MORE than £2 million will be spent on two of Fife Council's permanent gypsy traveller sites but tenants at Kelty will have to wait for improvements.

They'll be able to have their say on redevelopment at Thornton Wood but not until next year and after new chalets are built at Thornton and Cupar.

Housing service manager Paul Short said: "At Kelty, we have no immediate plans but we will formulate discussions with tenants after the other two sites have been completed to get a handle on what they would like to see in the way of improvements."

The council have three permanent gypsy traveller sites, at Kelty, Thornton and Cupar, which have 12, 18 and 20 pitches respectively.

Tenants pay a weekly rent of £69, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat, and council tax, but many felt improvements were long overdue with satisfaction levels for the sites dipping as low as 29 per cent in 2017.

Councillors on the community and housing services sub-committee were told of the £2m investment while the Scottish Government have a £20m pot that local authorities can bid for to carry out redevelopment works at permanent sites.

Fife have already put in an "expression of interest" and, if successful, further works will be carried out.

Councillor Alice McGarry said: "I hope this is a step forward in terms of provision for gypsy travellers as sometimes the conditions in which they are living are not the greatest.

"I feel particularly for the kids that have to go out on a windy and freezing cold night at some of our exposed sites and go to the toilet or to do other things."

She asked if sustainable energy was an option and added: "The Kelty site must be the windiest place in the western world and could easily sustain a turbine."

Mr Short said they were looking into the possibility of solar panels and wind turbines, as well as better insulation and help with reducing energy consumption.

The council is also waiting on the results of a pilot scheme looking at “negotiated stopping places” for nomadic travellers who are passing through the Kingdom and not settling in for the long-term.

This will allow them to remain at a location for an agreed period while adhering to a code of conduct, with the provision of sanitation, water and waste disposal facilities part of the arrangement.

Establishing safe stopping places will also help reduce the number of unauthorised encampments at unsuitable locations.

Mr Short said that Fife's gypsy traveller co-operation policy was "one of the best in Scotland" and the pilot scheme, being carried out in Moray, East Ayrshire and Perth and Kinross, was similar to what's already being done here.

He explained: "So the presumption is when travellers are stopping on Fife Council land we wouldn't move them on unless it's a clearly unsafe site, for example beside a very busy main road and they have young children.

"Again, we would be looking to provide sanitation, waste management etc so it's very similar to what's in the pilot."

Fife will look at the results before updating their co-operation policy in December.

Convener of the committee, Cllr Judy Hamilton, said: "Our preferred option so far has been to have negotiated stopping, but not negotiated stopping places, because we've tried for many years to identify places where people can go but we've not been successful.

"Nomadic travellers don't wish to be told where to go.

"Negotiating with them about where they go, we feel our way of working and our co-operation policy is a bit more mature than some of the rest of Scotland so we may be able to influence policy rather than be affected by it."