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Please scroll down for V4 Minutes of Extra Ordinary Community Council Meeting on Tuesday 26 March 2024

North Queensferry Community Council

Draft Minutes of Community Council Meeting on Thursday 13 June 2024 v2

Members Present: Iain G Mitchell (IGM), Jim George (JG), Gary Bald (GB), Peter Selbie (PS), Barbara McKechnie (BM), Rob Baker (RB),

Cllr David Barratt (DB), Cllr Patrick Brown (PB), Cllr Dave Dempsey

Guest: Karen Stewart (KS), Forth Bridges Area Tourism Strategy Manager

Members of the Public:  Eileen Donaldson (ED), Dave Neil (DN)

Minutes:  Barbara McKechnie (BM)

Agenda Reference




David Shields (DS), Cllr Sarah Neal (SN)


2.Previous Minutes

Circulated and Approved with DS comments.


3.Matters Arising



4.Forth Bridges Trail Signage

(Karen Stewart)

KS presented preview of last round of signage for the Bridges Trail.  Funding received predominantly from Fife UK Shared Prosperity Fund with some from BEAR Scotland.  Signage was approved after discussion.  Following questions raised on poor state of Picnic Area (included in signage) Agenda #7 was discussed.  Picnic area belongs to Network Rail (NR) so Fife Council (FC) have been reluctant to maintain.  KS will approach NR again; DD and DB will talk with Fife Council and DN will enquire of the Community Payback Team if they are able to assist on regular maintenance basis.  KS continued to outline events planned to celebrate 60th Anniversary of Forth Road Bridge: Exhibition at the Education Centre South Queensferry attended by NQ and SQ Primary Schools; walk over Bridge by Community Councils; evening lecture at Education Centre.  No public announcements until after General Election. Saturday 7th September will see further events including vintage bus rides on the Bridge.








5.North Q’ferry Local Place Plan

Formal adoption of Plan prepared by Community Trust (thanks to work of Secretary, J Hesketh) at short notice, the Community Council and North Queensferry Climate Action Network (NQCAN).


6.Forth Bridge

After intense prompting from IGM, a letter received from Catherine Ospedale (CO), Communications Director NR, enclosing excerpt from previously requested Arup report, breakdown of Options to address issues with estimated contractor costs, suggested Protocol for future claims.  IGM insists NQCC should be consulted on details of Options and noted that the Protocol assumes all damage comes from work on the Bridge and does not reflect possible deterioration.  In response to NR requesting further information, GB and DN to crosscheck all possible information has already been provided. IGM asks that ideas are put forward to simplify the use of a fund for re-imbursement and with the new NR Managing Director support, the way forward can be agreed.  (GB, DN and RN do believe little or no progress since March.)  IGM will write follow up reply to CO letter.  Cllr PB has followed up on dirty water and falling object issues with FC officers; FC considering writing to Office of Rail and Road (promotes health and safety across Great Britain’s railways) and will require access to track levels.  IGM summed up by stating that in his letter, all falling debris must be followed up, Option 2 must be defined and NQCC consulted on details.  GB highlighted, in view of slow progress, proximity of autumn/winter weather and queried funding of NR in Scotland (“mixture of direct grants from Scottish and UK governments”).


















7.Forth Bridge Picnic Area

See #4 above with actions


8.Battery Road Car Park and Toilet

PS still opening and closing the barrier. PS with DD, met with FC officer re new gate.  Delay due to lead time for Scottish Power connection (“gate could be available within 2 days”). New signage will be required. Once electronic gate fitted, car left out of hours could be charged £140 for removal.  Toilet building repairs still in progress. PS reported broken fence at Carpark.  DD will follow up with FC.







9.Disturbance from Quad Bikes

DD advised issue not confined to NQ area; non appropriate use of bikes also in Dalgety and Inverkeithing.  Issue has been raised at FC meeting to Police Inspector level but reporting of issues is essential to enable action to be taken. Send info to:  InverkeithingDalgetyBayCPT@Scotland.pnn.police.uk


10.Police Report

Police report circulated prior to meeting. Full report refers to Fife South-West area at a high level and breakdown shows: 73 calls related to the North Queensferry area (63 to Motorway network or FRB) No further detail refers to NQ.  IGM repeated request to FC Councillors that more information would be appreciated.  DD will feed this request back.





11.Traffic Issues

DD advised no update on date for roadworks on scheduled list.  PB confirmed, following sett replacement, traffic survey will be rerun at different locations.


12.Fife Councillors’ Reports

DB- no update on Brock Street survey to determine parking need.  JG advised any evening drive in area would confirm need.  Discussion followed on pros and cons of consultations and planning applications eg if traffic need is established, should one or two objections be allowed to prevent solution. After 4 July, DB and DD will follow up.

