Committee Meeting Minutes, 2 December 2019


Crail Preservation Society

Minutes of Committee Meeting

Legion Hall

Monday, 2 December 2019

Present: Sandy Young, Paul Hutchison (vice-chairman), Jude Gallon, Derek White (Treasurer), Dennis Gowans (chairman), Derek Maclean, Laura McKay, Anne Black, David Jerdan, Ian Ramsay, Sutherland Madeiros, and Kelsey Jackson Williams (secretary).

1. Apologies were received from David Mann.

2. Minutes of the Committee Meeting of 12 August 2019 were approved as read.  In matters arising it was noted that the golf tournament had been completed with a significant contribution to CPS funds and that the doocot funding cycle was now complete.

3. Officers’ and Sub-Committees’ Reports were given as follows:

  • Sutherland Madeiros and Jude Gallon gave the Membership Report.  Little to report other than membership has been passed from SM to JG.  81 paid up memberships at present.  JG to liaise with KJW about having a direct contact available on the website.  DJ noted that it had been agreed last year that life members should be given the opportunity to make an additional donation each year; this would entail a separate form for life members.
  • Derek White gave the Treasurer’s Report:
    • The Annual Accounts had been circulated to members but are currently still in draft format as they have yet to go to the Independent Examiner for audit. They show an overall deficit of £12,571. Donations totalled £1,805, principally from sums raised by the Wine Club (golf revenues appear under fund-raising events rather than donations).  Subscription income was down by £400 (86 subscriptions this year, no new life members).  Statement of balances is in order.  The money received as donations at the Doocot was too late to be included in the Accounts.  This amounted to £550.
    • It was noted by DJ that we have not yet received the sum for gardens historically split with Crail in Bloom.
    • RBS has lost the papers provided for new signatories as discussed at last meeting.  They have come back asking for minutes of the meeting where this was authorised.  This will now be done.  There was a general agreement that the time has come to move banks.
    • In planning the forecast spend for 2019-20 DW observed that fixed costs come out at £5,120 (including hanging baskets – £3,200).  Fixed income comes out at £2,120. 
      • SY has not yet received a quote on lime-washing costs for the Doocot.  IR suggested £1,200 every second year was a likely figure.
      • There is a possibility of hanging baskets being taken over by Crail in Bloom, but this has not yet been discussed with it.
      • A suggestion was made that we provide the Annual Report to members in digital form where possible.
      • ~£500 for legal costs surrounding acquisition of remaining portions of Denburn Wood are to be anticipated.
      • DG noted that the bottom line was that base costs are now higher, so additional fundraising and grant funding will be essential.
    • Doocot Insurance: the current sum insured (~59k) is much too low.  HES require insurance up to the cost of full reinstatement.  The current surveyor’s report places the reinstatement cost at £325k + VAT.  IR will liaise with HES about insurance valuation and report back to the Chairman as soon as possible..
    • DW will investigate the possibility of trustee indemnity insurance.
    • Building works for Doocot came to £137k. It was agreed that £4k would be kept in a designated fund and replenished annually to provide a long-term reserve for Doocot maintenance.
    • Vote of thanks were minuted to DW for his fine work.
  • Paul Hutchison gave the Planning Report:
    • There have been three controversial applications: (1) Orchard Park, wendy house and demolition of a wall; (2) Westgate North, planning agreement broken concerning windows and sky lights as well as possible breach of use.  These first two are in the hands of Planning Enforcement.  (3) Watch House, which has generated considerable discussion, mostly positive.  David Mann has put together a CPS position: no objection, but commenting on potential restriction of passageway.  DM will submit this in due course.
    • Although a formal objection has been placed, no changes have been made to the drain pipes on the old bookshop.
  • Kelsey Jackson Williams gave the Website Report.  This is continuing on as usual.  Denburn Diggers’ reports are regularly received and any others are very welcome.  DG now also involved in website maintenance.  SY indicated that Peter Salkeld would be interested in providing translations of Doocot-related material.  If received, this will be placed on the website.

4. Doocot Project & Maintenance Plan (Sandy Young)

  • There will be a recurring cost of ~£500 for wifi.
  • 2335 kwh of electricity has been used so far (which would equate to £403 per annum), but in a week of normal usage only 7.7 kwh were used suggesting that the previous number was almost all from the construction works.  This normal usage would result in running costs of ~£70 per annum.
  • Some frost damage will need to be repaired by Nick Sweeney.  By verbal agreement this will be without charge.
  • The Lord Lyon’s Tree still alive.  A stone has been put beside it and a plaque has been made which will be placed on the stone.  A similar plaque with opening hours has also been made.
  • Income from collection box totals ~£600 to date.  It is estimated then that it will collect £600-£1000 per annum.  SY suggested that it would be useful to also have a card reader.  There was general agreement that this would be a good idea.

