Minutes of  Meeting held on Wed. 12th September 2018 at 7.30pm in Church Hall.

Present: Messrs. R. Baxter [Chair], I. Duncan, K. Topping, Mrs.P.Blake-Johnston, J. Houston, B. Lawrie & L. Walker.  Fife Councillors:-JA Liston, B. Thomson &  A.Verner .

Apologies:. Fife Cllr. D. Nolan.

The Chairman introduced Mrs. Kate Balsillie, Headteacher of the Primary School, who outlined the proposed school activities for the year ahead. Strathkinness School has been linked with Guardbridge since Christmas. Her role as Headteacher of both schools is very much a matter of balancing the requirements of each school. She works in both schools every day, and with excellent collaboration  from her staff, the system has been working very well. Strathkinness had an intake of 10 P1 pupils this year, bringing the school roll to 86. She felt that this was pretty much the limit for the school, as conditions can get a bit cramped both in the classrooms and the playground. Between 30 -40%  of the pupils come from outwith the catchment area. She did expect the school roll to reduce next year as a large P7 class would be moving to secondary school. Some refurbishment during the summer had improved the school environment and she hoped that more work would be done soon. Class restructuring had meant that a small library and study space had been created. There are 4 teachers, including one probationer, supported by an administrator on the staff. Outdoor education is now a prominent feature in schooling today and the school is very fortunate have the co-operation of the Community Trust for access to the Community Garden and the Bishop’s Wood. The School is working with outdoor educationalists Chris Wilde and Tony Wilson on future projects. It is planned to use the woodland facility for the older children with the younger pupils using the Community Garden. The School has a very active Parent Council and their fundraising efforts are much appreciated and should lead to the provision of improved playground facilities. The use of the Community Council marquees and the Village Green had greatly benefited the School Summer Fete. The school is keen to promote local history projects and would welcome any input from villagers who could provide useful information to assist the pupils. The Chairman thanked Mrs. Balsillie for very detailed insight into school activities and wished her well for the future.

Minutes of the last monthly meeting:- Approved by Mrs.Lawrie seconded by Mrs. Houston.

Matters arising:-

Electricity at Village Green- The Community Trust has no plans to install an electric point on the Village Green.

Beautiful Fife Competition- 2018.- The village had again achieved a gold award in the competition. Councillors expressed their appreciation of the efforts of everyone who had worked so hard to maintain the appearance of the village.

Standing Items:

Treasurer’s Report:- Mrs. Walker reported that the current bank balance stood at £930.

Police Report:-  No report had been received from the Community Police Officers for July and August. Mr. Topping reported that training for the Speedwatch Campaign was shortly to commence. After a very protracted vetting process 4 volunteers are due to be trained in the use of the new equipment. The Chairman thanked Mr. Topping for his efforts on behalf of the community.

Planning:- Applications for had been noted for the erection of a dwelling house at Nether Strathkinness Farm. A two story extention at Monksholm Farmhouse had been permitted with conditions. The erection of garage and rear extension at The Poffle, Sunnyside had been permitted with conditions. A single storey extension at The Paddock, Sunnyside had been permitted with conditions. An application for erection of Double Garage at 31 Mt. Melville Crescent had been permitted with no conditions. Application for erection of 2m high fence at Sunnyside Cottage, Sunnyside had been was permitted without conditions.

 Village Infrastructure:- The condition of the local roads again caused considerable discussion. The matter seems to be worsening and in the view of the elected councillors there seems little likelihood of any improvement in the near future because of the financial constraints on Council spending and urged residents to use the Pothole hotline to report areas of concern. Mr. Topping highlighted that one of the road signs on the approach to the village from Kincaple had collapsed and the directional signs at the lower crossroads seem to be vulnerable, as they appear to fall over rather often. Councillor Verner reported that she was still awaiting information regarding the street lighting query at Bonfield Park, and that a section of the play equipment in the School Playing Field had been closed off for safety reasons. Discussions are continuing on the remedial work required to reinstate the equipment.

Traffic and Transportation: Mr. Topping highlighted the fact that HGVs and buses were continuing to use the High Road as a route to and from St.Andrews. He had spoken to one tour bus operator to remind them that the road is unsuitable. Councillor Verner reported that there had been considerable dialogue with the Stagecoach regarding an increased provision of a direct bus service to Dundee from Strathkinness. Mrs. Slack had raised the issue and discussions with Mr. Gethins , the local MP , Mr. Rennie, MSP , the Bus Company Senior management and the Local Authority had produced no positive conclusions. The suggestion that one of the 99 service buses could be routed through the village was rejected by the bus company. They recommended that there was a Go-Flexi service available. It was also noted that with the recent change to Moffat & Williamson to operate the Route 64 there was now no bus service into St.Andrews on the Low Road past Rufflets and the Western Cemetery. The change of operator also means that villagers wishing to travel to Dundee now have to get to the Stagecoach bus station from M. & W’s terminus at South Street. Not the most convenient of arrangements for elderly travellers. Councillors expressed support for any move that would improve the direct link to and from Dundee.

Communications with Village Organisations:- The Secretary intimated that the Community Trust were to hold their Annual Apple Harvest Day at the Jubilee Orchard on Sunday 30th September between 1.30 and 4pm . Apple juice making will be featured,  and garden produce will be available.

Correspondence. A letter from Strathkinness Curling Club, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year seeking support for their celebrations planned for later this year. Councillors were to seek more information from the Club to ascertain the most suitable type of support.

AOCB.  Mr. Bob Bilson, from the floor, raised the subject of preparing a Welcome Pack for newcomers to the village. This had been done previously by Mrs. Slack and Bob would be happy to resurrect the scheme. Councillors thanked Bob for his proposal and the Secretary would discuss the matter with him for further action.

Election:- The Secretary reported that the Community Council elections were due to be held on 4th October 2018. Nominations closed on 6th September and only 3 nominations from sitting Councillors were submitted from Strathkinness. 5 nominees were required for the Council to reform and subsequently the Council will cease to function on 3rd October.  Several sitting Councillors had wished to continue but had been unable to submit their nominations in time. Fife Council officials have stated that a petition to reform the Community Council , containing a minimum of 20 residents on the electoral roll, could be submitted for consideration and if successful the new Council could be reformed at the same time as the St.Andrews election in April next year. The retiring Councillors agreed to proceed with preparing a petition as soon as possible. Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Houston offered to create the petition list over the next few days. The Secretary, who has served on the Council since it was formed in July 1977, expressed his disappointment that the Council had folded after all those years. It had brought many significant benefits to the growing Community and been a useful link to Fife Council and the elected Councillors. It can be a very frustrating role, when financial constraints mean little or no progress can be made on a wide range of local issues which everyone is familiar with. Strathkinness may be a small and insignificant link in the chain but being small and insignificant is better than being nothing at all, and he hoped that the Council could be reformed as quickly as possible. It was agreed that a Community Group of interested parties would continue to meet to discuss the future prospects for reforming the Council.

Date of Next Meeting of Community Group:- Wednesday 10th October 2018 at 7.30pm in the Church Hall.