When we first launched the site in 2010, the very first issue that we highlighted was the proposed supermarket with petrol station at the Weathermac site. This was well supported in the local community and surrounding communties.
The Lochgelly Community Development Forum worked closely with the developers to secure support in Lochgelly, Ballingry, and Cardenden area, and managed to raise over 1000 signatories in support of the development.
The planning application was rejected, with an alternative site identified at the derelict Fabtek site. The Fabtek site received local opposition due to it’s location next to residential areas, and located in narrow busy streets.
The decision to reject the proposed Weathermac supermarket was officially rejected due to the location being on the edge of the town, which current planning guidance from the Scottish Government recommends that all developments should be centrally located. Yet, later on in the year, a supermarket was approved at Cowdenbeath, for the reasons that it was an edge of town development, causing some to raise concern that the decision to reject the supermarket was politically motivated, and that Fife Council had planned all along for a supermarket to be at Cowdenbeath.
However, this is all speculation, and the facts are that Lochgelly is in need of a supermarket, and in need of a petrol station.
Fast forward to 2013, and at the latest Lochgelly Community Council meeting, discussions centered on re-looking at the possibility of getting another supermarket in the Lochgelly area. It is unclear if this is also to include a petrol station.
One of the reasons that this may be re-examined is that the Fabtek site is currently in a state of dereliction with no supermarket chains showing an interest in the site. The developers have recently applied for the planning consent to be extended for another 5 years.
Councillor Mark Hood made the proposal to reexamine the issue of a supermarket in Lochgelly in a more appropriate location which appeared to be well supported by the Community Council for a variety of reasons, with discussions centering on the monopoly of the Co-op in Lochgelly.
The Co-op was criticised for their current pricing structure which the majority of Community Councillors recognised was much higher for items that can be purchased elsewhere at a more affordable and reasonable price.
It is true that the co-op is currently the most expensive shopping facilities in the town, and looking at the pricing structure of the co-op throughout Scotland, it appears where the co-op has a captive audience (i.e. – with little, to no competition) their pricing structure increases, as is happening in Lochgelly.
Currently, there is no plans for a supermarket in Lochgelly, but councillor Mark Hood would like to reexamine the issue. So what do you think? Does Lochgelly need a supermarket and if yes, where should it be located? Should a petrol station be included in any proposals? Is the Co-op in Lochgelly too expensive? We would love to hear your opinions, please leave a comment below.