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West of Square housing proposal - similar greenfiled housing scheme rejected in Ceres
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Ceres housing proposal refused

The Courier, 4 July 2009

A major housing development in Ceres, which was widely opposed by villagers, has been prevented by a Scottish Government reporter.

Lomond Group has been refused planning permission to build on land at Moor Road after appealing to the government to overturn a decision by Fife Council’s north-east area committee.

The Glenrothes-based builder intended to build an unspecified number of homes on a field on the northern edge of the village.

But reporter Roger Wilson upheld the committee’s decision.

The result means the land at Bridgend, to the rear of Moor Road and Gladney, will be removed from the finalised St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan for an allocation of 50 new houses.

Ceres Community Council chairman Grant Robertson said, “It’s a sensible decision.

“The development was not wanted by villagers.”

He said they are not against development of a “sensible size,” but this proposal “was going to change the character of the place completely.

“It would have put a great strain on the infrastructure of the village.”

Local councillor Margaret Kennedy was equally pleased. She said, “I’m absolutely delighted to hear the result of the appeal. It is the correct decision in terms of the village and how we move forward.”

Councillor Bryan Poole said the decision was excellent news but there had been “absolutely no case” for development on the site.

“Although planning officials were pressing to have the application approved, the case against development put forward by council legal officials was an excellent one.

“It’s just a bit puzzling that the views of senior planning officials differed so widely from their own legal officers.

“The fact our own democratic committee process has now been backed by an appeal reporter is a real boost for the position taken by councillors.”

Mr Wilson said the proposals went against the development plan as the site was not in the adopted local plan, was outwith the village’s settlement boundary and failed to comply with policy on housing in the countryside.

He also concluded the site was unnecessary to meet the Fife Structure Plan requirement for land for 1400 new houses in the Cupar housing market area due to the planned Cupar North development of 1200 to 1400 homes.

The development, in a designated Area of Great Landscape Value, would be a prominent feature, he stated, and due to the lack of a traffic impact assessment the implications of additional vehicles from 50 houses on roads in Ceres was uncertain.

The proposal, he said, was also premature ahead of further progress on the finalised St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan and he noted that its inclusion in the draft plan had not been consulted upon. National policy, he concluded, gave no alternative reason for the development to be permitted.

Lomond Homes’ planning application, lodged in February last year, was unanimously rejected in December by the area committee against the advice of planning officials.

There were concerns about the size of the site and its impact on the character of village, the local primary school and the AGLV.

However Lomond Homes claimed there was a shortfall in the housing land supply in the area and the development would not necessarily include as many as 50 homes.

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