A boisterous public meeting organised by Benarty Community Forum to discuss issues surrounding proposed plans to replace a visitor centre at Lochore Meadows was deemed a success after councillors including Cowdenbeath Area Committee chair Mark Hood agreed to a raft of measures to appease dissatisfied residents.

Residents demanded to know who was responsible for the lack of consultation on the design of the new build and for the lack of meetings of the Lochore Meadows Advisory Group,as well as a range of other issues.

Promises given by Cllr Hood to the packed meeting include an internal investigation into the governance processes, an investigation into the consultation processes, a halt to the demolition of the existing building, the reformation of the Lochore Meadows Advisory Group with cross-party representation rather than the current Labour hegemony, and a 3-week consultation exercise with residents to review current plans.

MSP Annabelle Ewing called for the current planning application and process to be halted amidst loud cheers of support from residents. Councillor Peter Lockhart also expressed his support for halting the process but claimed he did not have the power to do so.

Councillor Mark Hood insisted the planning application should continue to be processed but did concede that unless amended plans drawn up through the 3-week consultation process, led by Benarty Community Forum, are agreed by those attending a public meeting, the current application would have to be scrapped. He acknowledged that it cannot proceed without local support and unless the community is on board.

A spokesperson for community action group ‘They’re our Meedies not their Meadows’ stated:

“Big thanks have to go to Lorna Bett and The Benarty Community Forum for setting this meeting up for us all. The turnout was good and everyone got a chance to put their points across. It was agreed that an emergency consultation process will now be carried out, with another full public meeting to take place in exactly three weeks time. If we the public don’t feel that three weeks is enough time to come up with something better, the entire plan will be scrapped and it’s back to square one. This time we’ll make sure redeveloping the visitor centre is done properly from start to finish.”

The Benarty Community Forum will be working with the trust, Fife Council and other community groups and residents to revise the designs.

Lorna Bett, treasurer of Benarty Community Forum says:

“I am very hopeful we can reach some sort of agreement. We won’t be able to please everyone but we will try to get the best we possibly can.”

Benarty Community Forum will be chairing the consultation process over the next couple of weeks with a final public meeting to be held on 5th December 2016 at 7pm at the Lochore Miners’ Institute.

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2 Comments

  1. Lucia

    November 16, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    I just wanted to share a question I left on Councillor Mark Hood’s facebook page this morning. He not only ignored my question, he deleted it and then he blocked me from making further comments on his page.
    Cllr Hood posted:
    “So we are already getting SNP supporters telling us that SNP Councillors did not vote against the investment in Lochore Meadows. They can have their own opinion but they can’t have their own facts.
    See the extract from the minute of Fife Council budget meeting in February 2014. SNP and Tory Councillors voting against £1.15m investment in Lochore Meadows.
    SNP Councillors in the Cowdenbeath area have no vision and no ambition for the Meadies. They seem to want to appose (sic.) everything without offering an alternative.”
    He illustrated his post with a photo of the voting for the Feb 2014 Fife Council budget on which he’d superimposed his comment “Budget included £1million for new visitors centre and £150 for new sports facilities at Lochore Meadows” and “SNP alternative budget included NO investment in Loch Meadows”.
    This is what (I remember) I posted in response:
    “Hang on. Full disclosure please. Do you mean the SNP voted specifically against the budget for the Meedies redevelopment or just that this was part of the overall FC budget they voted against? If so, does this give you carte blanche to argue that opposition parties want to deprive people of anything funded by the current Fife budget under the Labour administration because they voted against that budget?”
    This is a cheap rhetorical trick that Cllr Hood favours when having to deal with people who question Fife Council/Labour’s actions in Fife – they are part of a nasty party that wants to deprive the people of goodies.
    What is much worse is that this post is his response to the overwhelming public criticism of the Meedies proposal which he heard on Monday night – an attack on his political rivals! Again this is what Cllr Hood habitually does to those who disagree with him/don’t tow his line – brand them SNP supporters and write off their criticism as politically motivated. Did he really not realise that his critics were not SNP stooges but ordinary people with good reasons for questioning the proposal? Perhaps SNP politicians have taken an interest in the issue just because they see it matters to voters and it’s important to listen to them.
    This is the cul de sac you end up in when you reduce everything to tribal party politics: you and your policies lose touch with real people.

    Reply

  2. […] to get Fife Council’s proposal built despite sustained opposition from local communities and a clear vote against at a public meeting he attended in […]

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