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NEWSLETTER 4

 

CDT - CHAIR’S REPORT TO 2021 AGM 

The formal Report of CDT’s Directors for the year which ended on 31st March 2021  is included in the Accounts. My Chair’s Report is from then to the beginning of  November 2021 and explains the Board’s aspirations up to 31 Mar 2022 and  beyond. 

At the EGM held immediately before last year’s AGM, CDT extended its area of  operations to the whole of the Bell Baxter catchment area, and that change has  proved valuable in the 12 months since then. 

I mentioned last year that some of our Local Heritage organisations were  collaborating in a bid for training funding, and I am pleased to report that their bid  was successful.  

Informal Working Groups have been meeting on Zoom to plan activities across the  whole area in the summer and autumn of 2021, including Cupar’s Celebration  Weekend 2021, when CDT’s Children’s Day in Old Scots played an important part.  Visitors to the main day, 18th September – which included C in the Park, the Great  Toy Giveaway, and the Orchestral Concert - were impressed by the vibrancy of the  town. Cupar & District was put on the map also by the Annual Lecture by Sir Ian  Boyd on 27th October 2021. Over 100 people registered for it through the cupar.org  Eventbrite page.  

Reports on the day, and a recording of the concert, are available on CuparNow. 

CDT has received funding from the Regional Food Fund to develop Food Trails. The  project is being delivered in partnership with CuparNow, and the trails will be  anchored to Cupar, though the area covered will be greater than Cupar & District. 

Among the benefits of CuparNow’s town centre free WiFi is support for Cupar’s new  Orientation and Interpretive signage since there are QR Codes on all the panels. It  was really disappointing that the sign at The Cross was vandalised a week before  the Lord Lyon was due to unveil it. CDT now has to find funds to replace it. 

CDT is a member of CuparNow, and of the businesses association, ABCD. You will  have read that all CuparNow’s levy-paying businesses are now automatically  members of ABCD. I commend Simon Baldwin of CuparNow, and our Treasurer Jim  Hair, who is now Chair of ABCD, for this game-changing initiative. ABCD, CDT, and  CuparNow, with their distinct origins and purposes, combine to make a purposeful  force for the benefit of Cupar& District. 

Last year, I said “In the coming 12 months, we hope to see the end of the worst  Covid restrictions, so that long-planned activities and events can actually happen”.  That was optimistic, and, although our Children’s Day went ahead, it was not 

possible to welcome the planned 100 Primary 6 pupils, nor could the Lord Lyon  crown the Gala King and Queen. CDT received welcome, and gratifying support  from the Bruce Charitable Trust, the Cupar Common Good Fund, Scottish Opera,  the National Library of Scotland, the British Museum, and – as so often – the  University of St Andrews, as well as Cupar Rotary’s stewards, the Farmers Market, and the team at the Corn Exchange.  

The guests contributed to the Old Scots theme, in particular Sir David Lindsay of The  Mount: The Lieutenancy was represented by Mrs Evelyn Crombie, present  proprietor of The Mount, and Dr Joseph Morrow, current Lord Lyon, is a successor to  Sir David who held that post for King James V. Scots language author and  broadcaster, Billy Kay, read Lindsay extracts, including lines from a new script, still in  Old Scots, of Sir David’s play, Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis. The new script had  been commissioned by the charity, Three Estates Cupar, from Cupar actor and  writer, John Bett. 

On 18th September, CDT had a stall at the Farmers Market, hosted by past Chair  David Kirk. The stall exhibited the Signage project, with CMC Associates in support,  and the Inner Court project, supported by Kingdom Housing Association and their  architects. Then on 26th September, CDT took a stall at the area’s first Gathering of  Societies, in Cupar’s Haugh Park. Fortunately, both weekends were blessed by  warm autumn sunshine. 

Kingdom Housing hope that demolition work at Inner Court may begin early in 2022.  At that stage, an archaeological dig will be required, with opportunities for local  volunteers to be involved, as with the dig on Moot Hill in 2018, which identified a  bronze age burial. 

