Anger at camps set up in Kirkcaldy parks

The camp in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy
The camp in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy

Travellers move into Ravenscraig and then Beveridge

Defecating in public, cars and vans being driven at speed across pitches where children are playing, loud music being played during the early hours of the morning and broken glass and rubbish being left lying around...

These are just a few of the dozens of complaints flooding in from members of the public about the travelling people’s camps which have appeared at Ravenscraig Sands, Ravenscraig Park and Beveridge Park over the past week.

And councillors and residents have also expressed their dismay that this seems to be the first time public parks have been targeted.

Several groups of travellers are believed to have arrived at Pathhead Sands at the beginning of last week, with a group of around eight caravans then moving into Ravenscraig Park last Wednesday night and parking around the perimeter of the park’s playing fields.

With reports that football games faced cancellation, they were quickly served with court orders and by Thursday night this particular group moved on to set up camp on the perimeter of the town’s Beveridge Park near to the Southerton Road entrance to the park, from where the vans gained access.

Within hours of their arrival complaints were made to police and Fife Council about antisocial behaviour, including youngsters and adults doing the toilet in public.

At Beveridge Park, one dog walker said: “We pay taxes for things like our parks which are well used and these people just came in play their music until all hours of the night and shouting abuse at anyone who questions them.”

Another nearby resident said: “If I drove my caravan into the park and just set up camp the police would be right in here moving me on, but here they are treated with kid gloves in case it is seen as discrimination. They are leaving our beautiful park in a right mess.”

On Facebook a heated debate raged between some highlighting the lack of facilities for travellers in Fife, while others said they would not use them even if they were provided.

And one man who said he was a traveller said the sites available in Fife only provided room for a limited number of caravans.

Councillor Kay Carrington, who represents Kirkcaldy east in which Ravenscraig Park is, said: “This is a problem throughout Scotland and Fife Council is going to have dialogue with the Scottish Parliament about this issue.

‘‘We would like the travelling people to tell us what they would like to see in Fife.”

Councillor Susan Leslie, who represents Kirkcaldy west where Beveridge Park is, added: “This is the first time our parks have been used by travellers and this is disappointing. We need more permanent seasonal facilities for travellers.”

Pete Farrell, Fife Council’s travelling persons site manager confirmed: “Fife Council staff attended court on Tuesday asking for a first service of notice to be granted. The court has ruled that the notice period is 24 hours and we will take action thereafter to forcibly evict from the land. We hope to have the area cleared today (Thursday).”