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Future of Kingsbarns
Have your say about 'identified' development proposals for Kingsbarns and Cambo
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Information - including ongoing consultations on planning proposals and current and future planning policy documents

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Cambo Estate proposals to build at least 40 houses (possibly 66 houses) in prime agricultural AGLV west of Kingsbarns


The Cambo Estate Development Plan provides useful background info as regards Peter Erskine's overall plans for Kingsbarns.

According to the Development Brief, Cambo Estate hopes to build at least 40 houses (and possibly as many as 66 houses) in prime agricultural farmland west of Kingsbarns. At least 30% of homes in such major housing developments must be 'affordable'.

Cambo Estate is proposing to locate all the 'affordable' houses in part of a field West of Square and south of Station Road - as per Planning proposal 10/00873/FULL - 22 houses West of Square - see Developer Statement and further useful info

Cambo Estate then proposes to build at least a further 18 open market houses in part of a field north of Station Road - as per Planning proposal 10/00871/PPP - 18 houses West of Kingsbarns - see Developer Statement and further useful info

westofkingsbarns
Proposed housing sites - 22 houses in field directly ahead, and at least 18 houses in large field (part shown) to the left    Photo Nick Lunan

Cambo Estate is asking Fife Council to consider these two proposals "in conjunction". Clearly, the 18 open market house proposal relies on the 'affordable' contribution from the 22 house West of Square proposal.

Applications - advertised as a contrary to the development plan (which includes the current local plan)

Proposals in relation to current Kingsbarns village envelope - as extracted from the current Largo and East Neuk Local Plan

currentvillageenvelope flood
View north from proposed West of Square (flooded) site towards listed buildings and conservation area boundary wall    Photo Nick Lunan

sudslocation
View west from the West of Square site - showing the (flooded) location for the proposed sustainable drainage system   Photo Nick Lunan

Planning Considerations

Major Development

In in order satisfy Structure Plan requirements, 30% of houses in any proposed development must be affordable. When considered in isolation, only one of these proposals satisfies these requirements - the southernmost (yellow) proposal 10/00873/FULL.

It would appear that in order to avoid having to provide 30% affordable houses in any future development proposals for the northernmost (green) site, the applicant is asking Fife Council to consider these two separate housing proposals "in conjunction." When considered in this way the resulting combined site satisfies the affordable housing requirements - with all of the affordable housing in the southernmost (yellow) part of the combined site.

However, when considered "in conjunction", as requested by the applicant, these proposals represent a major development, in planning terms - as the combined housing development area exceeds the 2 hectare threshold.

Major housing developments require design and access statements, and certain major housing developments (those which either depart significantly from development plans or possess the potential to adversely affect the environment or are known to have attracted significant levels of local opposition) require pre-determination hearings where objectors can put their views to the decision makers - our local elected councillors.

Significant Departure - contrary to local plan policies H3, H5 & EV5 and structure plan policy SS1

It could be argued that each of these proposals departs significantly from the current Largo & East Neuk Local Plan.

These applications will have to be considered against policies in the current local plan. Neither proposal satisfies current local plan housing and environmental policy governing housing development in the countryside. Each proposal involves housing development in prime agricultural land, in what is still (until determined otherwise) a protected AGLV, adjacent to one of the first conservation areas in Fife (outstanding in entirety) and adjacent to many listed buildings. According to applicant Peter Erskine, development in this area "will make a huge impact in the heart of our beautiful village." These proposals clearly possess the potential to adversely affect the character and setting of the heart of our outstanding conservation area.

Premature - pending adoption of the evolving local plan - a long way from being finalised

As it happens, the overall development site (i.e. the southern site in conjunction with the northern site) is the same as KIN01, a site first identified in the Finalised St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan 2009 - an evolving plan that is anything but finalised. However, it is yet to be determined whether or not this newly identified site will actually be included in the final adopted version of the evolving plan. Until then, it could be argued that any planning proposals for development in this area should be considered as premature, ahead of the formal adoption of a properly finalised St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan. A similar argument was used, successfully as it turned out, by residents of Ceres when objecting to a proposal for housing in a site identified in the evolving plan.

Our most recent comments on the evolving plan have not been fully assessed. The community has rejected the proposal KIN01, as indicated in the latest consultative version of the plan. During the latest consultation, objectors reminded Fife Council that:

  • "We are firmly of the view that any housing development in our village should be of an 'organic', incremental nature, and we wish to avoid any greenfield development." - Kingsbarns Community Council (KCC) response to FC - October 2007.
  • "The community overwhelmingly rejected" the original 'identified' site H9 West of Square (now part of KIN 01) - KCC response to FC, after extensive consultation at the first draft plan stage.
  • The west of square site "should not be put forward as possible development site. ... development of this site would remove the rural aspect of the heart of this settlement." - according to FC surveyors who conducted Local Plan site appraisals for all 11 possible sites in and around Kingsbarns in 2005.
  • Development west of the square "will make a huge impact in the heart of our beautiful village." - statement from the site's own promoter in support of one possible, speculative, housing proposal.

There is likely to be a public enquiry in order to address objections from a number of communities, including ours. In any case, Cambo Estate is seeking to modify the KIN01 proposal so as to include 66 houses. We might require to be consulted on last minute changes to the evolving local plan.

Until such time as the community no longer has a say in the outcome of the evolving local plan, decision makers should not be determining this application against policy in that evolving local plan.

In every sense, these proposals are premature pending adoption of the St Andrews & East Fife Local Plan.

Outstanding Conservation Area - significant adverse effects - contrary to Conservation Area policy

The whole of the village of Kingsbarns is an Outstanding Conservation Area - one of the first in Scotland to be so designated. Any development in this prominent site possesses the potential to adversely affect, to a significant extent, the character and setting of the Outstanding Conservation Area and the many adjacent listed buildings. For over 20 years, residents of Kingsbarns (all of whom must comply with conservation area policy) have rejected all proposals to develop this prominent site at the heart of the conservation area.

