Sunday, 14 December 2014

Cllr Tim Brett's Community Council Update for December 2014

TIM BRETT’S REPORT
NEWPORT, WORMIT AND FORGAN COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETING
MONDAY, 8 DECEMBER 2014

1. Fife Council Budget Pack 2015/18 – Public Consultation is now taking place on the proposed budget for 2015/16 and the subsequent two years. The public consultation continues until 15 January. Of particular interest are:-

a. Possible changes to education provision in schools which could involve changes to the length of the school day and
b. Possible changes to Day Care arrangements locally, particularly at the Leng Home. The Council have indicated that they are looking for an alternative provider and that a review of day care arrangements will be undertaken.

2. New Madras – The detailed planning application was considered at the North East Fife Planning Committee on 10 December and was approved.

3. Wormit War Memorial – The cost of cleaning, repointing etc. has been estimated at £2,980 plus VAT.

4. Newport Skateboard Collective –An initial meeting of the new liaison group was held on the 10th December. The skate park is expected to be built in Spring 2015 and completed in June 2015.More details will be available once the contract is let .All of this will be communicated to local residents once the details are known. If there are any other residents who would like to join the group , please let me know.

5. Madras Late Bus – Approval has been given for a second late bus following overcrowding problems that have occurred in recent weeks.

6. Wall, Mount Stewart Road –Fife Council have now received detailed proposals from the owners engineers regarding the repairs. It is hoped that this will allow repairs to be undertaken in the near future.

7. Police Community Engagement Meetings – I believe that changes to the CEM meetings have been agreed but I am awaiting confirmation of changes to dates. The next local meeting should be on 12 January at 7.00pm in the Blyth Hall.

8. Parking at Leuchars Railway Station – Following concerns raised with me by a Newport resident I have highlighted that 290 parking tickets have been issued at the station since the 1 April 2014. I am still awaiting the timetable for the expansion of the car parking facilities at the station.

9. Elmwood College – As members will have seen in the Fife Herald, Fife College have announced that they will be leaving the Elmwood Campus in June 2016 due to cuts in funding. Fife College currently provide a range of non-land based courses at Elmwood including courses for special needs students. I have written to the Principal of the College about this.

10. Waterstone Crook Community Sports Hub – A further meeting of the above group took place on 2 December and there was discussion about the fitness area at Waterstone Crook. Stephen Rottger will be meeting Scott Urquhart, Service Manager to discuss this.

11. Changes to Street Lighting Columns – Fife Council Transportation are proposing new street lighting columns in the conservation area in Robert Street, Myrtle Terrace, Kilnburn, Victoria Street and Castle Brae. I would welcome the Community Councils comments on these proposals.

12. Steps down from Gowrie Park – have been cleaned.

13. Gaelic Road Signs – Fife Council has received funding from the Scottish Government to change boundary and main road signs to bi-lingual. Signs will be changed only as they need replacing.

14. HMIE Community Learning and Development – Madras Area – the Council’s CLD Service in the local area was recently inspected by HMIE. Scores of “good or very good” were awarded against the four categories. I can make copies of the report available to anyone who would like to see it.

15. Fife Council’s Energy Programme, Wind power – I have received a further update on the above programme.

16. Tay Road Bridge Slipway – Work to remove overgrown trees and vegetation will be undertaken before Christmas.

17. Craigshannoch Park, Wormit, Path – Following an accident, part of the path has been fenced off.

18. Tay Plan, November Newsletter – I have received a copy of the above newsletter. 121 responses have been made to the main issues report and they are being considered.

19. Wormit Primary School Code Club – has received a Star Club Award. The Code Club is a nationwide network of after school Coding Clubs for children aged 9 – 11 years that teach children to make computer games, animations and web sites.

20. Issues at Forgan Roundabout – Following discussion at the last meeting, I contacted Colin Stirling and he has asked Carol Dunn and Gordon Hughes to liaise with the Chair of the Community Council about this.

21. Forestry Commission, Tentsmuir – The Forestry Commission are reviewing facilities for visitors at Tentsmuir and Reres forests. I will be meeting with them early in the New Year.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

LibDem councillors urge caution when parking at Leuchars

A Liberal Democrat councillor has expressed grave concerns about the difficulties in finding a parking place at Leuchars Station and the consequent large number of fines being issued.

Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett has today expressed concern about the very large number of parking tickets that have recently been issued at Leuchars Railway Station.  Cllr Brett said, ‘As everyone is aware, the car park at that station is full from very early in the morning until late in the afternoon.  Up to four dozen cars are then parked along Station Road all the way from the footbridge up to the junction at Toll Road.’

Cllr Brett went on to say that he had been contacted by a Newport resident who had incurred a parking ticket for parking outwith a marked bay. ‘When I spoke to the Council’s parking team, I was shocked to be told that a total of 290 fixed penalty notices had been issued at Leuchars since 1 April this year. 258 of these had been for parking outwith a marked bay. 24 were for parking in an electric vehicle charging bay (without charging) and 8 were for parking within a disabled bay without displaying a blue badge. I fear that many of those who received tickets will not park at Leuchars again. What is particularly frustrating is that it is now next to impossible to get a parking place in the station car-park unless you arrive there very early in the morning.’

Cllr Brett recalled that the Administration of Fife Council had agreed to provide funding for an extension to the car-park at the budget meeting in February this year. ‘Whilst I am aware that some progress has been made, planning permission having been granted, I understand that we are still waiting to hear from Transport Scotland as to whether they are going to provide matching funding this vitally-needed project. Despite my asking Council officials on a number of occasions for an update, I am still waiting to be told whether the money has been received.’

He continued, ‘This situation is now getting intolerable, not helped by the strict enforcement by the Council’s car-parking team, although we know that new parking facilities should be provided soon. The difficulty at Leuchars is that there are no alternative on-street parking sites available, so I would caution motorists to be very careful about where and how they park. Urgent action is needed to deliver the extra parking spaces that have been promised, with a clear timetable of when this will be achieved.’

Cllr Brett concluded by expressing the hope that the proposed new car-park spaces would resolve the problem. ‘Furthermore, the introduction of charges will perhaps help to discourage motorists from driving from as far away as Dundee and Angus, to park at Leuchars Station.

Cllr Tim Brett and Cllr Maggie Taylor are pictured below at the station :

Sunday, 23 November 2014

LibDem concern over Blue Badge backlog

Cllr Tim Brett, Leader of the Fife Council Liberal Democrat Group, has expressed concern about the significant delays that occurred earlier in the year regarding the issuing of blue badges to disabled people.
Cllr Brett said, ‘My attention was drawn to this situation in May, so I contacted the staff who deal with the blue badge scheme. At that stage the backlog of cases to be dealt with was significant with, at one point, over 1,500 applications requiring to be processed. I am, however, pleased to say that these delays have largely now been resolved.’
Cllr Brett explained that new regulations that tightened up on the qualifying criteria to the blue badge scheme, which covers nearly 20,000 disabled people in Fife, had been introduced by the Scottish Government. ‘As badge renewal is every 3 years, there are, in total, about 6,300 applications that have to be renewed but because there had been staffing difficulties there were very significant delays in May, June and July. Currently, it should take 14 days for desktop assessments to be completed, though a smaller number of individuals will then be requested to have an individual mobility assessment. Unfortunately, there is still a backlog in dealing with some of these applications as there are only two part-time occupational therapists to carry out the assessments.
The eligibility criteria are not based on any particular disease or age but apply to those who are virtually or unable to walk.’
Cllr Brett added, ‘Whilst I am pleased that we have now caught up on this backlog, I am disappointed that I and other elected members were not kept informed of progress relating to this. I have therefore raised my concerns with the Head of Transportation and the Executive Director for Enterprise and Employment. I know that a large number of complaints were made during this period by Elected Members, MP’s and MSP’s, as well as the families of clients themselves. I hope that this problem will now not recur because the Blue Badge Scheme is highly valued by all those who use it and it is important that the Council provides an efficient and sympathetic service.’

Friday, 21 November 2014

‘Keep Me Posted’ campaign receives boost from Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North East Fife

Cllr Tim Brett gives support to Keep Me Posted campaign and pledges to fight for consumer rights if elected.

The Keep Me Posted campaign has received a boost from Cllr Tim Brett, the Liberal Democrat Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North East Fife.

Cllr Brett has signed up to the campaign, which calls for greater consumer choice and protection of all consumers.  

Keep Me Posted has been pressing for the consumer’s right to choose how organisations, such as banks, energy and telecoms companies send customers their bills and statements, whether online or on paper.

