Today, one of our volunteers attended the Cowdenbeath Area Committee to hear the Committee discuss the proposed small store at Hall Street (Planning application: 09/01361/WOPP) which has received numerous objections on this site (http://lochgelly.org.uk/?p=1115) as well as the official planning site: http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/applicationComments.do?action=showComments&caseNo=09/01361/WOPP.
If this proposed small store goes ahead, Lochgelly and the surrounding areas will lose out on the opportunity of 180 jobs and a local petrol station, which is much needed, for the local area.
Also in attendance were representatives from our local Community Council, and the Lochgelly Community Regeneration Forum.
The meeting lasted a while and was still ongoing by the time our volunteer left (after the discussion of the planning application of the small store), who stayed for the 2 hours before this planning application was presented to the Cowdenbeath Area Committee. The Lochgelly Community Regeneration Forum stayed until the end of the meeting, and we will be contacting them soon for an update and to share their views on how the meeting went.
When the plan was presented to the Cowdenbeath Area Committee, the issue was discussed, and councillors were advised to concentrate on the application and merits of the proposal, and not allow themselves to be swayed in a way that would suggest voting for the popularity vote, which I assume was meant to address the concerns of many people that have submitted objections to Fife Council, to the local Councillors, and this website. We believe they should be looking at the merits of the planning application as well as representing the views of the community.
Local SNP Councillor Ian Chisholm proposed that the planning application be rejected on the grounds of parking and transportation issues, and this was seconded by SNP Councillor Ann Bain. Local Labour Councillor Mark Hood proposed that the decision should be delayed until a site visit can be arranged and this was seconded by Labour Councillor, Alex Rowley.
A vote was then taken on both proposals, 2 voted in favour of rejecting the planning application (Cllr Ian Chisholm and Cllr Ann Bain) and 7 councillors voted to delay the decision until a site visit could be arranged. This gave 7 votes in favour of delaying any decision until a site visit has been arranged. The 7 councillors who voted to delay a decision were Cllr. John Simpson, Cllr. Alistair Bain, Cllr. Alex Rowley, Cllr. Alexander Maxwell, Cllr. Mark Hood, Cllr. Margot Doig, and Cllr. William L. Clarke.
As a side note, a previous planning application had been rejected, because the plans didn’t provide enough parking spaces (only 3 extra parking spaces were needed), yet this proposed store will have a shortfall of around 50 parking spaces.
So today, no final decision was made on the planning application, which is a partial victory for the people of Lochgelly but the fight is far from over. I am sure this issue will be raised at the next Community Council meeting, and if you wish to raise any questions on this subject (or anything else) to the Community Council, you can do so at: http://lochgelly.org.uk/?page_id=1150
We will contact the Lochgelly Community Regeneration Forum for their feedback and an update, as they have been very proactive on this issue as well as the other issues they raise in the community.
Also because of this delay for the final decision, it means there is still time to put in your official objections at: http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/applicationComments.do?action=showComments&caseNo=09/01361/WOPP
As always, you can leave us your feedback below, and we would like to thank everyone that has shown us support and objected to the plans of the small store.