Historic wall collapse needs to be made safe

Leslie resident Brian Coyle at the site where the wall collapsed. (Pic Gerorge McLuskie).
Leslie resident Brian Coyle at the site where the wall collapsed. (Pic Gerorge McLuskie).

Concerns over the continued threat to safety that a collapsed wall poses to walkers and children have been raised by residents in Leslie.

A 30 foot section of historic walling, thought to be around 150 years old, collapsed in December, bringing a large amount of stone and masonry crashing down onto a popular pathway running adjacent to the town’s Common Good land at Back Braes, blocking access for users.

Fife Council has erected barriers and signage directing people away from the area, but concerns are growing among locals that further sections of wall may now be rendered unsafe and pose a risk to anyone using the area.

Leslie resident Brian Coyle, whose home backs onto the site at the Bowery, told the Gazette it was only a “miracle” that nobody was in the area at the time of the wall coming down.

“Thankfully nobody was in the vicinity at the time. Had there been we could have been easily looking at a tragedy,” said Mr Coyle.

“It’s a popular path with dog walkers and with local children who often play in the area, it’s lucky no one was injured.”

Mr Coyle said the concern among residents now was for safety of the remaining walling and has called upon the council to do more to make the area safe.

“There is still sections of the wall that pose a threat and with cracks along the adjacent walling to the access path, work to make the area safe and to reassure residents must be made a priority,” Mr Coyle added.

Following the damage, Glenrothes North Leslie and Markinch councillor John Wincott, requested that an engineer from the council visit the site to assess safety.

“The main priority was to determine the safety of the existing stretch of walling and make safe the site as it is now, so I called up the engineers to come and inspect the area,” explained Cllr Wincott.

However, there is now a question mark over who is liable for the cost of the repair.

“The wall in question is noted within the title deeds for a property in The Bowery as being solely their responsibility,” said a Fife Council spokesman.

The owner was made aware of this in December and Fife Council have supplied and placed safety barriers around the wall and waived these costs.”

It’s understood several residents have now received letters from the council informing them of their potential liability for the cost of the wall repair.