Hopes for a men’s shed at Pittencrieff Park, in Dunfermline, have been sunk by the threat of vandalism.
Members of a new steering committee set up to develop the idea say they were told any new building or machinery installed in the park will just be wrecked.
The warning follows several incidents of anti-social behaviour at Pittencrieff Park, known locally as The Glen.
Fire-setting, the uprooting of trees and event attempts to shoot the famous peacocks are among the “sickening” incidents reported.
Dunfermline Men’s Shed committee members met representatives of Fife Council and senior park staff last week to discuss their plans.
However, a shed spokesman said: “They generously offered us spaces in various buildings for our weekly meetings.
“But they told us in no uncertain terms to forget all about our ideas for a purpose-built shed in The Glen.
“They informed us, as a matter of fact, that any machinery of any value we installed would immediately be stolen and that, if it was made of wood, the shed would be burned down to the ground in six months at most.”
The spokesman added: “We were horrified at the scale of vandalism and anti-social behaviour they described – buildings wrecked and burnt, plants and trees uprooted, attempts to shoot the peacocks and set them on fire. It’s sickening.”
Back to the drawing board
A men’s shed is a recreational area where men can work together on their own and community projects.
And they are also recognised as helping to combat social isolation and mental health problems among men.
Plans for a shed in Dunfermline have been gathering pace over several months.
However, members have gone back to the drawing board in their bid to find a suitable location.
“We were hoping to bring real enhancements to The Glen,” the spokesman said.
“We had ideas for helping to maintain the memorial benches, some of which are in a sad state of repair.
“And we have been talking about creating a tool library and a community repair service.
“It’s deeply discouraging that such promising plans should be wrecked for such shameful reasons.”
Pittencrieff Park vandals ‘shouldn’t win’
Police have stepped up patrols at Pittencrieff Park several times over the last five years.
And they have investigated incidents including trees, benches and litter bins being set on fire.
These incidents are said to have been sporadic rather than constant but they sparked concern.
However, Dunfermline Labour councillor Helen Law is determined to carry on with the plan for the men’s shed.
“We can’t shut up shop and go home because we’re scared there’s going to be a bit of vandalism,” she said.
“The vandals shouldn’t win. We need to find a way of protecting things.”
Mrs Law is continuing talks with the shed committee and park staff in the hope of finding a solution.
“I’m really committed to helping them find a solution.”
Councillor Helen Law.
“I’m very, very keen that we do set something up in the glen,” she said.
“The men’s shed is a great thing and I pay tribute to the guys who are trying to make it happen.
“I’m really committed to helping them find a solution.
“The park has great potential and I see the men’s shed as being key to that.”
A police spokesperson added: “Community officers regularly carry out patrols in and around the area of Pittencrieff Park.
“If there are acts of vandalism being carried out, we need these reported directly to the police via 101 so officers can act accordingly.”