Currently the Lochgelly Charrette, which is known lovingly as the Lochgelly Charade has been given several glowing reports, wrapped up in glossy overtones of overwhelming support from the public. All this is due to the final report has been made available (which can be downloaded at the end of the article).

The plans are taking the long view for the development of Lochgelly up to the year 2066, and we mostly know what the proposals are, after the Charrette was led by local developers.

Rather than looking at what is proposed, as we have already looked over these issues, we are going to focus on the positive spin that is being distributed between various media outlets.

Positive Spin – Negative Reality

To begin with, Councillor John Beare (Fife Council Planning Committee Chair) has stated that the Charrette process attracted over 800 participants over the course of six days. It was our understanding that the Charrette only generated around 300 visitors, however this number can be bumped up if you include the number of attending developers, the school visits whereby the students participation was compulsory, or just make the figures up.

John Beare also goes on to say;

It was a very exciting event and brought a whole new meaning to the term community engagement in which Fife Council and the Scottish Government invested heavily.

The term community engagement is what was being proposed on paper, but we all know the stark reality that this was a developer led process, with the community aspect merely a sideshow to tick all the relevant boxes. It is also important to note that the Lochgelly Charrette was the only Charrette in Scotland which was led by the local authority planning department, and the requirements of the Lochgelly Charrette (as stated on the Fife Council Charrette site) was that the final report must fit in with Fife Councils existing masterplan, or it can be rejected.

We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the local people and it was a privilege to have been involved in the process

People initially showed up at the Charrettes public meetings enthusiastically, but from the feedback we have received on this site, and feedback we have witnessed on the Fife Council Charrette site, feedback has been very negative, and people in general have felt that the Charrette was nothing more than a con, and a waste of tax payers money.

The full cost of the Lochgelly Charrette has been published at: http://lochgelly.org.uk/?p=2758

All in all, the Lochgelly Charrette, regardless of how the local authority would like to spin it, was an overwhelming costly failure, if we are talking from the viewpoint of what the local community actually wants. If we take the view of the local authority which already had the plans in place, yet needed some form of community engagement (whether positive or negative) to approve the plans and set them in motion, then the Charrette was an overwhelming success.

The Charrette, has shown one thing, regardless of the overwhelming negative feedback from the local community, the opinions of the Lochgelly community do not matter, especially if large sums of tax payers money has been spent to approve the already heavily contested Master Plan.

So regardless of any negativity with the Charrette the local authority is going to put a positive spin on the Charrette process, because they don’t seem to care about Lochgelly or the opinions of the people, as long as they look good on a larger stage, that is all that matters.

So will anyone in power take the time to represent the 99 people who voted that the Charrette was not a public led initiative, or represent the several hundred that showed support for a supermarket with petrol station, rather than the now approved small store with limited benefits?

Probably not, because their is no personal or political gain in doing so. It seems as though it is politically correct to support the Lochgelly Charrette regardless of public feedback and opinion. Admin Note: please see comments below for reason of edit

Congratulations to Fife Council for finally getting your heavily contested Master Plan approved and to all the developers for the massive profits you will be making. Sympathies go with the losers, the Lochgelly Community.

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10 Comments

  1. Mark Hood

    November 3, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    The personal attacks on me by SNP councillors when I dared to criticise the Charrette tells you all you need to know about their approach to community engagement. – ie as long as the community is saying what they want it to say it’s fine. Because i don’t believe the Charrette has delivered for the community I lack ambition for Lochgelly or I’m being negative. Nonsense!! And this from a Cllr from Glenrothes, one from Kelty and another who lives in Kirkcaldy.

    Reply

  2. Lochgellian

    November 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

    …….or represent the several hundred that showed support for a supermarket with petrol station, rather than the now approved small store with limited benefits?

    This paragraph and the following should be amended IMO, as some councillors did oppose the small store at High Street as pointed out in the Fife Times article.

    Reply

  3. Lochgelly

    November 4, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Thank you for correcting the article and I can confirm that the small store was objected by some of the councillors, mainly Mark Hood and Alex Rowley, which meant that the application was put forwards to the Scottish Reporter, who then approved the plans. Details can be found at: http://lochgelly.org.uk/?p=2408

    Reply

  4. Mark Hood

    November 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for the amendment to the article.

    Reply

  5. Krupskya

    November 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Your insight and analysis is very helpful and appreciated and I shall pass your views on.
    🙂

    Reply

  6. Lochgelly

    November 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    @Mark, no problems and apologies for the mistake.

    We do realise that at times we do make mistakes but thankfully users will usually correct us when were wrong.

    Reply

  7. Darren

    November 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Seems like a little bit of spin for the Labour party to me. Mark Hood, Margo Doig, John Simpson and Alex Rowley have all used petty party politics to slow the charrette process down then blame everyone else for it.

    I remember all the great things Labour promised yet never delivered, at least we can see some progress for the charrette and Lochgelly.

    Reply

  8. tiptoes

    November 12, 2010 at 7:16 am

    the charrette should not have been led by the council.
    i attended 3 times but could not get near andreas and co as they were surrounded by employees of lomond homes,who seemed to get priority

    Reply

  9. sam

    November 13, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I think that everyone should be aware by now that the charrette was and is a farce. We will never see any of the improvement in Lochgelly. Duaney has designed it for 60 years. How many of us will be around to see anything. It will be at least 10yrs before changes start. It was a waste of money. He wasn’t interested enough to listen to anyones opinions on the Sat night.

    He distinctly said on the first night that his team would be around for a few days after his last meeting on the Sat to listen to peoples ideas. What happened his team was away by lunchtime on the Monday. If you worked then you couldn’t go on the Monday to voice your opinion.

    For the amount of money he was being paid he should have been there on the Sunday to listen to the Lochgelly peoples opinion of his views for our town, instead on the Saturday night he was too tired!!!! How many of us in our work would like to be too tired and walk off our jobs and still get paid.

    Some of the things he said I wondered if he had even bothered to find out about our planning laws or did he just imagine we were an extension of America.

    In the economic climate at the moment many of us writing on this forum will never see any changes owing to the time. In fact lets face it with Duaneys forecast even children of 10 at the moment are not going to see much benefit.

    He should have stuck to his remit of 20/25yrs as who knows what will happen in the future and let some of us older ones see some benefit

    Reply

  10. Jessie Philips

    November 20, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I think the Charrette was a farce, the people of Lochgelly were not really consulted or asked for their opinion or indeed their approval. It seemed like a ‘done deal’ between politics and business, and the people who live here could ‘like it or lump it’. Any pretense at consultation with people was just a propoganda exercise…a few boxes ticked to pretend that ‘the people’ had been consulted.

    Reply

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