Owzat? Council pay for man to throw cricket balls
FIFE Council paid for someone to return cricket balls that had been hit for six into flood prevention works.
The bizarre situation happened at Dunfermline Cricket Club, whose McKane Park ground has been affected by the nearby multi-million pound project.
But the council denied giving free cricket balls to the club as compensation for five seasons of disruption.
One club member said, "If the ball was whacked over or under the fence, this guy was there to throw it back.
"He was paid to be there throughout the whole game.
"The whole thing was very strange and there were some games where he had a lot of work to do."
As the Press has previously reported, the works have proved unpopular with nearby residents.
They are seeking compensation for nearly five years of construction work that has impacted on their properties.
Last week, around 24 householders attended a meeting at Dunfermline Tennis Club to discuss the continuing project.
The meeting was chaired by Rod McCrae, chartered surveyor at McCrae and McCrae Ltd, who is working on residents' behalf to achieve compensation.
He reported that despite having numerous meetings with council officials and the district valuer, Fife Council has refused to offer "reasonable compensation".
He said, "We've been stonewalled a lot of times.
"The cricket club have been offered free cricket balls - unbelievable. (The works) have occupied a big section of their outfield for the fifth season."
He is now arranging for compensation cases to be brought before the Lands Tribunal of Scotland.
Dunfermline Tennis Club has spent thousands on resurfacing work after they say the scheme damaged court surfaces.
Pat Reid, secretary of Dunfermline Tennis Club, said debris from the works ruined playing surfaces.
She added, "We're looking for compensation but nobody's offered us anything."
Mike Thorpe, service manager for Fife Council's structural services, said, "Under the terms of the Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act 1961, compensation may be due to residents affected by the Dunfermline Flood Prevention Scheme.
"That compensation is assessed independently by DVS, the District Valuer Service to the public sector.
"On the question about the cricket balls I can advised that matter was not related to compensation.
"A situation occurred on site relating to cricket balls being damaged or lost as a result of the works and a suggestion may have been put forward from the site staff that cricket balls could be replaced as a solution.
"In the event the council paid for someone to be present during cricket matches to return balls that entered the site.
"There may also have been a claim submitted by the cricket club claiming compensation for damaged cricket balls."
A statement released on behalf of those who attended the meeting last week at Dunfermline Tennis Club to discuss the continuing impact of the Dunfermline flood prevention scheme said, "Residents vented their frustrations that while the council have paid out millions of extra pounds to designers Atkins and contractors Byzak they have come up with excuse after excuse to avoid paying reasonable compensation at all.
"Some people in McKane Place and Ladysmill Court have had to endure nearly five years of construction work and have seen their gardens both wrecked and reduced in size.
"Their rural outlook has been destroyed and their houses have developed massive cracks and faults as a result of the piling work.
"Promises to reinstate gardens have not been met, with one lady saying she had been given 'twigs' to replace the mature specimen trees which had been felled.
"Six claimants on the first phase are not even being paid the derisory £900 advance payments as Fife Council are pushing all claimants to settle on a full and final settlement figure of £1000 as the council believes house owners have gained betterment from the scheme.
"However, no-one affected has ever been flooded or made a claim against their insurance company.
"The cost of the programme - initially budgeted at £9 million - has rocketed as the works originally estimated to be completed in one year, have now been on going for five, with no immediate end in sight."
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