A solution to the problem of scatter flats

Your article Petition follows scatter flat problems in Cardenden Street (online 27/2/18) highlights a problem which is Fife-wide and which is in large part of the Council’s making.

Scatter flats used to be quite literally scattered across Fife, as Fife Council didn’t just use Council-owned accommodation to temporarily house those with nowhere else to go but also rented suitable accommodation in the private sector. Scatter flats were also designed to be used as such for a limited time only – a property would be a designated scatter flat for two years only before being returned to standard Council use or the private landlord.

Both these measures prevented scatter flats becoming permanent features in communities. It stopped them becoming concentrated in certain areas – as in Cardenden – and creating ghetto-like impacts. It also very importantly gave neighbours of scatter flats with anti-social tenants light at the end of the tunnel. They knew that their suffering would only last two years whereas now it is not uncommon for neighbours of anti-social tenants in scatter flats to feel they have no alternative but to move house themselves.

The reason why Fife Council changed its scatter flat policy was cost. The Council saved money by not using the private sector and not turning round scatter flats after two years, but of course this left communities and neighbours to bear the cost of permanent scatter flats in their midst. I would like to see a full cost-benefit analysis carried out of this policy change.

Fife Council has the power to reverse its scatter flat policy to prevent their unfair concentration in certain areas and to alleviate the long-term problems of anti-social neighbours they create. I am surprised Cllr Erskine appears to be ignorant of this solution. Perhaps the Cardenden petitioners should get their other local councillors to apply suitable pressure on the SNP and Labour leadership at Fife House to reform Council policy on scatter flats.

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