It was clear last year, and is still clear, that online will continue to be essential. The  spring 2021 series of two online Lectures on Old Scots in our area, a joint venture  with other local organisations, duly happened, and we are looking at the possibility of  further such lectures in spring 2022. 

CDT’s activities are reported throughout the year in all of Newsletters to Members  and Supporters, press reports in the Fife Herald and Courier, and on CuparNow’s  various platforms, and our website is frequently updated.  

CDT continues to monitor Planning applications and is involved in discussions on the  proposals for the large housing development proposed for Cupar North. Members of  the CDT Board are active in the Zoom discussions of 18 local organisations, aiming  to deliver activities and events in the area. 

Looking ahead, it is relevant that 2022 is now to be Scotland’s “Year of Stories”,  since that could not be delivered in 2021 as originally planned. There will be  opportunities for the area’s heritage in Old Scots to be emphasised further. 

I am particularly pleased to report that Cupar’s Primary Schools are adopting the Old  Scots language and poetry into their core curriculum. 

I owe thanks to all the Board – individually and collectively. Maurice Shepherd, as  you have seen, has done wonders with the website, and will continue with that task  after retiring from the Board at the 2021 AGM. I am very grateful to Maurice, who  has wide experience, for his support and guidance. 

Our vision – our challenge – remains inspiring enthusiasm for: 

“A CREATIVE COM

MUNITY WITH A CAUSE” 

That cause is to make a difference to people across the whole of our extended area  of operations. 

Immediately after the formalities of the AGM, the CDT tradition of having a lecture  after the AGM will continue, and our speaker this year is Euan Leitch. Euan was  formerly Chief Executive of the Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) and  during his time there was involved in the 2014 BEFS Report on Cupar, which  remains one of our three driving documents, and can be found in the REPORTS tab  in our website. Euan is now Chief Executive of SURF, Scotland’s Regeneration  Forum, and a fuller bio is printed below. I shall take it as read when I ask Euan to  deliver his talk. 

Bill Pagan 4th November 2021 Euan Leitch | Chief Executive | SURF – Scotland’s Regeneration Forum 

SURF is Scotland’s regeneration forum for practitioners, policy makers and  academics. By sharing and channelling the experience, views and ideas and of its  extensive membership of over 300 cross-sector organisations, SURF helps to inform  better policy and practice for more successful and sustainable community  regeneration throughout Scotland. SURF is primarily concerned with shared efforts  to tackle the causes and degenerative impacts of poverty and inequalities. 

Euan joined SURF in May 2021 following 8 years with the Built Environment Forum  Scotland. He is a longstanding supporter of SURF and its cross-sector collaborative  approach to addressing inequalities. He studied Architectural History at the  University of Edinburgh followed by Urban & Regional Planning at Heriot Watt and  has worked for the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland and the Cockburn 

Association. At BEFS Euan delivered a strong programme of strategic policy work  that included promoting and fostering the productive links between the built environment and community regeneration, diversity, resilience and the maintenance  agenda. A priority for Euan is ensuring that communities experiencing the  consequences of deprivation are actively involved in responding to the climate  emergency. Euan is a Board Member of Under One Roof.

 

NEWSLETTER 3

You have heard the formal Report of Directors for the year which ended on 31st March 2020.  My Chair’s Report is from then to date, and the Board’s plans up to 31 Mar 2021 and beyond.

I have already explained, in the EGM part of this evening’s proceedings, the reasons for extending our area of operations to the whole of the Bell Baxter catchment area. Rural poverty is as serious for many as is urban poverty.  Areas of Cupar itself are on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation – the SIMD – and there are local rural areas where the same could apply, made all the worse by the costs of travel where there is no adequate bus service.

In August this year, an Inspiring Scotland fund called “Creative Communities” called for collaborative bids, and a bid for £40,000 was made from this area, with 10 components.  It was clear that offering activities in only the primary schools in Cupar itself would be seen as discriminatory.  The bid was not successful, but proved the value of organisations from across the wider area getting together to plan what they would like to deliver.  

