Travellers to get stop over sites

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PROPOSALS that could see Scotland’s first stop-over site for gypsy travellers erected in Cardenden have been approved by Fife Council.

And now the three proposed sites - costing £15,000 - at Cardenden, Cairneyhill and Crail - have been moved forward for planning permission.

Work will soon begin on rolling out another three to five sites across Fife, including at least one in Kirkcaldy.

John Mills, senior manager, said: “We are concentrating on these three sites at the moment, but Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes are key areas for us.

Unofficial sites

‘‘They are the places where we have most difficulties and the most travellers stopping on unofficial sites.

‘‘If we do nothing we are just going to have unauthorised encampments.”

The area at Cardenden - the former Bowbridge site - would be available for six to eight caravans for between four and six weeks maximum.

If it gets the go-ahead, the site, including toilets, water and bins, will operate between March and October.

Councillor Alice McGarry, chairman of the Gypsy Travellers’ Working Group, said: “I understand the concerns of communities.

‘‘Frankly some of the behaviour we have seen in Fife leads people to have fears about having travellers near to them, but nonetheless we need to move forward. This is a positive move.”

However, the decision was not without controversy.

Kirkcaldy councillor David Ross moved that the committee delay until a site visit could be arranged. This was rejected.

He said: “I have been contacted by local councillors and residents who have real concerns about the development of the sites in Cardenden and Cairneyhill, because of road safety, drainage and other problems.

“This is a sensitive issue and we owe it to locals to listen to their concerns before taking a decision.”

However, Councillor McGarry questioned why a site visit would be needed when the committee had passed numerous proposals for housing without any visits. “I don’t see why this should be any different,” she said.