry Town Hall. As usual this will be a public meeting and members of the public are invited to join.
* Since the meeting we have received following information:
“The flagpole at Toll Green was subject to a drone inspection two weeks ago and the pictures show no evidence of corrosion. There is discolouration and a slight bend in the pole but nothing to suggest any imminent failure. The main pole is secured at the base and by guy ropes, the smaller extension at the top is bolted to the main pole and also secured by ropes to the main pole, so there is no risk of anything falling.
The pole presents a greater risk to the public walking over Toll Green and falling over the guy ropes. The area these rope cover is disproportionate to the size of the green and present a hazard to the public and grass cutting operations. My preference would be take the pole down and install a smaller flagpole in a more suitable setting in the area.”
We have, however, pointed out that a smaller flagpole would be not acceptable and that the problem is the broken halyard which would not have been picked up by a drone. We have requested that it be fixed in time for us to be able to fly the flag on Coronation Day. Cllr Alycia Hayes agreed to follow up.
Minutes of Elie and Royal Burgh of Earlsferry Community Council meeting held on 7th February 2023 at Earlsferry Town Hall
Present: Angela Anderson, Angus Meldrum, Sandy Bingham, Patricia Ritchie, Carol Birrell Grizelda Cowan and Kirsty Barclay.
No apologies from our local councillors
No new declarations of interest.
January minutes – were proposed by Angela, seconded by Trisha.
Alycia Hayes has forwarded to the CC an email re bus stops sent by Tony McRae
Service Manager (Passenger Transport Services) Fife Council Roads & Transportation Services in explanation to our request that the redundant bus stop signs should be removed:
The bus stops are still currently used by the school bus to Waid Academy (morning and afternoon) and also by anyone who uses the Go-Flexi Service which serves this area. The Go-flexi service was introduced to cover this area several years ago when the old service 62 used to operate.
The school bus operator (A1 Coaches) has however reported problems on this route and that sometimes they can’t get the bus along at all because of parked cars. As a result, our School Transport team met with Education last year to look at the walk route to the main stops on the High Street/A917 and it was agreed that the route to these main stops was 'available' ie suitable for pupils to walk to the main stops. As from August 2023 the Waid School Bus will therefore no longer divert into Williamsburgh/Links Road and parents will be advised of this nearer the time when school bus passes are issued etc.
When the school bus no longer serves this area, we can arrange to have the bus stops removed as the Go-Flexi service can operate on a hail and ride basis however it may be prudent to keep a few stops in order to retain some information boards advertising the Go-Flexi service?
The meeting expressed disappointment to learn that the school bus will no longer service the stop at Williamsburgh and suggested that it takes route into Elie via Ferry Road before moving on the stop outside the church and thus servicing the children living in Earlsferry and at The Grange.
Questions from the Public
A request was received from a group wishing permission to come to the Chapel Green area to study coastal lichens. They were assured that this would be fine and we wished the group an enjoyable day in May.
Article in East Fife Mail
Following the publication of the article in East Fife Mail in January Trisha expressed the opinion that the statement issued by the CC did not express the true wishes of the community at large. In a survey following the initial development proposals over 80% of those who completed the survey expressed the wish that there should be no development within our villages’ boundary.
Three of the huts have been bought and removed and the last one is expected to be taken away shortly.
The bits of the Christmas tree that still remain on Toll Green will also be removed imminently.
Re the flag pole Angela agreed to write to Fife Council to request that it be inspected for health and safety purposes.
A tree report from FC has advised that the trees should be pollarded, the diseased tress should be removed and that a new tree should be planted in memory of Jim Robertson.
As it is understood that Nairn Park will no longer be available as an overflow car park it was agreed that a meting is to be set up with FC FCCT and Neil Grieve to discuss possible alternatives.
Replacement Gates by School
The sign on the vehicle access gate still requires to be removed.
Dog Fouling Posters
Posters designed by the children at Elie Primary School are now on display at Hyde and Archbald Parks, Toll Green and at the playpark. However, they have suffered considerably due to the recent bad weather. Kirsty and Grizelda agreed to look into better ways of securing them. *
Redundant Road Signs
Grizelda has made a list of abandoned road signs:
On Links Road, Earlsferry, at the junction with Ferry Road, the road sign and cone is on the golf course verge.
