The Lochgelly Charrette is getting closer and Fife Council is promoting it as a chance to “Have your say about the development of Lochgelly” but after receiving the Lochgelly Charrette brochure and reading over the wording, is it really our chance to have our say, or is it another exercise that ticks all the right boxes for the local authority.

Supermarket & Petrol Station

For instance we have received much response in support of a supermarket with petrol station on this site, and the Lochgelly Community Regeneration Forum have been issuing questionnaires on this issue, which I am led to believe has received over 300 positive replies in support of the proposed Supermarket & Petrol Station. So it was with great surprise to see that the Weathermac site has been zoned for Housing on page 2 of the Lochgelly Charrette brochure “Housing/with supporting mixed uses and green space“. We will continue to support the supermarket and petrol station plan because it is much needed but it does look like Fife Council have made their mind up already.

Housing

There is 1,750 new houses planned for the Lochgelly area. Most of the development looks set to be developed at South Street and Westwatters Crescent. The fields at the edges of these streets have been zoned for housing and will also cover the football pitch at Lochgelly Albert. The Weathermac site all the way down to the railway line is also zoned for housing, we have housing zoned near Lochgelly Golf Course and the Lochgelly Plots. Land next to the playing fields at Lochgelly High School is zoned for housing.

Anyone that has been following the building plans for Lochgelly will notice that this plan is at least 5 years old, and a quick visit to Lochgelly Community Forum at the Regeneration Office in Bank Street, will confirm this, as they have the same map on their wall, which has been there for years.

Public Art

We have already had 2 pieces of public art in Lochgelly (Gateway to Lochgelly and the Miners Statue) which cost a vast amount of money and didn’t meet the approval of Lochgelly people, but in their determination Fife Council are promising us another piece of Public Art, this time to be located at the bottom of the avenue. Does Lochgelly need another piece of Public Art, especially since Fife Council are proposing to cut back spending on music resources and education by 50% throughout Fife.

To spend thousands of pounds of tax payers money on a statue or any other form of public art is a slap in the face for residents when their town is in shortage of decent community facilities.

The Charrette Programme

The brochure goes on to say “The Charrette will feature numerous opportunities for the public to get involved and have their say about the nature of future development of Lochgelly” yet the very first meeting is for developers and landowner (although the public can attend, I do not think you will be allowed to give much input though). The design process is apparently an opportunity for members of the public to work directly with the design team to help shape future development in and around the town, whilst working from previously established development policies.

  1. Local Planning Authorities: The local Planning Authority will have a leading role within the Charrette.
  2. Landowners and Developers: The site owners and developers will act as key participants throughout the process.
  3. Citizen, Community Groups and Local Businesses: The public are encouraged to participate in the Charrette (note: we are encouraged to participate, if it was a community led opportunity, surely this should be worded as “CONTRIBUTE”).

Come Along and Have Your Say

Members of the design team will encourage public feedback and will work with the public to finesse the proposals

Or to reword it differently, members of the design team will encourage the public to tick boxes on behalf of Fife Council on already set plans which have never been consulted with the public in the first place, that way if anyone kicks up a fuss, Fife Council can show everyone they followed procedure.

Further Information

Anyone wanting further information about the Lochgelly Charrette can visit Fife Councils official site: www.scotlandcharrettelochgelly.co.uk, or can download the PDF Brochure: Lochgelly Charrette Paper (PDF).

Please feel free to leave us your feedback below in the comments box

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3 Comments

  1. admin

    March 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    The following comment was posted on our original Lochgelly Charrette post by Christine McGrath (approx 7 hours ago, as of writing this) @ http://lochgelly.org.uk/?p=1107, we have included the comment below, as we feel that some excellent points have been raised.

    “When I heard at the last Community Council meeting that the Lochgelly Charrette was to be based around the existing local plan I had serious doubts as to whether local people would really have any influence on the future of our town.

    Over the years we have been “consulted” on a number of issues affecting our town and have not been listened to. e.g the people expressly said that they wanted no more flats to be built in Lochgelly as we already have a high proportion of flatted accommodation in the town – what happens? over the past couple of years we have had more flats built and yet more are planned for the South Street area.

    We were not consulted when plans for a supermarket on the Weathermac site were rejected and the vast majority of people in Lochgelly and surrounding areas are in favour of this project going ahead. Will we be listened to now that McDonald Estates have resubmitted their proposals? – I for one very much doubt it.

    Over the years a vast amount of money has been spent on the “Regeneration” of Lochgelly. I feel that a lot of it has been spent on intangible things – e.g fees to agencies that have carried out consultations and plans that have been drawn up and scrapped. We were promised much and after all these years progress has been made (with new housing and the refurbishment iof the Miner’s Institute) but not to the extent we expected.

    The Charrettes will be another costly venture – will it really be influenced by what the people who live here want?

    I am left with a dilema – do I encourage people to get involved and hope it will make a difference? or do I say don’t bother it’s just another paper exercise?

    I will be going along to air my views and have my say I leave it up to you to decide whether or not to participate”

    Reply

  2. H. Curtis

    March 2, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Personally, I think it is just another paper-exercise, it seems that yet again Fife Council already have made up their minds, and once they have the boxes ticked, they’ll just do their own thing..its a farce to claim they consult the people of Lochgelly..or any of the other small towns in this area. Also I am concerned that with all the proposed plans to build houses on all available spaces, there will be less green areas, not more..less open areas to take a walk in, for children to play in..Then with the increase in population, where is the infrastructure, we have no community centre, a limited shopping centre, no petrol station..does Fife Council care about that?

    Reply

  3. James Glen

    March 6, 2010 at 4:22 am

    According to Scotlands census in 2001 the average family size is 2.1, so with 1750 houses set to be built, I assume that most of the properties will be occupied by the average family which means there will be an increase in population of 3675. How is our local surgery going to cope with this influx when it is already very difficult to get an appointment

    Reply

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