The “public” Charrette based in Lochgelly is over, and we have been hearing for the past week how this Charrette will help develop and improve Lochgelly. While there was some decent proposals, we feel that this Charrette was merely an expensive paper exercise to pass already existing plans held by Fife Council, and not a true public consultation.
For example, we have had a total of 130 votes on our poll for a supermarket to be located at WeatherMac with a petrol station, which 126 votes were in favour (as of writing this article). The Lochgelly Community Regeneration Forum conducted surveys in Lochgelly, Ballingry, Lochore, Cardenden, and Bowhill and received over 300 surveys in support of the proposed Supermarket and Petrol Station.
We have also received many complaints about the proposed store to be located on the FabTek site, via e-mails and comments, while Fife Council has received 36 official objections on their website: http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/applicationComments.do?action=showComments&caseNo=09/01361/WOPP.
Yet, despite all this we have seen several PR from Fife Council stating the key points of Andres Dunay, including:
Locating a sensitively-designed supermarket near the Town House to anchor the town and draw shoppers to the independent speciality shops on Bank St and Main St. Allowing a supermarket on the outskirts would kill the local shops.
So there we have it, a very clear and strongly worded message to all those that are in favour of the supermarket with petrol station. However where is the evidence and justification of that remark, that a supermarket on the outskirts would kill the local shops?
Unless there is any real evidence that this will be the case, then it should be provided to the Lochgelly community, otherwise, this is poorly constructed PR that is relying on strong negative words to demoralise you from having your opinion and say, and is very reflective of the Orwellian tactics that are being employed in PR nowadays.
We do not believe allowing a supermarket (with a petrol station) on the outskirts of town would kill the local shops. We do concede that it will have an effect on local trade, yet some of these traders have been profiteering at our expense long enough. Why is it cheaper to buy the same groceries in Cowdenbeath including travel costs than it is in Lochgelly?
However we believe trade for our local shops will only be affected a little, simply because the supermarket with petrol station, will be located too far away for people to utilise for day to day groceries, where as having a small store on the doorstep of our local shops will greatly damage local trade, simply because people will boycott our local stores that are a bit more expensive in favour of the new store which will only be within a couple of extra minutes walking distance.
Secondly, the small store proposed by Fife Council and supported by the American designers is supposed to tackle the financial leakage in Lochgelly. Basically most people in Lochgelly are spending their money out with Lochgelly as they are traveling to different locations to purchase their weekly groceries. This small store is designed to retain that leakage and keep the money in Lochgelly, but with no petrol station, this store cannot fulfill that criteria. Car drivers will still have to refuel their vehicles, so what would be the point of doing your weekly grocery shopping locally if you still have to travel out with the local area to fill up your car? Car drivers will continue to do weekly shopping out the town simply because they will be able to get their groceries and fill up their cars at the same time.
Now a supermarket located on the outskirts of town with a petrol station would bring in traffic from Ballingry, Crosshill, Lochore, Cardenden and Bowhill, over 15,000 people, because they will have a nearby petrol station, whilst also retaining the Lochgelly leakage. It can be assumed that most of this traffic will also purchase their weekly shopping as they will be killing two birds with one stone. Not only would the supermarket with petrol station help resolve the “leakage” problem, it would also increase the money coming into Lochgelly from the surrounding areas.
Lastly, this small store is to be located in a quiet residential area that already has traffic problems at certain times of the day and night, due to the narrow streets, one way systems, and the close location of a school. When this small store opens, Fife Council have predicted the parking accumulation as:
So from 9am until 5pm, Fife Council are expecting over 125 vehicles per hour on these small streets, and as far as we are aware, this does not include traffic generated from the funeral parlour, the local school, delivery vehicles, and other vehicles already using these roads. Yet a supermarket located at the WeatherMac site is located near enough to the bypass to keep traffic away from our streets other than local traffic and traffic coming in from the Benarty area, which will utilise the existing wide roads of Stationhead Road and Auchterderran Road.
Although the Charrette is not supporting the proposed Supermarket with Petrol Station, we will continue to air our views and keep encouraging people to share their views whether in support or against the proposed plans. All comments received on this post and other related posts will be submitted to the next meeting of the Cowdenbeath Area Committee, who will make a vote on Lochgellys future, for better or worse.
If you want to make any objections to the small store, which if given the go ahead, will stop Lochgelly from getting a decent Supermarket with petrol station, you can do so on the Fife Council planning website: http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/applicationComments.do?action=showComments&caseNo=09/01361/WOPP