Recently, Fife Council undertook a public consultation for the Lochgelly Supplementary Guidance and Transport Guidance (LSPTG) which we had critised due to the length of the document and complexity (View our articles). We also spoke with several MSPs and we need to thank MSP Willie Rennie who replied the quickest and was the most helpful.

Recently we received a notification from a Twitter friend (@Technotoaster) that Fife Council had released the final report for the LSPTG and we would like to thank Technotoaster for helping us to keep up to date.

The report is a mixed bag of positives and negatives, we have published excerpts below, of what we feel were the most important local issues. There is a link at the end of the article for obtaining the report for yourselves. Fife Council excerpts are contained in the boxes and our commentary outwith the boxes.

Rail Station Relocation

2.6.1 The proposal to safeguard land at Launcherhead Park for a potential relocation of the rail station was the subject of a number of representations. Many of these suggested that alternative land to the east of the existing station or north of the railway line could be used for improvements to the existing provision.

2.6.2 The proposal to relocate and enhance the rail station at Launcherhead Park and connect this to an extended Station Road was identified through the Lochgelly Charrette. The proposal was discussed at the May 2010 workshop on the charrette outcomes. At that workshop it was agreed that the land to accommodate this proposal should be safeguarded to ensure that this opportunity was not lost through injudicious development before further assessment of the rail station proposal could take place. Options for the future of the rail station in Lochgelly will be considered through fuSPTG just safeguards the site.

Our take is that the land is safeguarded against all development, other than a railway station development, which may or may not happen in the future. It will be wise to keep an eye on future planning applications to make sure the land is safeguarded for the community to be able to continue to use Launcherhead Park, the way it was originally intended to be used, and the way it is currently being used.

Long and complex document

2.8.1 There were a few comments that the Lochgelly SPTG is a long and complex document. It is agreed that the document is too long, this is partially because it includes look up lists of guidance for specific areas in the appendices and includes some explanations of how and why certain parts of the guidance have been included. The format of the document has been substantially revised make it easier to use. The guidance is now a concise document containing key design considerations with an associated compendium of more detailed and technical guidance.

By identifying the issues with the LSPTG, Fife Council have taken a positive step to rectify this for future guidance and consultations, and we feel this will make the consultation process more accessible to the wider local community.

Consultation period

2.9.1 Several representations received asked if the consultation period could be extended and highlighted that the Service Centre is only open for two days a week and that not everyone has internet access.

2.9.2 A hard copy of the guidance was available to view at Lochgelly Library which is open six days a week as well as in the Local Office. It was not considered possible to extend the consultation period given committee timescales and Local Plan work programming. However, groups who raised this as an issue were given the opportunity to submit additional comments up to 14th September so that committee can consider them.

The hard copy being made available in the local library is irrelevant as it would be a rare person that would sit in a public building and review a very lengthy and complex document, as for the extended time to make comments to the committee while this was a welcomed compromised, it was also felt that these comments would carry less weight than if people were allowed to raise their concerns, support or objections during the timed consultation process.

2.9.3 There were also a number of representations who highlighted that some of the area covered by the Lochgelly SPTG is covered by Lumphinnans Community Council and requesting that they be consulted on the document. This was an oversight on our part and as a result Lumphinnans Community Council were sent a hard copy of the guidance and several copies on CD on 22nd July. They were also given the 14th September deadline to respond with any comments they may have. No further representations have been received.

We did notify Lumphinnans Community Council ourselves and the general feeling we got, was that they weren’t overly concerned with this. We have also spoken to individuals within the Lumphinnans area, who were completely unaware of the consultation. We will be requesting minutes from the Lumphinnans Community Council to see what action they deemed necessary to take, and if that action reflects the feedback we have received from individuals in the Lumphinnans area.

Conclusions

3.1 The public consultation exercise on the draft Lochgelly Supplementary Planning and Transport guidance generated a number of responses. The comments highlighted the length and complexity of the document and as a result the guidance has been substantially reworked restructured and more generic elements of the guidance have been removed. There have also been a number of modifications made to the content of the guidance in response to comments. These are listed in Appendix B. Id adopted the Lochgelly SPTG will be a material consideration in determining planning applications.

We feel that it is a positive step if future consultations will be less complex and lengthy and shows that Fife Council has taken on board local feedback. If this stays true for future consultations then it is a positive step for Fife Council. This could even help Fife Council better engage with the local community through consultations and help remove or slightly negate the us vs them situation we have at times in the local community.

View the Full Report: http://admin.1fife.org.uk/uploadfiles/publications/c64_Item08-combined7.pdf

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