CONSERVATIVES are cracking up in Dalgety Bay about damaged pavements which “makes Fife look Third World” and “scares the elderly”.

Dave Coleman, the party’s candidate for next month’s by-election, said some footpaths were so bad that residents were “reluctant to leave their homes”.

He said: “The continuing disintegration of the ward’s footpaths and general road infrastructure is a major source of concern for myself and residents alike. Trip hazards, potholes and breakup of the surface pose a significant health and safety risk for all users; walkers, joggers, cyclists, motorcyclists and car drivers.

“This has the impact of making people feel unsafe on the footpaths and roads, and in some cases residents, particularly the elderly, are reluctant to leave their homes.”

He said a survey estimated the combined depth of potholes on Fife roads was over 1000m deep, not including footpaths, and that Fife Council propose to cut the number of ‘pothole’ inspectors by a fifth.

“This creates an almost perfect storm from which the infrastructure may not recover. Fife Council need to review their current strategy and invest more into the infrastructure and ensure that Fife is a place that people enjoy living in and visiting.”

Inverkeithing & Dalgety Bay councillor Dave Dempsey said “We’re getting endless complaints about pavements where the top surface has disintegrated.

“It’s easy to report these to the council but they’re generally rejected because the damage is less than 20mm deep, which is the intervention level for repair. We suspect that was set to exclude the most common faults where the smooth surface has gone and the rough base is exposed. That might make sense from a roads engineering point of view, but it makes Fife look Third World and, more importantly, it scares the elderly and the less mobile who are reluctant to go out walking.

“It’s a particular problem in Dalgety Bay where many of the pavements were constructed around the same time, so many are failing now. We know that money is tight but the council needs to look again at what merits repair work.”

Councillor Altany Craik, transportation spokesman, said: “We’re aware of the situation with the pavements and roads but unfortunately we also have savings to make. I can assure residents that routine inspections of Fife’s path and road network are carried out and where defects could cause a safety issue they are dealt with within the timescales set out in the maintenance schedule – within five working days or 24 hours in an emergency.

“I would be more than happy to meet with Cllr Dempsey and Mr Coleman to discuss any particular concerns and look for local solutions where possible. The area committee has control over part of the transportation budget and can decide to use some resources to address this kind of issue as they do every year.”