Recent articles about the lack of consultation over plans for a new visitor centre at the Meedies suggests Fife Council may now be downplaying the promises about the Meedies which their representatives made publicly at the meeting called by Benarty Community Forum on 14th November.
Councillors spent the first twenty minutes of the meeting assigning blame to various parties, including former CEOs of Fife Countryside Trust and the Lochore Meadows Advisory Board as well as local residents for not objecting tto the planning application. Once it emerged that Fife Council is the only shareholder and responsible for setting strategies and budgets at the Fife Countryside Trust, councillors promptly passed the buck to the Head of Area Services for Fife Council, Grant Ward, as being solely responsible for all the failings of the Trust.
At no point did councillors accept any responsibility for the problems with the project which have only come to light thanks to the diligent work of community activists in Benarty and the Benarty Community Forum.
Promises made by Cowdenbeath Area Committee chair, Cllr Mark Hood to Monday night’s meeting included: investigations into the governance and consultation processes associated with the redevelopment, a halt to the demolition of the existing building, the reformation of the Lochore Meadows Advisory Board with cross-party representation rather than the previous Labour hegemony, and a 3-week consultation exercise with residents to review current plans.
Cllr Hood stressed that if amended plans cannot be agreed with the Benarty community, they will be scrapped and started afresh.
With only three weeks for the community to consider plans Fife Council have been working on for years, it will be interesting to see if councillors manage to stick to their promises and go back to the drawing board, should the local community find tweaking current plans unacceptable.