Today the Charrette for Lochgelly is officially starting, with a range of events planned to engage with the local community through public consultation, to give us the opportunity to help shape the future of Lochgelly…as mentioned in all the PR information being released by Fife Council.

We are encouraged to come along and participate as we are told this is an opportunity for us to have our say, and help plan the future development of Lochgelly. Unfortunately it seems that cracks in this community engagement is already appearing and sometimes the truer picture can be found in the small print.

For example, we noticed on local Councillor Mark Hoods website (http://fifelabourparty.org/markhood/the-great-charette-begins), that he made a post today, stating:

I’m heading to the first public meeting for the Lochgelly Charette tonight in the town hall. Having said this, I did get a note from the chief executive of the council advising me of a ministerial visit that was happening in the Lochgelly town hall tonight and I was not invited. I’ll turn up any way and hope that I don’t get thrown out. Not the best of starts!

Now it doesn’t matter what political party your sympathy lies with, to tell one of our local representatives that they cannot attend is wrong, regardless of their political affiliations.

Our second concern is with the fine print available on the official Lochgelly Charrette website (http://www.scotlandcharrettelochgelly.co.uk/) published on the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions and reproduced in part below:

Lochgelly Charrette – FAQ

How does the Charrette fit within the planning process?

The Fife Structure Plan and Mid Fife Local Plan propose that Lochgelly should be expanded through the development of 1,750 houses, 25 hectares of new employment land, open space and community facilities,

Public engagement and consultation is required as part of the Local Plan process. The Charrette will form an additional part of the public engagement and consultation for the Mid Fife Local Plan. It will also contribute to the masterplan process for development areas identified in the local plan.

What happens if the results from the Charrette do not comply with the Fife Structure Plan?

The results from the Charrette must comply with the approved Fife Structure Plan.

What happens if the results from the Charrette do not comply with the Mid Fife Local Plan as modified through the Pre Examination Modifications?

There can be no guarantee that the Charrette will result in the same layout as those in the Local Plan but there may be much in common. If that is the case, the Charrette will broadly be in line with the Local plan. If there is a significant difference, the Council will need to take account of the changes and take account of the community involvement that will have led to those changes. The Council intend to submit the report from the Charrette to the Scottish Government as part of the Local Plan examination papers. It should be remembered that the number of houses and amount of employment land is fixed as a requirement of the Structure Plan.

How will objections to the Mid Fife Local Plan be dealt with through the Charrette?

The Charrette is considering design options for the Lochgelly Strategic Land Allocation and Town Centre. It is not the role of the Charrette to look at objections to the draft Mid Fife Local Plan. Objections will be considered at an Examination. However, the Charrette is an open process where alternative options could be tested.

What is the Examination?

Any issues and objections that people have raised against the Mid Fife Local Plan will be discussed at an examination held by a person appointed by Scottish Ministers. Fife Council must take notice of the findings of the examination before adopting the Local Plan.

Will there be further consultation on the results from the Charrette before they go before the reporter for the Examination on the Local Plan?

It is not the intention to have any further consultation on the results from the Charrette.

Will the results from the Charrette be endorsed by Fife Council?

The Council will need to take account of the Charrette and of the community involvement that will have led to those changes. The Council will present a report on the outcome of the Charrette to the Planning Committee.

What happens if Fife Council do not agree with some of the results from the Charrette?

If that happens, the Council will explain why it takes a different view.

Sometimes the detail is in the small print and we leave it to you to decide whether or not this is a proper public consultation or just a paper exercise.

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Time and dates of the planned events are available on our Events Page. Please feel free to leave your comments or feedback below, thanks.
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2 Comments

  1. Richard Innes

    March 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Attended the meeting last night and liked what I heard. I made my point about the proposed housing to the south of Lochgelly and it appears I’m not the only resident with Major Concerns. It was highlighted by residents and Mr Duany, that there is no benefit of housing being located there.

    Andrés Duany was excellent and dismissed nothing last night but questioned the planning already proposed. He pointed out the stupid planning Lochgelly has had to endure so far. You could see the planners from Fife Council faces changing from happy smiley to concerned as the presentation went on. He dismantled the Fife Council planning proposed for the future and the rubbish we have had in the past.

    I’ve since noticed this morning that the goalposts have been moved and this small print has appeared overnight on the website. Which means despite the residents and Andrés Duany best efforts, Fife Council are going ahead no matter what is agreed with their foolish, reckless and damaging planning. Be nice to think the Scottish Goverment would step in and put Fife Council in to Line.

    So What is the point of the Charette?

    Reply

  2. H. Curtis

    March 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Good for you Richard! And lets hope that Mr. Duany gets the chance to air his views, and gets the chance to properly consult the Lochgelly people. I think the plans that Fife Council are enforcing upon us are terrible, it will destroy the town! I don’t in principle object to a small town growing larger, and some new houses being built, this is natural growth, but the plans for between 3,000 and 4,000 houses is just far, far too much. I object also to how Fife Council are ignoring the objections the Lochgelly people are making…I am also concerned we are losing our green spaces, our golf course..and anything else Fife council wants to stick a building on. I am sad that ‘our’ council is not behaving in a democratic way, and I hope that there will be others in a position of power that will intervene on our behalf…Can the Scottish Government help? Where do we go from here? Is there any way to make Mr. Duany aware of our views?

    Reply

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