In response to a 1989 proposal to site housing west of the square (as 'indicated' in a draft of our current Largo & East Neuk LP), Cllr. Mike Scott-Hayward stated that:

  • "the community of Kingsbarns, generally speaking, appear to be set against the development of the Station Road site. The main reasons for this would seem to hinge on the fact that this actually does spoil an important part of the village and intrudes into what can be seen as an indent in the boundary of the conservation area. The spirit of the conservation area, it seems to me, would be to preserve the character of the village, particularly along this older boundary. The site is particularly sensitive as it is close to the older housing, the very characteristic village square, the church and the pub."

At present, all development within Kingsbarns is controlled according to conservation area policy. There has been no suggestion from either the applicant or Fife Council that the conservation area will be extended to include the proposed development site - a very prominent, environmentally sensitive site near the heart of the village.

If this application were to proceed, as proposed, the village boundary would change (so as to include the new housing) but the conservation area would remain fixed to the old boundary. We would end up with different protective policies applying in different parts of the village, with some of the most sensitive areas being the least protected.

Fife Council could resolve this problem by enlarging the conservation area, so as to accommodate the proposed development site. However, Fife Council would find it hard to justify enlarging the conservation area. Any proposal to move the conservation area boundary would conflict with the only published conservation area policy for Kingsbarns, which states that:

  • "Kingsbarns is extremely compact and of integrated development ... . It is to a continuation of this atmosphere that a conservation policy must be named." - Fife Council statement in support of proposal to put Kingsbarns forward as a pilot conservation area in 1970.

It could be argued that this proposal to build outwith the current compact integrated conservation village boundary (unchanged since 1970) conflicts with current conservation area policy for Kingsbarns.

Rural Homes for Rent Pilot Scheme - and the democratic process

According to the applicant Peter Erskine:

  • "It is proposed that 12 of the ... dwelling houses will be affordable. 10 no of the affordable dwelling houses will be grant funded by the Scottish Government's Rural Homes for Rent pilot scheme. ... the Scottish Government funding is predicated on a detailed approval by Fife Council as planning authority."

In applying for grant funding, Peter Erskine was required to provide the Scottish Government with a "statement of when relevant consents for the proposal will be in place. These should include as a minimum Building Warrant and full planning permission"

In his statement, Peter Erskine "estimated that planning approval would be in place by July 2009, road construction consents would be in place by August 2009, work would start in January 2010 and be complete by March 2011."

How could Peter Erskine be so sure? Was this wildly optimistic estimate considered sufficient? Would the Scottish Government not have required to seek clarification (a more robust confirmation of planning support) from Fife Council, before awarding the grant funding? If Fife Council planners did provide evidence of support at that grant application stage, how does that place them, and our elected members, as regards the determination of this planning application?

The Scottish Government also required confirmation of housing need from Fife Council. In the event, Fife Council provided incorrect, and therefore misleading, housing information - they placed Kingsbarns in the wrong housing area.

Also required was evidence of support from the community. Was the information that the Scottish Government received in any way representative of our views?


Planning proposal 10/00871/PPP - 18 houses West of Kingsbarns - info for those wishing to comment


This is the second of two current planning applications from Cambo Estate. The developer has requested that this application be considered 'in conjunction' with a recent application 10/00873/FULL - 22 houses West of Square. [The 18 open market house proposal relies on the 'affordable' contribution from the 22 house West of Square proposal].

It is important to realise that this 18 open market housing proposal is not being presented as an alternative to the proposal to build 22 (12 affordable) houses opposite the square. This is not about choosing one housing scheme in preference to another. If this proposal were to be approved, it would not stop the controversial proposal to build 22 houses in the field in front of the square - in fact it could enhance its chances of also gaining approval.

See Cambo Estate proposals to build at least 40 houses in Kingsbarns for further details and planning considerations

Fife Council has already received a Kingsbarns Community Council Objection, and over 35 individual objections, to the 22 house West of Square proposal. Fife Council will therefore be fully aware of the fact that the community does not want large scale housing development in prime agricultural AGLV west of the village.

Whilst many of the grounds for those earlier objections appear valid in this case, Fife Council will not necessarily take any of those 10/00873/FULL objections into account unless they are raised again as separate objections to this 10/00871/PPP application.

Don't let this application slip below the radar. This is the 'profit driving' part of the overall Cambo Estate major development plan for Kingsbarns. This application for planning permission in principle carries no detail at this stage. We know that the developer, Cambo Estate, wishes to expand this site in order to accommodate 44 houses. Once the principle for development is established in this general area, it would be hard to refuse a detailed application for a ' revised' scheme at a later date - say 44 houses on a suitably enlarged site within the same large field.

This application appeared on the Fife Council website on 4 June, and on 11 June it was advertised as contrary to the development plan. The official deadline for comments is 2 July.

Comments on this application can be made online here or send emails to development.central@fife.gov.uk or send letters to:

Fife Council Development Services, Forth House, Abbotshall Road, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1RU


Planning proposal 10/00873/FULL - 22 houses West of Square - info for those wishing to comment - HOW TO OBJECT


This is the first of two current planning applications from Cambo Estate. The developer has requested that this application be considered 'in conjunction' with a further application 10/00871/PPP - 18 houses West of Kingsbarns. [The 18 open market house proposal relies on the 'affordable' contribution from the 22 house West of Square proposal].

See Cambo Estate proposals to build at least 40 houses in Kingsbarns for further details and planning considerations

Fife Council has already received a Kingsbarns Community Council Objection, and over 35 individual objections, to this 22 house West of Square proposal. Fife Council will therefore be fully aware of the fact that the community does not want large scale housing development in prime agricultural AGLV west of the village.

