Glenrothes becoming an ‘easy touch’ for travellers

Warout Stadium car park has been made the latest in a number of illegal traveller encampments in recent weeks. Pic: Steve Brown
Warout Stadium car park has been made the latest in a number of illegal traveller encampments in recent weeks. Pic: Steve Brown

Warout residents have brandished Glenrothes as an “easy touch” over Fife Council’s inability to deal with the problem of illegal traveller camps.

Residents living close to Warout Stadium are the latest to react angrily as the town continues to be subjected to a string of illegal encampments.

People want to see a concerted effort from the local authority

David Nelson, chairman of Auchmuty Tenants Association

The local authority served an eviction notice on travellers encamped for the last week at Michael Woods Sports Centre at the weekend, but was only successful in moving the problem less than a mile away.

Just minutes after being told to go, the same eight caravans pitched up on Council-owned land adjacent to Warout Stadium on Saturday evening.

“Glenrothes has become an easy touch as far as travellers are concerned as they know they can come to the town and pitch up for a week or two before being moved on,” said one Warout Road resident who asked not to be identified.

“The Council has known about the problem for years but seems to do nothing but talk about it and react once they are here. That isn’t acceptable. It needs to do more to find a suitable camp elsewhere.”

The Warout camp is the latest in a number of similar encampments that have sprung up across Glenrothes in recent weeks.

Following 13 incidents in 2014, which cost the tax payer around £45,000 in legal and clean up costs, Fife Council vowed to tackle the issue.

But several potential temporary sites being considered were later scrapped in March after being deemed unsuitable.

John Mills, head of housing services who overseas the Council’s response to the issue, said: “Council officers have been in contact with the gypsy travellers at Warout Stadium.

“They have indicated they will be moving shortly.

‘‘If this does not happen, Fife Council will remove them from the car park, the eviction order normally takes 48 hours.”

‘No forward planning ... the public have been left to suffer’

Calls are growing for Fife Council to do more to find a suitable solution to the issue of illegal traveller encampments currently blighting the town.

David Nelson, chairman of Auchmuty Tenants Association, said a camp outwith the town, which would benefit the travellers and residents, must be made a priority.

“People want to see a concerted effort from the local authority, who up to now just act once a camp is set up, there has been no forward thinking or planning in all of this and the public have been left to suffer.”

Glenrothes councillor Ross Vettraino said he had written twice to Council leader David Ross but was yet to receive a response.

“Successive administrations have failed to deal with the issue which has allowed us to get in the state we are in now,” he said. “People underestimate the scale and complexity of tackling this.

“We could put the existing three permanent sites to better use or find alternatives, whether a success or failure, we need to do something and be more proactive.”