Fife Council told to ‘get its finger out’ over Levenmouth rail project

Fife Council has been told to ‘get its finger out’, as the first anniversary of the rail link announcement approaches.

On August 8, 2019, Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson gave the green light to the £75 million investment, news campaigners in the area had been waiting decades to hear.

Almost one year on, and while Network Rail has made progress on restoring the line – it is hoped construction work will begin late next year, with the first train coming into Leven in 2023 – Fife Council has come under fire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Levenmouth Rail Campaign (LMRC) chair Eugene Clarke criticised the local authority over its handling of the Levenmouth Reconnected Blueprint aspect of the rail project – a £10 million scheme which aims to make sure that Levenmouth makes the most of the opportunities afforded to it by the rail link.

“The progress on the line has been reasonable,” said Mr Clarke. “The pain is that Fife Council is procrastinating about the Blueprint project.

“Nothing has happened. It’s so frustrating and they need to get their finger out.

“Progress seems to have been slow. There’s seven months missing between the announcement and the appointment of a manger for the Blueprint group where nothing seems to have happened.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Clarke has also raised concerns about the Blueprint groups and the lack of public representation.

“Levenmouth is being told what decisions are being made, rather than being asked,” he said. “It’s too distant from local people, and that’s a concern.

“A year has passed, and there’s not a lot to see.”

Ken Gourlay, head of assets, transportation & environment at Fife Council, said: “The council has established a Levenmouth Reconnected Leadership Group and a working group which involves agencies like Transport Scotland, SEPA, Network Rail, Scotrail and the council. A stakeholder group will be established in due course – and this will involve, amongst others, the Levenmouth Rail Campaign group.

“A programme manager has now been appointed and is working on the governance around the £10m Blueprint investment fund, including criteria and bid and evaluation processes, and remits have been established for the Leadership Group and Working Group.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“There is no public representation on these groups but we do want to engage the community on how the fund is best used to support the local area and we welcome any early suggestions from the community.

“The Blueprint will be an evolving document which will develop as the rail line and adjacent infrastructure takes shape.

“Public consultation and engagement will be essential in the development of this document.

“The engagement and consultation on the railway investment will start soon and the blueprint process and actions will follow.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.