One of Fife’s most beautiful and oldest conservation areas could be turned into a sewage dump for new houses, villagers have warned.
Scottish Water wants to increase the sewer capacity near the harbour at Dysart, where scenes for the hit television drama Outlander were filmed.
But the utility company faces a battle from residents of Pan Ha’, a street of 16th and 17th Century listed houses restored by the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.
They have warned that the stench from the sewers would repel the many tourists who visit the hidden gem, including busloads of Outlander fans from across the world and walkers on the Fife Coastal Path.
The residents fear the major works, to serve 1,100 new houses planned at the north-east of Kirkcaldy, will destabilise and damage old buildings and walls, including their homes and 16th Century St Serf’s church, tower and graveyard which sit above.
They also worry that the flood defence currently offered by the grassland where the work would be carried out would be lost and that flooded mines in the area have not been considered.
Ros Chapman, whose 16th Century built Pan Ha’ home is A-listed, said: “It’s our duty to protect all this now and for future generations.
“How can they dig up one of the most beautiful parts of Fife and turn it into a sewage dump?
“If this was St Andrews or Culross they wouldn’t dream of suggesting it.
“During the Outlander filming the houses were disturbed by noise and vibration from the generators used by the crew. Bay House actually shook. The crew were extremely worried and arranged an alternative solution.
“The vibration from the proposed works would be far worse.”
Kirkcaldy East councillor Ian Cameron has been fighting their corner.
He said: “I will be working with the residents of Dysart to make sure that Scottish Water understands the full cost of progressing with this unfathomable decision.
“They can then hopefully look again at the alternatives.”
A spokesman for Scottish Water said the proposal by Scottish Water Horizons involved extending an asset in Dysart.
He said: “This would help facilitate further growth for the immediate and surrounding area, including a new housing development in Kirkcaldy.
“Scottish Water always tries to ensure any impact on local customers is kept to an absolute minimum and this would be the same for any proposed work on this planned project.
“Before applying to Fife Council for planning permission an information event is being held on Thursday December 7 in the village, to ensure customers are kept up to date with regards any proposed works.”
Historic Environment Scotland said it had contacted Fife Council, which is due to visit the site to assess the potential impact on nearby heritage assets, and would respond if consulted.
The Scottish Water event on December 7 will be held in Dysart Community Hall from 4pm to 7pm.