End of seven-year nightmare in time for Christmas for Dysart residents

The collapsed wall on High Street.
Photo: Walter Neilson
The collapsed wall on High Street. Photo: Walter Neilson
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A seven-year stand off between a landowner and Fife Council on Dysart High Street is set to end in time for Christmas and will see the road re-open.

It has been closed since the collapse of a wall at 166 High Street on December 28, 2009, forcing the council to close in the interests of public safety.

But a row over who should pay for the repair between the wall’s owner and Fife Council failed to reach a solution until now, frustrating the villagers and two local councillors Lawrence Brown and Kay Carrington.

Cllr Carrington said: “Whilst I am delighted that we will finally see the road re-opened it has been a long journey. We have met with council officials on many occasions trying to promote a solution but the wall is privately owned.

“The landowner was successful in appealing to the Sheriff Court in August 2012 to have Fife Council share the costs of reconstruction and although we secured a budget for the works in December 2013, a legal agreement was only concluded in July this year on the share of the construction works.

“It has been misery for local people for far too long.”

Councillor Neil Crooks , chairman of the Kirkcaldy area committee, said he shared his colleagues’ frustration.

He said: “While the sheriff agreed reconstruction costs should be shared, I am advised that the terms of that share were not spelt out. Lawrence and Kay had suggested the Council needed to be fair in their dealings with the landowner but that early re-opening of the street was paramount.

“However, before the Council could start work, there was a legal requirement for a signed Minute of Agreement covering the financial contribution from the landowner plus a Licence to Occupy and collateral warranties for the benefit of both parties and that was concluded to everyone’s satisfaction last month.

“Council officers have corresponded with neighbours affected by the road closure and have advised that works will commence. I think that is great news albeit tinged with our collective sorrow at the time it has taken.”

Cllr Lawrence Brown said: “This has been a nightmare with legal issues between the council and the landowner preventing works being undertaken and the villagers being the ones who suffer.

“I understand tenders for the work were issued on August 8 with a return date of September 2. It is hoped work can start late September and be completed before Christmas which would be a nice present for the village.”