Damon Lee 0

Demolish Broomhead Flats, Dunfermline

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Fife Council have agreed that the Broomhead high-rise flats in Dunfermline's upcoming new "business hub" around the Carnegie Drive area are to be "saved from demolition" and will instead be renovated and improved upon, where possible. Broomhead Drive houses the only remaining high rise flats in Dunfermline and many believe are contrary to the vision that councillors have for this area over the next 4-5 years. With new developments in the area which include a new Tesco superstore currently being built, the newly refurbished Carnegie Leisure Centre opening its doors a mere 2 months ago, a brand new housing estate from Taylor Wimpey nearing completion, talks of moving the town College to a nearby vicinity and also various other restaurants and promising business ventures opening in the near future in this area, these flats depict the west side of Dunfermline as a confused (and sometimes sorry-looking) city. Councillors and surveyors within Fife Council acknowledge the condition of the flats are of grave concern in their current and "crumbling condition" yet they are opting to spend £5.1m on improvements which will last for, apparently, 30 years. The official officer's report states the "external walls, balconies and stairwells have deteriorated in recent years and require remedial work. There are wider physical and environmental issues around common access, lighting, security, parking arrangements and bin stores." How long will the remedial work truly last? In October 2011 strong winds resulted in severe structural damage to one of the balconies of an apartment: “The balconies of the high-rise flats have now been made off-limits to residents because of growing safety fears as the condition of the blocks continues to deteriorate.” A large panel had blown off a seventh floor railing which came crashing to the ground. This structural liability could have had fatal consequences – thankfully no one was hurt on this occasion. There were 5 options considered when reviewing the options for Broomhead flats – the cheapest was chosen. A survey was issued to all 216 households within the three blocks to determine what the residents would like seen done to their homes and out of this, only 31 responses were received – 24 of these opted for the renovation option. Essentially, this equates to only 14% of the households within Broomhead Drive that a) care about what happens in their own housing estate and b) have an opinion about what actually happens to their own home. This figure leads to some head-scratching and cannot be indicative of the actual views of the inhabitants and surrounding area. Put this into perspective – if you were to receive a letter from your local Council informing of a possibility of your home being demolished, would you respond? In July 2011 a “26-year-old man was brutally stabbed within a flat in Broomhead Drive.” an article in the local newspaper reported. The article goes on to read: “The incident came to light after the victim was found bleeding heavily by his girlfriend whilst he was attempting to make his way home”. The flats in Broomhead Drive are notorious for being dangerous places, with anti-social behaviour prevalent resulting in common police visits (almost nightly) and given its current state of disrepair contribute to them being an unsuitable environment for families to bring up small children and babies. This seems to be emphasised by the higher than normal requests by tenants for outward transfers. Fife Council is all too aware of the anti-social behaviour in the Broomhead area, but it seems little attempt has been made to counteract the situation. Renovation of the current flats is unlikely to alter this in any way. Dunfermline has been longing to show its professional standings for a long time now. With recent and future developments well under way we can finally show Dunfermline in a business suit, but at the same time against a quiet, homely and quaint backdrop with lots to offer its new generation of young families and first-time property owners. This petition is not to oust people out of their homes under superficial reasoning, more to urge the council to reconsider its decision which appears to do little more than provide makeshift remedial work that would be of only a temporary nature. Moreover this is an attempt to overturn a decision which seems contrary to Dunfermline’s vision of creating a thriving city centre with a refreshing and professional look for visitors and a safe and suitable housing solution for its inhabitants.

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