Proposals to demolish a Victorian culvert and replace it with an open burn in the centre of the Haugh Park, Cupar, are at an advanced stage.
In December 2012 a section of culvert that carries the Lady Burn under the Haugh Park had to be fenced off following a collapse during floods that left a gaping hole yards from a children’s play area.
Following the exploration of various options, Fife Council property services proposed the entire culvert be demolished, allowing the burn to discharge freely into the River Eden.
The culvert runs under the footpath that crosses the park. It is of considerable antiquity, probably dating to the 1850s, and has stone walls and very shallow double-brick arches.
When camera surveys were carried out last year it became clear that the brick arches were in very poor condition, had almost no cover and will have had very little load capacity.
Council officials concluded that it might be too expensive to repair the entire culvert and have therefore proposed its removal.
Cupar Community Council has welcomed the proposal in principle but several members expressed concern about the potential safety implications of an open culvert, particularly when the burn is in spate.
Concerns have also been raised locally about the ongoing dilapidation around the section of the collapsed culvert that remains fenced off.
Margaret Kennedy, Liberal Democrat councillor for Cupar, said: “The culvert plans are at an advanced stage. They have been out for some public consultation after being seen by the community council.
“A funding package will now need to be drawn together between hopefully FET, Leader and Common Good. Alan Bisset is the officer leading matters.”
Grant Ward, the council’s head of leisure and cultural services, said: “Following broad agreement to the plans to open up the culvert, detailed designs were produced for community consultation in early December.
“We had a very positive response to this consultation and the feedback is now being analysed and will inform any final plan to go in front of North-East Fife area committee early next year.”