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.[dm]10[/dm]