Call for honesty and justice over quarry issues

Glenrothes councillor John Wincott outside Fife Council's Fife House offices
Glenrothes councillor John Wincott outside Fife Council's Fife House offices

A Glenrothes councillor has made an impassioned plea for Fife Council leaders to to honour the words on its crest, asking for ‘honesty and justice’ in the case of Lomond Quarry.

That was the request of Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch councillor John Wincott as he spoke to Fife Council’s executive committee yesterday (Tuesday) on recommendations put to the authority by a recently completed independent review.

Administration leader Alex Rowley asked the committee to approve the recommendations of the report saying it was a chance to make a fresh start over the long-running saga.

Members were given details of 16 key recommendations from the review that has already cost Fife House £24,324.

Amongst them a recommendation that quarry noise levels be maintained below 48 decibels and be strictly enforced.

Residents living close to the quarry site have continued to complain about noise levels since blasting commenced at the site in 2010.

Cllr Wincott asked for permission to present to the executive on the report’s finding and began by quoting from an email from a Leslie resident.

“I was born in Leslie, worked most of my life to get where we are and we were very pleased and happy to have achieved what we had, then the Council decided to ignore the Leslie community and grant a company permission to virtually take over Leslie and ruin our lives.

“Does anyone realise the Council has taken from me my life as I knew it?”, the councillor read.

Cllr Wincott also expressed his concern on a number of matters in the report, particularly one paragraph which seemed to contradict the review findings.

He said: “The original review document effectively states that the noise levels have been set too high, whereas the officer’s report to the executive states that the review finds that the agreed parameters ‘are appropriate and proportionate’.

“I am concerned by how the report to the executive appears to differ from the actual review.”

He also launched a thinly veiled attack on Fife Council’s planning bosses highlighting that the review raises concerns about whether the elected members were adequately informed about the impact that the quarry would have on the residents of Leslie. He added that he would be writing to the Scrutiny Committee calling for an in depth review of planning, particularly covering the advice given to members when they are asked to make a decision.

While it was agreed that the quarry was operating in accordance within the planning consent and legal agreement,the executive was advised to go ahead with implementing all of the review’s recommendations.

Cllr Wincott finished by reminding members of the Fife Council motto.

“I looked at our crest today and read our motto – ‘Honesty and Justice,’” he said.

“People in Leslie have asked me, ‘Where was the honesty and justice in January 2010 when this planning application was approved?’

“My goal is to make sure that all planning decisions are also made with honesty, justiceand openness, as three of our key values.”