Volunteer resigns as Markinch tree tempers flare

Local residents are unhappy that Fife Council cut down the tree without consultation. Pic by FPA.
Local residents are unhappy that Fife Council cut down the tree without consultation. Pic by FPA.

Police have investigated claims that threats were made to community councillors in the wake of an historic landmark being destroyed.

The vice-chairman of Markinch Community Council has resigned from the volunteer group after alleged inappropriate comments were posted on social media.

The comments suggested that the group’s volunteers were ‘liars’ and that they would be ‘run out of town’ for their knowledge of Fife Council’s intention to cut down the Kings Tree – planted by Girl Guides and Brownies in 1935 to celebrate King George V Silver Jubilee.

Fife Council says it informed councillors of the report and intention to remove the tree, which following an inspection in January 2015, was deemed to be 70 per cent dead.

The community council was subsequently told by Cllr John Beare of the need for the Fife authority to destroy the tree on safety grounds, but locals have been left angered and frustrated over no attempt to inform the wider public or seek a second opinion on the possible future of the historic tree.

The community council has hit out at those who have held the group responsible for the actions of Fife Council. “After the abuse we have had to endure over the last week most members of the community council have begun to wonder why we bother to give up our time in the hope of making Markinch a better place to live,” Angela High, chairman told the Gazette. “The community council is not and will not be a mouthpiece for any Fife Council activity within the town. The decision to cut down the King’s Tree was taken by the local authority and in no way involved Markinch Community Council.

“To have been targeted in the way we have is unacceptable and has been very upsetting for all of us.”

Community Sergeant Kenny Greig said that while there had been no criminal act committed he called on the community to consider their responses when posting comments online.

“The incident has sparked a lot of debate, we will continue to work with the community and we would ask people to respect other points of view regarding this issue.”

The possibility that a park bench or wood sculpture could be made from the King’s Tree timber has been ruled out after Fife Council confirmed it had no capacity to store any such material and therefore had already disposed of all of the timber from last week’s felling.