Fife Council has also received a St Andrews Preservation Trust Objection to this application. [Kingsbarns lies within the Trust's geographical remit].

Fife Council is now asking the applicant to 'revise' the proposal and to provide further information - see initial update on proposal

According to information from the published documentation attached to this application:

  • "this application is submitted in conjunction with a further application in principle for 18 open market dwelling houses to the north of Station Road." - but details of this further application were not released during the official 21 day consultation phase.
  • "a detailed design statement for the proposal will follow in a separate cover." - but this statement was not made available to the public during the official 21 day consultation phase.
  • "the site is currently used for grazing" - not so - is this an attempt to diminish the worth of the prime farmland?
  • "aim of this Development Brief to help meet the housing needs of residents of Kingsbarns" - really?
  • "sufficient infrastructure either in place or will be constructed" - but sewer near capacity already
  • "gas ... available to the site" - not so - only lpg available, subject to certain access and storage conditions.
  • "crime prevention will be addressed by including concepts of ... access control" - interesting
  • rented homes "will accommodate .. tenants .. from .. waiting list" - but according to conditions attached to grant, the applicant is also required to house homeless, if on list - not mentioned for some reason

General Observations

  • no University housing - as promoted in sales pitch to community - as we suspected all along
  • more open market homes - likely to become holiday/second homes - applicant Peter Erskine has said as much
  • applicant appears to be claiming ownership of Station Road

HOW TO OBJECT - the official 21 day consultation ended on 21 May* - but it is not too late to have your say

Fife Council has received about 40 objections, including one from Kingsbarns Community Council, so this application now requires to 'go to committee.' At that North East Fife Area Committee meeting, planning officials will present a report in which they will offer advice (in the form of a recommendation) to the decision makers (elected members). When compiling that report, planners must take account of any comments or objections received by 21 May*, but they might not take account of comments or objections received after that date. However, objections received after the deadline will be made available to members of the committee.

Comments on this application can be made online here or send emails to development.central@fife.gov.uk or send letters to:

Fife Council Development Services, Forth House, Abbotshall Road, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1RU

or direct to our local councillors, all of whom sit on the North East Fife Area Committee.

If that link fails to work - go to fife.gov.uk - Councillors & local democracy - Committees and Decision Making - NEFAC

The planning committee sits every month (next meeting 16 June* 2010), and it is open to the public. A few days before this application goes to committee, the planning report will be made public.

* NOTE DATED 4 June: Fife Council has recently changed the description of this application, and they have extended the time for neighbour comments until 2 July - so as to allow those neighbours who are only now receiving their neighbour notifications (dated 9 June for some reason) a chance to respond in 21 days! We could reasonably expect any further comments received during this extended period to be taken into account. Fife Council planners will not be in a position to report to committee before 2 July.

Material Considerations

According to planningaidscotland.org.uk:

"decisions on planning applications must be made in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. ... types of issue which are material considerations include:

  • adequacy of infrastructure (e.g. sewerage, drainage and water)
  • impact on setting of listed buildings or conservation area
  • visual appearance of the proposed development and its relationship to its surroundings
  • height, scale, massing, design, density and layout, particularly in comparison with other buildings in the locality
  • suitability of the site for the proposed development (e.g. contamination/flooding issues)
  • the needs of an area (employment, commercial, social or leisure facilities, affordable housing)
  • privacy, over-shadowing, over-development (overcrowding), and lack of natural light
  • provision of suitable access and transport (including road safety, parking, effect on pedestrians and cyclists, and traffic)
  • environmental impact - such as pollution and contamination
  • landscaping proposals
  • creation of an undesirable “precedent”, making it difficult to resist similar proposals elsewhere
  • views of statutory and other consultees

Kingsbarns Community Council Objection - provides a useful template for individual objections

PLANNING APPLICATION 10/00873/FULL

At a meeting of Kingsbarns Community Council [11 May 2010], attended by a full hall of residents, the Community Council agreed to object to planning application 10/00873/FULL on the following grounds:

1. It is known to be the first phase of a 66 house proposal by the land owner/developer, as recorded in an objection to the St Andrews & East Fife Local Plan 2009.

2. It is contrary to the Approved Structure Plan 2006-2026 Policy SS1 in that:

  • The site lies outwith the settlement of Kingsbarns, on prime quality agricultural land, within an Area of Great Landscape Value.
  • The existing Primary School is near capacity with a current role of 36 multi level pupils, sharing two classrooms.
  • Spare capacity in the new sewage works is limited to less than 10 houses and inadequate for the proposed development.
  • The entire area of the village of Kingsbarns is a Conservation Area, one of the first to be designated in Fife and Scotland, where householders are restricted in what they can do with their properties, but they value their built heritage and historic environment with growth limited to meeting local needs by small scale organic growth.
  • Flooding of surface water four times over a recent six-month period proves that the area is at risk of flooding.
  • The Development Brief, prepared by the applicant, which covers an area capable of accommodating 40 houses, was not submitted for the approval of the Community Council. It contains factually inaccurate statements e.g. there is no piped gas supply in the village.

3. It is contrary to the Adopted Largo & East Neuk Local Plan 1995 Policies H5 and EV5 in that:

  • It would place unacceptable demands on the foul and surface water drainage systems.
  • The design of the development would not maintain or enhance the visual amenity of its setting, which is an Area of Great Landscape Value, apart from the removal of a farm storage building which is now in poor condition.
  • It would mean the loss of prime quality agricultural land when there is not sufficient local need for housing.
  • The proposed houses have not been shown to be necessary or that no suitable alternative location exists (EV5).

