councillor Mark HoodLocal councillor Mark Hood has slammed local football teams at Muir Park for what he claims has been ‘utterly sickening’ damage to the former Red Ash area. A post on his facebook page reads:

Utterly sickening £1k’s of damage to the new grass area at in Lochgelly Public park. Local football team seem unable to use Muir park without damaging the new area.

The Red Ash area was recently removed by the Lochgelly community council through the Public Park Improvement Group. The removal of the Red Ash was put to tender for an estimated £39,200.

An unnamed spokesperson from Lochgelly community council made claims that the area ‘remained unused for many years’. But this has been challenged by several residents, posting on the public LCC facebook page and on the Lochgelly Past & Present page.

One resident commented:

I’m not sure this is a good idea as I see lots of kids playing on their bikes on this area. Runners running on it. I think it should of been left …

A growing number of residents have spoken out on social media against the removal of the Red Ash area and the lack of consultation carried out by the Public Park Improvement Group:

it would be nice if they engaged with the community and asked for their opinions

Another commentator says:

Didn’t see any problem with the red ash, as everyone says it was used by lots of people, for running, riding bikes, quads, dogs etc. And it would cost nothing to maintain. Grassing it over will be a fortune in turf, cutting every week etc, not to mention how wet/boggy it will get, making it unusable for anything!

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-01-13-59Cllr Hood is emphatic that local teams are to blame for the damage, despite 6 photos showing extensive criss-crossing tyre tracks:

just to be clear the damage from local clubs were the players walking across the new grass surface with their boots on. The trye tracks were not the result of the clubs

Cllr Hood then threatens all users of Muir Park:

I suspect we will have to close Muir Park for the rest of the season.

The blast attacking local teams was made through his social media profile on Facebook on Sunday 2 October.

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9 Comments

  1. Lisa

    October 3, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Can he close down the park? What gives him the right.

    Reply

  2. Anonymous

    October 3, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    The council wastes money.

    Reply

  3. Anonymous

    October 3, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Councillor hood… want them to remove their boots like??
    Footballers.. play in yer baffies next time!

    Reply

  4. Thomas Hunter

    October 3, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    I would like to see Mr Hood’s evidence that this damage is in anyway connected to a player or officials of the 2 football teams. I assume he must have some evidence otherwise he surely would not be spreading untruths.

    I run one of the clubs and would be more than happy to discuss this with him. Although it’s states that we’ve been threatened with the boot I can assure you that our contact had been a decent with either club but don’t let the truth get in the way here. Shameful

    Reply

  5. PLANTER

    October 4, 2016 at 2:36 am

    I thought you might be interested to see a letter I submitted to the Central Fife Times last week because it gives some of the official background to the decision to remove the Red Ash area as it refers to the published minutes of the Public Park Improvement Group. There’s one mistake though in the letter i submitted. I misread the information at http://www.tendersinfo.com/details/35346084, assuming the contract for the Red Ash was being put out to tender. In fact it was being awarded. The LCC FB page reports that work to remove the Red Ash area began on September 14, the same day the contract was awarded – which seems incredibly fast. It would be good to know who else tendered for the work apart from Fife Council. From the LCC fb page it also turns out that the work was completed within a few days, which makes the price tag of £39,200 all the more astonishing.

    Dear Sir,

    I see that the removal of the Red Ash Area is now underway. There has been extensive discussion about this on the Lochgelly Past & Present page on facebook. People who use and value the Red Ash area have asked who made the decision and what consultation took place.

    Minutes from the Public Park Improvement Group, a sub-group of Lochgelly Community Council, indicate that the group decided at a private meeting on 20 June 2016 to grass over the surface. Those attending who agreed this were George Kinnell, Stevie Murray, Jimmy Mann, David Hemsead, Carol Mackie, Colin Davidson, Stephen Duffy, Alex Lamond and Margaret King. Four members sent apologies, including Councillor Mark Hood.

    All ?the attendees ?are members of Lochgelly Community ?C?ouncil except for Colin Davidson, Stephen Duffy, Alex Lamond and Margaret King who work for Fife Council.

    The minutes do not mention any consultataion having taken place. Jimmy Mann seems to have stated the rationale for ?the decision: this area “remains to be one of the worst parts of the park and asked that the group treat this as one of the projects for immediate development”. This seems to have been accepted without question by all the members present although three users of the Red Ash area were mentioned. George Kinnell was charged with asking the Gala group about using the West Park instead, while tenants who used the area to access the park could go round the perimeter. George Kinnell said that “at present the surface is mainly used as a car park when the football is on” and Stevie Murray said he “had had to speak to the teams about this problem as it was causing damage”.

