Reported by The Courier – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
Around £2 million is to be spent improving Fife’s Gypsy Traveller sites over the next two years.
A chalet provision programme will begin in the coming financial year at Tarvit Mill near Cupar and Heatherywood near Kirkcaldy as the local authority aims to improve accommodation for those communities.
The pledge comes amid ongoing frustration among Gypsy Traveller families at Fife’s three designed permanent sites, with around £800,000 already invested in each of the sites at Cupar and Kirkcaldy, as well as the one at Thornton Wood in Kelty, over the last few years.
However, with surveys suggesting more than two thirds of Gypsy Travellers are not satisfied with Fife Council’s management of their sites, further work is planned to better address their needs.
Councillor Judy Hamilton, Fife Council’s housing convener, has already moved Gypsy Traveller accommodation from under the council’s General Fund budget banner to the Housing Revenue Account, which she believes will give officers greater flexibility when it considers investment.
She said: “These families are our tenants and have faced significant disadvantage.
“It’s been unfair that their housing has sat in the General Fun and they have some of the worst housing conditions. It’s not acceptable.
“The housing conditions have been a basis for health inequalities, complaints of respiratory conditions and accidents that have been life-limiting.
“It is not acceptable and we’re not having it, so during this coming year I’ve taken the decision to transfer all of the council’s Gypsy Traveller sites to the Housing Revenue Account which gives us the scope to invest meaningfully and improve these conditions.
“Working with the Gypsy Traveller communities and with investment we will finally provide housing that is warm, safe, dry and culturally appropriate.”