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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

V2 Draft Minutes of Community Council Meeting on Thursday 11 April 2024

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

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

Members of the Public:  Rob Baker (RB), David Neill (DN)

Minutes:  Barbara McKechnie (BM)

Agenda Reference



1. Apologies

Cllr Sarah Neal (SN)


2. Minutes of March Meeting

Circulated prior to meeting and approved.  Add Jacqui Low


3. Minutes of Special Meeting

(Forth Bridge / Network Rail)

Add Jacqui Low.  DN requested that AMf should investigate if weepholes can be blocked as an interim measure.  DN concerned that no actions had been developed by NQCC but IM stated Minutes made clear what Members want.  BM will post DN’s comments to the EGM Minutes.  DN would like to see Network Rail’s own notes of the EGM

Full report to be released to public including Network Rail’s reply.







4. Matters Arising



5. Election of Treasurer

Many thanks extended to Jacqui Low for serving as Treasurer and her big contribution to NQCC.IM Proposed BM as Treasurer.  JG Seconded.  BM Accepted




6. Recruitment of Community Councillors

We are one of the better supported Community Councils in Fife and quite proactive.  We have an option to fulfil a Casual Vacancy.  Rob Baker proposed by JG seconded by LC 


7. Remote Access to Meetings

Installation almost complete.  RB can assist.  Note TEAMS / Zoom are registered to IM but more practical to have this closer to the centre.  ACTION Speak to Community Complex



8. Community Council Website


Check has any money been charged for ICO Data Protection?

Concern over exiting hosting arrangements.  ‘Square Space’ suggested and approach William McCool at Fife Council for assistance.  SN also to follow up with Inverkeithing HS





9. Forth Bridge

Network Rail today sent images of weep holes on N and S of the bridge.  Function appears to be the same at each end – but very few at the South end appear to be open.  Arup report is in final stage – allow two weeks.  DN would like to do a site visit.  GB raised concern that we are now focussing on dirty water from the bridge, when falling objects continue to be an issue.  PB: Issue raised last December.  FC appointed Robbie Blythe of FCCT as point person.  Access to Balfour Beatty’s reports obtained.  PB to pass these to NQCC.  Also, PB to ask FC to do water samples.








10. Police Reports

New format composite report lacking in detail.  For NQ 54 calls minus 49 relating to the Road Bridge = 5 NQ calls. Request extra breakdown.

PB – there is concern about local engagement with the Police.




11. Battery Road Carpark and Toilet

DB:  Discussed with Alastair Mutch (FC) but no update on new barrier.  Discussed FCCT opening and closing.  With longer days we now have more noisy speeding cars in the evenings.  Now JL is away we are trying to find someone to lock up at 2100.  Dave Dempsey closing the gate at 2100 until FC resolves.  We agreed that Fife Council will make up signs to inform the public that the carpark will close at 1830 until further notice.  When these signs are in place, PS will lock the car park at 1830.

PB says that Roads and Parking have two issues with the toilets to resolve.  There is a fence that has fallen down and a ‘signage cluster’ clashes with the view.


12. Edinburgh Airport

No developments


13. Albert Hotel


Community Trust still in contact with Ministers.  A Planning Application has been made to allow works to ‘stabilise the building’.  .  IM to make observations; That this is effectively a retrospective application; Some structural walls have been removed without Planning Permission.  JG adds Planning could insist on reinstatement.



14. Community Energy Group

Group under way with a number of sub groups including biodiversity.  Trevor Watkins gave a talk about climate change starting around 8000BC due to human activity.  JG adds Building Regulations changed on 1 April specifying solar panels to all new homes.


15. Fife Councillors’ Reports

DD:  Trying to get action on the setts.  Overflow carpark – is not coming back from Transport Scotland.  Getting attention to overgrown vegetation.

PB:  Right of Way issue taken up expecting reply this week.  Also looking into Transportation.

DB:  Dealing with ongoing enquiry into falling objects from Forth Road Bridge and possible recurrence.  Consulting again on Brock Street parking options.  JG suggests subjecting this to Planning process as this a transparent process and gets to a decision.  RB questioned what was the ration of complaints to number of people who approve the proposals?  DB will revert with results of discussion.  Part of cast iron gutter fell from The Albert.  Council responded instantly.  Building will now be damaged by water unless gutter is repaired.  Re The Beamer – Fife Council will no longer store it (it is paying for storage) and there is now interest from Portsmouth who will take it for free.  NQ Heritage Trust may still take it on BM to investigate.

Bulging wall on Main Street still and issue – Council Officers have contacted owners.

DN raised Electronic Speed Signs.  Lesley Craig was going to be proactive but still no progress, there was going to be a survey.  DB is pressing for speed signs, if justified take months to install.

PS pointed out that busses are speeding as well.

















16. Treasurers Report:

NQCC’s current Bank Balance is £8237.00 with all invoices tendered having been paid to date.  Of this balance, £3990 remains allocated to The Brae Project and £671.32 to the Floral Enhancement Group, leaving a current balance of unrestricted funds of £3575.68


17. Planning Applications



18. Floral Enhancement

Drainage works on The Brae now complete so work on the terracing the slope can begin.  DN sourcing digger and driver.


19. Correspondence

Victoria Telford in contact regarding Forth Bridge issues DS will keep her up to date with developments.


20. Any other competent business

Energy Group proposing ‘Take a lead’ signage project (to protect birds from disturbance by dogs) at West Bay with a budget of £40.  PB has sent graphics.

Noticeboard at Battery Road Car Park – issue with key.

DS:  Tree planting project being developed in vicinity of Community Centre and MUGA, more details to follow.  Intention is to plant in the Autumn and involve school and adults.  Intention is that we have a Tree Warden to carry out the maintenance.

Lin Collis announced she is standing down at the next meeting



Next Monthly Meeting:  9 MAY 2024 at 19:30 North Queensferry Community Centre           

Residents of North Queensferry are welcome to attend all 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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