The Community Council held their monthly meeting on the 14th March at the Royal Oak Community Club (The Phoenix).
Before beginning the meeting, the Chair informed the members of the public, that they cannot speak without the Chairs permission. The Chair then started the official meeting at 7pm.
The meeting began and Community Councillor (CC) Stevie Murray asked questions relating to Bank Renewables planning applications for wind turbines that are being planned between Kelty and Lochgelly, down by Lochore Meadows.
Specific concern was raised that planning applications had already been submitted, but at the last meeting, Bank Renewables had claimed they were still to submit anything. Stevie Murray was informed by Chair McPherson that the planning applications were only recently submitted.
The Floral Grant for local flower displays, was discussed and the Community Council agreed that the money should be donated to Fife Council, who would then be responsible for maintaining the floral displays in Lochgelly for the year. It was also noted that the floral display outside the Lochgelly Centre was made possible by local businesses donating cash towards the display.
Concerns were raised over the use of the Public Park by horse riders, particularly over the safety issues. CC Helen Ross raised the safety concern after witnessing 3 horse riders galloping up and down the public park, at a time when there was a lot of children playing in the area, as well as many dog walkers using the park.
CC Eileen McKenna notified the Community Council that there is a code of practice for horse owners, and the next time they are at the public park, the horse riders should be informed off their duties and responsibilities.
The main concerns over the horse riders is concern over a child being knocked over by a horse rider.
Dog fouling was again on the agenda with various Community Councillors raising their concerns, and again calling for some form of action, such as publicly raising awareness of the situation, and then getting involved with educational activities to highlight the concerns to dog owners, about the issues of dog fouling.
The Treasurer Dodd Kinnell gave a financial update, and currently the Special Project fund has £3541.84 and the General Fund has £43.94.
Mossmorran was next on the agenda, with Chair McPherson giving an update about a recent meeting he attended as part of the Mossmorran Community Liaison Group (MCLG).
CC Brian Schultz raised concern that not everything is rosy with Mossmorran and again requested that the Community Council should be proactive in publicly inviting Mossmorran to attend the next Community Council meeting to answer some of their concerns and the concerns of Lochgelly residents.
This led on to discussions about the recent £2.8 million fine Mossmorran received after it emerged Mossmorran failed to report 33,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2008.
Chair McPherson claimed that Mossmorran had recorded it after they discovered a calculation error and further claimed that SEPA kept it quiet and withheld it from the public. CC Schultz raised concern that if figures were incorrect for 2008, then what about 2009, 2010, etc.
Chair McPherson again stated that SEPA did not want the data to be published.
Hood confirmed that Mossmorran had miscalculated the figures and reported to SEPA, but did not report the error to the committee. SEPA did not want the results published.
Hood raised concerns as to whether the committee is becoming too cosy with Mossmorran, as it emerged that Mossmorran has been giving gifts of corporate hospitality to members of the MCLG, and during their last meeting, the members were thanking Mossmorran staff for these gifts, which included tickets to corporate hospitality events and other gifts.
Other Community Councillors echoed the concerns of Hood.
At this point Chair McPherson requested Hood to be silent, claiming he is being ‘political’.
After silencing Hood, the Chair tried to allay fears of the additional dumping of 33,000 tons of CO2 in the atmosphere by stating that it was only CO2 and that according to Mossmorran, there was no threat to the local community.
Concerns were raised over the lack of funding and donations from Mossmorran into the local community, and it emerged that Mossmorran only donated £50 to the Lochgelly Gala, and when the Lochgelly Community Development Forum refused the donation, Mossmorran then donated £75.
It also emerged that schools in Lochgelly have received no money from Mossmorran for the past couple of years. Chair McPherson claimed that the schools do receive funding, but CC McKenna claims that St. Pats is excluded from this funding
CC Schulz again made calls for Mossmorran, and also representatives from SEPA to attend a public meeting to discuss the fine, and other issues regarding Mossmorran. Shultz would also like the Lochgelly Community Council to approach other Community Councils (Cowdenbeath, Lumphinnans, etc.) and find out their specific concerns and form a working group that will bring their concerns together, on a united front, to try and tackle Mossmorran.
