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Major development proposal for housing in prime agricultural land west of Kingsbarns village square
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Kingsbarns Community Council blasts planning 'hypocrisy'

Gordon Berry, The Courier, 4 August 2010

An East Neuk community council has written to the local MP and MSP, and the three ward local councillors, to express concern over what it calls the "hypocrisy" of Fife Council's planning process.

Kingsbarns Community Council has claimed that although the council professes to listen to local people as a community, and to take in what they say, it then goes on to totally ignore their representations.

The comments have come from chairman Rob Moodie as North East Fife councillors prepare to discuss the finalised St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan, which has attracted more than 2000 comments, representations and objections from several different areas during two consultation periods.

The claim that local concerns are not listened to has been raised time and again.

Giving an example of concern in his area, Mr Moodie said there had been no explanation to the community as to why prime agricultural land is being allocated for a 40-house (20%) expansion of the conservation village, which is not being promoted by the community.

"This is not 'effective engagement and discussion with the public', the core principle of Scottish planning policy," he said.

Referring to the local plan, Mr Moodie said this would reiterate the recommendation of the officers that land be allocated for 40 houses.

This, he said, was said to meet a strategic allocation as part of the East Neuk, but no justification had been given of housing need in the community, nor how it meets the needs of the wider community.

He said that already about 30% of housing stock is owned as holiday accommodation, and it is anticipated that almost all new houses built for sale will be purchased as second homes, contributing little to the life of the community.

The letter went on to say that meetings of Kingsbarns Community Council are well attended, and the council represents the views of a community which is now "overwhelmingly against" any greenfield development.

Mr Moodie said that in a survey of every home in the village and surrounding area, last summer, a majority supported not more than 20 additional houses over the plan period.

The local landowner, however, had lodged an objection to the local plan to enable a total of 66 houses to be built.

"It is clear that the original consideration by the community council of a small development of 20 houses bears no relation to the landowner's desire to create a large development, which would dwarf the village and render any conservation status irrelevant."

Mr Moodie added that there were other issues, one of which was well presented by St Andrews Preservation Trust in their objection to the Kingsbarns Local Plan Housing Proposal. This, he said, concerned the value of limiting any growth to small-scale organic growth as defined in the approved Fife Structure Plan. A copy of the community council's grounds for objection to the planning application for the 22 houses is attached for information.

Mr Moodie has asked MP Sir Menzies Campbell and MSP lain Smith for their support in ensuring that the community views are fully considered.

"We need to feel ownership of the plan that will shape our future," Mr Moodie said.

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