Parents hit back after Coaltown crossing objections

Cllr Ian Sloan pictured earlier this year with village residents Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Cllr Ian Sloan pictured earlier this year with village residents Pic: Fife Photo Agency

“Don’t back down on our agreement,– the safety of our children has to be the absolute priority in our village.”

That’s the message to Fife Council this week from parents in Coaltown of Balgoinie who are concerned that the installation of a pedestrian crossing they have requested for over five years, is once again to be shelved because of objections from residents who don’t want the crossing positioned outside their property.

Residents successfully forced the local authority to reverse its plans to delay a crossing for the town until at least 2017, after their campaign made the front page of the Gazette in March.

But they now fear that the work, which they stress is ‘vital’ if it is to improve the road safety for children making their way to school across the the busy main road, will now not go ahead because of complaints over where the crossing is to be sited.

Glenrothes councillors decided at the area committee in June to approve funding for the project as part of the works programme with a construction date of July during the school holidays.

Following a decision on where to position the crossing, concerns were raised by nearby residents about the proximity of the crossing to driveways and the need for a crossing at all.

“The safety of our children who need to cross that road must be made a priority,”said parent Lynne Nicol.

“The vast majority of people in this village want the crossing and after meeting with the council’s transportation officers, they agreed .

“Do we need to wait for a tragedy to occur before something is done?”

Graeme Wight added: “Given the level of traffic, especially at peak times, this means that children crossing the road to the primary school and to board the bus to Auchmuty have no safe place to do so. This is compounded by the number of parked cars which obstruct the view of both pedestrians and drivers.

“As the parent of a six-year-old who has to cross to go to school this is of particular concern to me.

“I have spoken to council officials who have been involved in the planning for the crossing and have been assured that the location of the crossing meets all of the relevant legislation and guidelines in relation to pedestrian crossings so it would seem that there are no grounds for objection on this basis.”

However, Fife Council this week stressed the installation of a crossing in Coaltown of Balgonie remained viable.

“There was a good and balanced discussion and the outcome was to defer the project in the meantime pending further discussion with elected councillors,” Murray Hannah, service manager, Road Safety and Traffic Management, said.

“The project remains technically viable and officers are currently seeking further discussion and direction from the local community on how they wish to proceed. A meeting between officers and councillors is to take place and people are encouraged to make their views known to community representatives to help inform the outcome.”