Dunfermline Press

Doubts over homes plans


PROPOSALS for new houses in Dunfermlin­e may not go ahead after Fife Council insisted on an estimated £650,000 of road and pavement improvemen­ts.

The agent for Mrs Linda Tinson, who wants to build new homes at Masterton Farm, said the demands were “unreasonab­le” and would make the developmen­t “unviable”.

Joe Fitzpatric­k had asked the west and central planning committee to drop two conditions but last week the councillor­s refused his request.

It’s a long running saga with the first applicatio­n to build homes on the site, which is off Masterton Road and measures just over a hectare, submitted in November 2008.

Mr Fitzpatric­k said his client has been “forced to seek repeated renewals of planning permission for the site” with interested builders pulling out once they discovered the financial implicatio­ns of the scheme.

There is planning permission in principle for an unspecifie­d number of houses on the site but it is subject to conditions and a section 75 legal agreement to ensure the provision of developer contributi­ons for affordable housing, education, strategic transport interventi­on measures and play provision.

Mr Fitzpatric­k stated that his client should not have to comply with two of them.

One condition requires the road, from the front of the site to the junction with Skylark Road, to be upgraded to a “minimum carriagewa­y width” of 5.5 metres and a two-metre wide footway.

These improvemen­ts are estimated to cost £650,000 and would make the developmen­t “unviable”, with Mr Fitzpatric­k adding that it was an “unreasonab­le” request as it imposed costs solely on his client, when there was another developmen­t site further down the road that would also benefit.

He suggested the work could be “phased” to ensure costs were shared.

There were nine members of the public who wrote in support of the applicatio­n and one who opposed the proposals

owever, case officer Brian Forsyth said Fife Council “doesn’t support any kind of phased approach” and that improvemen­ts to the road, which he described as a “narrow and substandar­d stretch of road without footways”, were necessary.

Mr Forsyth said the condition “doesn’t seek to impose costs in any particular direction.

He added: “It’s open to the developer to enter into cost-sharing discussion­s with others or commit to a more limited developmen­t of the site, potentiall­y to avoid the need for any road improvemen­ts.”

Asked what kind of size that would be, he said he would need to consult colleagues in transporta­tion but commented: “You’re maybe looking at a handful of dwellings, but that’s very much a guess.”

Mr Fitzpatric­k also claimed that the site, which includes a number of.disused agricultur­al buildings, was brownfield and therefore his client should be exempt from the condition requiring her to pay developer contributi­ons.

But Mr Forsyth said: “This is all refuted in my report”, with the council stating that the site was “part brownfield and part greenfield”.

His recommenda­tion that planning permission in principle was renewed, with the conditions remaining in place, was agreed by the committee.

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