Solution needed to travellers problem in Kirkcaldy

Mitchelston Industrial Estate, Kirkcaldy
Mitchelston Industrial Estate, Kirkcaldy

Travellers have camped in Mitchelston and Gallatown - causing disruption to local businesses and putting local football pitches out of action.

Now a call has been made for a permanent solution to be found as Fife Council orders them to move on.

Caravans appeared nearly three weeks ago at Mitchelston Industrial Estate site, causing distress to owners who believe they are bad for business.

This week the Council has taken court action to evict them and another group which arrived at the town’s Randolph Playing Fields on Friday.

More than 10 caravans set up on the field’s perimeter with another five at the pavilion - resulting in the cancellation of three local football fixtures which were due to take place last weekend and yesterday (Wednesday).

The move has been welcomed by the business owners, but they told The Press it is not a permanent solution.

One employer, who doesn’t want to be named, said: “The problem is they were evicted by Fife Council, but they came back a week later.

“When they did go they left a lot of mess behind them. There were black bags full of rubbish as well as human waste and it took the Council two days to come and clear it away.

“We don’t have walk in customers here as we are internet-based, but for those businesses that do have customers it is bound to put them off.

“We don’t want any trouble but we can’t understand why the Council can’t arrange for them to go to an authorised camp like Heathery Wood instead of coming here.

“We were looking to buy the land the travelling people are on from the Council so we can expand and take on more staff.

‘‘But we can’t do that if it means we are constantly having to ask travelling people to move.

‘‘Plus it would cost us thousands to go through court proceedings and evict them from the land.”

Another business owner said: “We want to see the place kept clean and tidy, we don’t want a mess.

“Rather than having to pay thousands to evict them each time I don’t understand why the Council can’t put boulders in to stop them from camping there in the first place.

‘‘We need a permanent solution.”

David Torrance, Kirkcaldy MSP, said: “These businesses are trying to create local employment and situations like this do not encourage that.

‘‘I would like to see this group moved immediately - it is something the Council has to address.

‘‘They should be moved to a permanent site as this is detrimental to the business community in that area.”

John Mills, senior manager, housing access and support: “Fife Council is experiencing the normal movement of travelling people into Fife for economic activity.

‘‘They have encamped recently at Mitchelston, and at Randolph Playing Fields. Fife will not tolerate unauthorised encampments near business estates or leisure and recreation facilities due to the disruption it causes businesses and local recreation groups.

‘‘The Council has taken action in the court to remove the travelling people from these sites this week.

‘‘We will continue to work with travelling people in the next few months to ensure unauthorised encampments are managed well and in line with the Fife Co-operation Policy.”