School site: The issue that has divided a town

Toll Park, Burntisland
Toll Park, Burntisland

A MEETING of Burntisland Community Council ended in controversy after its members voted against the preferred siting of the town’s new primary school.

The decision angered many local residents who felt that the vote was not representative of the majority of the town’s people and accused the Burntisland Community Council (BCC) members of voting through their own personal views.

Action group Best4Burntisland, who were formed as a protest against the school being built on Toll Park, also came in for criticism as it emerged that some of its members also sit on BCC.

As a result of the vote SNP Councillor George Kay, who favours the Toll Park site, said he sees “no point in continuing to have any dialogue with that Council”.

In a letter to BCC, Councillor Kay said: “As far as I am concerned the BCC forfeited any legitimacy to speak for the people of Burntisland.”

The controversial vote came at the end of a meeting where the issue of planning for the new school was discussed with eight members of BCC voting against the planning proposal whilst three remained neutral.

Bob Smith, who is a member of both BCC and Best4Burntisland rejected accusations of a conflict of interest. “We at the Community Council took our lead from the people of the town who voted four to one against the Toll Park proposal at a public meeting in October,” he said.

“The Community Council and Best4Burntisland are completely independent.”

Lib Dem Councillor Susan Leslie said: “The meeting was a very difficult one, but a planning application is not a popularity contest.

“The final decision on the Toll Park application will be taken by the 12 elected members of the Kirkcaldy Area Committee.

“It is a quasi-judicial process and must be treated as such.”