Highland Games organisers say Council failure has been a “shambles”

Shane Fenton says Markinch Highland Games have been "severely let down" by the failure to complete the work in time.
Shane Fenton says Markinch Highland Games have been "severely let down" by the failure to complete the work in time.

The failure to complete the relaying of park paths prior to Markinch’s biggest public event of the year, has been described as a ‘shambles by organisers.

The town’s annual Highland Games attracts thousands every year, but the organising committee say they have been left frustrated and angry, after Fife Council’s failure to complete resurfacing work, despite giving assurances that all paths earmarked for relaying would be completed by May 27, a week before the Games take place.

Organisers now fear some of the paths have been left in a worse state than when work began and say the Games, and the public, have been ‘severely let down’ by the failure.

“It’s been an utter shambles both by Fife Council and the contractor they have employed, it’s clear now that not all of the work will be done by games day,” explained Shane Fenton, a member of the games organising committee.

“We did ask the council to consider postponing the proposed upgrade of paths until after the games had taken place, that would have allowed them as much time as they needed to get the work completed, but they insisted the work would be finished ahead of games day, yet it won’t and that is unacceptable.”

Shane now fears the safety of some spectators may be put at risk and has said the organisers will not be held responsible for any accident which may happen on games day due to what he called the “negligence of the council” in allowing this work not to be completed.

Responding to the concerns Damien Woods, service manager parks streets and open paces said: “I’ve inspected the progress at John Dixon park and spoken to the contractor who confirmed that, unfortunately, they are behind schedule.

“About a quarter of the path at the entrance still needs to be completed, and then gravel, sand and Portacabins will need to be removed from site. Some sections of the path, which are unstable will need to be fenced off.

he added that he would meet with contractor later this week to monitor progress.

“Officers will meet the contractor again tomorrow to clarify what position the park will be in by close of play Friday, and we will keep the Games committee informed.

“We have given the organisers a key so that they can access the park through the week to prepare for the event. I hope the games will be another great success for them.”