Therefore, an informal Working Group is meeting on Zoom to plan activities across the whole area in the summer of 2021, Covid restrictions permitting.  Some of these activities will be drawn from that list of 10 components. Two meetings have already happened, with others planned for later this month and for January.  The group’s members are drawn from Cupar Community Council, Kilmaron School, Cupar Arts, Sunshine Kitchen, Three Estates Cupar, Rotary, Tourism Association, Fife Family History Society and Falkland Soc, among others.  I will keep our collective powder dry, but you will hear at the appropriate times of the activities and events which it is hoped to deliver.  It is relevant that 2021 is Scotland’s “Year Of Story-Telling”.

Separately, Local Heritage organisations are currently considering collaboration in a bid for training funding.  

Online has been a recurring theme this evening, and we all increasingly rely on our Broadband connections.  The CDT Board welcomes CuparNow’s Broadband survey, and hopes it will lead to improved services – and hopes that all on this Zoom have signed up!  

CuparNow’s town centre free WiFi is a social asset as well as a commercial asset – there are many in the town who do not have Broadband at home and who cannot afford 3G on their smart phones.  This free WiFi supports also Cupar’s new Arrival and Interpretive signage, since there are QR Codes on all the panels.

CuparNow has been mentioned several times already this evening.  At CDT’s October Board meeting, it was agreed that CDT should formally apply to join, and CDT is now a member of CuparNow.  

Most here this evening will know of the key role played by ABCD, the businesses association for Cupar & District, in Cupar becoming the first, and still unique, Digital Improvement District, now so familiar to us as “CuparNow”.  The Board of CDT resolved to apply for membership of ABCD also.  Cooperation and cohesion flourish across our area!

In the coming 12 months, we hope to see the end of the worst Covid restrictions, so that long-planned activities and events can actually happen.  But in the meantime, online is the way ahead.  So discussions are under way for a series of online “Cupar Lectures” in the spring, a joint venture with other local organisations.  

Internally, CDT has one sub-group – the Interpretive Plan Working Group – which was a great support to the signage project.  Their talents and enthusiasm must not now be wasted, and David Kirk will lead its future efforts to deliver the Interpretive Plan – one of the three reports I referred to earlier as the foundations of the CDT task.

Externally, CDT is a member of the Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS) and of Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP).  I am a member of two Cross-Party Groups of the Scottish Parliament.

I will end with thanks and vision.  CDT has received tremendous support from Fife Council – both from elected members and from officials.  Those of you who saw the online presentation of the Signage Project, or have seen the recording which is still available as part of CDT’s – and the area’s – archive, will have heard the tributes to the Council, and to our partners in that project, Cupar Heritage and CMC Associates, as well as to our former Chair, David Kirk, who, as I said earlier, continues to chair the Interpretive Plan Working Group.

I owe thanks to all the Board – individually and collectively.  Jim Hair is our Accountant, formal Company Secretary and our Zoom host for Board Meetings and this evening’s Gathering; Nicky Bond is our Board and Membership Secretary;  Maurice Shepherd, as you have seen, has done wonders with the website.  Rick Bond leads on education contacts, and Kathy McCall on access and paths.  We all look forward to working with our new Board Member, Steven Stewart, who has particular areas of relevant interest.

That leaves one Board Member not mentioned yet: sadly, Des Montgomery, a founding Board Member, has now – following this evening’s AGM formalities – left the Board.  Des has been a huge support to CDT, and has been our ambassador on the Inner Court project, as well as our guardian of Planning issues.  Des will continue as our link with the Inner Court project.  We all owe Des sincerest thanks – I in particular for the support he has given from the start, and especially since I took on the Chair last December.

Some final thoughts: As we say in our website, “CDT's ambition is to provide a focus for local collaboration in community development, citizenship, the arts, heritage, and culture, resulting in initiatives, activities and events which will benefit people throughout Cupar & District, regardless of age, ability or background”.  

I think that’s a pretty good ambition – but it takes us 39 words to say it.  I leave you with these fewer words on my final slide:

“A CREATIVE COMMUNITY WITH A CAUSE”

That cause is to make a difference to people across the whole of our extended area of operations.

