A volunteer group which helps to run a popular Fife beauty spot has been accused of “aggression” against Fife Council staff.
The authority’s local community manager Kevin Sayer laid bare his concerns about the Friends of Lochore Meadows in a report on the team’s first year of operation.
He told members of the council’s Cowdenbeath area committee that meetings of the group, which was established to put people and communities at the heart of developments at the popular country park, were often fractious and factional.
“A number of opinions have been expressed at the meetings about staff and when staff have attended they have been met with aggression,” he said.
Mr Sayer stressed the group had achieved good things, including making progress with plans for an all inclusive play park.
However, he said he had concerns about some of the negative factors.
There has also been a “significant” turnover of members and the local member of the Scottish Youth Parliament no longer attends.
“Various reasons have been given for the reluctance to continue on the group, the predominant feedback has been a lack of progress and of turgid, fractious and factional meetings,” he said.
While new members have been recruited to join a “strong, committed group of office bearers” Mr Sayer said there were still members who have not, or will not, sign up to the constitution.
He added that very few had completed a skills register, making training and team building difficult.
He said there had been no connection with local young people and the group had not made contact with the volunteers who run Craigtoun Park in St Andrews – a group which could help them understand the challenges ahead.
Mr Sayer added there had been an “unhealthy focus” on the capital budget available for the park at every meeting to the exclusion of more fruitful topics such as its development plan.
“The same ground is gone over at every meeting and little or no progress has been made,” he added.
In a statement, read out by Labour councillor Linda Erskine, the group said a number of people had left for different reasons.
However, it said it believed it could make a positive contribution to the development of the park and was putting forward a working plan based on a recent public consultation which attracted 1,300 contributions.
“Members will be working hard to take this forward and we are grateful to the members of the public who participated in the consultation,” the group said.
“It has given us a vision for the whole of Lochore Meadows.
“We will work with council officers to realise that vision.”