Council aims for £2m upgrade of travellers sites in Fife

editorial image

Traveller sites across Fife are to be improved after a report showed that many were in poor condition.

Fife Council agreed at the Communities and Housing committee on Thursday to carry out upgrades to facilities  across the Kingdom.

It currently manages three sites –  Heatherywood in Thornton, which has 18 pitches; Tarvit Mill in Cupar which has 20; and Thorntonwood in Kelty which has 12.

There are hard standing areas for caravans and a car, an amenity block with a toilet, bath and shower, a kitchen and storage areas. Travellers staying have tenancy agreements with the council and pay a weekly rent of £61. They are also required to pay Council Tax.

You may also be interested in:

Elderly woman dies after fall on Fife bus

New hub to help regenerate Kirkcaldy High Street

Ten great gigs to see in Fife in 2019

While the three sites currently meet the minimum standards set by the Scottish Government, the council want to make around £2m of upgrades.

Work has already been carried out on Heatherywood to extend the amenity block and instal new kitchens and bathrooms.

Work on the other two sites is expected to take place between 2019-21.

Councillor Alice McGarry said: “We would welcome any work being done to the sites. They’re not leeching off of anyone – they pay rent just like every other council tenant.”

Convener of the committee Judy Hamilton agreed, adding: “The whole subject needs education.”

Concerns were also raised over the lack of temporary sites in the region.

Head of housing, John Mills, said in his report: “The other key issue in developing traveller sites is the management of unauthorised encampments. Each year, a number of families travel to Fife and temporarily stay within the area. As there are no recognised temporary sites within Fife, visiting travellers use unauthorised sites.”

He proposed that a review be undertaken to focus on the needs of travellers and if a temporary site could be established.

At the committee, Mr Mills added: “We have got a real challenge in establishing these sites. We tried to set one up in Southfield Industrial Estate in Glenrothes. The reaction from the local businesses and residents is what you can imagine.”

However, he added that he hoped the satisfaction level in traveller tenants would rise after work had taken place. He said: “We want it to be up at national level, but we know that will take a bit of time.”