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Major development proposal for housing in prime agricultural land west of Kingsbarns village square
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Estate housing plan proves controversial

The Courier, 8 June 2010

A major residential development proposed for Kingsbarns by the owner of a local estate is being met with strong opposition.

Cambo Estate has lodged the proposals for 22 houses on the western edge of the village, which would include government-funded affordable homes.

The estate - owned by Sir Peter and Lady Catherine Erskine - has applied to Fife Council for full planning permission for 22 homes south of Station Road.

A dozen of the properties would be affordable, 10 of them coming through the Scottish Government's Rural Homes for Rent scheme and the other two funded by the estate.

The proposal has been submitted in conjunction with an application in principle for a further 18 "open market" homes north of Station Road.

However, members of Kingsbarns Community Council have joined with numerous villagers in opposing the controversial plans, amid concerns that it is the first phase of a 66-house proposal as recorded in an objection to the St Andrews and east Fife local plan.

In a letter of objection, a spokesperson for the community organisation said the application is contrary to the approved structure plan for 2006-26 in that the site lies outwith the boundary of Kingsbarns, on prime quality agricultural land and in an area of great landscape value.

He added, "The existing primary school is near capacity with a current roll 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 is a conservation area, one of the first designated in Scotland, where householders are restricted in what they can do with their properties, but they value their rich heritage and historic environment with growth limited to meeting local needs by small-scale organic growth."

The community council has also claimed that, from recent experiences, there is a risk of flooding in the area.

The spokesman said, "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 - for example there is no piped gas supply in the village."

The design of the development would not maintain or enhance the visual amenity of the setting, says the community council, which also maintains there is not sufficient local need for housing.

The community group also considers that the application is premature, pending the adoption of the St Andrews and east Fife local plan, and points out a Fife Council survey of alternative sites in Kingsbarns in 2005 concluded that the proposed site "should not be put forward as a possible development site."

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