A GROUP of protesters are planning to descend on Alloa next month.

Inviting all patriot groups along, the Scottish Defence League is planning a demo on March 11 in town.

Members of the group will march on Clackmannanshire Council because they feel refugees are being given priority in housing over local people.

More than 2,000 people signed a change.org petition by Amanda Drysdale, from Colchester according to the website, who claims a disabled family member of hers has been told there is no housing for her in Clacks.

An SDL spokesperson told the Advertiser the petition was regarding the council purchasing new builds from private developers for refugees “while local disabled and homeless families are stuck in sheltered housing”.

They claimed the council refused to acknowledge or respond to the petition, adding: “... the council has also refused to answer any questions from local residents regarding the issue.

“We refer to the Scottish Government's statement regarding the allocation of housing for refugees, which states they would only be housed in social housing stock which is surplus to requirements, this is a requirement prior to being accepted for voluntary allocation of refugees under the UK government guidelines.

“Several of the local residents contacted us to ask for help to highlight the issue.”

The spokesperson added: “Public anger and concern ranges from disabled people being stuck in sheltered housing to overcrowded families stuck in small homes to homeless ex-forces [personnel] on the streets to people working hard paying their taxes and saving for years to buy a house on the same development only to find refugees are their neighbours and have been given similar housing for free.

“There is also general concern from locals regarding refugees such as several European terror attacks and mass sexual assaults which have been widely reported in the mainstream media.”

The council highlighted all costs relating to the Syrian Refugee Resettlement programme are being met by the the Home Office, not the local authority.

A spokesperson added: “The families have settled well here, and have publicly expressed their grateful thanks to the people of Clackmannanshire who have done so much to welcome them.

“Many partner agencies and ordinary members of the public have helped to support the families and we are grateful for all the efforts that have helped them to become part of the local community.”

Council leader Bobby McGill said:" I feel secure in the knowledge that the generosity of local people shown to refugees from Syria will continue and the SDL demonstration will gather little support."

Meanwhile, local Unite Against Fascism members are planning to counter the move with their own march on the day.

A meeting is being organised for tomorrow night, Wednesday February 15, at the Thistle Bar from 7pm to arrange an opposing rally.

A UAF spokesperson said: “It is really important that all decent people join a counter protest. We need to show that their nasty racist ideas are a minority. It is the SDL who is not welcome in Alloa."

The Advertiser understands the SDL protesters have not yet applied to hold a procession. The council was also asked if it had received the petition, but had not answered by the time the paper went to print.

Chief Inspector Drew Sinclair, area commander for Clackmannanshire, said: "We are aware of plans by the Scottish Defence League to hold a demonstration in Alloa on Saturday, March 11.  

“There are numerous demonstrations across Scotland each year and we have a wealth of experience in dealing with them.

"Where there is unlawful protest or disorder that threatens public safety we will always act swiftly and professionally to prevent it and to target those responsible."

Green MSP Mark Ruskell has since called on the council to refuse any applications.