Dunfermline Press

Appeal for two new homes on Forth coast is rejected

- By Ally McRoberts amcroberts@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

CONTENTIOU­S plans to build two new houses at Crombie Point have been refused by the Scottish Government.

James Corrie, of Blairadam, had hoped the planning and environmen­tal appeals division would overturn Fife Council’s decision.

He had taken the matter further, after councillor­s rejected the proposals in June amid 37 objections, but the government have now sided with the local authority.

Reporter Euan McLaughlin issued a detailed judgement and concluded: “Overall, the proposal is contrary to the developmen­t plan policy as it is in the countrysid­e and is not one of the limited forms of developmen­t which is permitted in such locations. I find no matters which are capable of outweighin­g this policy conflict.”

Mr Corrie had sought consent to build two houses, plus garages and access, in the tiny hamlet near the Forth coast.

Much of the debate centred on whether the eight existing houses at Crombie Point should be classed as one settlement or two.

Planning officers said the site was not allocated for housing and would be “unjustifie­d” developmen­t in the countrysid­e.

They stated it was against the council’s ‘cluster policy’, as in it would lead to coalescenc­e between two distinct and separate settlement­s, and developmen­t within a site where flooding occurs should be avoided.

There were 37 objections with complaints that a “devious strategy” had been used to artificial­ly manufactur­e support for the developmen­t.

One of the local residents, Sally Masterton, said that out of the 26 people who wrote letters of support for the applicatio­n, just a handful were from West Fife with some living as far away as Stow and Henley on Thames in England, as well as Banchory and Aberdeen.

She claimed that six letters of support could be traced to the Edinburgh

firm of architects, Yeoman McAllister, who represente­d Mr Corrie.

When first considered by the west and central planning committee, some councillor­s argued it could be seen as small scale developmen­t on a gap site, which council policy is in favour of.

However, a decision was deferred and when the applicatio­n came up again in June, councillor­s agreed with the officer recommenda­tion and refused permission.

Mr Corrie’s appeal to the Scottish Government argued that there had been a “concerted local campaign” against the plans which the council had given “undue credence”.

It added that the flood risk assessment was “misunderst­ood and misreprese­nted” at the committee, said “little weight” should be given to the objections and concluded that developmen­t would “enhance the appearance and amenity of Crombie Point” and address a housing shortfall with two additional “highqualit­y houses”.

On reading this, angry residents hit back and a joint statement signed by 10 people maintained that the applicant had “failed to demonstrat­e” that the plans would not lead increase the risk of flooding in the area, that the pattern of developmen­t in the village had remained unchanged since 1856 and the new homes would adversely impact on listed properties.

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