The call comes in the face of an increasing trend for businesses to switch their customers to mainly digital communication, which isn’t always preferable or suitable for a large proportion of UK consumers.

Keep Me Posted believes the next UK Government should follow the lead of other European countries, such as Spain and France, where recent legislation has been passed enshrining the right of consumers to choose in which format to receive their bills and statements, without having to pay extra.

Judith Donovan CBE, who chairs Keep Me Posted, said, “I am delighted that Tim Brett has pledged to support the campaign. Almost seven million people have never used the internet, including 37,000 in Fife, and a further 11 million lack the basic skills to send emails or shop online, let alone take care of their finances entirely online. That’s an awful lot of voters in the North East Fife constituency who would be keen to elect a candidate who has their interests at heart. Several other countries have changed the law to protect customers, and I am confident that Cllr Brett will raise this important issue in the corridors of power if he is elected to represent the North East Fife constituency."

Tim Brett said, ‘While many people will be happy to receive only electronic bills, the fact remains that there are many who are either not confident enough to use the technology or who cannot afford it. It's important that no one in the community is penalised for not having access to the latest technology. I fully support this campaign.’

Keep Me Posted is calling for businesses and other organisations to offer consumers the right to choose by adopting the campaign’s six-point ‘right to choose’ charter.

You can sign up to the Keep Me Posted campaign yourself by calling 020 7566 9773;  writing to Keep Me Posted, 24a St John Street, London EC1M 4AY or sharing your stories, preferences and experiences at www.keepmeposted.uk.com.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Tim's Community Council Update for November 2014

NEWPORT, WORMIT AND FORGAN COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETING

1. Fife Local Plan – Consultation on the Fife Local Plan runs from Monday 27 October to midnight on Monday 8 December 2014.  The documents can be viewed on line at www.fifedirect.org.uk/fifeplan or at your local library.

I attended the drop in event on the Local Plan in Cupar on 6 November.  It is hoped that the new Local Plan will be adopted in 2016.  Individuals or groups will need to re-submit any comments that they made to the Fife Plan Main Issues Report or development strategy consultations if they feel that these are still valid. If they do not do this then these will not be considered when the plan goes to the examination phase.  

2. New Madras College – The detailed planning application for the new school is now expected to come to the North East Planning Committee in December.

3. Community Payback Team have cleared two paths in Wormit.

4. Newport Skateboard Collective – Funding for the above scheme has now been achieved.  Arrangements are being made for an initial meeting of the liaison group that is being set up and which was agreed as part of the planning consent. Would anyone from the Community Council like to be part of this?

5. Guide to Winter Gritting and Snow Clearing – I have received a copy of the above guide.  Further information is available at www.fifedirect.org.uk/winter.

6. Smart Energy Meters – National publicity has now commenced regarding the roll out of smart meters between now and 2020.  More details are available at www.smartenergygb.org.

7. Tay Railway Bridge – Network Rail have applied for planning consent to replace life expired boards on the railway bridge.  It is proposed to use GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) to replace the boards.  The proposed repairs are part of the £80M works carried out on the bridge over the last 15 years.

8. Peter Anderson who works at Newport Primary School was a gold award winner in this year’s Fife Business Diversity Awards.  Many congratulations to Peter.

9. Granary Lane Meals – will resume for residents from week commencing 17 November after an absence of over four months.

10. Madras College – HMIE Inspection – As members will have seen the school received a very positive report from the HMIE Inspectors.  Copies have gone to all pupils at the school but I can also provide a copy if anyone would like to see it.

11. Woodhaven Play Park – It has been agreed that the roundabout at the above area will be replaced from the local area budget (locality funds).

12. Area Transportation Works Programme 2015/16 – Transportation Services are carrying out assessments of areas that should be included in the above programme. The Community Council are invited to suggest any areas that should be included.  This will also cover any traffic management and road safety schemes.

13. Bollards, Bottom of Bay Road, Wormit – I have received a request to install bollards at the bottom of Bay Road to prevent vehicles driving along the sea wall.

14. Newport Primary School Travel Plan – I have had an update that the above plan is  being updated.

15. Fife Youth Forum – I was part of a panel answering questions at the above event on 4 November and then met with a number of looked after children.

16. Wall – Mount Stewart Road – I have further discussions with the Fife Council Road’s Engineer regarding the wall which collapsed in Mount Stewart Road twelve months ago.  He is still waiting to sign off detailed proposals from the owners engineers before work on this will commence.

