Fears for businesses in small Fife village as council Spaces for People changes introduced

Tradespeople in an East Neuk village are losing business and roads have become congested, thanks to Fife Council’s latest active travel changes.

That is the opinion of the Crail Community Council, after Fife Council introduced parking restrictions in the village as part of its Spaces for People project, which aims to make Fife streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Alterations have been made to the A917 through the village, limiting parking spots to make more room for people walking. However, the community council argues this has had negative effects on traffic and local businesses, and that no community representatives or businesses were consulted about the changes.

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The group described the changes as ‘ill advised’ adding: “Parking is already very difficult in Crail, and the partial implementation of this plan has already resulted in restricted traffic movement; this will only get worse.

“In addition, there is real concern amongst local tradespeople that this initiative will materially affect their businesses, and will present major problems for delivery vehicles that will further add to traffic problems. There appears to be no consideration for disabled parking or access, and the partial implantation of the plan on St Andrews Road takes no account of pedestrian flow or traffic flow, and serves no purpose.”

Councillor Linda Holt added: “There is a certain irony that an initiative entitled Spaces for People has treated people with such contempt. Fife Council has had months to consult communities and business-owners about what measures are needed, but a lack of manpower and poor management has resulted in ill-thought-out, top-down measures being imposed willy-nilly. This wastes time, money and more importantly the good will of communities. Fife Council needs to get a grip – fast.”

Fife Council lead consultant Allan MacLean said a consultation was held with councillors and that locals had submitted ideas. He added: “Unfortunately, a wider consultation was not possible at the time due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

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“The works are aimed at providing more space for physical distancing to help prevent spread of Covid-19 and keep communities safe. The footway outside the Co-op supermarket is exceptionally narrow, so physical distancing is almost impossible.

“The measures at the Co-op give pedestrians 2m extra width, enabling customer to pass each other easily, or queue if necessary. This had been possible by modifying the adjacent car parking. A similar set up has been installed further along the High St and on the approach to the primary school.”

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