Residents petition councillors over children’s home

Raith Gates
Raith Gates

A meeting held in the Adam Smith Theatre heard appeals from residents of two Kirkcaldy housing estates to turn down plans for a children’s home in their midst.

Councillors at the special meeting of Fife Council’s education, social and communities scrutiny committee were told in no uncertain terms that, although people realised there was a need for a new home, the Raith Gates site at the entrance to the quiet Raith Estate, mainly populated by elderly and retired residents, was not the place for it.

Euan Fraser, chairman of the Raith Homeowners Association, said from the start, residents on the estate had been “fobbed off with platitudes, cliches, social work dogma and slanted information,” and he said the hope that the residents would integrate with the youths living in the home was “a forlorn one”.

He added the main issue was around the best value for the land, for which the council could get more money.

David Henderson, chairman of Kirkcaldy West Community Council, called on the site to be used for a primary healthcare facility which, he said, was much needed in the area.

Officers from Fife Council told the meeting the site was the best one for the new home, following investigations into seven sites which were marked for suitability.

Dougie Dunlop, head of children’s services, said the facility would be closely monitored and would have little or no negative impact on the local community.

The scrutiny committee will use the information from Tuesday’s meeting to provide further recommendations to the Council’s executive committee, which will make the final decision on the proposals.

An amendment, tabled by Councillor Douglas Chapman, calling for a vote of no confidence in the administration and an investigation into alternative sites was defeated by eight votes to five.

The special meeting followed a drop-in session held last week to show residents possible uses for the remainder of the Raith Gates site.

It was organised by Councillor Susan Leslie to try to assuage some of the concerns.