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Residents to be denied a local decision on major development proposal for housing west of Kingsbarns village square
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Kingsbarns housing plan goes to reporter

Cheryl Peebles, The Courier, 5 March 2011

A bid to build new homes in an East Neuk village has been taken to the Scottish Government after Fife Council failed to determine it on time.

Sir Peter Erskine has applied for planning permission to build 40 houses to the west of Kingsbarns, north and south of Station Road.

Part of the development, which was awarded a grant from the Scottish Government's Rural Homes for Rent fund, would involve the creation of 12 affordable homes.

However, there has been significant opposition from villagers, including the local community council.

Sir Peter, of Cambo Estate, has now asked the Department for Planning and Environment Appeals to determine whether the building can commence.

Due to the government's financial support, the proposals were presented to Fife Council in two separate applications, one for
18 houses north of Station Road and the other for 22, including the affordable homes, south of the road.

Both were submitted in March 2010 and a deadline for determination of November was agreed.

Sir Peter's agents, Montgomery Forgan Associates, have urged the reporter who will determine the appeal to grant planning permission, claiming the new homes would help sustain the village which had been declining in recent years.

They said, "Kingsbarns Primary School roll will be boosted and the village shop and post office, which has been up for sale for a long period, may have a chance of surviving in the medium to long term.

"The public house, which closes in the winter months, will also benefit from an increase in households in Kingsbarns."

Fife Council had originally allocated land for 40 new homes in Kingsbarns in the emerging local plan, but reduced this to 20.

But Montgomery Forgan Associates claimed this was "not logical or thought through."

It said, "Such a lower number of houses would not be a sustainable use of the site.

"Its development would not fit the existing character of Kingsbarns and the number of affordable houses would be reduced to six overall."

Furthermore, the consultancy said there was an insufficient supply of land for housebuilding in the St Andrews and wider north-east Fife area.

Very few affordable homes had been built in the area in the last few years, it said, despite there being the highest demand there Fife-wide. It also claimed there had been a mixed response to the plans during pre-submission community consultation.

The community council has claimed that neither the local primary school nor the sewerage system could cope with the additional residents the scheme would bring.

The development would also be outwith the village envelope, it said, in a conservation area and area of great landscape value and on prime agricultural land.

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