We met in March with representatives of the Hillfield Swifts Football Club to discuss the club’s intention to join the East of Scotland Football Association and league. At the meeting, a number of prerequisites for joining the league were set out and dialogue is ongoing to help ensure the facilities at Ballast Bank meet these requirements while also ensuring changes do not impact on other users of the site, particularly the Highland Games. In order to join the league, the clubs needs to see improvements to the pitch condition and maintenance regime, installation of a pitch barrier, technical area, and assured access for match fixtures. The club would carry out these improvements at their own cost and it is viewed as a win-win, with improved facilities and reduced maintenance costs for the council. We have made clear that no changes should impact negatively on other users and we do not believe this will be the case.
With the Albert Hotel in North Queensferry closed for the past few months, we are aware of increasing discussion within the community about what might be planned for the hotel. Among the suggestions from within the community has been the idea of a community buy out. This would rely on significant fundraising and effort by members of the community, but if successful could see a thriving community pub, hostel accommodation, community hub, café or any number of other options. If the community opted to go down this route, we would be ready and willing to assist in whatever way we can.
We were very pleased that the Scottish Government Reporter refused Kingdom Housing Association’s appeal against the West Planning Committee’s refusal of their application to build houses on the play and the open space at Manse Road, Inverkeithing. This was a very unpopular application and opposed by the folk who live in the area and who were well aware that additional houses would not only result in the loss of a much loved open space but aso add to the existing congestion problems. Thanks to all those in the community who were able to attend the demonstrations and make their views known to the Reporter and the Planning Committee. Local folk intend to establish a play park group to take forward plans to upgrade the park.
The community planning initiative noted in our last newsletter is now well advanced with external consultant Aecom appointed to undertake the exercise over the coming months. The project ‘Imagine Inverkeithing’ is an exciting initiative aiming to collect ideas from the community on how to make the town a better place to live, work and visit. The team kicked off their first public engagement at the Community Information Day, hosted by the Community Council in April, and are distributing posters and flyers around the town. Public drop-in’s and workshops will be held at the Civic Centre on the 12th June, 3rd July and 10th July on the themes ‘Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your town’; ‘Your vision for Inverkeithing’; and ‘Making the vision a reality’. This is a chance to shape the future of Inverkeithing and we encourage everyone to get as involved as they can. Imagine Inverkeithing’s Facebook and Twitter accounts are @ImagineInverkeithing.
It is expected that traffic restrictions advertised for the North Road in Inverkeithing will be implemented in the near future. This will restrict commuter parking in this area, creating a safer environment for local residents and businesses. This follows regular complaints in recent months from locals on the impact of commuter parking and congestion. The traffic order will also ban right turns on exit from the Belleknowes car park.
With the weather improving we are receiving an increasing number of comments in relation to the condition of core path and local path networks. It will surprise some to learn that while core paths have a greater level of legal protection, there is no statutory responsibility or the required resource availability for the council to maintain the network. Where there are specific concerns such as overgrown paths, poor surfacing or obstructions, we would encourage these to be reported but note it may not result in immediate action. Where action is required, there are a number of approaches we can follow up including support of willing groups of volunteers from the community; requesting of hours from the community payback team; and support to identify funding sources to pay for work to be carried out.
Fife Council is very grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who helped in any way during the recent heavy snowfall. Many folk spent days clearing snow drifts in areas the Council couldn’t reach and others helped out by transporting folk to and from appointments and going for messages for their less able neighbours. The aftermath of the weather is the huge number of potholes that were created. The council is beginning to get to grips with these now though many remain to be filled.
Fife Council is currently undertaking an assessment of all headstones within council maintained cemeteries. It is believed upwards of 40,000 headstones across Fife require work to be made safe with those at highest risk being prioritised. To ensure headstones are both made safe and meet the requirements of relatives, families with any concerns are encouraged contact bereavement services by phone on 01592 583524 or by email at [email protected]
We received numerous emails from constituents in relation to the Edinburgh Airport Noise Action Plan consultation, which closed on the 2nd April. The airport is required to under EU and Scottish law to produce a plan every 5 years. Many of the emails we received noted inaccuracies, technical flaws and omissions in the plan. Feedback from the consultation has not yet been published but will likely form part of the input to future flight path impact assessments. We have previously written to the CAA highlighting local concerns and have again to note the importance of accurate information being used and to ensure the impact on communities is comprehensively assessed.
Over the past few months we have been supporting a group of local volunteers in developing a garden for patients and families visiting the Queen Margaret Hospice. The Queen Margaret Hospice Garden Group are working with NHS staff to develop a bed accessible, tranquil hospice garden within a currently unused courtyard at the hospital. The group have already secured over £30k and are continuing to raise funds to have the plans implemented later this year.