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

Monday, 10 November 2014

Tim's Community Council Update for November 2014


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 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

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

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

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.’