On the field side of Ferry Road, around 20m south of the junction with the A917.
On Grange Road, Earlsferry,
On unmade road parallel with Grange Road to the north leading to easter Grange and Grangehill, on the right-hand side near the beginning.
By Elie Library, Siward Sane
This is to be emailed to our local councillors in the hope that they can persuade FC to remove them.
Concerns were expressed by the CC to the recent planning application for an Eco Cemetery to be established on Elie Estate. Concerns included increased traffic on the single track driveway, which is a core path, and extra traffic negotiating the narrow gateway onto main road and that new Loch Runs lie in close proximity to the proposed graveyard. Angela is to request that the E&ECC should be a Statutory Consultee and that the closing date of 3rd March should be extended by four weeks to allow for further discussion at the next meeting.
Insurance form to be completed and returned to FC. Angus will apply for our annual grant from FC and it was noted that we need to spend at least a third of this year’s grant before the end of the tax year.
Elie/Earlsferry - 11 calls to the police. 1 crime recorded
Angela met with Bridget and Tara Nairn and a representative from FC to discuss way forward. It was agreed that enquiries should be made to FC to request if funding from the Common Good Fund could be released to pay for a more modest plan. It is also possible that there might be funding available from the Scottish Government, given that over £10,000 has already been raised.
It is understood that there are already some plans afoot to celebrate the coronation of Charles III and Nicola agreed to speak to Shona Jones to find out if Fayre Day have plans. It was agreed the CC should plant a tree, probably on Toll Green to mark the coronation.
Next meeting Tuesday 7th March 2023, 7.30pm, Earlsferry Town Hall. As usual this will be a public meeting and members of the public are invited to join.
- The signs have been re-laminated and put in place in Archbald Park, Hyde Park and the play park. Thanks to the History Society for providing the stakes on to which they have been nailed.
Minutes of Elie and Royal Burgh of Earlsferry Community Council meeting held on 10th January 2023 at Earlsferry Town Hall
Present: Angela Anderson, Patricia Ritchie Angus Meldrum, Carol Birrell Grizelda Cowan and Kirsty Barclay.
Apologies from: Sandy Bingham, Nicola Hetherington, Cllr Alycia Hayes
No new declarations of interest.
December minutes –
Trisha asked if it had been requested at the December meeting that we should receive confirmation on which is our official Constitution as there appears to be several versions. Cllr Alycia Hayes agreed to check which is the correct one. Grizelda apologised for omitting this in the minutes and we look forward to receiving confirmation from Cllr Hayes. With that amendment the December minutes were proposed by Angus, seconded by Carol.
Sadly, no updates have been received.
Questions from the Public
It was asked if FC could remove the heap of redundant road signs which have been sitting outside the old Victoria Hotel for weeks. In addition, a similar request was made re signs left by the library and on the side of the unmade road leading to Grangehill and Easter Grange. Angela to ask local councillors to request their removal.
The meeting welcomed Neil Grieve who has been involved in seeing to the flagpole on Toll Green. He explained that it is in a state of disrepair and is a risk to public safely in its present state. It was agreed that FC should be pressed into looking into this and to see to its repair. Angela to contact FC on this.
The huts belonging to the Buffet have been offered for sale and it is believed that buyers have been found. Carol to ask Derek from the Buffet for an update.
FC is still debating the pollarding/pruning of the trees and the removal of the dead ones.
Replacement Gates by School
It was confirmed that the padlock attached to new vehicle access gate has been removed and both gates are now open. The sign still requires to be removed. It remains a mystery as to why it was ever locked.
Annual Ship Inn Fireworks Display
It was agreed that the CC should request an update on plans for next year’s display in the next couple of months.
Dog Fouling Posters
Posters designed by the children at Elie Primary School are now on display at Hyde and Archbald Parks, Toll Green and oat the playpark. However, they have suffered considerably due to the recent bad weather. Kirsty and Grizelda agreed to look into better ways of securing them
Angela has completed and submitted FC’s Local Plan survey. Her paper can be found at the end of these minutes. It was also agreed that this should be shared with St Andrews CC who were asking for advice on completing their survey. Thanks were expressed to Angela for providing such a comprehensive document.
