Common sense prevails on Thornton traveller site

The former Fife Council roads depot in Strathore Road, Thornton, will not now be used for a gypsy traveller camp.
The former Fife Council roads depot in Strathore Road, Thornton, will not now be used for a gypsy traveller camp.
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The community of Thornton breathed a sigh of relief this week after it was announced Fife Council would not now be building a travellers site in the town.

The former Fife Council depot in Strathore Road had been one of a number of potential sites in the Glenrothes area earmarked by housing officers in an attempt to avoid a repeat of last year’s traveller problems.

We are glad they have finally seen sense on what is a very emotive issue within the town.

Mina Patterson

There was widespread disruption and anger across Glenrothes in 2014 when the town was subject to 13 illegal gypsy traveller encampments.

The cost of evictions and site clean-ups was estimated by John Mills, Fife Council’s head of housing, to be around £45,000.

The decision was taken by an officers task group headed by Mr Mills.

He told the Gazette: “The task group has now reached the stage where we can remove further consideration of the old roads depot site at Strathore Road from our list.

“The main reasons for the decision are costs of provision of the site, a consideration of the existing provision for gypsy travellers in the Thornton area, and the prospect of affordable housing being built on part of the site at a later date.”

Mina Patterson, a member of Thornton Community Council, said the news would be widely welcomed by residents.

“We wholeheartedly welcome the decision made by the local authority,‘‘ she said.

‘‘We are glad they have finally seen sense on what is a very emotive issue within the town.’’

Councillor Altany Craik, area committee chairman, welcomed the decision.

He said: “The site search will go on in Glenrothes as the number of unauthorised encampments are now starting to increase as the travelling season starts.

“The Council has accepted that the best way forward is to create an alternative to unauthorised camps so that the Council does not need to spend scarce council resources on legal and clean-up costs.

“The task group will keep councillors up-to-speed with progress going forward.”