Councillor calls for review of consultation process

Review needed of consultation, says Cllr Hunter
Review needed of consultation, says Cllr Hunter

A local councillor has raised concerns about the way Fife Council conducts public consulations in the local area.

Councillor Alistair Hunter has challenged Fife council leader David Ross to look seriously at how the local authority carries out the consultations with the public after a local wind turbine development in Kennoway failed to adequately engage with the public and community.

Cllr Hunter

Cllr Hunter

Cllr Hunter said the public’s engagement with the consulation on the turbine, which is planned for an area close to Cotlands Park, had shown that the reality was in stark constrast to Fife Council’s claim that community consultation is a major strength of their work.

At the most recent Levenmouth area committee, Fenella McEwan, project manager for Fife resource solutions, told councillors that just ‘three or four people’ had attended the consultation, drawing one official comment.

Challenging these poor participation figures, Cllr Hunter has invited Cllr Ross to conduct a review of how Fife Council engages with the public on such important matters.

He said: ‘Fife Council has to do more than simply book a room in a town and hope people turn up. “If the Council are serious about listening to their communities they must reach out to these communities using all means possible.

“Failing to do so will leave the Council wide open to criticism that they only consult to provide evidence for decisions they have already taken. We have had national standards for community engagement since 2005 so we should expect more than this shoddy practice.”

He added: “I have asked Cllr Ross to review the way Fife Council conduct consultations with the public in line with the new Community Empowerment Bill from the Scottish Government which seeks to involve communities in the decisions that affect them.”