It was agreed that a request be made to FC that the CC should be a Statuary Consultee for any future developments and that Angela, Sandy and Grizelda should continue to receive all planning applications on a weekly basis and that any applications which might be of concern should be flagged up at CC meetings.
Discussions led by Bridget with FC are on-going. There is to be a meeting with Ian Wilson of FC on Tuesday 31st January. It is hoped that, as funding of over £10.000 has already been raised, it might be possible to receive match funding which would enable installation of some new equipment, even if it the plan was to be more modest than the original, very expensive one.
Thanks to FCCT for the speedy removal of both the broken fence at the bottom of Telford Wynd and the old life belt further along the dunes.
Thanks were expressed to Philip Taylor who cleared up all the mess, including a large amount of broken glass and nails from burnt pallets, left by New Year revellers on the beach.
A request has been made to FCCT/FC that the seaweed at harbour beach should be removed soon as along with the rotting seaweed are dead birds and at least one dead seal.
Next meeting Tuesday 7th February 2023, 7.30pm, Earlsferry Town Hall. As usual this will be a public meeting and members of the public are invited to join.
Fife Local Development Plan for Elie and Royal Burgh of Earlsferry: aims and aspirations for the local area
Nothing about us Without us
Plans for a large housing development in the area were validated in March 2019. The draft decision was taken on 9th August 2021. However, the local community does not feel that their voices were heard in relation to the plans; a Participation Request for the local community to be involved in decision-making about the new housing development was rejected by Fife Council.
Given the scale of the overall development for the size of the town (15% increase in total residential units) the Community Council lodged a number of complaints with Fife Council, but it felt these were not properly addressed, their concerns were dismissed, and they ended up shouting into the void.
Historic Mine Shafts in the area planned for development
Sink Holes: Fife Council was advised by the Community Council in April 2019, that the proposed building area at the Grange lies close to the site of old mine workings. One mine chamber has been identified but, whilst there is historical knowledge of a second chamber, the location of this second chamber has not as yet been identified. This could lie under the area to be developed. There is a danger from old mines of sink-holes appearing many years after mining in the area has finished. The substrate in the area the planned development sits on is made up of coal and limestone. Limestone is a rock that is prone to dissolving over time to form caves and underground cavities. Although usually stable, these cavities can collapse either naturally or because of man-made changes to the surface and underground drainage. When this happens buildings and other structures can suffer subsidence. The first discovery of a redundant mine shaft may therefore be when a hole appears on the surface.
Little notice was taken of this feedback until a large sink hole emerged on Grange Road when the Gas Board was attempting to lay some pipes. The Coal Board had to be called in to help deal with this and the road was closed off for many months as the issue was tackled.
Mine gas emissions: The application proposes to build on land previously mined for coal. Coal seams often contain significant amounts of endogenous gas (firedamp), whose main component is typically methane and sometimes carbon dioxide. Firedamp can be released from unmined parts of the seam for a relatively long time after the end of mining operations. It accumulates in residual mine spaces at the same time as other gases from the transformation of materials present in the old workings and/or in the air that may still be able to circulate through the old workings (nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide). The combinations of these gases form a mixture called "mine gas". Very often, this mixture is severely lacking in oxygen or even virtually oxygen free. Mine gas can migrate to the surface where its presence can then induce significant risks: risks of explosion, suffocation or poisoning. Release of mine gas can occur through a direct path between the old workings and the surface because of the mine opening up, faults or cracks or the unintentional connection of post-mining voids to the atmosphere due to drilling or excavating work conducted close to the old mine. EECC therefore strongly objected to this application as no detailed investigation of the underground mining reservoir and the assessment of the risk of mine gases migrating to the surface had been undertaken.
Treatment of disposal and wastewater: Scottish Water has confirmed in the application that there is ‘insufficient capacity in the Elie Septic Tank to service your development’ and stated that ‘a growth project is required to increase the available capacity’. The Community Council would welcome a growth project to increase this capacity to deal with existing pressures on the system and allow for development in the village. Until critical infrastructure is in place to support further growth, EECC objects to temporary short-term fixes being put in place with no discernible date for long term solutions. We note that SEPA have lodged a similar objection (13th March 2019) to this application. EECC would be happy to support an application with the developer to Scottish Water to expedite the growth project but until we have a clear timeline in place to improve our basic infrastructure, we cannot support the growth of the village beyond its capacity.