PB - following up and liaising with FC Rights of Way office re Charles Black Lane maintenance.  PB advised rubbish bin collection will be returning to one shift system from 14 October 2024 – collection dates may change but not frequency.  DD - advised on improved online facility for reporting of potholes, including option to add photos, and availability of updates. Report issues to: https://www.fife.org.uk/services/form-pages/report-a-road-or-pavement-fault






13.Treasurer’s Report – including possible donation to NQCAN

Bank Balance is £7504.24 with all invoices tendered having been paid to date.  Of this balance, £3990 remains allocated to The Brae Project and £392.21 to the Floral Enhancement Group, leaving a current balance of unrestricted funds of £3122.03.  IGM raised request from NQ Climate Action Group for funding assistance for signage around West Bay to deter dogwalkers around time of nesting season.  BM queried if funding had been requested from elsewhere.  DD and DB advised BM to contact Community Support Officer, Tessa Ramsay re possible start up funds for new groups and possible fund to be held by the Community Council to assist with requests from local groups.  BM will liaise with NQCC Secretary to gather information.











14.Social media and Website

DS is looking into options to update the NQCC website.  RB suggested investigating use of Squarespace.  BM advised of experience of Forthview Parish Church in website review.


15.Planning Applicatios

JG had circulated for comment one planning application to Members.  No comment made.


16.Floral Enhancement

ED advised of summer planting progress and the waterlogged state of part of the Brae.  Road drainage has improved but appears to be more water from wall to roadside. ED advised of some trimming of ivy at St James Chapel.  DB suggested may be related to planned structural survey.  DN has two quotes for slope works on the Brae.  After review of options, DN plans acceptance of lower of quotes at £900.



DB advised Inverkeithing Local Place Plan had been circulated.  No comment



No update to Albert Hotel.  DD recommended submitting enforcement case by submitting an Unauthorised Building Work form:  https://www.fife.gov.uk/kb/docs/articles/planning-and-building2/planning/planning-applications/unauthorised-building-work    IGM will follow up.  PS advised weeding by FC maintenance team on Battery Road not completed.  PS queried if NQCC will meet in August – IGM advised it will depend required NR discussion.






Date of next meeting:  Thursday 11 July 2024

All residents of North Queensferry are welcome to attend the Monthly Meetings.

North Queensferry Community Council

V4 Minutes of Extra Ordinary Community Council Meeting on Tuesday 26 March 2024

Members Present: Iain G Mitchell (IGM), Jim George (JG), Lin Collis (LC), David Shields (DS), Gary Bald (GB), Peter Selbie (PS), Barbara McKechnie (BM), Jacquie Low (JL)

Cllr Dave Dempsey (DD)


Network Rail:

Alistair Macfarlane (AMf) Head of Engineering and Asset Management, Scotland

Roddy MacDougall (RM) Head of Legal, Scotland

Catherine Ospedale (CO) Communication Director, Scotland

Sarah Duignan (SD) Senior Communication Manager


Members of the Public:  David Neill (DN), Eileen Donaldson (ED), Mike Low (ML), Sarah Chadwick (SC), M Chadwick (MC), Nigel Patterson (NP), Rob Baker (RB), Fiona George (FG), Pamela McKendrick (PM), Michael Chan (MC), Alan McCulloch (AM)


Meeting Reference



lGM outlined purpose of meeting, to engage with Network Rail (NR) attendees in relation to the question of the dirty water and polluting damage to the houses in the neighbourhood of the Forth Bridge and the options presented by NR to the Community Council (NQCC).  IGM expressed thanks for the attendance of the NR representatives. IGM stated the function of NQCC was to present the view of the affected community and stressed the issue was not water as such but the nuisance of damage to property plus the increased and ongoing incidences and stress.  IGM asked that the sharing of views be constructive and seeking to find solutions. 

Outline of Options

IGM invited AMf to outline the 4 options that had been presented in a survey to the relevant homes.  AMf advised that Arup, engineering, and sustainability consultants, had been engaged to carry out an option appraisal.  Arup had then returned an extensive report which was subsequently condensed by NR to produce the wide range of cost and task estimations within each option.  IGM stressed at this point that whichever option is selected, the community requires assurance that the steps taken will be effective.  AMf advised that no option could be guaranteed – the residue in the water is from different sources and areas of the Bridge.  AMf continued: -

Option 1 – a fund that offers tailored solutions to the needs of the individual.  It does not address the source issue.

Option 2 – looks at a range of deck works; the flattest areas were found to have bad breakdown of surfaces (source of orange residue) so coating and waterproofing to deal with majority of instances and least destructive to structure would be sought. Nighttime working would be required when trains not running – could be overpainting or, blasting plus painting forming two ends of estimations. Other suggestions could include caulking and targeted blocking of weepholes.  JL queried if this would include the black residue.  AMf did not think so advising it would help but not solve.  NR might be able to block further weepholes, but timber sections could not sit in water.  IGM sought and obtained confirmation that there was some flexibility for features of one option to be joined with features of another option.