17. On At Fife – I have received a copy of the most recent diary giving details of the activities in museums and galleries in Fife.  More information is available at www.onfife.com.

18. Engagement Session: Education Provision in Schools – Fife Council’s Education Service are holding engagement sessions around the school week; school timetabling approaches and new leadership models in schools.
The meeting in North East Fife will be at Bell Baxter High School on Tuesday 25 November from 6.30pm – 8.30pm.

19. Community Defibrillator – I have spoken to Dr Hamish Tait of Operation Heart Start and they would be willing to consider a request from the community for a community defibrillator in Newport and Wormit.

20. Fife Harbours Strategic Study – The Council area intending to update the 2003 study which looked at the leisure development potential of the 37 harbours in Fife.

21. Neart na Goaithe Offshore Farm – The above wind farm which is 15 kilometres off the Fife Coast has been given the go-ahead.  It is hoped that construction will begin in 2015.

22. Fife Council Non-Recurring Grants and Support in Kind – I have received a copy of the Council’s booklet regarding the above giving details of the different types of community grants that are available to voluntary groups in Fife.  I would be pleased to pass this on to anyone who is interested.

23. Police Enhanced Community Engagement Model (ECEM) – The Council and the police are consulting on changes to the police CEM model including the possible holding of up to three ECEM meeting per year in North East Fife.

24. Fife Deaf Community Service – are holding training sessions for sign language interpreter awareness training on the 13 and 14 November.  Places must be pre-booked.

25. Sports Hub – I have received a copy of a Directory of Support that Sports Clubs might use.

26. Kingdom Housing – I have received a copy of the Kingdom Housing Annual Report 2014.

27. Fife Council Award, Overall Council of the Year – Fife Council won the association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) Award at their annual prize giving in Nottingham.

28. Tay Toad Bridge, South End Roundabout – BEAR Scotland have advised that they do intend to undertake a thorough redesign of the planting on the roundabout before the end of March 2015.

29. Christmas Events in Newport – This year’s event will be held on Saturday 29 November and the Rotary Club are holding a Christmas Fair in the Blyth hall on the 30th November from 11.00 to 4.00.

30. Overhanging Vegetation in Naughton Road, Wormit – This has been reported and the work should have been carried out on 10th November.

31. Council Parking Attendants – The Council’s Car Parking Attendants have issued 12 parking notices up to the middle of September in Newport.

32. Fife Pilgrim Way – The Fife Coast and Countryside Trust are consulting on the possible establishment of a Pilgrim’s Way from Culross to St Andrews.

LibDems hail Superfast Broadband at Drumoig

Liberal Democrat Tay Bridgehead councillors Tim Brett and Maggie Taylor have warmly welcomed the arrival of superfast broadband for the community of Drumoig, between St Michaels and Newport on Tay.

Councillor Taylor explained, ‘The residents at Drumoig highlighted the very slow speeds of broadband that were at that time available to them over three years ago, Since then the Drumoig Residents Association has been working with myself and Cllr Brett, officials from Fife Council and the Scottish Government to try and achieve a better service.’

Councillor Brett agreed and added, ‘It is great news that superfast broadband is being provided for this community. Previously it had appeared that British Telecom would not be able to provide such a service but I am very grateful to them that this has now been put in place and I hope that all the residents in Drumoig will be able to take advantage of this. I know that there are a number of individuals who, like many others in North East Fife, work from home and that this will be a real boon for them. Superfast broadband is now becoming a critical “must have” for many people and I warmly welcome the way in which this service is now becoming more widely available. To get a superfast service, residents will, of course, need to make provision with a supplier.’

Local businessman Harry Orr was very pleased with the improved service. ‘Running a business (Design & Development of Technical Optics) from Drumoig exposed the limits of internet speeds locally. While ordinary web & email services were available, it was not possible to fully utilise other business related web-base services. Seminars, teleconferencing, and technical software downloads were all difficult to support due to the low connection speed, and any service which required live streaming was impossible; we had to access higher speed by using an office in Dundee! But with the new access to higher speeds here at Drumoig, I’m looking forward to having those services available in my own office. It also means the connection can support domestic traffic (media streaming, etc) so that other users at home will not impede the office services.’

