Power problems could lead to one of Fife’s biggest tourist attractions being axed this summer, it has emerged.
The Burntisland Fair is one of the largest open air summer funfairs in Scotland and regularly draws thousands of visitors from across the country to the Fife coast, from the end of May right through to August.
However, fears have been raised the future of the event could be in jeopardy after an apparent stand-off between Fife Council and the showmen who run the fair, over the state of electricity supplies serving Burntisland Links.
The current set-up has failed its periodic electrical inspection and test and is unsafe to use and the showmen have told council chiefs they will “abandon” the fair if forced to use diesel generators this summer.
That warning has prompted drastic measures in a bid to keep the fair on Burntisland Links, and councillors on the Kirkcaldy area committee will next week be asked to divert £100,000 from the Burntisland Common Good fund towards an electrical upgrade that will ensure the historic event goes ahead as planned.
A report to councillors has urged them to back the allocation of £100,000 from common good funds towards the £160,000 cost of the work, with the remainder coming from the assets, transportation and environment service budget.
“Diesel generators have been considered in the past but the showmen have said they will not use these in any circumstances and will abandon the fair if forced to use generators,” the report warns.
“There would also be potential issues with noise generation from the generators to the surrounding area which would not be acceptable.
“The electrical power installation at Burntisland Links is vital to provide reliable electricity for the showmen’s caravans.
“If there is no power available the showmen have indicated there will be no fair.”
Urgent electrical safety works are being commissioned to lay new underground cables to main distribution points which would provide power to 60 sockets, evenly distributed across the area of the Links used by the showmen.
In response to community requests, the planned work will also extend the supply to cover the bandstand.
However, it will be up to the local councillors if they feel that the works should be part-funded from the Burntisland Common Good Fund, which would leave around £20,000 for other common good purposes in 2019/20.
Time is also tight for the works to be carried out, with the report suggesting that the target completion date for the project pencilled in for May 25 – just in time for the fair’s arrival.