4. It is contrary to the revised consultation statement in response to the St Andrews & East Fife Local Plan 2009 issued by Kingsbarns Community Council on 1 March 2010, which requested the re-designation of Kingsbarns as a Wider Fife Settlement, where smaller scale, organic growth to meet local needs is the pattern of development.

5. It is premature pending adoption of the St Andrews & East Fife Local Plan.

6. A Fife Council survey of alternative sites in Kingsbarns dated 3 March 2005, concluded that the proposed site “should not be put forward as possible development site”.

Further useful information for those wishing to object or raise concerns

In response to a very similar housing proposal in Ceres 08/00395/EOPP, Fife Council received objections on the following grounds:

  • principle
  • site not zoned for housing
  • conflict with Development Plan
  • little weight should be given to Finalised Local Plan
  • premature
  • impact on education provision
  • road safety
  • increase in traffic numbers
  • increase in car dependence
  • cumulative impact on village
  • impact on AGLV
  • scale
  • impact on village character/setting
  • impact on agricultural land
  • sewage/drainage/surface-water run-off
  • lack of community consultation

In their report to committee Fife Council planners recommended approval of the Ceres proposal, but the planning committee decided to reject the application. The applicant appealed, but a Scottish Government reporter dismissed the appeal and refused planning permission - see Ceres housing proposal refused


St Andrews & East Fife Local Plan 2009 Consultation


Fife Council (FC) invited comment on the latest consultative draft of the emerging local plan, which sets policy for housing, environmental and other matters.

During the consultation, the following Kingsbarns related comments and objections were forwarded to FC.

St Andrews Preservation Trust

St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan - Additional Objection

"We would like to confirm that our comments/objections on the lack of a Strategic Environmental Assessment at the earliest stages of the local plan process should apply equally to all proposed development in the plan area, not only St Andrews.

The Trust's remit extends beyond the St Andrews boundary, and encompasses, the village of Kingsbarns.

Kingsbarns although much smaller, has many historical affinities with St Andrews and is distinctive in this area, because of the essentially unspoiled environment and its containment within a village envelope which has evolved slowly and organically since its inception, retaining many of its historic features and buildings.

Any development in Kingsbarns must respect the heritage which makes this village such an attractive place to live in and visit. It has limited capacity for development. It could so easily be changed irrevocably for the worst by unsympathetic or inappropriately scaled development.

Villages such as Kingsbarns add much to the charm or Rural Fife. Any development within such settlements should echo the rate of growth in the past, where buildings have been slowly added in a way which reflects the grain and pattern of the existing community.

For these reasons, the proposal in the Local Plan to build Houses on sites KIN01 and KIN02, comprising 40 houses in all does not respect the principles outlined above. These houses do not appear to build on the existing settlement pattern, and even if their building was staggered over 20 years, would not meet the criteria outlined above. Moreover, forty houses would represent an increase of about 25% in the number of houses in the village, an increase which is not merited by the population projections or the assessment that NE Fife should have an increased housing capacity of about 5% over the Structure Plan period.

It would be insensitive and inappropriate to require this small community to absorb so much development which appears to have no logic within population projections or planning objectives designed to protect the natural and historic built environment. As such it seems to be in direct contradiction to other policies in the local plan concerned with conservation of natural and built environments.

This may have occurred because no Strategic Environmental Assessment has been carried out at the stage when alternative options could be considered. - a process designed within European law to protect sensitive environments from unsuitable development. It appears to be a feature of the local plan that development is led by developer aspirations without identifying, describing and evaluating alternatives as required by European and UK law. The Council will be aware that development proposals in other parts of the county have been successfully challenged in the courts on these grounds and the proposed development stalled. As noted in our main submission, we consider it would be prudent of the Council to shelf development proposals that have not been properly assessed under the SEA legislation rather than risk these being legally challenged at a later stage.

We wish to formally object to the housing land allocation proposals for Kingsbarns on the grounds that they have not been subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment at the appropriate stage in the evolution of the Plan, and that the numbers and siting of the proposed housing is likely to produce unacceptable adverse environmental impacts for this small community. Retention of the unique character of this historic and attractive settlement should be a prime consideration in any plans for its development."

David Middleton Planning Policy Convener St Andrews Preservation Trust 24th December 2009

Background information - as provided during the consultation phase

The plan 'identifies' housing sites - in our case a 40 house, greenfield site, appended to Kingsbarns. Apparently, this is our allocated contribution, based on anticipated mixed-housing need for the entire St Andrews Housing Market Area, to 2026.

This landowner-promoted scheme will, if given the go-ahead, be implemented in two (10 followed by 30 house) phases, relatively early in the overall timeframe.

This is not the type of "smaller scale, organic growth to meet local need" development which is to be encouraged in some other small 'Wider Fife Settlements'.

The 'identified' site, KIN 01, lies within a large landward area of farmland, currently designated as an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV). According to the plan, FC intends to eliminate this particular AGLV. Current protective policy will no longer apply to future development west of the village.

In 1970, all of Kingsbarns was chosen as one of three 'pilot' conservation areas because it had "remained substantially intact and unspoilt" over the years, and it is currently an outstanding conservation area in entirety. But, the conservation area will not be extended to include KIN 01. Whilst protective policy will continue to control development in the conservation area, it will not apply to any development in the 'identified' appended site.

KIN 01 - West of Square - Greenfield site for 40 houses outwith the conservation area in an AGLV.

The recent '2009 Survey' showed that the majority of residents oppose the location of the 'identified' site. The proportion of villagers who say that there should be 'no more than 20 houses' has risen from 49% (2005 Survey) to 61% (2009 Survey). Permission exists for at least 10 new houses in and around the village. Potential exists for further brownfield development. Is there a 'need' for greenfield development?