5. Kirkyard Project (Dennis Gowans and Kelsey Jackson Williams)

  • Concerning the South East Wall: a buttress has been placed behind the Bruce Monument, but no others.  Further works for stabilising the tops of the monuments will occur in March 2020.
  • The kirkyard flyer will be moved forward by the CPS’s new January intern in concert with the designer previously engaged.  This will also result in more content on the website.  DG and KJW will liaise with the intern before Christmas.
  • Concerning the Airdrie/Lumsden Monument: an HES funding application was put in on 27 November.  Its repair will be a £33k project and the CPS will be asking HES for £10k with the intention of looking elsewhere for the remainder of funding.  It was reported by Janice Laird that there is a settlement fund for NE Fife with reference to cemeteries which may be a fruitful further source.
  • Concerning the Mort House: the roof is in bad repair.  Investigations revealed that it was not owned by Fife Council, but rather by the church.  DG has now obtained the key.  It was minuted that it was a Mort House rather than a Death House.
  • Concerning the proposed Annual Wall Weed: regular maintenance work on the wall is now essential at least once or twice a year to cut back what’s growing.  The First weed is likely to be later in March.

 6. Denburn Park (Dennis Gowans)

  • The initial controversy has now died down.
  • Due to personal reasons, Chris Broom is not currently available to advise.
  • Planning permission is currently being requested for the placement of footpaths and installation of gates, but not change of use.
  • Money has been obtained from Paths for All.
  • There is a possibility of rental sheep from the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
  • Notice has been served and the present sheep will be removed at the end of February.  Confirmation was given that this should go forward.
  • DJ suggested the possibility of a wildflower garden in part of Denburn Park, perhaps the land below the Doocot, and other current neglected sections.  PH suggested the ground might be too fertile for wildflowers.

7. Small Projects and Updates

  • Denburn Wood.  David Jerdan reported.
    • The two asset transfer requests are with Fife Council, but this is moving very slowly due to Fife Council Legal Services.
    • The timber bridge has had work done on it.
    • Allowance has been put in for another layer of tirr on the paths.
    • Allowance has also been put in for legal fees arising from the asset transfers.
    • It would be desirable to concrete the Balcomie Road end of the burn for drainage purposes, but DJ suggested it would be best to wait for progress on Denburn Park before actioning this.
  • Mercat Cross.  Paul Hutchins report.
    • The unicorn is currently missing a snout and a left leg.
    • PH met last week with Iain Wallace of Fife Council.  The CPS will need to engage a conservation architect for the repairs proposed (ARC the likely individuals).  A cherry picker will then be brought out to obtain samples of the stone.
    • Watsons in St Andrews gave an estimate of £4K including VAT, but not including £888 for stone and mortar analysis.
    • Any repair could then be done in-house by the masons working for Fife Council.
    • It was stated in the Community Council that the Common Good Fund could pay for this.  DJ suggested that the CGF be applied to for the entire project.
    • PH will obtain an estimate from ARC.
  • Kirkyard Sundial.  Dennis Gowans reported.
    • A consensus reached between the Airds, the Community Council, and the CPS.  The dial stone will be returned to its original position this winter.  The sundial created for the Queen’s Jubilee will go in its place.
    • Anne Black will write to Liz Murphy at Fife Council concerning the peeling tree near the sundial.
  • Heritage Trail.  Dennis Gowans reported that progress is ongoing.

8. Fundraising 2020

  • This was largely covered in previous discussions.
  • The Golf Club is open to additional events and is potentially bookable for 25 September.
  • PH expressed reservations about running the event two years consecutively and noted the potential for burn out, both from organisers and participants.
  • LMcK queried whether prizes would be available annually.  SM reported that in at least one instance – Little Italy – an annual prize was assumed and welcomed.
  • DJ suggested that more golfers could be recruited this year and that the cost could be raised for non-Crail members.
  • DMacl suggested a prize for CGS members to encourage more Crail golfers to take part.
  • Open Gardens at Wormiston will take place on the 2nd August 2020.
  • DW pointed out the desirability of also raising funds during the first half of the year rather than having all the major fund-raising events in the latter part of the year.
  • PH suggested the possibility of reconstituting a distinct Fund-Raising Committee.

9. AOCB

  • PH and DW raised the need to have a more clearly articulated policy concerning CPS reserves and PH further advocated the need to maintain a smaller reserve.
  • DG suggested that the reserve might, however, be required for the kirkyard project in the future.

The next committee meeting will be the AGM and will be held on 17 February 2020.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Kelsey Jackson Williams

Secretary

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