Creating a vision for Buckhaven

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Long-gone visitors to Buckhaven will notice a few changes around the town, thanks to the efforts of local group CLEAR.

The environmental charity has led and and been involved with a number of projects since it was created in 2009, and thanks to great efforts by volunteers throughout 2015, visitors and residents alike have been quick to comment on the transformation of Buckhaven.

Thanks to CLEAR, wall murals are now in place in College Street and the Coastal Path, there are ceramics at the theatre, Bank Corner, and College Street, as well as 40 heritage panels and 50 plaques explaining the town’s fascinating history.

Impressive oak archways have also been installed at path entrances on the Braes, and totem poles added on local themes.

The railings installed at the church, theatre and Bank Corner flower beds are all part of this wider landscaping effort.

Bob Taylor, CLEAR chairman, explained: “The ‘R’ in CLEAR stands for ‘regeneration’. The group felt parts of the town were drab or neglected and offered little inspiration to locals.

“So over the past five or six years, we’ve not only been trying to enliven the town through a huge effort to plant flowers, bulbs, orchards and woodlands, but also using through community art.”

“We often run craft sessions at the Growing Space or the Volunteer Hub but it’s been good to take community art into the public spaces where more can appreciate them or perhaps, being Levenmouth, criticize them.

“Planting, community art and even litterpicking are all part of the drive to improve our public space and help make Buckhaven more interesting.”

A number of local artists have been involved in the creation of community art around the town, including potters Gareth Baglow, Kerry Wilson and Donald McIntyre.

Some of CLEAR’s local volunteers have also showcased their artistic talents as part of the projects, such as the wall mural which depicts the history of Buckhaven in three ships, which was designed and painted by local man Colin Pentland.

And CLEAR has worked in conjunction with other local groups, including the Buckhaven Beehive on projects such as the community planning event for a piece of public art at the new Levenmouth Academy.

Bob added: “Apart from the time involved, we often need to raise additional funds for each piece of work.

“We like to think these works are of good quality and generally appreciated. And we’re always open for ideas of new sites or artistic ideas which could be implemented.”

The team at CLEAR has already been thinking of new community art projects for 2016, which they hope will engage with local people and make the town look even better. These include a new series of totem poles in Sandwell Park, oak archways at the entrances to Starkies Wood and mosaics at the Bank Corner flower bed seats. Bob said: “Another ambition we have is to install large colourful but tasteful ‘Welcome to Buckhaven’ ceramic panels at the main entrances to town.”

CLEAR will also continue to work closely with the Beehive to advance the idea of a major piece of public artwork on Methilhaven Road on the edge of Starkies Wood.

Both groups are hopeful of advancing the projecty over the next 12 months.

To follow the work being done by CLEAR and to get involved go to clearfife