A public meeting to discuss the future of the Meedies is being called by Lochore Meadows Panel after the Fife Council Executive Committee pushed through controversial plans for a new visitor centre amidst public protests.
Asked by the press for their response to Fife Council’s go-ahead for the visitor centre at the Meedies despite strong opposition from residents and various community groups, a spokesperson for the Lochore Meadows Panel issued the following statement:
“We were gutted by Fife Council’s decision to press on regardless with the Meedies visitor centre.
People were left reeling at the lies and broken promises which were used to give a veneer of justification to what was always a done deal, given Labour’s majority on the Executive Committee.
Two public meetings of 200+ residents in Benarty counted for nothing, as did the numerous local councillors and community groups opposed to the new build. By contrast, Councillor Altany Craik cited the facebook page “an unofficial community” which was only established on 21st January and contained only 7 comments of support for the proposed building as proof of a “split community” in which a large section allegedly supported the proposals. Lochgelly Councillor Linda Erskine stated that Lochgelly Community Council supported the new centre, when the opposite is the case.
We are disgusted that some councillors even blamed Willie Clark and community representatives for the fiasco. To deflect attention from the Council’s multiple failures in consulting the local community, they blamed the former Lochs councillor and the community reps on the Lochore Meadows Advisory Group for keeping the community in the dark. Other community activists were then castigated for bringing the issue to belated public attention and falsely accused of being part of an SNP plot.
Fife Council could have addressed the righteous anger of local communities at being completely excluded from the funding, design and planning process for the new centre by apologising and making a fresh start which put the the community at its heart.
Instead it stuck two fingers up at one of Fife’s most engaged and deprived communities.”
On 24 January 2017 the Executive Committee approved the contested proposals against strong opposition from residents, Benarty Forum community group, Benarty & Lochgelly Community Councils, Lochore Meadows Advisory Panel, ex-councillor Willie Clarke as well as serving SNP, Liberal Democrats, Conservative & Labour councillors, and MSP Annabelle Ewing.
The plans were ultimately voted through by a narrow majority of Labour councillors and two Independent councillors serving on the Executive Committee.
The Lochore Meadows Panel has called another public meeting, inviting councillors, council officers and local residents to attend so that the outcomes and the options available to the local communities can be discussed.
Lochore Meadows Panel are holding a public meeting in Lochore Institute on Tuesday 31st January at 7pm. The purpose of this meeting is to convey to those who are interested in the new build at the park, the outcome of the panel’s meeting with Mr Steve Grimmond, Chief Executive of Fife Council, which took place on Monday 23rd January. It will also be an opportunity to discuss the Fife Council Executive Committee’s decision on the visitor centre. Everyone is welcome to attend.