LibDem councillor welcomes retention of Gate Guard at Leuchars

Leuchars Community Council and Cllr Tim Brett, member for the Tay Bridgehead Ward have welcomed the news that one of the aircraft at the main entrance to RAF Leuchars will be retained when the base transfers to the army at the beginning of April 2015.
Cllr Brett said “The news that the Tornado aircraft “gate guard” will be retained has come as very welcome news to the Leuchars Community Council. I think it is very fitting that the Army Units that are coming to Leuchars from Germany want to retain the link with the RAF to remember the nearly 100 years of service that the RAF have provided at Leuchars. The retention of the aircraft will be a fitting memorial to all those who have worked and served at RAF Leuchars over this time.’
While Cllr Brett was sure that in due course the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards or the Royal Engineers might want to locate other equipment at the entrance to the base, he was sure that everyone in the community would welcome this decision by the RAF, and concluded,
‘The Community Council is also very pleased that the stone marker “RAF Leuchars” at the roundel by the guardroom is to be moved to junction gardens next to the railway station as yet another reminder of the close links between the RAF and the local community.’

Monday, 6 October 2014

LibDem concern over continued financial pressures on Social Work Service



Cllr Tim Brett, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Fife Council, has expressed concern about the on-going financial pressures on the Social Work Service across Fife. 

The Tay Bridgehead member said, ‘Despite the Administration’s assurance that this issue would be addressed through last year’s Priority Based Budgeting work, it is now clear that the pressures on the Social Work Service have not lessened, and once again we are heading for a significant overspend of £15 M this year. This is particularly worrying in the lead-up to the new Integrated Health and Social Care Service, as I know that there are equal pressures on NHS Fife Services.’
Cllr Brett observed that it has been known for many years that pressures on the Service would get worse due to the rising numbers of elderly people in the population, and also with more children needing to come into care. ‘It is now clear, ‘he continued, ‘that the Service is working at full capacity and apparently can only cope by putting people on a waiting list. Over the last few months the number of older people waiting for assessment has increased by 50% from 500 to a figure of 741. This is very worrying as it is likely to lead to more families and individuals getting into a crisis situation, if preventative work cannot be carried out at an earlier stage.’
Cllr Brett recalled that as part of this year’s budget the Labour Administration had proposed that the overspending problems would be addressed over the next 5 years by using £14 M of funding from balances and had stated that the overspend this year would be £5.2 M. ‘However, we are now being told that it will be £15M. I said at the time of the budget that I did not believe £5.2M would be sufficient to cover the overspend and this now appears to be the case.’
Cllr Brett urged both Fife Council and the NHS to think more radically about solutions to these problems. ‘The alternative is that waiting lists will grow longer and the overspend will get greater.  This means looking critically at the best way of delivering services and at who might be the best providers of those services, whether provided in-house or through the voluntary or private sector’ and concluded, ‘Other authorities are doing so, as the Scottish Government has asked, but I can see no sign of this happening in Fife at present.’

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Leuchars Station car-park - LibDem councillor welcomes progress on extension

Liberal Democrat Cllr Tim Brett, one of the Tay Bridgehead representatives, has welcomed the update on the provision of additional car parking spaces at Leuchars Railway Station in his ward. Cllr Brett said, ‘I have been contacted over the last few weeks by a number of local residents who have highlighted the ongoing difficulties of parking at the station due to the existing car park being full to overflowing, with frequently two dozen or more cars parked along Station Road. In addition I have been made aware that some people have missed their train because they have not been able to park their car.’
Cllr Brett went on to express his pleasure that some progress had been made in progressing the project but added, ‘The car-park expansion was included at the request of the Liberal Democrat Group as part of the Fife Council budget in February 2014. I understand that the Council has also now applied to Transport Scotland for additional funding from Transport Scotland’s Station Fund and discussions in relation to this are ongoing. I would however like to see faster progress being made as there is clearly an urgent need for the expansion of car parking spaces and to encourage more people to use the train. I have had a number of conversations with senior officers of the Transportation service on this subject and anticipate that we will get details of the timetable for it in the near future. However I hope that a start can be made in the current financial year.’