Following a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by members of the local community, it now appears the outcome being taken forward by the Developer is that ‘you will be left with the same level of service you have today after the developments are joined to the existing system’. This I would suggest is totally unacceptable and certainly not satisfying the conditions of Planning in Principle
Of course, it is acknowledged by everyone that the existing level of service is substandard however Elie beaches have maintained their exemplary standard throughout these problems. This seems to be the ‘justification’ for the current proposal.
Fortunately, SEPA, who have had doubts all along regarding the discharge of effluent and surface water from the development, are involved in the evolution of the proposals as the ultimate consenter. They were only persuaded to remove their objection to the development when the proposed connection to the existing system was proposed. The Condition for the delay to construction until a Growth Project had been defined and a commitment to fund by SW/Developer had been enshrined in a Section 75 Agreement.
Concern centres round whether the intention of SW/Developer to increase capacity is really a ‘Growth Project’. It is also unclear how it will be achieved. There are lots of questions raised.
a) Where is the existing surface water within the combined system to be redirected and discharged?
b) How will the existing septic tank at the harbour be expanded?
c) What is the risk to bathing water quality?
SEPA has rightly queried the technical issues especially the modelling which they have asked to be redone as the data assumptions made were incorrect and the impact on bathing water was missing. As we know locally at busy times the existing system often overflows sewage into gardens in at least 3 locations in the village. SEPA has rightly flagged up that even with favourable data there is a high risk of creating ‘a visible slick or plume through the tidal cycle’
With the concerns noted above and the fact that there are currently still a number of issues in the villages relating to sewage contamination of roads, plus the Covid virus can be found in sewage, it is surprising and unacceptable that the community council has not been able to provide input into the planning process and it has required the submission of a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request to garner further information. It would be helpful therefore to become a consultee and to have sight of or access to the technical reports, specifically the outcome of the modelling following SEPA’s intervention.
The aims of the community now include the following:
Fife Council allows and enables the Community Council to be involved as consultees in the decision-making process in relation to the current housing development.
A review of the impact on the villages takes place after the first phase of the proposed housing development and any further work is determined by the outcome of the review.
Involvement and collaboration work better: Fife Council should take the opportunity to mainstream community participation across the planning application process, including those awaiting a decision.
The local Playpark group which is a sub-group of the Elie and Earlsferry Community Council would like to see new equipment installed at the local playpark in Elie. The intention would be for the playpark group to co-design the play-park area in collaboration with the relevant team at Fife Council and be involved in the decision-making process regarding the most appropriate equipment.
As a significant portion of the funding is being sought locally, a phased implementation would be preferable so that the community can see earlier progress being made. The new park will benefit all homeowners in the village and holiday makers alike.
A review is required of the Traffic Management System in the villages with a Traffic Management plan developed in collaboration with the Community Council. This should include the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on Elie High Street and Park Place along with the placing of Speed Indicator Display equipment such as the Messagemaker Displays at the entrances to the villages to secure the roads and keep the public safe.
Speeding is a nationwide issue that causes increased accidents, noise pollution, and air pollution. Vehicle Activated Speed signs are popular traffic management solutions in reducing vehicle speeds to create safer and cleaner roads.
Messagemaker Displays offers a wide range of LED road safety signs. In this range there are 3 main types, ideal for Parish Councils, Town Councils, Industrial estates, Car Parks, and more. They can be powered by battery, solar power or 230-volt mains power and will flash up the speed of drivers approaching the village.
There are 2 preferred options which display the speed of the oncoming vehicle:
SPEED INDICATOR DEVICE (SID) – Displays the speed of any oncoming vehicle travelling over the speed limit along with a “SLOW DOWN” message.
SMILEY ACTIVATED MESSAGE (SAM) – Displays the speed of any oncoming vehicle along with a red ‘sad face’ for speeding vehicles, and a green ‘smiley face’ for vehicles travelling within the speed limit.
The villages have been asking for a number of years for this to take place.
Additional parking preferably on the outskirts of the villages is also required to deal with the influx of visitors and their cars during the holiday periods.
Chair Elie and Earlsferry Community Council
16 December 2022