Admin Note: The following letter has been recieved in response to an article that appeared in the Courier (Fears council will press on regardless with Lochore Meadows visitor centre)
Cllr David Ross claims that “community views are very much split” on the subject of the new visitor centre Fife Council is proposing for Lochore Meadows Country Park.
Such desperate politicking in the dog days of his administration is not worthy of the leader of Fife Council. Of course views, and votes, are always split, unless you live in a one-party state or a totalitarian dictatorship.
At two extremely well-attended and passionate public meetings in Benarty, the consensus was very clearly against Fife Council’s current proposal, for many very good reasons, not least that such a poor, ugly building would never have been proposed had the local community been involved in the first place.
The second meeting, at which over 200 people from the local community turned out, voted approximately 70:30 against. This is a level of community engagement which any community worker, let alone political party, would give their eye teeth for.
No community council has supported Fife Council’s proposal, and when the Lochore Meadows Advisory Group was finally consulted, it was also unable to support the current plans.
Facebook discussions also show passionate engagement against the current proposal. The only very quiet voices, and votes, in favour of it appear to have come from people employed by, or associated with the local building firm which won the tender for the £1.8 million Meedies contract.
When asked, Cllr Ross was unable to produce evidence of substantial support. Of course the loudest voices for the development have been local Labour councillors Mark Hood and Alex Campbell. Both have recently taken to the media, attempting to politicise the issue as somehow being an SNP plot and blaming the Scottish Government for alleged funding shortfalls.
In continuing to push the current proposal, Cllrs Hood and Campbell are not only defending the indefensible. They are also slapping down their constituents to the point of reneging on Cllr Hood’s public promise that he would stop the development if the community came out against. Worse still, both allow wrong-headed party politics to trump the aspirations of the communities they are supposed to represent.
Fife Council’s handling of the new visitor centre has been inept from the beginning, and it continues to be marked by maladministration and arrogance. At least a dog gives up once he’s finished his breakfast.