A planning application for a skatepark next to the MUGA court at Lochgelly Public Park has been submitted by Fife Council.

Plans for a skate park have been developed and submitted by Fife Council and appears to be independent of the Public Park Improvement Group (PPIG).

The proposals for skate parks have been led by Fife Council after the Cowdenbeath Area Committee launched the project back in 2013, where a commitment was given to install “traditional concrete style” skate parks in Kelty, Cardenden and Lochgelly.

The PPIG committee, a sub-committee made up of Lochgelly community councillors, discussed a skate park for the Lochgelly Public Park in January 2014. The group received feedback from Councillor Mark Hood which was recorded in the minutes:

“Although we had hoped to develop a skate park, Cllr Hood explained that through discussions with the Youth representatives in the town this wasn’t something that they were interested in.”

By December 2014, Fife Council area manager Kevin Sayer responsible for progressing a skate park strategy across Central Fife areas, was telling the Central Fife Times that in Lochgelly “there had been little demand expressed for a new skate park with preference being put forward for a Multi Use Games Area”.

PPIG made contact with secondary schools for feedback on skate park proposals. In an update in June 2015, PPIG concluded:

“The group agreed that given the feedback to date that it would be of more benefit to use the monies for the development of the MUGA court on the bottom level tennis court.”

In May 2016 Cllr Hood made front-page headlines in the Central Fife Times with a “Call to kids to complete park transformation”. In the article Hood says:

“we now want to kick-off the process of building a new skatepark with young people playing an active part in the design.”

Yet in the minutes for the June 2016 PPIG meeting, the only mention of a skatepark is that “the Council were looking at developing a plan and costs for this option”.

The PPIG group re-affirm that local consultation is negative towards any skatepark proposal, stating:

“The group had previously considered the option however feedback from Margaret King [Community Learning & Development, Fife Council] following discussions with the local schools was that they would prefer the MUGA court.”

The group then confirms in August 2016 “the location of the skate park would be to the north of the MUGA court”. This is despite PPIG previously distancing themselves from any future skatepark proposal and failing to start any new community engagement process.

Another announcement was made in October 2016 with Lochgelly Community Council, posting a 3D rendering of a skate park on their Facebook page with the comment:

“Proposals for development of a new skate park for the Public Park. Hopefully, this will bring another benefit to the town.”

No comments were made in response.

With previous engagements appearing to be negative for the skate park proposal, lack of information provided by PPIG who are overseeing developments within Lochgelly Public Park, and little evidence that new public consultations have been held which favour the skatepark proposals, Fife Council have opted to submit a planning application, with costs for the skatepark previously estimated between £85k-£95k.

Residents can engage with the local authority over the plans by lodging a comment of objection, or a comment of support. This can be done either online via the planning portal, or by emailing: development.central@fife.gov.uk

If submitting a comment by email, you must include your name and address, clearly stating the planning application number (16/04080/FULL) and whether or not you are supporting or objecting the proposed development.

Planning Application: http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OI2MP5HF0QL00

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