Anger as off-limit sites are cleared for housing

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FIERCELY protected land in Windygates and Leven has been opened up for housing development.

Scottish Government officials have revised the Mid-Fife plan, which shapes and guides development on land and buildings in the Kingdom.

And they have given the nod to housing developers for building up to 75 homes at the back of Cameron Crescent in Windygates, known locally as The Temple, and 100 properties on a site off Cupar Road, Leven.

Both sites were considered and subsequently rejected by Fife Council for housing during the local plan process.

The move has infuriated local councillors who say residents living nearby, who have fought off previous attempts to consider the land for housing developments, will be livid.

Cllr David Alexander said: “I am utterly amazed and mystified by the reporter allowing the site at The Temple in Windygates to be allocated as housing for 50 to 75 units.

“This site has been defended for 20 years by the people of Windygates.

“Applications have been turned down and won at appeal and previous reporters have excluded the site.

“To allow it to be allocated now is a slap in the face to local residents and makes a mockery of planning history.”

The local plan is required by the Strategic Land Allocation to identify ground for at least 1000 new homes to be built by 2026, however, Fife Council has previously said it did not support housing at the Leven site due to significant opportunities available elsewhere.

However, following an examination of the plan, the reporter claimed the reason for the sites being made available included the ongoing effects of the economic downturn and the slower than anticipated housing development in Mid Fife.

Cllr Alexander hit back at these claims, saying other housing developments in the area had ground to a halt - so questioned the need to identify more land.

He added: “I feel like 20 years has flashed before my eyes.

“Windygates still considers itself as a country village but we have lost land to the south with the by-pass and now this is going to be eating into the north.

“The public wants to see consistency when you see decisions being overturned like this.”

The decisions of the reporter are final, with no right for appeal, and will be considered by the Fife Council planning committee in November where the local plan will be presented for adoption.

Councillor Alistair Hunter told the Mail he was “dismayed and disappointed” to see the Leven site included in the plan.

He said: “Leven has a significant area of unfulfilled housing development potential on the west of the town that has already been agreed but not realised.

“The decision to open up the east of the town is not welcomed.”

The report can be viewed on the Fife Council and Scottish Government websites, in Fife Council planning offices, and in libraries.