Coaltown cash is child’s play

Councillor Ian Sloan has welcomed the surprise cash windfall that could soon be put to good use. Pic: Steve Brown
Councillor Ian Sloan has welcomed the surprise cash windfall that could soon be put to good use. Pic: Steve Brown

Youngsters in Coaltown of Balgonie are set to benefit from a surprise cash windfall which could trigger a revamp of their local play park.

The money, which was built into the planning consent when houses were built in the Green in Coaltown back in 2006, has been finally released for the community to use as they see fit.

The play area has been there for generations but is a little tired

Cllr Ian Sloan

The Section 75 agreement amounting to £13,600 - part of an estimated £250,000 of unspent developer community provision across Glenrothes - has lain in Fife Council accounts unused and forgotten since the site was completed nine years ago.

An upgrade of the existing children’s play area in George V Park now looks the most likely of projects to benefit from the cash boost.

Glenrothes councillor and Coaltown of Balgonie resident Ian Sloan told the Gazette the new-found fund was a “welcome surprise”.

“I, like many others in the community, am delighted the funding, which until now was unknown about, has been released for the direct benefit of the village as it was originally intended,” he said.

“The general consensus is that the park facilities need an urgent makeover and I have been in contact with various people within Coaltown and with the school’s Parent Council to explore way in which the funds can now be used.

“I’ve also been in discussion with Allan Bissett, the parks development officer to see what can be achieved.”

It’s also understood the village’s Community Council are considering an application to the Glenrothes area committee to see if the ‘windfall’ cash could be match-funded as part of provision from money available from the Council’s local community planning budget.

An application is likely to come before the area committee later this year.

“The play area has been there for generations but is a little tired, if people want the use of the funds in this way, I’d certainly support that,” added Cllr Sloan.

Play park fund part of more than £250k of building obligations

A report to councillors at February’s Glenrothes area committee revealed for the first time more than £250,000 worth of unspent or uncollected planning payments owed to the town.

Among that figure, £173,300 earmarked for education, £42,250 to be set aside specifically for affordable housing and around £20,000 for children’s play parks.

Some of the money, known as Section 75 agreements or planning obligations, date back as far as 2006.

Following the report councillors called for greater scrutiny over collecting such planning obligations and requested Council officers from the relevant departments to come before the area committee without delay to advise of how quickly the funds could be made available.

It’s also thought some of the building obligations cash is to be used within a specified time-scale, failure to use would mean the fund would revert back to the developer.

The significant cash boost for the town first came to light following a review of procedures carried out in 2012.