Door slams on Diosynth site housing project

Diosynth land
Diosynth land

HOPES of a housing transformation at the former Diosynth site in Buckhaven appear to have been dashed.

Planning committee members on Fife Council last week threw out proposals at the Percival Road site for a development comprising 64 houses, a residential care home with around 10 beds, a health clinic and 12 sheltered homes.

Their decision will be reviewed once more by the full council, because the project was “significantly contrary” to the Development Plan.

However, the applicant, Deborah Muir, felt she had not had a fair hearing, as the recommendation to refuse was accepted without discussion.

She also claimed she had been asked in late February to provide more information, and delivered a three-page report, but members only received the information electronically on the day of the meeting. That, she said, made it look as if she and her colleagues had submitted late details, and she had already written a letter of complaint to the council.

Long-term plans for the area have the vacant land zoned for employment use, while Fife Council also hopes to acquire the site for a low carbon investment park, supporting the Energy Park at Methil.

Last month, around 20 residents attended a special meeting in Leven in which they told planners that the ground really should be made available for an affordable housing venture.

They said houses were needed in Buckhaven, while the Energy Park should be big enough to accommodate related features like the investment park.

However, planning officers said last week that, although the site was unused, it was protected as employment land and formed part of a bigger SLA (strategic land allocation ) area.

“Any ‘piecemeal’ development would not be encouraged within an SLA area ahead of the preparation of a wider master plan for the whole SLA area, in terms of land use, residential amenity and road network issues”, said a report.

The application was also turned down “in the interests of protecting the viability of existing and future employment facilities adjacent to the application site”, as residential development and existing/proposed industrial areas would be a bad mixture.

The full council meeting is on April 12 and, if the venture is rejected again, Ms Muir said she and her colleagues would probably start afresh with thoughts on how the land could be developed.