Former boss hits out over naming

Fife Institute Sports and Leisure Centre in Glenrothes. The replacement facility is under construction
Fife Institute Sports and Leisure Centre in Glenrothes. The replacement facility is under construction
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A former Fife Institute boss has called for a public consultation on the name for the new Glenrothes sports centre to be re-run, reports MIKE DELANEY.

Jim Penman said the widespread opposition to calling the facility after the late councillor Michael Woods had to be heeded by local authority leaders.

Mr Penman, who worked at the Viewfield building since it opened in 1971 and was principal for 25 years, is not against naming the new centre after a person, but believes Mr Woods is the wrong choice and that there are more deserving candidates.

The ‘Woods option’ was voted through by Scottish National Party councillors on Glenrothes Area Committee, despite the fact that it only attracted 22 percent of the votes lodged during the consultation.

That was one per cent ahead of the number received for retaining the Fife Institute name and 21 per cent behind the public’s top choice, Glenrothes Sports and Leisure Centre.

That was also the preferred option of Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, which will run the new facility.

Council leader, Peter Grant, said he and his colleagues were justified in ignoring the consultation outcome because it wasn’t binding and had involved only 174 responses.

But Mr Penman said this week: “A lot of people didn’t know about the consultation at the time, but because of the publicity this has had, they do now.

“So I’m saying to councillor Grant, re-run the consultation, see what the response is and take account of what the people say.”

Cllr Grant was not available for comment as the ‘Gazette’ went to press.

Fourteen per cent of the votes cast were for ‘other’ names that were not disclosed in the committee papers.

The Gazette has learned that suggestions included naming the centre after Richard Brickley - the respected Institute-based chairman of Sisability Sport Fife, something has been supported in some of the numerous letters we have received on the issue - or the late John MacDougall MP.

One respondent asked for the centre to be called Momentum, but most of the other suggestions in the 24-strong category favoured some variation on Glenrothes, or Fife, or Institute being in the title. It has also emerged that 127 of the votes were cast online at the fifedirect website, while the remaining 47 came on paper from local offices, libaries and the Institute itself.

Meanwhile, Fife Sports and Leisure Trust has made its first public response to the naming decision.

Asked by the Gazette for its reaction, a spokesman said: ”As the organisation responsible for the management and operation of the new sports and leisure facility at Glenrothes, the trust was given the opportunity to express a preference with regards the choice of name for the centre – this preference was the Glenrothes Sports and Leisure Centre.

“The Trust has always understood that the process for selecting the name, as well as the final decision, was the responsibility of Fife Council.”