Campaigners plan colourful march in bid to save historic access to Burntisland Port
Campaigners fighting to save historic public access to Burntisland Port are set to stage a colourful march and rally in town this weekend.
The bid to fence off the working part of the area by Forth Ports has been given the green light by Fife Council.
Burntisland Harbour Access Trust argues the move will end public access for the first time in living memory, and it is staging the event to raise awareness of its concerns. - and its bid to register a right for the community to buy the area under the Land Reform Act.
Forth Ports insists public access will be maintained once fences go up, but the issue has proved contentious among locals who say the port has been used by walkers, cyclists anglers, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts for generations and is an integral part of the town.
Now it wants them to turn out, appropriately attired, for the march which will go from the Beacon Centre along to the East Dock to the old railway station where there will be a rally.
Organisers want people to bring along props to underline their own use of the port - so the march could feature anglers and fishermen, scuba divers, joggers, cyclists, walkers, artists with easels, and even kite fliers.
Andy Pay, trust spokesman, said: “The fence will, for the first time in living memory, end public access to the harbour and sea-wall, which is a very popular area for walking, fishing, bird-watching and photography.
“The proposal has met with huge opposition with a petition against it attracting 3000 signatures.”
The trust says it has put forward alternative proposals to ensure the work of the port can be done safely without cutting off access.
Mr Pay said: “Under the plans there will be a narrow path left.
“We accept it is a working port, and have no problem with that part being fenced off, but it is only operational on one side
“The other side isn’t operational - no activity has been carried out there for years.
“We have made a number of suggestions on how this can be done while still allowing public access to the area.
“Lots of harbours across the country are working ports and people can still access them safely.”
The march will gather at the Beacon Centre at 11:00am and conclude with speeches and conclude with speeches and a rally at the former station where there will; be a community singing of the campaign song “Who’ll Feed Sammy” - in honour of a tame seal who is a regular visitor to the harbour for handouts of fish from locals.
Forth Ports plans to fence off part of the harbour were approved by councillors in September.
The central and west planning committee signed off listed building consent for the work which will result in the area immediately to the north of the East Dock basin and all the remaining land to the south of that dock and the south pier and associated ground between having access limited to those with permission.
Access to the narrow walkway between the southern pier wall and the rock armour would also be limited.