Coaltown residents’ safety concerns trigger council u-turn on pedestrian crossing

Debbie Stewart, Lynne Nicoll and Cllr Ian Sloan are pictured with local children at the entrance to the village.  Pic: Steven Brown Photography.
Debbie Stewart, Lynne Nicoll and Cllr Ian Sloan are pictured with local children at the entrance to the village. Pic: Steven Brown Photography.

A Fife community which complained their village was being used as a council ‘rat run’ have forced the local authority to rethink road safety plans.

Residents in Coaltown of Balgonie took their long-held complaints to the Fife Council this week, and with the help of the Gazette who also put their plight across the front page, transportation bosses have now confirmed they will bring forward plans for a pedestrian crossing, in order to ease concerns.

Villagers said the sheer volume of Council vehicles using the village to access the nearby Bankhead depot had made their lives ‘hell’ since the Fife authority moved into the building in 2011.

And the news that a much needed pedestrian crossing would not get approval for at least another year, had further insenced residents.

But now officers in Fife Council’s transportation service department have told the Gazette that they have drawn up alternative proposals that could bring the instillation of a crossing forward to as soon as July this year.

Murray Hannah, road safety and traffic management said:“There have been very positive discussions and a proposal has been developed which would allow this project to be added to the funded programme.

“Councillors will have the opportunity to agree the proposal in principle at a meeting in April and formally approve the amendment to the programme at the Glenrothes Area Committee on June 8.

“This is extremely positive and in the background we have put the necessary design and programming arrangements in place so that the crossing could be put in place soon after.

“If all goes well, we should have the crossing in place by July at the earliest and before the end of the school summer holidays at the latest.”

Lynn Nicol, one of the residents who met with Fife Council this week, said common sense over the issue had finally prevailed.

“We’re obviously delighted and relieved that the genuine concerns local people have are being taken seriously.

“While this could have been actioned years ago, we have to be pleased that safety is finally being made a priority in our village.”

The problem of speeding motorists ignoring the 20mph restrictions on Main Street through Coaltown of Balgonie could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new police initiative in the village.

A new community speedwatch initiative is to be funded and already 10 Coaltown residents have volunteered for training to be able to monitor traffic in the village.

The move comes as part of a new drive by community police teams across the Glenrothes area to help educate motorists and reduce speeding.