Community Development Trust

What is the purpose of the Trust and how is it regulated?


Saline and Steelend Community Council sponsored the Community Futures exercise back in 2011 and have ‘ownership’ of the Community Action Plan that emerged from the process. The Action Plan identified five Themes and a number of Priorities for each of them.


The purpose of the Trust is to encourage and support local organisations and individuals to undertake projects that will achieve the Action Plan objectives.


The Trust is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) and is accountable to the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR). Consequently it can also carry out the more-ambitious projects identified in the Action Plan that require the acquisition of buildings or property, the employment of staff, or significant expenditure.


The present Trustees will step down at the first AGM later this year and ten new Trustees will be elected by the Membership. Two additional Trustees will be nominated by the Community Council.


Action Plan Update
The recent Talking Tables event at Steelend Club, hosted by Saline and Steelend Community Development Trust, provided an opportunity to review what progress has been made in implementing the Community Action Plan.  ‘Ownership’ of the Community Action Plan rests with the Community Council who sponsored the Community Futures Exercise from which the Action Plan emerged back in 2011.  Other West Fife villages are now following Saline and Steelend’s lead and carrying out their own Community Futures exercises.  The role of the Development Trust, which was established earlier this year, is to encourage and support local organisations and individuals to carry out the projects that reflect the priorities identified in the Action Plan. 

The Trust will also be able to undertake projects that require the acquisition of land and property, employment of staff, and significant expenditure.

The Development Trust is a Scottish Charities Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) and is accountable to the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR).  It is also a registered charity.  Responsibility for ensuring that the Trust operates in a proper manner rests with 12 Trustees, two of whom are nominated by the Community Council.  The remainder are elected by the membership at Annual General Meetings.  For the time being there are Interim Trustees who will step down once a membership base has been established and an AGM can be called.

The recent Talking Tables event was very poorly attended but the small number of people who did come along were very positive about what has been achieved and the projects that are on-going.  Apart from Trust members representatives of the Horticultural Society, Heritage Society and Environmental Group were present to explain projects.  Consequently we are using this edition of the Community Bulletin to summarise where we are in relation to the different Action Plan themes and priorities.  Not everything that has been achieved is a consequence of Community Council and Development Trust activity but we believe the preparation of the Action Plan has been a catalyst for change.  Consequently we have to give credit to Fife Council, our elected representatives, local businesses and other orbanisations and individuals who have made things happen.

Theme 1:  Attractive and well-kept villages

Improve the derelict Saline Hotel and other ‘unsightly’ sites

The derelict Saline hotel has been demolished and planning permission has been obtained to build three family homes on the site.  Other untidy areas within the villages that residents complained about have been dealt with but others remain.

A major eyesore is the abandoned Blair House open cast site but pressure is being kept up on Fife Council and the administrators for Scottish Coal to find a solution that will ensure that the £3m bond is used to reinstate the site in a way which is acceptable to the local community. 
Spruce up the villages

This is a rather non-specific priority but many people would acknowledge that one particular benefit of carrying out the Community Futures exercise and producing the Action Plan and is a better level of appreciation of our built and natural environment matched by a desire to maintain and enhance it, and a greater intolerance of those who spoil or abuse it.

A community leisure garden and local food

A number of suggestions have been made for establishing a community leisure garden and allotments and these are being evaluated.  There is also considerable interest in ‘local food co-ops’.  A first step might be to establish an internet-based ‘swap shop’ so that local growers with surplus fruit and vegetables can find ‘consumers’.  A sophisticated version of this is already operating in a town in Yorkshire that is part of the ‘Transition Towns’ movement.  Saline Primary School were involved in planting up the orchard on the Forestry Commission’s Muirside Estate and it is hoped that once established a local group will take responsibility for its upkeep.
Heritage display and information

But perhaps the greatest achievement within this Theme is the establishment of the Heritage Society, which through its monthly meetings during the autumn and winter, exhibitions in the old Session House and specific projects such as trips of other historical places, the preparation of the heritage trail leaflet and its work in the old graveyard has significantly raised awareness and appreciation of the archaeological, industrial and cultural history of our area.

Theme 2: Community facilities and activities

Improve play and recreation areas

Improvements have already been made to the swing park in Steelend and a young mum in Saline has approached the Trust about getting improvements made to the small park on North Road that could benefit both small children and elderly people.  Getting something done about the derelict swing park off Upper Kinneddar also remains on the agenda.

