You must listen to our fears over travellers site

4111004 SSFF travellers site 'entrance and site of planned new short-stop travellers site at Pitcairn, Cardenden plus wide sweep of road looking towards Lochgelly
4111004 SSFF travellers site 'entrance and site of planned new short-stop travellers site at Pitcairn, Cardenden plus wide sweep of road looking towards Lochgelly

A CARDENDEN councillor who insisted that concerns over plans for a travelling people’s site outside the village were not based on prejudice was told he was “living in the dark.”

Calling on Fife Council to halt its plans for a site in the village and carry out “proper consultation” and “give every group the opportunity to raise concerns,” Councillor Mark Hood said a lot of trust had been lost between the local community and the Council over the lack of consultation to date on the issue.

And Mr Hood stressed it was not prejudice but fears over safety and the “inappropriate and unsuitable site” that had drawn objections to the Council plans for the site in a field just outside the village, on the road to Lochgelly.

Sensitive issue

Assuring Cllr Hood that everyone who wanted to give an opinion would have the opportunity to do so, Councillor Brian Goodall, chairman of the housing and communities committee of Fife Council, said: “It is a very sensitive issue and has to be handled carefully.

“But to suggest that there is not prejudice would be living in the dark in my opinion. There is a degree of prejudice.

“Consultations need to be a two-way process and as well as listening to the concerns of residents, we need to listen to the travelling community. Where there are legitimate concerns we will react appropriately.”

Withdrawal

Councillor David Ross reiterated the call for proper consultation, saying: “John Mills (council officer) has said he will talk to communities, but I want to ensure that this is proper consultation and if there are issues coming forward from communities is there the possibility of changes or withdrawal of one or more of the travellers’ sites if it is felt appropriate, or are we just bashing ahead?”

Cllr Goodall replied: “I am restating my commitment on consultation with community groups. As with any project, there is always the opportunity for a rethink.

“There would need to be considerable new information for this to affect the outcomes we want to see from the establishment of these sites.”