In proposing this site, it could be argued that Fife Council has failed to take account of the facts that:

  • "We are firmly of the view that any housing development in our village should be of an 'organic', incremental nature, and we wish to avoid any greenfield development." - Kingsbarns Community Council (KCC) response to FC - October 2007.
  • "The community overwhelmingly rejected" the original 'identified' site H9 West of Square (now part of KIN 01) - KCC response to FC, after extensive consultation at the first draft plan stage.
  • The site "should not be put forward as possible development site. ... development of this site would remove the rural aspect of the heart of this settlement." - according to FC surveyors who conducted Local Plan site appraisals for all 11 possible sites in and around Kingsbarns in 2005.
  • Development west of the square "will make a huge impact in the heart of our beautiful village." - statement from the site's own promoter in support of one possible, speculative, housing proposal.
  • "Kingsbarns is extremely compact and of integrated development ... . It is to a continuation of this atmosphere that a conservation policy must be named." - FC statement in support of the proposal to put Kingsbarns forward as a pilot conservation area in 1970.

We have been here before.

In response to a 1989 proposal to site housing west of the square ('indicated' in a draft of our current Largo & East Neuk LP), Cllr. Mike Scott-Hayward stated that "the community of Kingsbarns, generally speaking, appear to be set against the development of the Station Road site. The main reasons for this would seem to hinge on the fact that this actually does spoil an important part of the village and intrudes into what can be seen as an indent in the boundary of the conservation area. The spirit of the conservation area, it seems to me, would be to preserve the character of the village, particularly along this older boundary. The site is particularly sensitive as it is close to the older housing, the very characteristic village square, the church and the pub."

Cllr. Scott-Hayward went on to suggest, at the time, that the site be deleted from the draft LP and that FC look at other sites for housing in the village, if it is necessary. The site was then deleted from the plan.

If you feel that the current 'identified' site should be deleted from the emerging plan, or that there are other sites more suitable for housing, if it is necessary, then it is not too late to say so. The official Fife Council Consultation ended on 24 December 2009, but you can still raise concerns with your local councillors and with the community council.

View the plan at http://lpconsult.fife.gov.uk/portal/fsaeflp09

According to FC "representations ... will be fully considered over the coming months and will influence whether, and where, changes may be made to the Local Plan." We shall see.

Send Feedback here


Larger-scale 'strategic' regional-need growth or Smaller-scale 'organic' local-need growth - which do we deserve?


Kingsbarns lies within the St Andrews & NE Fife Housing Market Area (HMA), as defined in the Fife Structure Plan (FSP). Any new housing in any of the towns and small communities in this large region, stretching from Newport to Upper Largo, will effectively contribute to the overall HMA requirement.

Strategic Land Allocation

According to the FSP, three 'Strategic Land Allocation' (SLA) areas (as shown on map) will provide "the focus for mixed-use development" within the HMA - mostly larger scale greenfield development.

Also contributing to the overall HMA housing mix will be 'identified' "smaller scale development" in 'Wider Fife Settlements', where "the approach will be one of organic growth to meet local needs" and where "priority will be placed on developments that reuse brownfield land."

Clearly, the bulk of development is being 'allocated' to communities within designated SLA's. And this affects us. For reasons unknown, Kingsbarns has been placed within the 'East Neuk Settlements' SLA, where policy allows for 'strategic', regional need, larger scale, greenfield development - in other words more than our fair share, in the wrong places. Perhaps we shouldn't be expected to absorb so much of this kind of development. It could be argued (see below) that Kingsbarns is wrongly placed within the SLA, that we are in fact a 'Wider Fife Settlement', and that we should therefore contribute to the overall housing mix accordingly - by providing local need, organic, smaller scale, brownfield development.

So, should Kingsbarns have been placed in the 'East Neuk Settlements' SLA? Kingsbarns lies within the current Largo & East Neuk Local Plan area. However, that plan covers a large area, and it includes many settlements, like Kingsbarns, which lie outwith 'The East Neuk' itself. Kingsbarns is not officially listed, in that current plan, as being an East Neuk Settlement. In fact, until it surfaced as such in this latest draft of the emerging local plan, Kingsbarns had never been listed as an East Neuk Settlement in any Structure Plan documentation, or in any earlier drafts of the emerging local plan. During earlier consultations and 'Have Your Say' sessions, Kingsbarns was grouped with St Andrews and not with the East Neuk. In response to a Kingsbarns Community Council request for an official view on the matter, the Minutes of Sept 2007 show that Fife Council then confirmed that Kingsbarns is not an East Neuk Settlement.

Perhaps FC should tell us why, and when, Kingsbarns was included in the East Neuk Settlement SLA. Otherwise, how can we be sure that FC did not simply 'place' Kingsbarns in the East Neuk Settlement SLA so as to conveniently facilitate a 'promoted' development proposal; a development proposal which would otherwise fail to meet the rather more restrictive "Wider Fife Settlement" policy? That would suit the promoter and Fife Council, but would such development best serve our community needs?

Send Feedback here


7 September 2009 - Rural Homes for Rent Pilot Scheme - and grant related planning considerations


According to the Scottish Government, the Rural Homes for Rent Pilot Scheme funds additional new-build affordable housing for rent in rural Scotland. We are told that grant funding is targeted at landowners in pressured rural housing markets where registered social landlords have been constrained in meeting local housing and homelessness need. The first round of funding was oversubscribed, but twelve projects have now been awarded a share of the £5m grant fund so as to provide 75 new properties for rent in rural Scotland.

The Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA) - the re-branded Scottish Landowners Association - was heavily involved in the early development, promotion and administration of this scheme, so it is perhaps not altogether surprising that several prominent landowners succeeded in securing grant funding.

