CAMPAIGNERS in Falkland are toasting victory in their hard-fought battle to preserve a historic wall.
The Scottish Government this week ordered construction firm Lomond Land to rebuild the 300-year-old section of wall on The Pleasance it demolished last year.
Campaigner Stuart Haszeldine, of the Historic Falkland Action Group (HFAG), hailed “a splendid victory for a team of ordinary villagers”.
He said: “Going all the way on this felt like cycling uphill in the wrong gear carrying a bag of coal.
“But we have now set a legal precedent in Scotland which other conservation areas can use and other communities can use to stop aggressive money makers from throwing their equipment in to destroy our heritage buildings which people come from worldwide to visit.
“We live here, and we can look after where we live.”
Lomond Land bulldozed a 20-metre stretch of the wall last April amid a storm of protest.
The firm said it had demolished the wall in the interests of public safety and challenged Fife Council’s attempts to force reconstruction by appealing to the Scottish Government.
The company — part of the Glenrothes-based Lomond Group — has an option to buy land adjacent to the wall from site owner William Mill.
Jim Birrell, Fife Council’s senior manager for development and buildings, said the local authority was “delighted” at the Scottish Government’s ruling — which included a decision not to award expenses to Lomond Land.
He went on: “This important historic wall should not have been demolished without seeking formal permission and it was a significant loss to the character and appearance of the Falkland outstanding conservation area.”
Mr Haszeldine thanked local councillor David MacDiarmid, Fife Council officials and Historic Scotland for their support during the campaign to have the wall reinstated.
Councillor MacDiarmid praised the “hard graft” of HFAG members during the campaign, adding: “Community power can overcome diggers and unscrupulous companies.
“I can’t wait to see our historic entrance to the village restored to its former glory.”
No-one was available for comment this week from Lomond Land, which has until December 9 to rebuild the wall.