Friday, 19 September 2014

Madras College Judicial Process - Councillors comment

Cllr Maggie Taylor
Liberal Democrat Cllrs Tim Brett and Maggie Taylor have recently met with senior solicitors of Fife Council to discuss the arrangements for the judicial review which has been lodged against the proposed new Madras College site at Pipelands.
Afterwards, Cllr Brett said, ‘We had a very useful meeting with two of the Council’s senior solicitors and they explained to us the timetable for the review. It should be noted that arrangements have now been made for the review to be held in mid December but it could well be towards the end of March before any decision is made public. Even at that point, there is a possibility of a further appeal should STEPAL decide to go down that route.’
Cllr Taylor added, ‘I know that parents and children who have been waiting anxiously for news of the new school will be very disappointed at this latest delay. Both Cllr Brett and I have been working for many years to try and achieve a new school for the children in the Madras catchment area. This whole process has taken far too long and must be having an adverse effect on the education of our children.’
Cllr Brett explained that it would appear that the grounds for the judicial review are based upon:-
a. the view that the North Haugh would have been a better site for the school. Arguments for this have of course been well aired and;
b. that too much weight was placed upon ‘educational reasons’ rather than planning ones when the decision was taken.
Cllr Brett further observed, ‘It is ironic that the three ex-teachers of Madras should be arguing that too much weight was placed on educational grounds given that they and everyone else acknowledge that the present facilities at both Kilrymont and South Street are sub-standard and, as we know, were severely criticised by HM Inspectors many years ago.’
Cllrs Taylor and Brett concluded by saying, ‘We hope that this process can be completed as quickly as possible so that progress can then be made on this much-needed new facility for children in this part of North East Fife.’

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Economic update on NE Fife towns

Town centres in North East Fife are leading the way out of the recessions, according to the percentage of empty shops over the past 5 years.

Councillor Tim Brett Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group  explained, ‘A recent report shows that the rate of vacant shops since 2009 in Anstruther has fallen from 9.38 to 4.76 while that in St Andrews has been reduced from 4.83 to 4.74. 

‘To put it another way, the number of empty units in Anstruther has fallen from 6 to 3, while in St Andrews the number is still 10.    This may only be a small change but it is extremely encouraging, especially considering that the average for the whole of Fife has increased from 14.97% to 16.15%. 

‘It is to be hoped that these figures can be further improved and also that the rest of Fife will soon catch up.’

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Tim's Community Council Update for September 2014

TIM BRETT’S REPORT :   NEWPORT, WORMIT AND FORGAN COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETING - SEPTEMBER 2014

1. Crossing at the Top of Station Brae – The vegetation that is obstructing vision at the top of Station Brae is programmed to be removed on 19 September.

2. Fife Plan – Proposed Local Development Plan – This will be going to the Council’s Executive Committee on 9 September.  If agreed, it will go out for a final period of consultation.

3. Newport War Memorial – I have received quotations for the cleaning and repair of the War Memorial.  The Community Council are asked to apply for funding from the local community planning budget to carry this out.

4. Tay Road Bridge Closures – A review meeting was held involving the Police, emergency services and Council representatives following the incident in May.  It had been suggested that it might be possible for the bridge to remain partially open during such incidents but the unanimous response from all agencies including the Fire Service, Police and Coastguard was that the bridge must be closed during such incidents.  This is to ensure that all agencies can work and communicate effectively to resolve any incident as safely as possible.

5. Madras College – As members may have seen in the press, the detailed planning application for the new school will not be coming to this week’s meeting of the North East Fife Planning Committee.  It is hoped that it will come to either the October or November meeting.  More information has been requested on the potential flooding risks.

6. Fife Carers Centre – are offering free workshops for parent carers with a child with additional support needs of high school age and of anyone caring for someone living with dementia?  I can provide details for anyone who may be interested.

7. Leng Resource Centre – This year’s annual fete will be held on Saturday 20 September starting at 12 noon.

8. Flass Road, Wormit – Further double yellow lines have been put down around the bend on Flass Road next to the primary school.  This will hopefully improve road safety in this area.

9. Director of Health and Social Care – is Mr Sandy Riddell from Moray Council.  He has taken up post on 1 September.

10. Waterstone Crook – Following discussions at the Waterstone Crook Sports Hub meeting, it has been agreed that Newport Primary School will use Waterstone Crook from 1pm to 3pm one afternoon a week.

11. Newport and Wormit in Bloom – received silver awards at the recent Beautiful Fife Awards ceremony on 28th August.  Many congratulations to them and to everyone who has worked so hard to achieve this.