Local landowner Peter Erskine applied for grant funding for two separate sites, one in Kingsbarns (for a proposal which is judged by some to be highly questionable, premature and basically flawed - see below) and one in Crail.

The Kingsbarns (landlord promoted) application was approved but the Crail (landlord/Crail 2020 Committee promoted) application was rejected. Both sites are in the same Local Housing Strategy (LHS) area - whose boundary coincides with that of the existing Largo and East Neuk Local Plan.

Should Peter Erskine have been eligible for grant funding under the scheme?

The scheme aims to provide a financial 'incentive' to landowners in order to open up an extra source of land which owners might otherwise be unwilling to sell or 'release' for housing - in areas with an acute need for such housing.

Given that Peter Erskine required no such incentive - he had already indicated to Fife Council that he was prepared to release (to the local plan allocation) land west of the square for a mixture of 70 housing units (far in excess of that required for local need), long before the incentive scheme was announced - it may concern some to learn that not only did Peter Erskine apply to the scheme, he was deemed eligible and he succeeded in securing grant funding for 10 affordable homes for rent. The maximum grant available to Peter Erskine is £677,400 - based on an average of 4.6 bed-spaces per home.

It could be argued that this proposal is premature and not fully developed (for the purposes of the grant application), and that it should therefore have been held over for consideration at a later date. The SRPBA is known to be urging the Scottish Government "to look at bringing forward second round funding as a matter of urgency" for, amongst others, those "who have not developed their proposals in time for first round funding consideration."

When applying, grant applicants were supposed to provide the Scottish Government with evidence of support from local authority planners (such as outline planning permission) and evidence of support from the local community.

Peter Erskine was not able to provide such evidence of support. That didn't seem to matter in the end. In order to beat the deadline for first round applications every official involved in the process appears to have taken the view that, in this case, there would be no need for Peter Erskine to first:

  • gain community support - previous survey indicated overwhelming rejection of proposal - new survey being undertaken
  • take account of local plan consultation - where residents would have first fully accountable say as regards chosen site
  • await an 'adopted' local plan whose policy allows such housing - proposed site is currently agricultural land in an AGLV
  • gain outline planning approval - rather dependant, of course, on the outcome of the local plan process

In his application to the Scottish Government, Peter Erskine stated that it was estimated that planning approval would be in place by July 2009, road construction consents would be in place by August 2009, work would start in January 2010 and be complete by March 2011. But community consultation will not take place until October 2009, at the earliest, for a period of 6 weeks.

It will be interesting to see how the democratic process copes with this cart before horse situation.

It could be argued that this proposal is basically flawed.

Early in the application process, at the 'expression of interest' stage, Peter Erskine provided the Scottish Government with Fife Council derived support documents which wrongly placed Kingsbarns in the St Andrews LHS area, a 'highest' need area with 19.1% (1828 actual) households in need of affordable housing. Kingsbarns is in fact in the Largo and East Neuk LHS area, a 'high' housing area with 8.1% (558 actual) households in need of affordable housing. That fact was only made known to the Scottish Government after official assessment and determination of the 'expression of interest' proposals.

In the absence of the correct information during 'expression of interest' assessment and determination, the Scottish government would have been unaware of the fact that Kingsbarns already provides more social rented housing (13.99%) than the Largo and East Neuk LHS area average (12.37%), and significantly more social rented housing than area neighbour Crail (8.70%).

Peter Erskine and his supporters were, at a critical stage in the application process, overstating the need for affordable housing in Kingsbarns to a significant extent. Not only that, the Scottish Government was being led to believe that no other sites were available to meet need in the area - when the opposite was the case.

Bear in mind that Kingsbarns is in the same LHS area as Crail - Largo and East Neuk. When asked whether or not the 'expression of interest' application for Crail met the criteria for social housing, officials from Fife Council indicated to the Scottish Government that within the Largo and East Neuk LHS area "there are other land opportunities available." In their letter of rejection of the Crail application the Scottish Government stated that "the proposed scheme was deemed a lesser priority for the Pilot following discussions with Fife Council where your project was given a lower priority. This was as a result of housing need being met through other proposed developments by local RSLs [Registered Social Landlords]." In order to avoid confusion here, bear in mind that the Scottish Government was assessing applications according to LHS area need, and it was being told that Kingsbarns was in another LHS area, so those "other proposed developments" could not have included any in Kingsbarns.

Had Kingsbarns been placed in the correct housing market area, the Scottish Government would surely have had no choice but to reject the Kingsbarns 'expression of interest' application - for the same reasons as those cited for Crail.

This website has obtained a great deal of information regarding this grant application - from Fife Council and from the Scottish Government. Some of this information has been forwarded to Kingsbarns Community Council - most of the information will be published here ahead of the official Local Plan consultation phase.

Peter Erskine is also Chairman of Kingsbarns Community Council, and this has caused concern re conflict of interest.

If you are concerned about this whole scheme you might be interested in supporting the Legal challenge to the Structure Plan


13 July 2009 - Legal challenge to the Fife Structure Plan 2006 - 2026


Future development in Kingsbarns will be controlled according to policy contained within the forthcoming St Andrew & East Fife Local Plan. That plan will be based on policy contained within the recently approved Fife Structure Plan 2006 - 2026.

During the consultation phase the structure plan was described by many as a “developers’ charter,” and it ran into unprecedented objection, much of it from north-east Fife. As it evolved, the plan was the subject of often bitter debate and controversy.

Now, a campaigning St Andrews resident has just gone right to the top of Scotland’s legal system with a challenge to the Fife Structure Plan in the Court of Session.

Legal papers have been lodged by Penny Uprichard. She could end up with a bill of tens of thousands of pounds, but has already received pledges amounting to £17,000 [£30,000 by mid August, £35,500 by November] towards possible legal costs of the action - prompted mainly by her concern over development plans for St Andrews.

