A Fife community which wants to take in Syrian refugees has been told the village is unsuitable due to a lack of necessities including a mosque and halal meat.
Kingsbarns Community Council wanted affordable houses being built to be offered to those who had fled war in their home country if no local tenants needed them.
However, it was advised that a refugee settlement in the East Neuk village would be “impractical” and remote from other Fife towns where people have been resettled.
Campaigners have questioned the reasoning, pointing out that in 2015 Syrian refugees were housed in the Isle of Bute and the local council recently said they now regarded the island as home.
Community council member Kate Holy insisted that “though Kingsbarns is rural, it is not remote”.
She said: “We have easy access to St Andrews where the university’s Islamic Society holds Friday prayers or a bus can be taken every 10 minutes or so to Dundee where there is a choice of three mosques and halal butchers.
“St Andrews is probably the most international settlement in north east Fife because of the numbers of students and teachers from overseas and we are in easy reach of Anstruther and St Andrews medical practices.”
She also criticised the local authority for failing to inform the community its proposal was contrary to Fife’s refugee settlement plan until almost four months after it was made.
“Expectations have been raised, a lot of hard work has been done and we are left feeling that the lack of communication from Fife Council has again showed with what contempt it holds its communities,” she said.
North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins urged the council to reverse its decision on the “highly commendable” proposal, which he had earlier brought to the attention of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
He said: “It is very disappointing that notification of the proposal to resettle Syrian refugee families in Kingsbarns would not take place was not provided sooner, and prior to any initial work being undertaken by the local community.
“It is important that Fife Council reconsiders its position and reacts positively to this generous gesture.”
Two affordable homes built during the first phase of development by Ogilvie Homes were sold as mainstream housing due to a lack of interest.
The council has agreed to buy the two properties in the second phase to be added to its housing stock.
Gavin Smith, housing access and homelessness service manager, said: “Kingsbarns Community Council’s offer to help refugee families is both commendable and appreciated.”
He said dialogue with the community council had led to the commitment to purchase the two houses but added: “The council’s housing allocation policy must be applied consistently and fairly.
“There are many people in need of housing and we can’t commit to using these properties for a particular customer group.
“We have already housed 91 refugees in Fife using an approach agreed by our local Syrian core co-ordination group – a partnership of public and third sector organisations.
“Our approach to finding homes for refugees has been informed by experience of working with the Home Office, the national framework and direct, ongoing contact with Syrian families and their representatives.
“Our main concern is to meet the needs of each household, while being able to support integration across various communities on a planned basis.”