And now some Christmas spirit to end our gathering!  A toast to Cupar & District, and let’s all enjoy the CAMS Video:  “Christmas Alphabet”

Bill Pagan                    1st December, 2020

 

NEWSLETTER 2

Dear Members    /   Dear Supporters

NEWS FROM YOUR BOARD

Over the summer, the Board Members of Cupar Development Trust (CDT) have continued to be engaged in various projects and contacts.

WEBSITE

CDT’s new Website, re-built by Board Member Maurice Shepherd, went live in September and is well worth visiting.  It summarises past and present activities and events and contains links to some of CDT’s many partner organisations.  CDT welcomes visitors to  http://www.cupardevtrust.org.uk/

At the Zoom Board meeting in June, Board Members  continued to  discuss delivering the findings of the 2016 Planning Consultations in the town – the Charrette – and the recommendations of the 2017 Cupar Interpretive Plan, both of which can be found under the Reports tab in the new CDT Website.

INNER COURT

Des Montgomery continues to represent CDT in the discussions with Fife Council and Kingdom homes over this housing project.  

Conservation Area Consent has been granted, allowing the demolition of derelict buildings to take place subject to a condition that where possible stone from demolition will be employed in the new buildings. Demolition cannot start until a building warrant has been granted. An application has been lodged for a mix of 15 houses and 9 flats.

CDT having initiated the Inner Court project in 2015, we look forward to development starting, bringing new life to the area of dereliction to the rear of the Crossgate and filling the gap site in Bonnygate. The development will open up former pends which have become disused and will create a new pedestrian route through the site between Bonnygate and Kirk Wynd.

SIGNAGE PROJECT

A major project, founded on both the Charrette and the Interpretive Plan, is the Cupar Town Centre Signage project.  This task is almost complete, with the new signage to be installed starting this month.  There will be three “Arrival” panels, in the car parks at the Fluthers, the Railway Station, and Bonnygate.  These are designed to advise visitors how to find their way around the town.  There will be three “Interpretive” panels, at the Mercat Cross, the Parish Church, and Burnside.  These are designed to explain – to residents and visitors alike - Cupar’s history and heritage around those three parts of town.  There will also be a replacement panel at the entrance to the Railway Station car park, with a welcome to the Cupar Museum. 

The Signage project was a partnership among Cupar Development Trust (CDT), Cupar Heritage, and consultants CMC Associates, who prepared the town’s Interpretive Plan in 2017. Much of the information on the panels is the result of hard labour by the Trustees and Volunteers of Cupar Heritage, while the project has been driven forward by David Kirk, who continued to chair the Interpretive Plan Working Group after retiring from the Board of CDT last December.

A Zoom presentation was held on 30 September, welcomed by CDT Chair, Bill Pagan.  Dr Mike Spearman of CMC Associates then exhibited the signage and explained the background to the project. Among the guests was the Lord Lyon King of Arms, who commended Cupar as a lively town and congratulated all involved in the Signage project.  The Lord Lyon has accepted CDT’s invitation to unveil the Signage, along with other items being celebrated, in June 2021, always subject to the Covid position at the time.

If you would like to catch up with the Signage project you can view the Zoom event on Youtube at https://youtu.be/3Zca4nJRTFQ

The Cupar Signage project has been very timely.  It progressed during lockdown, making Cupar ready to show off its retail and service town centre, as well as its history and heritage - both to Fifers and to visitors from further afield - after Covid.  The arrival of our Digital Improvement District – CuparNow - is hugely valuable and timely, not least as the new Signage is digitally based, with QR Codes containing links to organisations and activities in the town.  CuparNow’s free town centre WiFi will be a valuable resource, making it easy to follow those links.

An example of one of the panels, complete with its four QR Codes, is below.  Each of the Codes, which you can access via your smart phone app from your screen, will lead viewers to a different aspect of Cupar, including Walking Trails, Retail information, Events, CuparNow’s Blog, and a link to the Cupar Museum

COLLABORATION WITH OTHER LOCAL ORGANISATIONS

In recent months, CDT has led two collaborative applications for funding, both for the benefit of both Cupar town and the entire catchment area of Bell Baxter High School.  The outcome of one of these is due this month, when Cupar will hear what – if any – funding has been awarded for a series of 10 activities and events in the spring and summer of 2021.  The other is a bid for funding of training for the trustees, committees’ and volunteers of several of the area’s heritage organisations, and the decision on that will not be known until January 2021.

