Call to scale down Strathkinness house plan

Councillors fear that the primary school would be overstretched. Stock pic.
Councillors fear that the primary school would be overstretched. Stock pic.

Councillors have called for a proposed controversial development in Strathkinness to be scaled down amid fears that the school could not cope.

Stirling-based Avant Homes have applied for planning permission in principle to build some 76 houses on prime farmland at Nydie Mains Road.

The application is ‘significantly contrary’ to the local development plan and will eventually be decided by the full Fife Council.

But members of north east Fife planning committee were this week asked to give their recommendation to the local authority before the final decision is made.

Planning officials have recommended approval subject to a raft of conditions.

The application has prompted 20 objections , including one from Strathkinness Community Council.

Some residents fear that the proposed development would ‘dwarf’ the existing village and spoil its character; that it could lead to drainage problems and road safety issues, and that the impact on Strathkinness Primary School would be ‘unacceptable’.

Planning boss Alastair Hamilton told councillors that the development would be phased to ensure that the local school would not reach over-capacity.

But councillors weren’t convinced, and narrowly voted to recommend that the number of houses be reduced to 66.

Councillor Elizabeth Riches had wanted to recommend the council refuse the application altogether, saying: “We can’t control who comes in and out of the village. We are being blinkered. We know the school can’t be extended.”

Strathkinness Primary School has a capacity of 95 pupils, who are accommodated in four composite classrooms.

Alastair Hamilton, planning service manager, told the area committee that Fife’s education services had carried out a detailed analysis on local education provision, taking into account the resulting impact of 76 extra homes. He said that the study concluded that by 2018 enrolment would reach 101 per cent - just one pupil over the school’s capacity.