Pernickety or making sure we get what we pay for?

Traders are fed up
Traders are fed up

Traders in the west end of Kirkcaldy High Street say that part of the delay in the ongoing roadworks is being caused by Fife Council.

They claim that “pernickety” working practices, which see workers having to drive slabs to a tent some distance from the site for cutting and slabs being lifted and relaid many times before being passed by the council, are contributing to the hold up.

The project had fallen behind schedule by about one month, but businesses had been told plans were in hand to get it back on track.

David Nicholson, of Park Place Insurance, said: “I asked why the slabs were being taken away to be cut and I was told it was because of the noise and the dust that cutting the slabs with a Stihl saw would cause. They are using a jack hammer to dig up the concrete which is just as noisy as that and causes just as much dust.

“Land Engineering (the company carrying out the work) could put a tent outside my premises rather than having to take slabs all the way to the back of the Mercat, through traffic lights with long delays. It seems a bit ridiculous.”

And Sharon Wood, of Just Kiddin’ children’s clothes shop, said the new slabs outside her premises were laid and lifted “at least three times” before they were passed.

“I couldn’t see anything wrong with them the first time, and it took ages to finish the work,” she said.

“I was promised someone would visit me to explain what was happening, but I am still waiting. It has been a nightmare and my business is really struggling. I moved here from the east end and went through it all when they were doing there. Now I am having to go through it all again.”

Willie Hodge, of Rugs and Runners Carpet Co, added: “Carting slabs by forklift to cut them off site is very pernickety and must be so time consuming. All the shops are struggling with their deliveries and it’s just taking so long for them to finish.”

Mark Dewar, service manager with Fife Council, said: “The slabs are being cut off site as our standard practice.

“This is a £1 million project which, when complete, will make a significant improvement to the appearance of the west end.

‘‘We are ensuring that the contractor meets the specific standards to ensure we have a finished project we can all be proud of.”

Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee, added: “If traders have witnessed slabs having to be re-laid three times then my view is they should have been done correctly first time and that’s not Fife Council’s fault.

“This is our money, public money, hard to get and it is right that the people employed by Fife Council ensure we get what we are paying for.”