Youth facilities

Over the last year a number of meetings have taken place between Councillor Bobby Clelland and the group of young people that came forward at an earlier Talking Tables event, to look at establishing a meeting facility that they could manage, and also the provision of new facilities across the community, for example a MUGA (multi use games area) in Steelend.

Better use of all community facilities

The Community Bulletin and website mean that events can be more-widely promoted and those responsible for the facilities that already exist, principally the golf club and Steelend Club, are providing more events.  The coffee morning on Wednesdays at the Church Hall is increasingly popular and discussions have taken place about using the church for musical events.  The recently-opened coffee shop at Shieldbank provides an additional opportunity for people to gather.  

Saline community centre remains an under-used asset and the Steelend building is not open at all.  Their unattractive appearance and unsuitable internal spaces for the activities that people would like to see is a major challenge but the sketch displayed at the Talking Tables event showing a possible makeover for Steelend Community Centre created quite a lot of interest. 

The drawing showed the existing roof removed and replaced with a new lightweight, highly-insulated first floor structure, generous glazing to take advantage of the wonderful views and the ground floor over-clad to make it more attractive and welcoming.  It could be made suitable for a wide range of activities including a café and community shop.  It is well-located for passing walkers, cyclists and motorists and is right next to the bus turning circle.  At the Talking Tables event it was reported that the football club has been wound up and the possibility of re-developing the football ground to provide housing for elderly people was suggested.  This might help cross-subsidise the community centre project.  If funding could be found Saline community centre could be acquired and improved in a similar way. 

Support and activities for older people

A number of initiatives have been talked about since the Action Plan was prepared, including the possibility of working with Strathcarron hospice to introduce locally-delivered end of life care.  The possibility of establishing a community-owned business to deliver care to local people also remains high on the agenda.  At present a significant number of carers travel away from Saline and Steelend to work for private companies elsewhere.  The recently-launched Fife Shine project, a partnership between Glenrothes-based social enterprise company BRAG and NHS Fife, could provide a template for similar ‘micro businesses’ that use local people to provide services for the elderly and keep the money in our area.

Better provision of information about facilities and events

Within this Theme the major achievement has to be the establishment of the Comms Group and the monthly Community Bulletin and website www.salinsteelend.org.  Over the year ahead the intention is to promote the eBulletin so that the number of hard copies that have to be delivered is significantly reduced.  They also intend to encourage ‘street level’ representation so that established customs such as the issue of ‘welcome packs’ to new residents and the sale of raffle tickets for local events like the Bonfire and Firework display, as well as promoting ‘neighbourliness’, is more-easily achieved.

Within this Theme it is important to remind ourselves how many events and activities are already taking place in our community.  Apart from the bonfire and fireworks, Saline and Steelend runs the only horticultural show in the West Fife villages and the unique annual art and photographic exhibition.   Additionally 25 or so voluntary groups active in the parish provide a wide variety from karate to country dancing.

Theme 3: Walking, cycling and access to the countryside

Safe pedestrian and cycling route to Oakley

As many of you will know Lottery money was obtained to carry out the first stage of the Saline to Oakley path down as far as Kinneddar Park.  Fife Council were ready to start the project last month but a serious contractual dispute between the Forestry Commission, over whose land a substantial part of the path passes, and their management contractor for the Muirside Estate, prevented Fife Council gaining access and the Lottery have been notified that the grant offer will not be taken up at this stage.  However, Fife Council has received funding from Sustrans to carry out the path from Kinneddar Park to Oakley, with a connection off towards Blairhall, and once the Forestry Commission’s difficulties have been resolved the intention is to re-apply for 

Lottery funding for the section up to Saline.

Protect and develop Saline Glen

Most people recognise what a valuable asset Saline Glen is but recognise that a significant amount of work needs to be done to make it safe for people to walk the entire length to Steelend.   The owners are willing to sell it but a financial appraisal that was carried out showed that it was not economically viable for the community to acquire it.  However the Trust will continue to seek a solution and in the meantime the possibility of new paths that link the useable section of the Glen path back to Main Street, already used by dog walkers, is being considered.  It is hoped too that upgrading of the Glen entrance will be completed soon.

