Fed-up businesses on the outskirts of Kirkcaldy are demanding a permanent solution to the recurring problem of travelling people setting up camp on their doorstep.
As Fife Council prepared once again to take court action to evict around ten caravans from an acccess road at Mitchelston Industrial Estate, businessmen said this was the TWELFTH time in three years that they had been affected.
David Torrance, Kirkcaldy MSP has given his backing to them, saying the Council had to find a lasting solution to protect their trade, with customers saying they felt “intimidated” at passing the travellers who are camped along the pavement and part of the road at Muirhead.
One man, who did not wish to be named, told the Press: “My customers don’t want to park their cars here in case they are damaged and those on foot are staying away.”
Another said: “It’s beyond a joke – they come here, get served a court order, move on then are back again a few months later and it starts all over again. It must be costing the Council a fortune.”
One trader said that there had been a gate at the end of the road years ago while building work was carried out to prevent thefts but it was removed when the work was complete.
“We’re trying to get another one put up. It’s so bad that we’re all willing to chip in, but the Council are not keen.”
A delivery driver said children playing in the road had fired stones from a catapult at his windscreen, just missing it, while another driver said he had just missed knocking down a child who ran out in front of him.
“The caravans are parked on a bend and, because they take up one of the lanes, you can’t see past. It is dangerous.”
David Torrance said: “This has been an ongoing problem for years, and it has been getting worse. It is having an effect on the businesses on the estate, who have invested money in the local area as well as employing local people.
“We have had an on-site meeting with the businesses and Council officers to discuss a gate being put in place. The problem seems to be that transportation are not keen on this, despite the fact that the businesses are willing to pay for it.
“Something needs to be done to protect these businesses.”
John Mills, head of housing with the Council, said: “We have taken court action to remove the Gypsy Travellers from the unauthorised encampment.
“There is clearly a danger to children from parking on an access road and as soon as we receive confirmation of the eviction, we will arrange a clean-up of the area. We are also seeking to ensure that they cannot use the access road in the future.”