We want an end to road saga

Catherine and Eric Houston of Gothenburg Terrace, Coaltown of Wemyss
Catherine and Eric Houston of Gothenburg Terrace, Coaltown of Wemyss

Residents in Coaltown of Wemyss have been driven to distraction by the absence of a road in their street.

For around a century, Gothenburg Terrace has been served by a dirt track rather than a proper road, outside a pair of semi-detached properties.

Two of the houses, which were built around 1914, now belong to Kingdom Housing Association, while the other two are privately owned.

One couple, Eric and Catherine Houston, say the pathway has long been in an unacceptable state and the residents really should be entitled to a proper road.

But the thorny question of responsibility for its maintenance has come up, with apparent uncertainty over who is liable.

Fife Council claims it is not responsible but is not sure who is, while Wemyss Estate is also unclear.

However, both organisations have advised the householders to check the deeds to their homes.

The answer, they hope, should lie amid the legal agreement over the right of access to the householders’ properties.

The track is heavily potholed, creating a hazard for pedestrians, while loose grit and gravel is trailed into residents’ homes, said Eric (70) and Catherine (65).

Vehicles often used the area for turning, while water was gathering because of the damp winter weather.

Catherine, a retired bank worker, and Eric, a retired 
cermics company employee, have lived there for 32 
years.

“We need a proper road, with drainage,” said Eric. “It was designed for the era of the horse and cart, not modern traffic.”

“Nobody is wanting responsibility,” he added. “We’ve tried every other avenue – it’s a disgrace.

“What do we pay our road tax for? And our council tax? Why are we not entitled to a road?”

A spokesman for Savills, the Perth-based factor for the Wemyss Estate, said Fife Council’s transportation serv ices had declared in August that Gothenburg Terrace was not its responsibility.

A look at the titles to the houses would be the best means of finding out, he added.

“If it’s found that it is within our ownership, we will deal with it,” he said, adding Wemyss Estate took these matters seriously.

“It’s easier from the residents’ perspective if they can get copies of their titles,” said the spokesman.

“They will go right back to when the properties were bought.”

Dave Paterson, Fife Council’s area services manager for Levenmouth, said Gothenburg Terrace was not adopted by the Council but it was uncertain who was liable, and also advised householders to check their deeds.