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Fife Structure Plan - Legal Challenge -
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Structure plan challenge advanced

The Courier, 5 January 2010

A legal challenge to the Fife Structure Plan is to come to one of the highest courts in the land court in a fortnight's time-several months earlier than expected.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh will hear the action raised by a St Andrews resident over three days, starting January 19.

Penny Uprichard lodged the challenge last July, two months after Scottish ministers approved Fife Council's 20-year framework for the development of the region.

The document proposes 35,200 new houses up to 2026, but ahead of its rubber-stamping by the government attracted an unprecedented number of objections.

For the west of St Andrews, its proposals include 1090 new houses, a distributor road and a science park and business park.

Although the action relates mainly to the St Andrews housing numbers, it nevertheless challenges the ministers on the entire plan.

Success of the challenge would impact directly on council policy and could result in the plan being sent back to the council.

But Miss Uprichard reckons it is the only way that the historic university town can be saved from "huge damage."

"It is difficult to understand what council officials and developers think will happen to the 'most important small historic burgh in Scotland' if this deluge of housing, roads and infrastructure is approved.

"Recent exhibitions and articles have demonstrated the scale of the proposed impact on St Andrews.

"If the western expansion was approved and made a huge breach in the landscape setting of the town, much of 'green bowl' would be destroyed."

Miss Uprichard has already raised more than £37,000 in pledges and donations for possible legal costs and has made an eleventh hour appeal for more.

Her action has the backing of the Royal Burgh of St Andrews Community Council, St Andrews Preservation Trust, Protect Rural East Fife and the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland.

It alleges that Scottish ministers have failed to give a proper, adequate and intelligible reason for not modifying the finalised structure plan in line with specific objections received.

Progression of the draft Kirkcaldy and Mid Fife and Dunfermline and West Fife local plans and the St Andrews and East Fife Local Plans were timetabled to follow approval of the structure plan.

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