Miss Uprichard has called on bodies such as the preservation trust - which she says has considerable assets and a history of defending the town - to back her as she takes on the might of the Scottish ministers who approved the structure plan after a lengthy delay.

Miss Uprichard said the legal challenge will probably take months to come to court, and during that time she will be fund-raising to meet possible costs.

She said that pledges would only be called in if necessary, and anyone signing pledge forms would only be responsible for that amount, and their confidentiality would be respected.

Further information, and printable pledge form here


17 Feb 2009 - North-east Fife area committee chairman Councillor Andrew Arbuckle has circulated community councils in the area to ask for their suggestions about how the council can disperse houses throughout villages and hamlets.


The call has come in a letter sent by Mr Arbuckle as consultation - and a degree of confusion - continues over the long-awaited St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan, which will provide a blueprint for future development in conjunction with Fife's controversial structure plan. In his letter Mr Arbuckle said that a great deal of concern has been expressed over the number of houses that might be built in the area in the 20-year life span of the structure plan. He said:

"The government expects there to be a rise in the number of people living in northeast Fife and further believes that the trend to single people living in a house will continue to rise. Accordingly it wants to see more land allocated for housing.
"Bearing in mind the current recession, and indeed the assumptions on which the additional housing allocation has been made, there are questions about whether the housing will be built. However we are required to have an up-to-date local plan with a minimum five-year housing land supply.
"In conjunction with your local councillors, I have expressed a view that officers draw up plans to disperse the numbers of houses throughout the whole of northeast Fife.
"Such a dispersal policy will also allow smaller hamlets and villages some scope for expansion without swamping any community."

Mr Arbuckle said that he was writing to clarify the position in relation to letters sent out by the council, and also to provide a proposed future timetable.

He said that the local plan will include proposals for development sites over the next 10 years. Development services staff are working on the next version of the plan. He added:

"Some of you have already passed views to the service, and any such views are being taken into account.
"There is, however, still an opportunity for your community to express its views on where it would prefer to see development- or indeed if it does not want any development."

The councillor said that the next draft of the local plan will be brought to the May meeting of the north-east Fife area committee for comment, prior to going to Fife Council in June.

In autumn the 2009 version will be published for individuals and communities to provide their comments. It is seen as inevitable that unresolved objections will lead to a public inquiry.

Views on future development can be put to Fife councillors or to martin.mcgroarty.fife.gov.uk.


Housing Policy


Future development in Kingsbarns will be controlled according to policy contained within the forthcoming St Andrew & East Fife Local Plan. That plan will be based on policy contained within the new Fife Structure Plan 2006 -2016. The new Fife Structure Plan has attracted huge levels of criticism, right across the board - and it is now subject to challenge in the Court of Session.

In the FFSP, Fife Council has identified:

  • Strategic Land Allocation Areas - for larger scale strategic development - "largely .... on greenfield land"
  • Wider Fife Settlements - for organic, local need, smaller scale development - with "priority ... on reuse of brownfield land"

There are significant differences in policy controlling development in identified Strategic Land Allocation Areas (strategic - predominately greenfield) and the surrounding Wider Fife Settlements (organic, local need - predominately brownfield.)

Fife Council has identified greenfield land for significant development in Kingsbarns. That would seem to suggest that Kingsbarns lies within a Strategic Land Allocation Area - but does it?

There are two ' Strategic Land Allocation Areas' near Kingsbarns - 'East Neuk Settlements' and 'St Andrews West'

There is no definitive listing of the East Neuk Settlements in the FFSP. Proposal PH2 suggests that the East Neuk, for the purposes of development control, consists of Crail, Cellardyke, Anstruther and Pittenweem. Various maps in the FFSP show an 'Other Strategic Land Allocation' running along the coast from Crail to Elie.

For months residents of Kingsbarns had been trying to establish whether or not the village was being regarded, for planning purposes, as an 'East Neuk Settlement'.

Fife Council then confirmed that Kingsbarns is not an 'East Neuk Settlement', as defined in the Structure Plan [Kingsbarns Community Council Minutes, Sept 2007.]

Fife Council also confirmed that "Kingsbarns is not in the 'St Andrews West Strategic Land Allocation' area" [Response from Jim Henry to Secretary KCC, 10 Sept 2007.]

So, by definition (according to the FFSP):

Kingsbarns is a 'Wider Fife Settlement' where we can expect:

"smaller scale development which will be identified through Local Plans. The approach for these settlements will be one of organic growth to meet local needs for both housing and employment. Again, priority will be placed on developments that reuse brownfield land and contribute to regeneration" [FFSP, 2.6 'Wider Fife Settlements']


Housing Proposals


Housing Site KIN 01 - latest proposed site as identified in the St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan 2009

Revised in name only - basically the same as h32 below - but now the site has Strategic Housing Allocation status

Housing Site h32 - proposed site as 'identified' in the St Andrews & East Fife Finalised Draft Local Plan 2006

Site comprises parts of:

EFLP 04 - KIN006 West of Square - arable land which "should not be put forward as possible development site" for housing, where any such housing development "would remove the rural aspect of the heart of this settlement" - [Fife Council], and;

EFLP 04 - KIN011 North of Station Road - agricultural land with limited potential for housing, where any such development "could breach the skyline to the west especially." - [Fife Council]

h32

According to Kingsbarns Community Council minutes of 4 September 2006:

"In January 2005 the East Fife Local Plan had proposed 110 new houses (70+40) across two potential sites h48 & h49. .......

"The chair reported that the new approved plan [actually the second draft or 'finalised' 2006 version of the Local Plan] identified just one area of 2.6 hectares, designated h32, for 40 houses to straddle Station Road to the west of the village square. The Council proposal is for 10 houses to be built during 2006-2011 with an additional 30 during 2011-2016, to total 40, with no more to be built thereafter within the 20 year period to 2026."