CC David Hempseed stated that the Lochgelly Community Council should just be seeking answers for Lochgelly. CC Stevie Murray backed the concerns of Schulz and supported his action for a collective approach.
It was agreed that CC Schultz and CC Murray can try and form a group to bring together the other Community Councils, to raise their concerns collectively.
Councillor Hood was then allowed to speak, but was quickly silenced again, which led to Hood walking out of the meeting. When the behaviour of the chair was questioned, other Community Councillors were snubbed which resulted in another 3 Community Councillors walking out of the meeting.
The meeting returned to normal and CC Linda Erskine raised concern over the amount of Wind Farms currently being planned, or approved, that will impact on Lochgelly, as well as raising concern over the amount of wind farms currently being planned for the Fife area.
CC Erskine stated that the landscape would be blighted, and also raised concerns that Fife may be left with ‘rusting great big hulks’, and wanted the Community Council to be more proactive on the issue. Chair McPherson stated that they can only object.
CC Erskine then raised concerns over the proposed traveller site, and it was agreed that the Community Council will monitor the situation closely, making a public announcement objecting to the development, and will oppose the plans.
After the discussion on the traveller site ended, the meeting was starting to come to a close with no other Community Council business. At this point the ‘LoSW’ representative and a member of public raised their hands to be able to discuss their own issues of concerns in Lochgelly.
The Chair failed to take any notice, and CC Murray had to intervene and request that the members of the public, who have sat through 2 hours of discussion should be able to speak. Chair McPherson then agreed to allow the members of the public a chance to speak.
A member of the public raised concern that their letter sent to the Community Council had not been acknowledged in the correspondence section, and requested their questions be discussed, regarding Bank Renewables, and if any other meetings have been held between Bank Renewables and Lochgelly Community Councillors.
The member of the public also raised concern that it appears that some Community Councillors do not always feed back into the main Community Council meetings, when they have carried out some duty/action on behalf of the Community Council.
Chair answered the member of public and reassured them that no additional meetings have took place between the Chair and Bank Renewables. The Chair also apologised that this was an oversight on not keeping the Community Council informed.
The LoSW representative was then allowed to raise their concerns, but first the Chair warned that they had received complaints about them for speaking at the previous public meeting, out of turn.
This led to the LoSW representative stating that they spoke at the prior meeting because the current agenda used by the Lochgelly Community Council breaches the Scottish Government Guidelines by not providing a space for members of the public to raise their questions or concerns.
The LoSW representative then requested that the next meeting, the agenda should include the section ‘questions from the floor’ to be in line with current Community Council regulations. This point was taken on board by the Community Council and the LoSW rep was allowed to raise their concern.
LoSW raised the issue of the Mossmorran turbines and asked if the Community Council had been notified, or if they were made aware of the planning application that had been approved for 2 x 100m turbines at Mossmorran by Airvolution energy. None of the Community Councillors were aware apart from the Chair.
LoSW then told the Community Councillors that the turbines had been approved, which may have been illegal, since Fife Council own the verge of the land, which means that the decision to approve or reject the turbines should have been handled by a committee and not Fife Council as they have a vested interest in the development.
Chair denied that the turbines had been approved and that the application was only for an anemometer mast (measuring wind speed). LoSW had to point out that the applications are approved and the developer has put in another application for turbines to be increased to 125 metres (410 feet) in revised locations, and that the information is available in black and white on the Fife Council website.
It was agreed that LoSW can send an email to Community Councillors with details and links to the planning applications of the Mossmorran turbines and the Banks Renewables turbine applications.
The meeting was then closed, and the next meeting will be held at the Royal Oak Community Club on the 14th April, starting at 7pm.