THE saga over public drinking in Falkland looks to be over after councillors voted to push through a ban.
Campaigners on both sides of the argument had been engaged in a war of words since the byelaw was requested by the community council over a year ago amid reports of anti-social behaviour in the village.
But members of Fife Council’s policy, finance and asset management committee put an end to the debate when they agreed to include Falkland in the list of places where public consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
The plans will now be passed on to the Scottish Government for approval.
More than 350 people had signed a petition opposing the byelaw, while local councillor David MacDiarmid had also slammed the proposal.
Reacting to the committee’s decision, Councillor MacDiarmid said: “I fully understand why the police and indeed the Scottish Government are seeking extra powers to help rid communities of the scourge that alcohol misuse can bring.
“Of course I support them in this extremely difficult task.
“I do have a problem, however, with this particular byelaw for the village, and that is how the byelaw is to be enforced.”
He went on: “We are told that you have to be causing a disturbance or being anti-social in some sort of respect and that, in my opinion, is fair enough.
“The fact of the matter is, though, that if you are found to be carrying or enjoying alcohol aged 18 to 90 in the zone, no ifs or buts, you will be committing a criminal offence.
“It will then be at the discretion of the police whether any action is taken, but you certainly do not have to be causing a disturbance to be breaking the law.
“I sincerely hope it works for all the right reasons — only time will tell.”
The committee also voted to create similar byelaws in Auchtermuchty, Ceres, Gateside and Strathmiglo.
Local authority officials will draft an exemption for Auchtermuchty Festival.
Howe of Fife councillor Donald Lothian welcomed the decision.
He said: “There are already over 80 communities in Fife both large and small — including Newburgh, Ladybank and Kettle — which benefit from being covered by this byelaw.
“I am glad that it is to be extended to these other communities in the Howe of Fife.
“I appreciate that some people have expressed reservations, but it needs to be remembered that this byelaw is solely in place to allow the police to better deal with anti-social behaviour.
“Only those who want to shout and bawl in the street and cause a nuisance will be affected.”