12. A Sign for the Elderly – has been erected on the High Road to warn motorists that  the residents from the Caledonia Housing Complex and from Kinbrae Park may be crossing the road.

13. Graffiti on A92 Road Signs – I have reminded BEAR of the graffiti on the road signs on the A92 approaching the B946 turn off.

14. Eden Estuary September Newsletter - is now available on the community website.

15. Path in Wormit – I understand that the path from Wormit House to Peacehill Farm is blocked.  I have asked if the criminal justice team can clear it.

16. Foodbank – I attended the meeting of the Management Committee on 22 August.  The Foodbank is now fully operational and they would like to thank everyone who continues to donate goods or cash to the project.

17. Waterstone Crook Community Sports Day – 29 children from 5 – 11 attended the sports day on 16 August and had the chance to participate in bowls, gymnastics, karate, squash, tennis and trampolining.

18. Proposed Waiting Restrictions – at Blyth Street and Kilnburn and Castle Brae at Westfield Terrace were agreed for public consultation at the last North East Fife Area Committee.

19. Fife Elderly Forum – I have received a copy of their summer/autumn newsletter.

20. Domestic Waste Collection for Holiday Homes – I have received notification that such properties will no longer receive a household waste collection service as they are regarded as business properties.

21. Fife Housing Partnership – Local Housing Strategy Area Events – New local housing strategy for 2015 – 2020 needs to be in place by April 2015.  A drop in event will take place at the Corn Exchange in Cupar on Tuesday 30 September from 5pm – 6.30pm and from 6.30 – 8pm.

22. Housing Repairs by Appointment – The Council is now able to offer customers appointments for both routine and urgent housing repairs.  I can provide more details for anyone who would like to see this.

23. Next Generation Broadband Update – I have received an update from Steve Revell regarding the above programme.  The target is for 98.4% of all premises in Fife to be able to receive superfast broadband of at least 24 mbps. Further details are available at www.digitalscotland.org or by e-mail to superfast@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. 

24. The Byre Theatre – As members will have seen, agreement has now been reached with the University of St Andrews for them to manage and operate the Byre Theatre.

25. Newport Skate Board Collective – I attended the AGM of the above group on 18 August.  Tenders for the project should be received this week.

26. Tree Felling, West Links Road – A Wormit resident drew my attention to the tree felling in the above area.  The area is covered by a current thinning licence.

27. Go Flexi Service – Minor changes to the above services have been introduced from 18 August.  The new booking number is 01382 540624.

28. Empty Homes – I shall be meeting  the Regional Empty Homes Officer later this month to review the number of empty properties in the Wormit and Newport areas.  A number of these are now being charged  200% council tax.

29. ATM Machine Clydesdale Bank – Following contact with the bank I have been advised that arrangements are being made for the ATM machine to be reinstated week commencing 22 September.

30. Commenting on Planning Applications – As from 1 September 2014, the Council will accept comments on household applications for up to 30 days from the validation of the application.  For all other applications the time limit is 40 days.

31. Wormit Boating Club – Skiff Project – I have been advised that the skiff to be called Catalina will be launched on Sunday 21 September.  

32. Steve Grimmond, the Council’s Chief Executive has recently highlighted the way the Council has helped improve things for customers in 2013/14 .  This includes:
1200 young or disadvantaged people into jobs 
1800 adults involved in literary and language learning
Reduced the number of people made homeless by 12% to just over 2000 households.

33. Homelands Trust, Fife – I recently visited the above project on Leven Road in Lundin Links. The Trust have completed the construction of four self-catering holiday cottages which are fully accessible and specifically designed for people with a range of disabilities.  The Trust has also built the Paxton Centre which has flexible accommodation with therapy and meeting rooms.  These facilities will be of interest to anyone who is looking for holiday accommodation for people with a disability.  I can provide more details for anyone who would be interested.

Monday, 8 September 2014

LibDems congratulate Kingdom on house repairs for elderly

A Fife councillor has welcomed the high levels of satisfaction with Kingdom Housing’s Care & Repair service.
Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Tim Brett congratulated Kingdom Housing on their good work in North East Fife, which, following referral by Fife Council, included the installation of 52 wet floor showers, constructing 3 permanent concrete ramps with associated door widening, building an extension and carrying out a major internal renovation to a property. In addition, the Small Repairs has carried out 189 jobs, to nip disrepair in the bud before it damages the integrity of the property. Home owners over 60, as well as those registered disabled over 50, can apply for work to be carried out, as can some private tenants whose responsibility includes repairs to the property; the assessment visit costs £10.

