Dunfermline Press

Council in ‘breach’ of housing requiremen­ts

- By Danyel VanReenen Local democracy reporter editorial@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

FIFE COUNCIL is “regularly” breaching one of the Scottish Government’s housing requiremen­ts as it struggles to cope with temporary housing demands due to increases in levels of homelessne­ss.

As a result, Fife’s housing service is often having to report breaches of the Unsuitable Accommodat­ion Order.

Fife’s housing services presented these issues to the People and Communitie­s Scrutiny Committee last Thursday as part of the larger Housing Service Performanc­e Report.

Fife is one of nine local authoritie­s in Scotland who are regularly not meeting their statutory requiremen­ts.

John Mills, head of Fife’s housing services, explained that the Kingdom is breaching the unsuitable accommodat­ion order because of its use of hotels and B& Bs to accommodat­e people who present as homeless.

“We are using hotels and B& Bs to meet our other statutory obligation­s most days of the year,” he said.

“One of the critical things is we don’t have enough temporary accommodat­ion in Fife. That’s why on a given day we might not be able to accommodat­e someone.

“That’s a breach and that’s not good enough but we are one of a few other local authoritie­s in that position.”

The performanc­e report said the number of homeless people is rising not only in Fife but across the nation.

“The pressure on temporary accommodat­ion is disproport­ionate and more severe than the increase in new presentati­ons,” the report explains.

“Temporary accommodat­ion continues to operate under significan­t pressure which translates as occasional breaches of statutory duty and regular breaches of the Unsuitable Accommodat­ion Order.”

Mr Mills said there were plans for improvemen­t in the pipeline, and the government was working with Fife Council to find long term solutions.

Housing services want to continue decommissi­oning the use of B& B and hotel accommodat­ion for local housing and homelessne­ss needs.

There is also an increased focus on homelessne­ss prevention and a strengthen­ing of housing service pathways.

A homeless reduction plan will be brought to Fife’s cabinet committee in October, which will outline more specific actions.

Ally McRoberts

THE Valley Bar – described as once being the “heart of the community” – is available to buy for a sum of £80,000.

It was a focal point for villagers in High Valleyfiel­d for decades but has been closed for the best part of two years now with seemingly little interest in re-opening it.

The pub on Chapel Street, and the two-bedroom flat above it, will now go under the hammer with Future Property Auctions aiming to sell it today (Thursday).

Rab McKenzie, of


Community Council, said: “Valley Bar was quite a stronghold and I’m sure everyone in the village would like it back as a pub.

“Whether that happens is a different story. Someone may want to buy it and turn it into flats.

“It’s been shut for quite a while now, must be almost two years.

“There was a lot of people that used it, people that didn’t work, the unemployed and the elderly during the day, it was a busy place.

“The price of alcohol in the supermarke­ts has put a lot of these places out of the game as it’s made it much cheaper just to sit and drink at home. It’s a shame really.

“Now they they have to travel down to Newmills for a drink. It’s a fair walk, but it’s the walk back that’s the issue if you’ve had a few!”

There will be a timed online auction, starting at 10am, with the company hoping to start the bidding at £80,000 – although there is a ‘buy now’ option for £99,500.

It’s described as a large public house in “good condition” with a ‘rental potential’ of £15,000 a year, with the possibilit­y of bringing in a further £6,000 a year from renting out the flat above.

As well as the main bar, there’s a lounge and a function area at the back.

Rab said: “It’s been open at least 60 years that I can remember and there was talk of long before that. was at the heart of the community.

“I remember as a boy on January 2nd and 3rd people would put out all their bottles from New Year and you could take them round to the Valley Bar and get thruppence or something for the screw tops.

“It had a big hall too. We had the show of presents in it It

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 ?? ?? Fife Council is struggling to find suitable accommodat­ion for people who are homeless.
Fife Council is struggling to find suitable accommodat­ion for people who are homeless.
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