New look at home site

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Fife Council has taken unprecedented steps to reassure the Dysart community amidst an ongoing row over plans to build a children’s home in the area.

Councillor Tim Brett, chairman of the social work committee, asked housing bosses if they could look at the feasibility of building social housing on the remaining land at Howard Place, in order to appease fears that the spare land will be left derelict if plans for the children’s home go ahead.

Opposition has been strong among Dysart residents since proposals to build a three-storey home for up to five young people were first announced.

Much of the disapproval has come from the use of the site for a single children’s home, rather than housing as was initially promised when the former flats on the street were demolished.

Developers

Locals raised concerns that the land not used up by the home would no longer attract prospective developers and therefore regeneration in the area.

However, councillors at this week’s housing and communities committee agreed that the land can be included in a list of prospective sites for house-building, to be undertaken by the Council over the next five years.

Cllr Brett explained: “The housing committee agreed the remainder of the site can be considered for Council or social housing.

“We haven’t reached a final decision on what we are going to do about the children’s home, but hopefully this is a reassurance that the land won’t be left.”

This week locals sent a letter to the local authority and Councillor Brett in a bid to gain answers over why the site was chosen.

Commandeered

The have asked whether there have been attempts by the Council to sell the land to potential developers, and claim the site has instead been ‘ruthlessly commandeered’.

The letter also asks whether the Council has taken into account the number of families that have been lost from Dysart as a result of knocking down, but not re-building, the housing that was previously on the site.

Cllr Brett added: “Following the discussions we have had with the community and different suggestions and ideas, we are now reviewing all of these points and we will be bringing all that information together so we can decide on the best way forward.

“One or two alternative sites in Dysart have been suggested, and we are doing our best to take on board the concerns and look at other options, at the same time remembering we have a responsibility to look after these children as well.”