Develop paths into the countryside, signs and maps

The Forestry Commission’s acquisition of the Muirside Estate has created a number of new opportunities people to walk and ride into the countryside to the south west of Saline and these will be enhanced once the Saline to Oakley and Blairhall paths have been completed.  New paths have been created to the east of Saline behind the golf course and opportunities to create circular walks around the area is being explored.  Sadly the ‘mothballing’ of the Blair House open cast site has delayed the reinstatement of the path between Kinneddar Park and Cowstrandburn.   The Trust is currently preparing a grant application that will assist the consolidation of the local path network through the provision of additional signage, seating and interpretation boards

But the most exciting initiative is the ‘String of Pearls’ project promoted by the West Fife Community Projects Group that is seeking to create a continuous path from Kincardine to Kelty and which will provide the opportunity for local people and visitors to enjoy and celebrate the heritage, archaeology and natural environment of our area.  Substantial parts of the route already exist and the Trust is working with representatives of other West Fife communities to identify the missing links.  Creation of the temporarily-postponed Saline to Oakley path will be a significant contribution.

Theme 4: Housing, services and the local economy

Housing for the elderly and young families

The need for affordable housing, particularly for elderly people and young families, was mentioned by many who completed the Community Futures’ survey and the affordable housing sub-group set up at that time by the Steering Group looked at opportunities for community self-build projects on infill sites around the villages and for larger developments by housing associations.  The group was able to draw on the Housing Study undertaken some time earlier. 

Whilst a small number of people are opposed to the provision of affordable housing in Saline most people recognise that encouraging new families into the area and assisting young people that have grown up here to remain will help ensure the long-term sustainability of our community. 

The school has welcomed this prospect as the roll has been falling and it has the capacity to absorb more pupils.  Greater demand will also reduce the likelihood of the shop and post office closing and other services being withdrawn.  New development will place additional pressure on the infrastructure but these are problems which can be resolved.

Both the Community Council and the Trust are supporting Kingdom Housing Association’s planning application for new homes on the land on Oakley Road to the south of the park but will be pressing for the very highest standards of design and place-making and to ensure that infrastructure issues are properly dealt with.

Improve broadband and mobile phone coverage

It is particularly gratifying that an Upper Kinneddar resident who operates a business from his home stepped forward earlier this year to ‘champion’ this issue.  Working with the Comms Group a survey of broadband speeds that people achieve in different parts of the community was carried out.  The Scottish Government, who are committed to ‘rolling out’ superfast broadband to all rural communities by 2018, use 2Mbs as the minimum acceptable speed. 

Some homes in our area achieve this but others don’t, and some homes cannot receive terrestrial broadband at all.  The Comms Group have had meetings with Community Broadband Scotland and the person in Fife Council with responsibility for introducing superfast broadband in our area.  Some initial work to upgrade the line between Oakley and Saline has already been carried out.  The latest information is that BT Infinity will reach the Oakley exchange in March of next year.

Improved public transport

As yet no significant improvement has been achieved to bus services but a short but effective campaign by Steering Group members and other local people, supported by Councillors, persuaded Stagecoach and Fife Council to reintroduce some evening services to and from Saline and Steelend and to provide the number 28 bus linking Steelend to Dunfermline via Upper Steelend and Wellwood.  Discussions have taken place with Community Bus providers elsewhere in Fife but the plan for such a service for Saline and Steelend has not reached fruition.  It remains an aspiration.

Feasibility of a community café

There is a considerable interest in developing a community café/community hub and the acquisition and adaptation of either Saline or Steelend Community Centre could accommodate such a facility.  Several local people have shown interest in running the café and we hope to report progress in this direction next year.  In the meantime the Golf Club is providing morning coffee, afternoon tea, lunches and dinners and we now have the coffee shop at Shieldbank.  Coffee and cakes are also available in the church hall on a Wednesday morning.

Theme 5: Roads, traffic and parking

Road and pavement repairs and maintenance

Maintaining roads and pavements in the face of especially severe winters and frequent heavy rain is a major challenge for Fife Council, financially and logistically.  However, the West Road and the road from Steelend through Upper Steelend towards Kelty have been resurfaced, but more needs to be done to bring all roads in the area up to standard.  The Community Council and the Trust will continue to put pressure on Fife Council to meet its obligations.

