Does Leven need a new twin?

Levenmouth from above
Levenmouth from above

LEVEN residents are being asked for their views on plans to find a new European twin town.

The issue was raised at a recent Leven Community Council meeting, but members are keen to get public opinion before taking the matter any further.

Levenmouth was previously twinned with German town Holzminden.

Members heard from Dominique Robertson, of external affairs at Fife Council, who said creating a new twin town needed research.

She said: “The strongest twinning links we have in Fife are between towns where the homework has been done before creating the link.

“After 1996, twinning changed – it is much more community driven now.

‘‘It will not work if it is just one person linking with another.”

Dominique said several aspects would need to be considered when choosing a town with which to twin.

“One of the reasons the link with Holzminden did not work was because it was with Levenmouth, and that was too big.

“We need to be looking at a coastal town with a similar population.

“You have to go slowly in your approach when considering a twinning, and must make sure all of the community can be involved.”

However, the proposal has been called a waste of money by some residents.

Posing the issue on the Mail Facebook page, readers were quick to respond – but not as enthusiastically as the community council may have hoped.

Commenting, Jane Heggie said: “Never known what the benefits of twinning are... total waste of much needed funds that can be better spent elsewhere,” while Elaine Richards questioned: “If the last one dwindled why would this one be different?” Carol Penman said she had “never seen the point” of twin towns, and Walter G. Smith simply said it was “irrelevant”.

Andrew Graham reflected on the meaning of twinning after WW2, commenting: “Instead of investigating twinning why don’t they tell us what the benefits will be against the cost of the investment and let the public decide,” while Joan Muszynski suggested trying to revive the link with Holzminden instead of trying to establish a new one.

Councillor Alistair Hunter, who was at the community council meeting last week, said members should not underestimate the amount of work needed to establish a new link. “We probably need at least half a dozen people involved. We really need town champions. As a process, this has lots of potential but it does need the backing of the community.”

Calling on locals, council secretary Glenn Allan said: 
“We really want the input from the people of Leven. The whole thing sounds fantastic but it will be a long process.”