Housing sites h48 & h49 - as 'identified' earlier in the St Andrews & East Fife Local Plan (Consultative Draft)

110 houses in Kingsbarns, on open farmland to the west of the square and outwith the current village envelope.

Proposed Housing Sites
Proposed housing sites (70 houses in field directly ahead, 40 houses in field at back of Manse)      Photo Nick Lunan

The 'identified' development proposals were:

West of Square (h48) - 70 houses proposed. According to Fife Council "records show that h48 is part of a site originally promoted by the landowner Mr Peter Erskine."

Please note: part of h48 has now been incorporated in revised local plan site h32 - see above

West of Glebe (h49) - 40 houses proposed. This field, at the back of the Manse, is owned by the Church of Scotland. The origins of this proposal are 'unclear.'

h48/h49

Kingsbarns Community Council carried out a village survey regarding:

  • specific proposals - as contained in this early consultative draft local plan, and
  • general development issues raised by the community council at that time

The survey was organised by a 'Future of Kingsbarns' sub-committee, and it was supported by:

Kingsbarns Community Council sent the results of the survey to Fife Council.


Other background information from earlier in the consultation process


Fife Council Consultation (Spring 2005) - according to Fife Council:

"You have a role to play in Shaping Fife’s Future and are encouraged to have your say on the following draft publications"

St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan (Consultative Draft) - This is the first of the new local plans for Fife and for the first time is available on the FifeDirect website as an interactive plan. It identifies where change is proposed, showing in detail the location and nature of development from 2006-2016. This Plan is supported by the Action Plan and a series of background papers.

Fife Structure Plan (Consultative Draft) - Fife Matters - The Development Plan explains how and what should be developed in Fife. It is made up of two parts - the Structure Plan and Local Plans. Fife Matters is the Consultative Draft Structure Plan which looks at the development of the whole of Fife over the next 20 years. This then provides the framework for the more detailed Local Plans for St Andrews and East Fife, Kirkcaldy and Mid Fife and Dunfermline and West Fife. The proposed main strategic development areas where large scale development is proposed are Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes, Levenmouth and Lochgelly. Fife Matters is supported by technical background papers, the Report of Survey, Action Plan and Sustainability Appraisal.

Creating a better Fife - Draft Design Guide - This draft guide sets out a Fife-wide approach to designing buildings and open spaces. It aims to improve the standard of all future development, whilst retaining the special character of Fife’s towns and villages. It also aims to raise awareness and interest in urban design and the contribution it can make to creating better places and improving quality of life.

Supplementary Guidance on Affordable Housing - The need for affordable housing is one of the main issues that has to be addressed over the next 20 years. Fife Matters identifies where affordable housing is needed but because affordable housing is a complex and dynamic issue, more detailed and complementary guidance is needed to identify how this can be delivered. This is the Affordable Housing Supplementary Guidance.

Local Transport Strategy - This sets the long- term strategic vision for transport provision and services for the next 20 years. The long-term goal is to create a balanced, integrated trans-port network, which allows appropriate access to all key needs and services.

Area Transport Plans - These have been developed for the West, Central and East Areas of Fife and set out the way that we will deliver practical projects and services in line with the Local Transport Strategy. The priorities of the Area Transport Plans are developed in consultation with local communities.

Copies of all of the above draft publications are available to view at Fife Council libraries, Local Offices and Fife Council website - try www.fifedirect.org.uk/developmentplan and work from there.

Most of the publications have been copied to this website, for easy reference - follow the links below. The pdf files require acrobat reader and some are quite large (best to 'save' or 'open in new window')


Earlier Community Consultation

East Fife Community Consultation - between August and December 2003, 28 public events and a number of outreach sessions were held across East Fife to inform the development of the Local Plan and the strategies and plans of other Fife Council Services and Community Planning partners.

EFCC Feedback - Kingsbarns - relevant information from the initial meeting in Boarhills.

Your Place Your Plan - the second stage in the consultation process for the evolving St Andrews & East Fife Local Plan. Discussion groups explored issues such as housing, schools, facilities, town centres, countryside matters, green belts and conservation. For the purposes of this exercise Kingsbarns concerns were aired at the St Andrews meeting.

Fife Council has recently published the results of this consultation exercise in two forms:

Discussion group workshop notes for all areas are available at www.fifedirect.org.uk/newsevents

All the opinions, suggestions and ideas were passed to Fife Council Services and partner agencies, and used to inform the recently published draft of the St Andrews & East Fife Local Plan.


Other useful documents

Presented to Fife Council Environment and Development Committee, 20 January 2005.

The purpose of the report is to seek members’ approval for Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance on affordable housing, as a basis for public consultation.

Presented to Fife Council Environment and Development Committee, 20 January 2005.

Detailed guidance on the delivery of affordable housing in Fife. This guidance should be read in conjunction with “Fife Matters”, the consultative draft Structure Plan for Fife and Fife’s Local Housing Strategy (LHS). In particular the LHS forms a sound strategic basis for meeting housing challenges in the future whilst Fife Matters represents a bold and ambitious strategic land use planning framework for the next 20 years.

Presented to Fife Council Environment and Development Committee, 6 September 2004.

The purpose of the report is to advise members of the implication of the Local Housing Strategy for land use planning including Structure Plan and Local Plan policies and seek approval for the Council’s overall approach to addressing the need for Affordable Housing.

Presented to Fife Council East Area Services Committee, 25 August 2004.

The purpose of this report is to highlight the issues raised by communities and also by East Fife elected members at a seminar in June 2004 and to inform Fife Council’s developing Affordable Housing Policy.


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