Residents voice support for development of Raith Gates

Raith Gates care home. Pic: FPA
Raith Gates care home. Pic: FPA

Many of the residents of the Raith Estate are in favour of the proposed new children’s home but are afraid to speak out.

That’s the view of one resident, David Nicholson, who said he has been shocked at the level of “aggression” he has witnessed from others who are against a new home opening at the Raith Gates site.

He said: “There’s been a sustained campaign by a so-called majority of residents who are anti the new home on the basis that this is a retirement area and effectively they don’t want to see any change to the status quo.

“I know dozens of people who have said to me they don’t want to speak out because the shouting crowds will turn on them, but there are others who have shown support.”

The Raith Gates site has been pinpointed by Fife Council as the most suitable replacement for the current children’s home at Rimbleton in Glenrothes which is set to close.

The proposal for the home has come under fire from many in the area. The Raith Homeowners Association (RHA) has raised a number of concerns and claims that the Council is not seeking “best value” for the site as a whole.

But Mr Nicholson has been backed by two members of the clergy at Linktown Church, Catriona Morrison and Marc Prowe, who released a joint statement saying: “Young lives are the greatest asset this society has and we must cherish and value and support them.”

A recent meeting of the Council’s scrutiny committee at the Adam Smith Theatre did not give a balanced argument according to Mr Nicholson.

He said: “Cllr Susan Leslie has been excellent in trying to give both sides a view, but at the meeting the RHA had two people speak, the Abbotshall Residents Association spoke against it and the Community Council said it wouldn’t take a position on it. No-one was invited to speak up for the home.

“We don’t know the exact background of these children - nor should we. But don’t we all have a corporate responsibility to look after them?”

The executive committee is expected to make a decision on December 9 based on the scrutiny committee’s recommendations.

Raith site picked by scoring system

The Raith Gates home would house a maximum of five children with a team of staff, with a smaller, separate, two-bedroomed house to be used in emergency situations.

The site was chosen after Fife Council’s executive committee approved a matrix system to be used and after scoring seven different possible sites, Raith Gates came out with the highest total. It was then put to the exeutive committee as the preferred site for a new home.