Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 15:24 UK

Developer knocks down 250-year-old Fife wall

Wall in Falkland's Pleasance
A JCB has knocked down about 20m of the wall in Falkland's Pleasance

Campaigners have been left "angry and upset" after a developer knocked down a 250-year-old wall in Fife.

Work to demolish the sandstone wall on Falkland's Pleasance had been delayed to allow a new working group to examine safety and conservation issues.

Councillors said they were "absolutely livid" when they discovered that a 20m (65ft) section had been knocked down.

Locals have blocked access to another section of wall. Developer Lomond Homes said the wall could not be made safe.

A report by structural engineers had said that the wall should be knocked down for health and safety reasons.

However, a meeting took place on Tuesday between Fife Council and Lomond Homes.

This produced a verbal agreement that only the top part of the wall, which posed an immediate risk to the public, was to be removed until a further meeting with Historic Scotland took place on Friday.

Wall in Falkland's Pleasance
The wall in Falkland had been standing for about 250 years

Councillor David MacDiarmid, whose Howe of Fife ward covers the wall, said he was "very upset" the developers had broken the agreement.

He told the BBC Scotland news website: "The wall looks like a big bomb has hit it.

"The whole community, including myself, is very upset, angry and absolutely livid about the developer going back on the agreement.

"The developer was instructed to make the wall safe, not knock the whole thing down. The developer doesn't care about all the history."

He said the JCB's path had now been blocked with cars and the police had been called to the site.

Dr Bob McLellan, Fife Council's head of transportation services, said: "We thought we had an agreement with Lomond Homes to only take the top metre off the wall.

"We have closed the road to pedestrians so there were no immediate health and safety issues once the top was taken off the wall.

"We are very disappointed to find they have knocked the wall to the ground."

'Legal obligation'

He added that some local people were attempting to gain a court order stopping the remaining section of the wall from being demolished.

Alan Seath, director of Lomond Group, said they had agreed to remove the top section of the wall "by the safest means possible" but the remaining stonework was so unsafe that it was not viable.

He added: "As Fife Council has served a notice under the Road (Scotland) Act 1984 which requires this dangerous wall to be made safe - and complying with this is a legal obligation, not optional - we had no alternative but to take the wall down to ground level.

"We have an agreement to enter into further discussions with Fife Council and the landowner to reach an amicable solution regarding the remaining sections, and to discuss the feasibility of rebuilding the wall."

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