Hous­ing to go ahead af­ter ap­peal up­held

Con­tro­ver­sial plans were re­jected in 2015

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - AILEEN ROBERT­SON arobert­son@the­courier.co.uk

Hun­dreds of homes are to be built at the con­tro­ver­sial Spencer­field site in Inverkeithing – but with­out the health and ed­u­ca­tion con­tri­bu­tions in­cluded in pre­vi­ous plans.

Tay­lor Wimpey has said it will hand over around £580,000 to­wards road im­prove­ments as part of its ap­proval for 295 homes on farm­land between Inverkeithing and Dal­gety Bay.

A quarter of the homes will be af­ford­able hous­ing.

How­ever, pledges to build a GP prac­tice and make money avail­able for school places are no longer on the ta­ble.

Councillors on Fife’s west plan­ning com­mit­tee pre­vi­ously re­fused the plans in 2015 but had no choice other than to ap­prove them last week, af­ter Tay­lor Wimpey’s ap­peal against the ini­tial de­ci­sion was up­held.

The firm ap­pealed to the Scot­tish Govern­ment’s Direc­torate for Plan­ning and En­vi­ron­men­tal Ap­peals (DPEA) twice in its bid to build on the site.

A pre­vi­ous ap­pli­ca­tion for 450 homes dat­ing back to 2013 came with a pledge to in­clude a GP prac­tice and con­trib­ute to­wards the re­gen­er­a­tion of Fraser Av­enue. The re­port to the com­mit­tee in 2013 also con­tained a re­quire­ment for an ed­u­ca­tion con­tri­bu­tion of £2,400 for each pri­vate house built and £1,200 for each pri­vate flat.

Councillors threw out the plans, which were sub­ject to more than 250 ob­jec­tions, and a sub­se­quent ap­peal by Tay­lor Wimpey was thrown out by the DPEA.

The house­builder made a claim for Fife Coun­cil to cover its ex­penses but this too was knocked back by the DPEA.

In 2015 councillors tried again to pre­vent Tay­lor Wimpey from build­ing on the site, which will re­duce the dis­tance between the set­tle­ments of Inverkeithing and Dal­gety Bay to less than half a mile.

Their re­fusal of the scaled down plans, with no men­tion of a GP surgery or con­tri­bu­tions to ei­ther ed­u­ca­tion or Fraser Av­enue, was later over­turned by a govern­ment re­porter.

Pauline Mills, land and plan­ning di­rec­tor for Tay­lor Wimpey East Scot­land, said: “We are de­lighted that the west plan­ning com­mit­tee at Fife Coun­cil ap­proved the ap­pli­ca­tion for our Spencer­field, Inverkeithing de­vel­op­ment.

“Our de­tailed pro­posal for Spencer­field in Inverkeithing will de­liver 295 new homes, of which 25% will be af­ford­able, al­low­ing us to make sure there will be a wide mix of styles to ap­peal to a range of buy­ers, as well as a range of tenures.

“Our de­vel­op­ment will also pro­vide a range of eco­nomic ben­e­fits for the lo­cal area in­clud­ing the cre­ation of sev­eral hun­dred new jobs, and it will at­tract new cus­tomers to lo­cal busi­nesses.

“In line with our le­gal agree­ment with Fife Coun­cil we will also make con­tri­bu­tions to­wards a fund for wider strate­gic transportation im­prove­ments, as well as lo­cal traf­fic im­prove­ments and up­grades as ne­ces­si­tated by our de­vel­op­ment.”

Our de­tailed pro­posal for Spencer­field will de­liver 295 new homes, of which 25% will be af­ford­able, al­low­ing us to make sure there will be a wide mix of styles. PAULINE MILLS OF TAY­LOR WIMPEY

Pic­ture: Dougie Ni­col­son.

For­mer Fife Coun­cil spokes­woman for econ­omy and plan­ning Lesley Laird and John McKen­zie of Inverkeithing Com­mu­nity Coun­cil at the Spencer­field site in 2016.

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