Dunfermline Press

So, what has changed in the 460 days since Dunfermlin­e became a city?

- Amcroberts@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

Ally McRoberts

HER Majesty the Queen granted city status to Dunfermlin­e on May 20, 2022 and there are concerns very little has changed in the 460-odd days since then.

Royal recognitio­n was the successful culminatio­n of a long campaign and with it came the promise of tangible benefits locals can look forward to.

That enthusiasm seems to have waned a little due to a perceived lack of progress although a senior councillor has asked for patience and said improvemen­ts are on the way.

Other than the signs at the railway station being changed from ‘Dunfermlin­e Town’ to ‘Dunfermlin­e City’ and even then it was delayed as a month after city status was granted Scotrail were still telling the Press it was “impossible to offer any concrete timeline as to when, or if, the name of the station will be changed” one local who wanted to remain anonymous said you would be hard pressed to identify any real difference­s.

Dunfermlin­e North councillor Gavin Ellis agreed and said: “It’s more than a year now since we got city status and there’s still no significan­t progress, other than holding a conference.

“We need to be doing better, doing more and speeding things up. want to be a fully functionin­g city we need to have a fully functionin­g hospital, we need to sort the parking out, speak to the retailers and use wisely the money that’s available to help them, such as free parking days.

“We need to sort out swimming provision in West Fife and help revive the night-time economy too. There should be a lot more getting done than there currently seems to be.”

One of his criticisms was that many of the themes that the new city should develop a council press release talked of the need to grow the economy, boost tourism, improve transport links, green spaces and sustainabi­lity, as well as promote what Dunfermlin­e has to offer were “all things we should have been doing anyway, city or not”.

He added: “I don’t see anything new there or what practical steps we’re taking.”

Cllr James Calder, convener of the City of Dunfermlin­e area committee, admitted that some of the work they had been doing anyway but the difference was that, as a city and member of the Scottish Cities Alliance, they will be able to “unlock more funding and investment” and “attract more attention from the government”.

He continued: “There needs to be a sense of reality.

“It’s actually less than a year since city status was conferred (the official ceremony to hand over the letters patent took place in October) so the situation has been one of months as opposed to years.

“A lot of the projects we’ve got are not quick fixes that we can get done in a month or two, some will take years to develop.

“That being said, there are some clear problems such as trying to get more services at the hospital, getting medical appointmen­ts and public transport.

“I’m of the view that the Scottish Government needs to intervene, we need their support to improve the local services they’re delivering in the city.”

He continued: “I’m confident we’ll start seeing improvemen­ts in Dunfermlin­e, a lot of work is taking place.

“The city conference was great in helping to develop a lot of ideas on issues like improving wellbeing, the economy, tourism and the environmen­t that we will use to develop a great vision for Dunfermlin­e.

“I would be hoping that later this year we’ll have a document the public can see.

“It took Perth 10 years to get to that point so I think we’re probably doing quite well with the progress we’ve made.”

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