Burntisland Links funding row could lead to Ombudsman complaint

Empty cable reels on Burntisland Links where the electricity supply is being replaced by Fife Council using �100,000 from the Common Good Fund
Empty cable reels on Burntisland Links where the electricity supply is being replaced by Fife Council using �100,000 from the Common Good Fund

Burntisland Community Council says it is still planning to take action against Fife Council if it fails to come up with alternative funding for the town’s Links electrical supply.

Chairman Alex MacDonald said that a response from the authority following a complaint lodged by the community council around two weeks ago had failed to shed any new light on its decision to use £100,000 from the town’s common good fund to finance the replacement of electrical cables supplying power for the town’s summer fairground rides.

In response to the complaint, Paul Vaughan, head of communities and neighbourhoods, told the community councillors: “It is considered that the decision of the Kirkcaldy Area Committee is consistent with its powers and the requirements of common good legislation and council policy.”

However, Mr MacDonald replied, saying: “Fife Council does not have an unfettered entitlement to manage the common good fund as it thinks fit.”

He said that the electrical supply was not listed as part of the common good assets.

“The notion that anything in, on or under the Links is part of the common good is utterly false,” he explained.

“Such a presumption would make Scottish Water’s pumping station and Scottish Power’s electrical sub-station also part of the common good. It’s simply nonsense and does not stand up to even elementary scrutiny.”

And he went on to say that the council’s assertion that it was entitled to use the money under a law from 2014 had been superceded by subsequent legislation which states that community councils must be consulted on common good matters and be given notice of any proposals relating to it, something, he said, had not happened.

He added: “In a nutshell, our view is that Fife Council has alienated the community council’s interest in the Links as a common good asset. A question has therefore clearly arisen as to the entitlement of Fife Council to take that action.”

Paul Vaughan, head of the council’s Communities and Neighbourhoods Service confirmed he had received Mr MacDonald’s letter and said he would reply in due course.