Some keen eyed Lochgellians will have noticed that the two new benches at the Lochgelly Business Centre has been missing for the past week.
We have been told the benches were removed on Monday the 23rd July, and the twist is, that no-one is sure if they have been stolen or not.
Apparently, two men started removing the benches from the base in broad daylight on the Monday. No staff members at the Business Centre had been notified of any planned works, so one staff member questioned the person doing the work.
The person allegedly told the staff member that the benches were the wrong colour and are being removed to be repainted. The staff member then took note of the registration plate of the vehicle, just in case.
We have been told that the staff member then checked with their head office, and they were also unaware of any planned maintenance for the benches.
A source close to the organisation has mentioned to us, that staff are still unsure if the benches removal was planned maintenance or simply a brazen act of theft.
While this should be a simple job of checking, it is understandable the difficulties the organisation may be having in trying to verify any planned repairs, if we look at the background of the benches.
The benches were part of the ‘Fife Benches’ project which was a partnership project between Fife Council, Kingdom Housing, Ore Valley Housing Association and Glen Housing Association with art company PACE helping to design the benches in consultation with select groups of people across Fife.
Involving schools, art groups, youth groups and local colleges the benches were designed and created as a set. Two benches were placed in Lochgelly, and the other benches were placed at Buckhaven, Dunfermline, Glenrothes and Inverkeithing.
Regarding the design of the benches, the artists from PACE; Chris Eckersley and Willaim Warren have stated;
Another main driver for the design has been our wish to present the people of Fife with an optimistic and poetic bench that looks to the future rather than mourns Fife’s lost industrial past.
Anyway, to get back on point, with four large organisations responsible for the benches, there is likely to be a lot of paperwork, checking between departments and different organisations, as any four may be responsible for repairs, so it will take some time to find out if this has been a case of theft, or not.
Meanwhile, we are currently missing two poetic benches, but are optimistic that the housing associations will figure out what happened.