    Minutes for the previous minute in May do not mention the Red Ash area, while minutes for April’s meeting state:

    Red Ash area–
    still subject to ongoing consideration. SM advised that whatever longer term plans were developed for the area would need toinclude a public discussion and would need to be timed to avoid clashing with the Gala Day. This was scheduled for the end of August. GK highlighted that a member of the public had been using it for his trap and horse, he didn’t think that this was permissible? JM responded that it was public park so anyone can use it, we need to look at measures which would encourage more users across the whole area including the red ash. Agreed to keep this onto the agenda for future discussions.

    No public discussion about the Red Ash area took place? following this discussion.?
    ?N?either PPIG or the Lochgelly Community Council bother?ed to show up at Red Ash for the Gala which would have been a golden opportunity to hear people’s views.

    The public record proves that an unelected and apparently unaccountable group consisting of Lochgelly Community Council members and employees of Fife Council took a unilateral decision to get rid of the historic Red Ash area.

    This group has spectacularly failed to seek the views of the people who use it and value it?, unless of course the man who approached this facebook commentator was from PPIG:?
    “I take my dog over the public park most days so he can run around and such while over yesterday a man approaches me and my cousin and asks what we think about the red ash area get turfed, we respond that it wld b silly as it’s used by dog walkers, kids on quads, bikes,scooters etc plus people run n jog round that area aswell, anyway he told us to comment on fife council page wi our thot. However went up park tday and guess wot… the top soil as good as laid so wether the people of Lochgelly likes it or not ur not getting a chance to say. And although it wil prob cost about £2000 per year to cut my question to the council is Why waste money to fix sumthin that isn’t broken.?”? If he was from PPIG, he evidently forgot to pass on this person’s views to his colleagues.

    The sheer waste of money is eye-watering. On 14 September Fife Council put out a contract to tender to “redevelop The Red Blae Pitch At Lochgelly Public Park” for £39,200. This is solely to grass the area, not to create the all-weather football pitch that was talked about a while back. I’m sure a local farmer would plough it up, put in drainage and seed it for a fraction of that price. Of course whereas the Red Ash cost nothing to maintain, the grass will incur an annual cost which PPIG did not ascertain before comminssioning the work. Whatever else, the park redevelopment is keeping plenty of people in work at Fife Council.

    Perhaps the last word should go to another facebook commentator:
    “After 3rd October Lo’gellys New tipping ground ? We will have to go to the meedies now for the Lochgelly gala why did they not ask ppl we got rid of Saddam. Gaddafi and now it’s time to get rid of the Fife Council dictatorship.”

    Yours sincerely
    PLANTER

    Reply

  6. Anonymous

    October 4, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Signs should have been put up and protected to cancel out any possible damage from anyone including cars and horses which have also been in it. Blaming the local teams seems the easier option from the councils mistakes. Don’t see how changing this to grass benefits the community in the slightest. Complete waste of OUR money!

    Reply

  7. Jennifer Clunie

    October 4, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I live at the backlog the park and walk my dog there regularly. I was not aware that this are had grass seeded on it. There are no signs letting people know this.
    The red ash was used by dog owners, children on bikes etc and people running. It should have been left as it was.

    Reply

  8. Anonymous

    October 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Threatening to close the park down is truly disgusting. We are in a middle of an obesity epidemic and politicians should be encouraging people to go outside and use open spaces to walk, run etc. In addition, a lot of parents walk with children to cut through to schools and nursery, so does this counsellor want these children to get back into parents cars,seriously!

    Reply

  9. Helen Smith

    October 7, 2016 at 9:18 am

    The red ash area was well used despite Hoods spin and kidology that it wasn’t. The public wasn’t consulted, and lets face it, rarely are. Councillors get a good salary for supposedly representing the public, its about time Hood worked for our community, and stopped carrying out his own agendas. The red ash was useful for many users and should have been kept, the money could have been spent on the clubhouse which is in an appalling state.

    Once the red ash had been removed, the ground just looked like a dirt track, no signage to advise folk that the ground had been seeded. Their mistake, not ours! And really, what gives Hood the right to think he can threaten us with saying he will close our public park?! Someones getting above themselves! Am fed-up with certain politicians 🙁

    Reply

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