Option 3 – focussing on drainage. Water would be picked up from the drainage system and taken down the piers.  AMf advised this would be more difficult to maintain, but possible.  It would involve planning permissions and UNESCO involvement as the visual appearance of structure would be changed.  IGM sought and obtained confirmation that Option 3 would take away water, but it would not have changed colour.

Option 4 – AMf advised this means complete lift of track on North viaduct and sealant applied underneath beams.  AMf further advised this action is involved in current long-term planning but approximately 30 to 50 yrs left before scheduled as necessary.  It would take away the black water and combine option 2.

Discussion Invited








































ACTION BY NR (11 April)






IGM opened the meeting.  AM queried if all holes were to be blocked. AMf confirmed only some to get rid of black water but in meantime the deck could be backwashed to pick up dirt – all adding to maintenance costs.  ML, followed by DN, queried if Arup’s had calculated pipe sizes and formation to regularly drain the Bridge, asking why drainage was so difficult.  It was confirmed to ML that Option costs referred to North span only. AMf advised that costing estimations were from contractors.  DN queried lack of weep holes at SQ end of Bridge – AMf advised that he does not know history of build design.  IGM reminded all that black /orange residue must be removed.  RB queried if residue equalled degradation of materials; AMf advised the residue is from deck plates which are not structural – recent project related to the load bearing structural issues.    JL queried if proposal would not be cheaper at this point in time so why wait and pay more.  AMf confirmed that Option 2 could be accelerated in comparison to Option 3 or 4.  Replying to DN query on likelihood of water draining in 5 years’ time, CO affirmed there would always be water from the Bridge.  IGM queried if Option 2 could be used for discolouration but also target some weep holes for black residue reduction.  AMf agreed but would have to check extent/degradation of deck.  CO advised funding is fixed from Scottish Government so NR would have to discuss.  CO confirmed if budget was only concern, then there would only be Option 1.  GB queried why the project took so long to identify a major issue.  AMf confirmed, after various comments, the recent project related only to load bearing structural elements and that drainage water, regarded as worse, was due to the cleaning that had taken place, revealing orange steel surfaces on deck plate topsides; only deck plate undersides had been painted.  AMf assured the meeting following query from MC, that the Bridge is dryer than it used to be and there is less structural degradation.  Concern was expressed by RB that if Option actions do not work then the issue would be repeated in 5 years’ time.   After AMf confirmed Arup had been asked for options combined with effectiveness and costs.  IGM queried lack of probability estimations and asked if Arup’s stated relative comparative advice be shared.  AMf advised that as Bridge becomes older, elements become older and there is a need to spend funds required as part of UNESCO relationship, but NR also must advise the Scottish Government of ‘spike expenditure’ around 5-7yrs in advance.  AMf confirmed to ML resolution of 150 yr old design issues are included in Option 3.  AMf will ask Arup for opinion on relatively close cost estimations on maximum quoted for Option 2 to maximum on Option 3.  GB and JL plus other residents confirmed it is not the water but the staining on property and continuing repetition of cleaning and preventative measures to prevent long lasting damage eg staining on pvc windowsills. JL stressed that residents need to know if options will work; 100% is not necessary or expected.

Discussion Conclusion




ACTION BY NR (by 11 April)

ACTION BY NR (by 11 April)

ACTION BY NR (by 11 April)

IGM advised that a mix and match of options, with a probability of success, a combination of selective weep hole blocking and treating of surfaces, addressing the black residue – this could be a mixture of Options 2 and 3 that needs tweaking and approval.  This was accepted by the residents and Members attending.  NR agreed to advise by the next NQCC meeting (perhaps attending), a modified proposal with a probability of success.  Following queries by DN, AMf agreed to check for any difference between SQ and NQ weepholes.  DN queried why NQ weepholes could not be blocked, as happened during the recent project works, for the duration of resolution selection and completion of corrective works.

Follow up Discussion





ACTION BY NQCC (co-ord by GB) (by 11 April)







IGM advised all that in the meantime issues, both historic and continuing, need to be resolved.  A few individual claimants have had issues seeking damage redress (with slow, intimidating process) from the insurance companies to whom they were referred.  On PS advising brown gables to house, RM confirmed that damage would be paid for.  IGM asked if small ongoing maintenance amounts could be met from a fund eg car washing, window cleaning, paving cleaning.  RM and IGM had brief discussions re legal standing of claiming with ‘no liability’ from set aside fund of public money.  JL stressed that the residents are the Public. Following RM request, NQCC will pull list together for NR of such small ongoing items.  RB enquired if NR knew the accumulated cost of all follow up of issues including Arup report.  AMf agreed it would be possible to calculate some of it eg not meeting time.  AMf agreed to prepare available costs. Residents agreed that maintenance of gutters/decking/cars etc had been carried out in goodwill previously, but issues continue.  AMf confirmed to GB, that resolution could be targeted for completion by 2026/27.  IGM thanked all for their attendance.



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