Traffic calming for speeding and HGV traffic

The road from Dollar through Saline and Steelend and on to Kelty continues to be heavily-used by lorries.  However, the Council’s Transportation Department has seen sense and introduced a 40mph limit between Saline and Steelend.  The Community Council and the Trust will continue to campaign for a 50mph limit on the section from Steelend to Redcraigs.  Within the villages themselves 20mph limits have been introduced for residential areas.  Discussions have taken place with Fife Council about introducing physical measures to reduce traffic speeds at Kinneddar Park and it has been reported recently that the Council will introduce measures to reduce traffic speeds on the Oakley Road as it enters Saline.
Solutions to parking issues

Parking on Oakley Road across from the school and congestion at dropping-off and picking-up times remains a major concern for some people.  Last year at a Community Council meeting a parent with children at the school suggested that the problem could be eliminated if the bus turning circle was adapted to include a dropping off point and greater use was made of the rear entrance of the school.  The entrance on Oakley Road would be for those arriving on foot.  This idea has been taken up by the Trust and discussions have taken place with the family who own the land adjacent to the turning circle who have indicated that they could consider making land available.  The family themselves continue to harbour an interest in building houses on the land behind the school and along the West Road, and whilst many people would find the idea of a large number of new homes unacceptable a sketch displayed at the Talking Tables showing a small number of houses surrounding a new ‘village green’ and an attractive new pathway up to the school from a reconfigured bus turning circle attracted positive comments.  The sketch also showed a new gateway into the church from the path leading up to the school which would provide a more-gentle gradient.  This proposal is also dependent on the cost of relocating Scottish Power’s transformer being affordable.




KINGDOM HOUSING ASSOCIATION’S PROPOSAL FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT OAKLEY ROAD, SALINE



Alan Henderson, Business Development Manager, Kingdom Housing Association 



Following an extended period of discussions with the Community Council and landowner; site investigations; and public consultation, Kingdom Housing Association finally lodged a planning application in principle with Fife Council in August to develop the field south of the playing fields for affordable housing. We estimate that the site can accommodate approximately 50-55 houses.

All the material associated with the application can be found on the Council’s website Fifedirect, reference number 13/02421/PPP. Any interested party may submit comments to Fife Council. Whilst there is no specific cut-off date for such comments, it would undoubtedly assist Fife Council if they were submitted by early November.

At this stage, the Association is simply seeking the agreement of Fife Council in principle that the site is suitable in planning terms for affordable housing to be developed. If granted consent, we will then prepare detailed proposals in 2014 on which we will consult with the local community prior to submission for planning permission. At that stage, local people will have a clear idea of the house types and tenure; what the proposed development will look like; and how it will function and be linked to the existing community.

By ‘affordable housing’ we mean housing of good quality and high energy efficiency which can be accessed by people whose means or circumstances do not allow them to secure a suitable home through the operation of the marketplace. It is likely that the majority will be for rent, although other forms such as shared equity will be considered.

The Association is a Fife-based charity and Registered Social Landlord which has built and manages a housing stock approaching 4,000 units. Our interest in pursuing this project in Saline is based upon the following circumstances –

   · There is evidence of significant housing need in Saline and the wider West Fife villages area. This is confirmed by waiting lists; a housing needs study carried out by the Council; and by work carried out by the Community Council itself. 

· The Community Council has expressed its support both for the need for more affordable housing in the village, and for the suitability of the site. 

· Various investigations and a traffic study show that the site is indeed capable and suitable for residential development. 

· The landowner is willing to sell the site to the Association for a price which fairly reflects its value for affordable housing. 

· Fife Council as Housing Authority and the Scottish Government are supportive of our bid for grant funding [subject to securing planning consent] to underpin a development at this location, given its priority based upon housing need. 

· There is a supportive planning framework in the Dunfermline & West Fife Local Plan. 

Taken together, these factors encourage the Association in its justification in taking the project forward. We recognise that not everyone will accept the arguments we have put forward in the planning application as to why it ought to be granted consent, but we firmly believe that it is in the greater public good that it does proceed. It will provide homes for those needing good quality housing at a reasonable price; it will create choice and opportunity in the village; and it will support local services. In doing all this, the proposed development will have a beneficial effect on the community generally. It is now a matter for Fife Council to determine.

I, on behalf of the Association, will continue to liaise with the Community Council throughout the whole process. If anyone has further queries at this stage, please contact me at a.henderson@kingdomhousing.org.uk or on 01383 515919.
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