Councillors on the Levenmouth Area Committee gathered this morning for their March meeting.

Here's a round-up of the main items discussed as part of the agenda.

Locality working to improve health outcomes in Levenmouth

Councillors in Levenmouth have hailed the importance of locality planning and partnership working to improve health outcomes during their latest Area Committee meeting.

Members heard how the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership’s Levenmouth Locality Planning Group has gone from strength to strength in the last couple of years, with a range of agencies and organisations coming together to ensure resources are focused where they are needed most.

A prime example of that is the imminent launch of a Mental Health Triage Car in the area, which is being developed specifically in response to issues identified by local partners.

The vehicle, which will be provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service in the next few months, not only aims to enhance the experience for people who contact emergency services with a mental health need but will also reduce the burden on Police Scotland following concerns about the high number of non-criminal mental health calls they receive in the area. It should also cut unnecessary trips to Victoria Hospital’s A&E Department.

It’s just one area where the multi-agency partnership approach is paying dividends, and the Locality Planning Group’s members hope to build on it over the coming months and years.

Councillor Colin Davidson, convener of the Levenmouth Area Committee, said: “This approach has been driven by the need in the local area.

“It’s not people like me or senior politicians, it’s the people on the ground who are driving everything we do as an Area Committee and that’s something we should all be proud of.

“All partners involved in health and social care, whether it be Fife Council, NHS Fife, Police Scotland or any organisation, will continue to play a powerful role by applying their experience and resources to develop robust, productive professional relationships and hopefully improve outcomes for people living across the Levenmouth area.”

Councillors were also given an update on how the Home First Strategy is working in Levenmouth to help bring down emergency hospital admission rates.

Home First has created a different way of working between health, social care, council services and third sector organisations, with various agencies taking part in regular meetings to discuss patients who have two or more emergency hospital admissions to Victoria Hospital in the previous 12 weeks and three or more attendances at A&E in the previous 12 weeks to ensure they can get the appropriate care at the right time.

Engagement key to supporting young people in Levenmouth

Local councillors heard how work to improve the health and wellbeing of young people across Levenmouth is progressing – with better engagement with young people, parents and carers seen as key to that goal.

The issue has once again been thrown into sharp focus after the results of the Fife Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Survey, which was designed to help Fife Council and partners better understand the wellbeing needs of children and young people across the region and inform work to improve services for both children and families.

The results for Levenmouth were a mixed bag, with Levenmouth producing better results than in other areas where it comes to relationships with adults and relationships with people they live with.

However, there were areas where Levenmouth produced worse results than elsewhere in Fife, such as attitudes to school, people’s opinions of their area, mental health issues, eating and drinking habits, and participation in physical activity and hobbies.

With the results in mind, improved engagement with young people, parents and carers is being taken forward, and councillors on the Levenmouth Area Committee have heard how work is already progressing to address some of the issues thrown up by the survey.

Committee convener Councillor Colin Davidson said: “Gathering information on a range of issues affecting our young people has been especially important to form an accurate picture after the pandemic, and to help support young people’s recovery.

“It’s clear we need to talk more to parents, carers and young people themselves to find out what challenges they are facing so we can address them.

“For example, if some youngsters are saying they go to school or bed hungry, we need to ask ourselves: ‘Why is that?’, ‘What’s the root cause of that?’, ‘Do we need to shift some of our resources?’.

“We won’t know unless we ask, so let’s get into schools and identify what we can do differently.”

One example of where work is already underway is the Methil/Methilhill Project, which sees Fife Council working together with key partners such as Fife Sport and Leisure Trust (FSLT), NHS Fife and sportscotland to deliver a more targeted approach – using sport and physical activity to drive equality, diversity and inclusion.

New 20mph speed limit for Buckhaven and Methil pursued

The current 30mph speed limit on roads throughout Buckhaven and Methil could be lowered to a new 20mph speed limit.

At present, all residential areas in Buckhaven and Methil are already in 20mph, but the A-class roads, some B-class, and roads within industrial estates remain at 30mph.

Members of the Levenmouth Area Committee have sought to bring the latter down to 20mph in line with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for 20mph speed limits, and plans to do just that have now been backed.

Formal public consultation required by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the associated Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) process will be carried out in due course.

If approved, the existing part-time 20mph speed limit serving Levenmouth Academy on Methilhaven Road will be revoked and the electronic signs removed.

Councillors also approved the proposed Area Roads Programme for the Levenmouth area for 2024/25, with a range of schemes covering work on carriageways, footways, road safety and traffic management, street lighting, and bridges and structures lined up over the next 12 months.

Almost £1.2 million has been earmarked in the devolved area budget for improvements to carriageways and footways, as well as road safety/traffic management measures.

Meanwhile, committee approval was similarly secured to promote the adoption of a section of carriageway and footpath at Swards Place, Kennoway.

Cash to stop quad bikes causing problems at Kennoway’s Cotlands Park

Funding to install new fencing to protect pitches at Kennoway’s Cotlands Park has been secured from the Local Community Planning Budget.

Councillors agreed to use £10,998 to replace shin rail fencing at the popular venue, primarily to prevent damage being caused to pitches at the park by people riding quad bikes on the greenspace.

With sporting activities having to be rescheduled and the costs of repairing grass remaining a concern, Fife Council is looking to replace the equivalent of 220 metres of shin rail and posts as soon as possible.

Community manager Dave Paterson commented: “While a piecemeal approach to replacing sections of fencing had been considered it is felt that this approach will provide more effective protection at key access points to the park for the longer term.”

Meanwhile, councillors also agreed to move £5,263 previously allocated to a play park project in Taylor Street, Methil, to plans to upgrade the MUGA in Buckhaven’s Bird Scheme.

The funding had previously been committed from the Local Community Planning Budget, but costs to buy and install adult gym equipment at the Taylor Street site had been overestimated – meaning the money could be used elsewhere.

The full committee papers are available to view Levenmouth Area Committee (