Controversial Kinghorn development plans given go-ahead

The site of the proposed development in Kinghorn
The site of the proposed development in Kinghorn

Residents, heritage organisations and councillors have been left reeling after a controversial Kinghorn housing development was given the go-ahead.

With a vote tied at five votes apiece, plans to build 24 affordable dwellings on the prominent Caberfeidh site in Bruce Street was narrowly agreed after central area planning committee chairman Tom Adams used his casting vote to grant conditional approval.

There had been widespread local opposition to the Campion Homes proposal from the moment it was first made public in May 2014 and despite the developer having submitted revised plans following initial public concern.

Kinghorn Community Council had claimed that the new plans offered little real change and argued that the public had not been listened to following a consultation process.

Concerns regarding safety and the impact on parking were also a major concern for residents.

The Royal Burgh of Kinghorn Historical Society and Fife Historic Buildings Trust were among those voicing the objection, in all 31 letters opposing the application were received by Fife Council ahead of the determination.

In an impassioned plea against the against the plans SNP Cllr George Kay said: “No amount of tinkering is going to change the underlining problem that the site is too big, too dense and will only detract from the historic heritage of Kinghorn.

“It’s a site that needs a development that takes account of the character, history and setting in which it is placed, the development must be in keeping with what is around it. We need houses but that need must not be bought at any price.”

Labour Cllr Neil Crooks echoed his colleague’s sentiments adding that the applicant and council had tried but failed to meet the aspirations of the community.

He added: “We could have come up with a really good proposal that would have been acceptable to people who live in Kinghorn, that would have been in keeping with the history of the village and right for the 21st Century without making the mistakes of the past.”

Planning officers had recommended conditional approval despite being widely criticised for the development’s amenity ground falling 50 per cent short of statutory guidelines.

In a report to committee members, it stated that the location and the quality of design should be taken into account when assessing whether to relax the amenity requirement.

Following the approval, one Kinghorn resident said the councillors decision was “disgraceful” and had “dealt a massive blow to the Kinghorn community”.