CARDENDEN has been "split in two" by a controversial road closure with residents trying to get a taxi to the doctors forced with a jump in fare from £3.50 to £18.

That's the claim from local councillor Linda Erskine who said that shutting the B921 Woodend Road for up to four weeks was causing major problems in the village.

Fife Council closed it to allow resurfacing work costing £273,000 to take place but while the section shut off is just 0.81km long (half a mile), the diversion via Kinglassie and Cluny is 11.54km (more than seven miles).

And you can double that for a return journey.

Cllr Erskine, who represents Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty, said: "Normally for residents in that area to get a taxi from Woodend to the doctors is £3.50 and yesterday I was told someone had to pay £18 because the diversion is so long.

"Not surprisingly, taxi drivers are saying they're losing out on fares and deliveries are being affected too.

"It's good that the road and drains are getting sorted but we shouldn't be making areas isolated like that.

"It's split the village in two."

David Taylor, secretary of Cardenden Community Council, said: "We're halfway through and it's certainly caused ructions as it's really inconvenient.

"Unfortunately we're at the top end of Woodend so we can't go down to Bowhill in the car unless we take a long diversion.

"And there are roadworks all over the place, including Kinglassie, so you don't know which diversion signs are for what set of roadworks."

He added: "We just avoid going to Bowhill now. Going to Dunfermline and Lochgelly is a no-no too. We're very restricted.

"A lot of people are definitely isolated, especially the elderly who can't just pop down to the shops for the groceries, to go to the church, dentists or doctors.

"I'm pretty sure they could have come up with something. In the past they've closed half a road at a time, with the other half open with traffic lights, but they said that for health and safety reasons they couldn't do that."

Some drivers have been ignoring the closure and a sign has now been placed there which states: "Vehicles entering closure will be reported to police and possibly prosecuted."

Cllr Erskine said she'd heard a female motorist had been hit with a financial penalty and admitted: "We've had a couple of incidents already and there have been some, shall we say, harsh words exchanged."

She said she had spoken to the council's transportation department who had said a complete closure was the best way to get the job done.

However, what's angered locals is that the road has remained open for buses, with Stagecoach's 32 service between Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes still using Woodend Road.

Cllr Erskine said: "It's disappointing. You can get the bus up and down the road so why not the residents who live there?

"I don't know why they couldn't have done the works with a convoy system and at least kept part of the road open for local residents.

"I'm sure most people would been prepared to put up with six weeks of work, and get access to their homes, instead of four weeks where they're not able to do that.

"It's isolating part of the community and there's no need for it."

The council's statement announcing the works said that access for residents and businesses "will be at the discretion of the contractor".

Mr Taylor added that there was some light relief with a little extra help for Tesco, who were trying to deliver groceries to his house but could only get as far as the church car park.

He laughed: "The delivery driver was going to walk up the road with all our bags but the workers took pity on him. They put the groceries in a JCB and drove him up, so my shopping was delivered by JCB!"