Care home plan in hotel grounds

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ONE of Kirkcaldy’s most popular hotels could soon see much of its land taken up by a new 70-bed care home, if planning proposals go ahead.

The owners of Dean Park Hotel have submitted an application to Fife Council to build a new care home in the grounds of the popular hotel, which was once used for chalet accommodation.

The plans come after an application by Ainslie Homes to build 32 flats at the same site were faced with strong local opposition last year, but got the go-ahead from Fife Council.

Now the builders are submitting an application for a contemporary care home building to house 70 residents instead.

Not viable

Dean Melville, director of Ainslie Homes, told the Press continuing with proposals to build flats on the ground would not be viable.

He said: “If you look globally the building market has collapsed. Properties are not moving, banks are not lending and the whole middle market has ground to a halt - that’s what drives the housing market. Building flats at this stage would be a mistake in the short and long term.”

Mr Melville said if the application got the go-ahead, a company would be contracted in to run the care home once it is built.

Davidson Design Partnership, who designed the building, said the design is for a two storey building, with ‘L’ and ‘C’ shaped courtyards, containing 70 bedrooms and communal spaces, kitchens and offices.

Loss of trees

After a previous plan for 36 flats was rejected last year following concerns over loss of trees and increased traffic, shocked developers were forced to re-submit a plan for 32 homes.

The designers now say the new plans mean a number of concerns have been addressed.

Despite this, Mr Melville said he was unsure how long the current application would take: “It took us two years to get planning permission for 32 flats on what is effectively a residential site,” he said.

“We spent thousands of pounds having tree surveys done to make sure trees would be protected and new ones would be planted. We are trying to keep everybody happy, but it’s a company asset and has to be used.”