Cllr Brett said, ‘Because these repairs keep older people safe and living longer in their own homes they perform an extremely valuable service. The percentage of Fifers aged over 60 is 24.8% and set to rise, with householders headed by those aged between 60 and 70 expected to increase by 17% while those headed by an over-75 year old are projected to go up by 88%. Furthermore it is estimated that 27% of households in owner-occupied housing and 24% in private rented accommodation include someone with a disability or long-standing health problem. This means that requirement for such repairs as well as adaptations to homes will only increase. Fife Council recognises the important contribution to providing safe and appropriate housing for the elderly by Kingdom Housing Association.’

Thursday, 4 September 2014

LibDem concern over increase in delayed discharges

Cllr Tim Brett, a member of the Health and Social Care Partnership, has raised concerns about the increasing number of delayed discharges being experienced by NHS Fife.  

Cllr Brett, a previous Chair of the Health and Social Care Partnership, has highlighted the fact that the figures for July 2014 of 96 delayed discharges are at the highest level they have been since January 2011. He noted that 12 patients have been waiting more than 12 weeks and a further 27 are waiting more than 4 weeks and said, ‘I am aware from my previous experience that this is a very worrying figure, particularly as this is in the summer months and we would normally expect to see an increasing number of delayed discharges over the winter period.

I am sure that this number will be causing real concern to NHS Fife as they struggle to keep up with both emergency demands on their services and also deal with waiting lists. I know that this number of patients will also be increasing costs to the NHS of several million pounds and given the fact that the Council’s Social Work Service are also facing very real financial pressures this must be a major worry.’

Cllr Brett continued, ‘When I asked the question at last week’s Health and Social Care Partnership meeting, the Chair, Cllr Andrew Rodger, advised me to look on the ISD website to obtain the figures. I firmly believe that the Partnership should be receiving these figures on a regular basis as a matter of course. The Health and Social Care Partnership has responsibility for overseeing all services in Fife and delayed discharges are a good indicator as to whether the systems in place in both the NHS and the Council are working properly. It is simply not good enough for Cllr Rodger to state that members of the Partnership should look for this information elsewhere as, if this is the case, I do not see the point of having a Health and Social Care Partnership. I am not suggesting that figures are deliberately being withheld from the Partnership but this might be the conclusion that others would reach.’

Cllr Brett gave further details about the business considered by the Partnership. ‘At last week’s meeting we had reports on Re-Shaping Care For Older People, reports on the Winter review 2013-14 and a report on year 2 of the Local Unscheduled Care Action Plan. In none of these reports were there any figures for delayed discharges, even though it is recognised that this is a very real issue faced by Fife and all other Councils and Health Boards in Scotland.’

He concluded, ‘I have now had a chance to look back at the papers for the last 4 meetings of the Partnership and at none of these have figures on delayed discharges been presented. I am calling on Councillor Rodger to ensure that we do get regular information on delayed discharges at the Health and Social Care Partnership in future. I know that this is an issue which is being discussed between the NHS and the Council and is also of major concern to the Scottish government therefore it is a matter that should also be coming to the Health and Social Care Partnership.’

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

LibDems welcome final money for games area

Liberal Democrat councillors in NE Fife have warmly welcomed the allocation of £11,000 which the North East Fife Area Committee recently agreed for the Balmullo MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) from the Area locality budget. Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett said, ‘This final allocation of £11,000 should now allow this important development for Balmullo to go ahead. We are very grateful to all of the funders for their support and I would particularly want to highlight the contribution of £20,000 that is being made by the Community Covenant Fund in recognition of the close links that the local community has with service personnel at RAF Leuchars.’

Fellow Bridgehead councillor Maggie Taylor agreed, adding, ‘The addition of a MUGA next to the primary school in Balmullo will not only provide an extra facility for the children at the school to use but will also, once school has finished, be available for the rest of the community to use during the evenings and the rest of the weekends.’


Both Councillors emphasised that there has been strong community support for the project, singling out, in particular, Ronnie Davidson who chaired the Group which oversaw the scheme from the beginning, and concluded, ‘We are now looking forward to having an early start on site and the successful completion of the project.’