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May 31, 2017

Get rid of lines and signs

Falkland is a small conservation village in the north of Fife.  Recently concerned by a steady increase in visitor traffic through the village streets, the community have been discussing some radical proposals that would transform the relationship between pedestrians, vehicles and public space. Before proceeding to the next stage, Falkland’s community council would like to meet up with any other community that has managed to resolve similar traffic congestion issues. Sounds like an opportunity to take advantage of the Community Learning Exchange


Ninian Stuart

Our community of Falkland is wrestling with the challenge of dealing with increasing numbers of visitors which is partly the result of the popular success of the film Outlander in which Falkland posed as Inverness.

Our dilemma caused by Outlander fans turning up in coaches that struggle to get around the village fountain combined with increased numbers coming to access the land (on an estate that welcomes land reform) has prompted the Community Council to set up a working group on transportation and begin to focus seriously on traffic flows. This in turn led the Chair of the Community Council, someone who is passionate about place and heritage, to invite a remarkable man called Ben Hamilton-Baillie from Bristol to come and advise us for a day. Having walked the streets, and spoken to a range of people, he came and spoke to a packed community hall about:

•          getting rid of white or yellow lines and street signs

•          re-cobbling some of the streets

•          and giving people as much right to be on the streets as cars.


His focus was on challenging and changing behaviour of motorists and pedestrians – and his last slide showed a photo of him lying on the roundabout by the school on the main road. It was pretty radical stuff for a conservative (with small “c”) community. At the end of the meeting the Chair asked Bill Lindsay (who heads up Development Planning for Fife Council) what he thought – and Bill said he would do what he can to support us as a community if we chose to go down this line. The chair then asked for a show of hands in support. A rough count indicated about 2/3 of hands went up. So interesting to see what happens next!

Are there any examples of communities in Scotland that have gone down this line (or perhaps I should say done away with lines) and challenged the dominance of the high way when it rides rough-shod through their communities?

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