The CDT Board will meet later this month, by which time the outcome of the first bid mentioned should be known.

PLANNING ISSUES

The CDT Board continues to monitor Planning issues in the area, including in recent months the Gilliesfaulds housing and the shopping centre in the former Reekie site. 

CONCLUSION

The Board of CDT thanks all its Members and Supporters for the encouragement they have given during the difficult months of the Covid challenges.  They hope all readers will stay safe, as the virus continues to threaten us all.

Yours sincerely

Nicky Bond

Members Secretary

 

NEWSLETTER 1

Dear Members    /   Dear Supporters

NEWS FROM YOUR BOARD

The Board of Cupar Development Trust (SC522831) has held its second meeting of 2020, remotely because of Coronavirus.  All Board Members took part, and the discussion ranged widely.  They were unanimous that CDT should look ahead strategically, not only beyond the virus but into future years, but were realistic about the likely practical and financial impact of the virus for the next year or two.

The virus has provided impetus to update CDT’s presence on social media, and its website is being updated, both with welcome guidance from CuparNow.

A main objective of CDT is to ensure delivery of Cupar’s 2017 Interpretive Plan, and so far as practicable, existing projects are being advanced.  These include the town’s Arrival and Interpretive Signage, which David Kirk, who retired from the Board in December, continues to lead, working with CMC Associates, the consultants responsible for preparing the Interpretive Plan.  Designs are progressing well, including a new digital map of Cupar, which will be the base for future overlays of choice.  The Signage, in six places in the town, will include QR Codes which can be scanned to link to additional information selected by the visitor.  CDT will work with other organisations in the town to develop trails catering to various interests, and the entire project has taken into account the needs of the less mobile and the visually impaired.

The Inner Court and Gap Site project, supported by Fife Council, is being led by Kingdom Housing, who have already contributed well to Cupar. The ideas for Inner Court were first displayed publicly during the 2016 Charrette, which was well attended by local people, all of whom supported the aspirations.  Detailed plans are being discussed with Council officials.  CDT hope that the development will not only re-purpose a derelict area in the town centre but also provide an extended network of pedestrian closes for public use – an aspect of the town which is nationally recognised.  The CDT Board is discussing landscape possibilities with its project partners, and hopes that the issue of waste management and pavement obstructions will be taken into account – this is being discussed also with ABCD, Cupar’s Businesses Association.  The Board discussed also possibilities for better greening of the town, both at its approaches and closer to the centre, and considered other sites which require improvement.

CDT has received initial funding from Fife Culture Trust for a Children’s Day celebrating the Old Scots Language in medieval Cupar, another element of the Interpretive Plan, with Costumes, Storytelling and a professional Concert.  Important guests have accepted invitations to participate, and the event will celebrate also the 150th anniversary of the Duncan Institute, where Display Cases are to be installed to display facsimiles of works by two of Cupar’s famous sixteenth century sons who wrote in Old Scots – the playwright Sir David Lindsay and his historian cousin Robert Lindsay.   The Library, as well as being the home of the Fife Family History Society, has hosted the working group on the cataloguing, by St Andrews University Special Collections team, of the archives of the Royal Burgh of Cupar from 1364 to 1975, and will be a hub helping to celebrate the intellectual heritage of Cupar and District.

The Children’s Day is planned for the autumn of this year, but that may not be possible depending on the state of the nation in light of Coronavirus.

The Board received reports on Scotland’s Towns Partnership and on the Development Trusts Association Scotland of both of which CDT is a member, and from the Chair, Bill Pagan, who is a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Scotland’s towns.

The CDT Board will hold its next meeting in June, and it is assumed that this will have to be attended remotely.

Yours sincerely

Nicky Bond

Members Secretary

 

 Cupar Development Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee (SC522831) 
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