‘Give homes to refugees’, says Fife community

The community council said it felt 'refugee families could find a happy home here'.
The community council said it felt 'refugee families could find a happy home here'.

Residents in a north east Fife village have proposed to Fife Council that two affordable homes be given to refugees.

Kingsbarns Community Council has urged the local authority to purchase the homes and offer them to refugee families, should no-one show interest in occupying them.

Affordable houses built in the first stage of the development were sold on the open market by Ogilvie Homes, due to a lack of interest from possible tenants or shared equity buyers.

The same could happen to two affordable homes in the second stage of the development.

A statement from Kate Holy, planning sub-committee chair, and Martin Dibbs, secretary, said: “We could offer a warm welcome to refugee families, their children would be welcome at the village school and we would be very glad to co-operate with the local agencies involved to make these ‘new Scots’ as happy as possible in their new homes.

“Not only do we feel that refugee families could find a happy home here, we also want the privilege of being able to offer a safe place to live to people who have been through experiences more horrific than we can imagine.”

The group added that the Kingsbarns Community Development Trust had offered to raise funds to purchase furnishings for the homes for the refugee families.

MSP Willie Rennie said: “This is an innovative and compassionate idea from the local community.

“The council should explore this as a serious proposal.

“I am very surprised that there was not a long list of people who wanted these affordable homes in the first phase.

“We need an explanation as to what went wrong. There’s hardly a week goes by without a new plea for an affordable home from local people and famiiies.

“People are desperate for homes at a price they can afford.”

Convener of Fife Council’s Community and Housing Services Committee, Judy Hamilton, warmly welcomed the offer from Kingsbarns Community Council.

She said: “This is an exceptionally kind and generous offer from the people of Kingsbarns and echoes the sentiments we have experienced from all over Fife.

“The refugee resettlement programme is run through the Home Office and together we look at the allocation needs of individuals and families very carefully.

“There are many considerations to take into account including proximity to other families, education, employment opportunities, transport links and potentially help with language.

“We consider all offers of help and support and will discuss any opportunities this might bring.”