Report of meeting with the Glenrothes Area Committee

15th February 2008

1) Introduction to GAFG:

The GAFG was set up in autumn 2007. It evolved from joint meetings of Glenrothes Community Councils. During these meetings a view emerged that there was an increasing need for a more prominent voice to express the needs and aspirations of the community of Glenrothes. It was felt (and this is, I believe, an opinion that is widely held) that, since the demise of the Glenrothes Development Corporation, the drive and determination to develop and improve the town had diminished.

The GAFG is a group that is open to all community groups within the town. Residents/tenants associations, Community Councils and Church organisations are already participating with enthusiasm.

We are united in our belief that Glenrothes is a good place to live. However, we are ambitious for our community and believe that with the correct input, investment and enthusiastic leadership Glenrothes can become a great place to live. Together we agreed that it was best to focus on 4 principal topics all of which were areas where development and change are essential if our ambitions are to be realised.

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These topics are:

  1. The A92 trunk road (from Clunie to New Inn)
  2. The Glenrothes Town Centre
  3. Youth Services in Glenrothes
  4. Economic development of the Glenrothes Area
Since GAFG was formed there have been 2 meetings of the GAFG involving all its members, 1 very well supported public meeting focusing on the Sainsbury development in the Glenrothes Town Centre, and many, many meetings of the office bearers of the Group. Debate has been lively and enthusiastic. We are keen to see progress.

Progress can only be made by working with Fife Council and all the other organisations that influence the management and planning of life in this town. Hence today’s meeting. We are very keen to establish good working relationships with you, as local councillors. We are keen to explore how this can be achieved. There will be times when we may have disagreements but, I suspect, for most of the time and on most issues, we will be all moving in the same direction. We need to know how best we can support each other on all issues relevant to the improvement of our town.

Agenda for today’s meeting: You have an agenda for our meeting. It would be helpful if you could let me know now of any extra items you wish to add to this agenda.

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[at this point Colin Nikolic gave an update on the situation regarding the A92]
[at this point Colin Nikolic gave a summary of thoughts on youth initiatives and economic development]

4)(a) Town Centre Development.

After years without any significant development there now is a real prospect of change. With both Sainsburys and Asda having major plans to build retail developments in the town we can look forward to improved shopping. But town centres are of course not just about shopping. The importance of town centres to communities is clearly defined in the master plans for Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and St Andrews. No such master plan has been produced for Glenrothes. Why not? Are we viewed as of little importance, a second or third division community not worthy of enlightened planning attention. The danger is that piecemeal development will take place driven by the needs and whims of developers with little feeling for the needs of our town. In a situation as we are at present with a tired shopping mall being the only bit of town centre we have, it is all too easy to accept without question whatever investment the developers make. Yet here we are with no activity in our town centre possible once the shopping mall shuts its rather weary doors; no cafes, no restaurants, no cinema. It cannot be right. We must ensure that the population can have a town with a real heart.

So how can we achieve this:

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We believe there is real urgency in the need to move forward with these proposals. We need your advice on how we can best work with you to ensure we have a vibrant town centre that we can take pride in.

Is a Glenrothes town centre strategy being developed or envisaged at this time?

Are these the kind of issues that interest Councillors in our area?

How do GAFG best go about getting these issues addressed?

4)(b) The Naming of the Mid Fife Plan

This is an issue that may appear to some as a matter of semantics. We do not see it in that way. Fife is a region unlike many others in Scotland. It is not dominated by a single main city. Rather it prides itself in having 3 towns of roughly equal size, Dunfermline, Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy. The university town of St Andrews is of great importance. There have in the past been jealousies and rivalries between these communities but surely the time for that is well past. It has not served us well and we need look no further than the development of hospital services across Fife to see an example of where trying to please every community has failed in almost every way. We should rejoice in the fact that the region does have 4 very diverse towns and ensure that each is encouraged equally to develop through this century. We believe that the starting point for this is to ensure that the crucial planning papers are named appropriately and we believe that this should result in the local plan being called the Mid Fife Local plan.

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5)Discussion on how best to work together to achieve what is best for the town and surrounding areas

Topics & Questions to be covered:

Input/assistance from/to Councillors
Do Councillors wish to be kept abreast of our activities?
Can we arrange regular? Quarterly meetings
Is there an East/west divide within Councillor community?
Liason/communication with councillors
Liason/communication with council officials
What happens when no response is obtained to emails to officials?
Are Council activities transparent and are consultations with the public genuine?
How do GAFG best go about getting issues addressed? And how do we forward/action proposals for change?
What strategies have GAC been consulted on to date?

6) Joint press release on outcome of meeting

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