Angry business owners in Crail have removed controversial barriers installed to give more pedestrian space and aid physical distancing during the coronavirus crisis.
Disgruntled shop owners have resorted to draining water from the large barrier blocks and dragging them aside to allow parking outside their premises in Crail after they were installed as part of the Spaces For People initiative.
Fife Council has already bowed to pressure and removed similar barriers in place in St Andrews after a public backlash and now many in Crail are demanding the same.
The local authority has been accused of being undemocratic by fitting the barriers without consultation with either the shop owners or residents.
Fife Council received £2.4million from the Scottish Government for its Spaces for People fund designed to make walking and cycling safer in towns and villages deemed fit by the council, during the coronavirus crisis.
However, it has already removed barriers in St Andrews after more than 1,000 signed a petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped.
Crail butcher Keith Penman said shopkeepers had been given no say in matter.
He said: “We had a leaflet outlining what the scheme was, but nothing more.
“Barriers have been removed as many of the elderly or disabled residents need to park close to the shop.
“The whole thing is a bit of a shambles.”
The barrier scheme has also been branded “ludicrous” by Crail Community Council, chairman David Jerdan.
“The barriers make the roads look like a cross between a war zone and a Grand Prix circuit and do more harm than good,” he said.
“I’ve been contacted by many elderly and disabled people who now go elsewhere because they have been excluded from parking at their local shop.”
Independent councillor Linda Holt, said the instillation of the barriers had been undemocratic and businesses were already struggling to survive.
She said: “It’s not surprising that people are moving the barriers themselves when they are doing the opposite of what they are supposed to do – making streets safer for people.
“Communities like Crail know what is needed to look after their residents and this, rather than a paper exercise by Fife Council, should be the starting point for any interventions.”
She said a strong response to the petition would unerline the strength of feeling when the North East Fife area committee meets on October 28.
Labour Councillor Altany Craik, transportation and economy spokesman, said: “Officers have visited assess what changes can be made to best make this work.
“It has been difficult previously because of the ongoing coronavirus situation to liaise with shop keepers and community representative but a greater deal of consultation will be taking place going forward.”
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