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Benarty locals claim victory in ongoing boundary row

Willie Clarke, left, and Brian Menzies, both Benarty Community Council, looking at a map of Glencraig.
Willie Clarke, left, and Brian Menzies, both Benarty Community Council, looking at a map of Glencraig.

Benarty campaigners have scored a victory in a row over their community council boundary.

Local groups believe a line on the map going through the tiny village of Glencraig is in the wrong place and should be moved so it runs along the northern edge of Lochgelly High School.

However, it was claimed national records show the boundary has been the same since 1897.

They say, as a result of the boundary being moved at some point in the past, the village is cut in two, with part of the settlement demolished decades ago included as part of Lochgelly.

Their campaign has taken a step forward after the community and housing services committee voted to consult on shifting the boundary.

Former local councillor Willie Clarke, who is a member of Benarty Community Council, said: “Maps don’t make communities, communities make maps.”

Mr Clarke highlighted guidance for drawing up boundaries on the basis of “community, history and heritage.”

The campaign gathered pace at Benarty Gala, when a petition went on to amass 1,446 signatures.

Fellow community councillor Brian Menzies added: “People in Benarty have done tremendous work in drawing up the history of the village.

“I’m delighted that a sensible verdict has been made for Glenrcraig and the whole of Benarty.”

But the committee’s decision means the communities of Bernarty and Lochgelly will be consulted twice on the community council boundary, with an all-encompassing review of community councils set to go out to consultation in spring.

A motion raised by the committee’s Labour convener Judy Hamilton calling for the Benarty boundary to be considered as part of the wider review was outvoted seven to six.

Mrs Hamilton said: “There’s going to be a full review of community councils, where everybody will be consulted on everything, not only borders but the whole scheme. They will be consulted on things like complaints procedures and different aspects of community councils.”

Leading the call for the boundary issue to be considered ahead of the wider consultation was Conservative councillor Linda Holt.

She said: “Is there any reason why this cannot be addressed now, given the strength of feeling in Benarty?”

Labour councillor Linda Erskine said she had researched map records at the National Library of Scotland and could not find the historic boundary referred to by campaigners.

“There’s a 1956 map which shows clearly where the line in the village was and the village has always been cut in two,” she said.

“The map from 1897 shows the same line.”

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