A controversial housing application has been approved in a small village named as one of Scotland’s best places to live, sparking outrage among local residents.
The Scottish Government has approved the Cala Homes development in Aberdour despite the plans being rejected twice by Fife Council.
The application to build 85 homes on a field south of Main Street was knocked back by Fife councillors in July last year. The developers had appealed the initial decision at the Fife Planning Review, but it was also rejected due to not fitting in with the region’s development plan.
But the government reporter Stephen Hall yesterday issued a notice of intention that said he was “minded to grant planning permission” for the housing development.
More than 850 objections to the plans have been submitted.
Aberdour – a village of about 1,600 residents within commuting distance of Edinburgh – was named the second best location in Scotland to live, behind only the Borders town of Melrose, in last year’s Sunday Times list.
Posting on Aberdour’s Facebook notice board, resident Jane Cuthill said: “Planning is a shambles and has been for some time now, inconsistent decisions and ever-changing goal posts. Sadly it seems there is nothing we can do.”
Mark Maylin added: “I don’t suppose for one minute the Scottish Government will put their hands in their pockets to upgrade the roads infrastructure, the sewage, the number of doctors available, the primary school …
“All of these things and more form the basis of the local objections.”
Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Mark Ruskell said he would be writing to the government urging them to rethink the decision. “This decision makes an absolute mockery of the Fife development plan, our planning process and local democracy as a whole.
“The community has played by the rules at every stage… the Scottish Government reporter has ridden roughshod over local wishes.”
Cala has lodged a partial claim for expenses against Fife Council.
Steven Cooper, planning manager at CALA Homes (East), said: “The reporter’s balanced consideration of the proposal re-affirms the suitability of the site and the proposal. The reporter recognised the severity of the housing shortfall in Fife”