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Back to the drawing
board - express views on housing development - do we want any? - if so, where
do we want it?
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Seeking further ideas over housing plans
Gordon Berry, The Courier, 17 February 2009
The prospect of concentrated developments for over 2500
houses in Cupar and St Andrews appears to be fading as the construction
industry feels an ever tightening squeeze.
Now 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
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.
Asked yesterday if the latest move sounds the death knell
for developments such as Cupar North, with around 1400 houses and a bypass, Mr
Arbuckle said that these proposals are still in the structure plan.
He said, "Whether anything ever happens remains to be seen,
but in the meantime there is scope for development of more homes in the East
Neuk, Cupar, Tay Bridgehead and St Andrews housing market areas.
"We have always said that more development needs to be
spread around small communities that need to grow and develop, and we want to
hear suggestions." more Community
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