Council boss quizzed on consultation cost

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THE council’s top official has been challenged to disclose the cost of the consultation on the name of the new town sports centre, reports MIKE DELANEY.

Chief executive, Ronnie Hinds, has also been quizzed about whether the money is being well spent when the results of the ‘ask the public’ surveys - including a previous one on the future of care homes - are “usually ignored.”

The questions have been tabled by North Glenrothes Community Council following their last monthly meeting, which was held one week after the controversial decision by Glenrothes Area Committee to call the under-construction Viewfield facility the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre in honour of a late Scottish National Party councillor.

The name received the backing of 22 percent of those who responded through the consultation, one ahead of the proportion who backed the present Fife Institute name, but almost the percentage’ received for the most popular choice, Glenrothes Sports and Leisure Centre, which was also the preferred option of Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, which will run the £21 million centre once it is completed.

At the meeting, SNP councillors won a vote against their Labour rivals to adopt their choice, after council leader Peter Grant said people did not realise the extent of the contribution Cllr Woods made to ‘saving’ the Institute after it was allegedly threatened with closure during the last decade.

He also pointed out that only 174 people had taken part in the consultation, which was conducted both online and on paper at the Institute and other council outlets over the summer.

It has now emerged that NGCC wrote to Mr Hinds in mid-October, but have not yet received a reply.

The minutes for the meeting note: ”(Chairman) Ron Page asked the secretary (Margaret Simpson) to write to the chief executive officer for an explanation as to why the council hold surveys when the outcome is usually ignored and at what cost, the two latest examples being the issue of the care homes and the naming of Fife Institute.

“Cllr (Kay) Morrison asked everyone to voice their opinions on the naming of the Institute.”

Meanwhile, the name row shows no signs of abating, with the ‘Gazette’ continuing to be inundated with letters from readers.

A dispute has also broken out on the ‘Gazette’ page at social networking site, Facebook, where Labour’s Mark Hood has demanded a public apology from the SNP’s David Alexander.

Cllr Hood is angry that Cllr Alexander cast aspersions on his honesty after expressing doubt about the Labour councillor’s claim that he supported the ‘Woods option’ in the consultation.