Cupar North opponents set to step up their campaign

Cupar North
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Opponents of the proposed 1400-house Cupar North development hope to leaflet every householder in the town, setting out why planning permission should be refused.

A well-attended meeting to hear locals’ views on the controversial plan was held on Tuesday night.

It was organised by resident Gina Logan, a long-time critic of the development, who has said approval would turn the town into a “bypassed backwater.”

Ceri Williams, who presented a detailed case against Cupar North when it was first revealed about 10 years ago, outlined the planning authorities’ involvement over the years and pointed out how the number of houses proposed had fluctuated.

“The figure has bounced about, starting at 2000 houses, then it fell to 1250, climbed to 1600, then levelled off at 1400. There is no way that this can be based on an assessment of need.”

He also cast great doubt on the developers’ belief that 70 new houses could be sold annually for the next 20 years when other builders had struggled to sell new properties.

Objectors believe that one of the main hurdles facing the developers - a consortium involving Headon Developments, Persimmon Homes and Vico Properties - will be the requirement to fund a relief road round the town.

While Fife Council has stipulated that the road must be completed within five years of the first house being built, some of those attending Tuesday questioned whether that condition would be adhered to.

Other concerns were developers not utilising brownfield sites in the town, with estimates that there was land available to accommodate between 300 and 400 houses.

There was also a feeling that planners were “protecting” Cupar North, stifling other development, including in surrounding villages, which was having a knock-on effect on school rolls.

Other issues included concern over construction traffic using Balgarvie Road and how schools, the health service and town’s sewerage and drainage systems would cope with so many extra houses.

Andy Collins, speaking on behalf of Sustainable Cupar, said there were positive and negative aspects, although Cupar North was “too big” for the community.

His organisation did not support the development of several little estates, preferring a coherent plan to benefit everyone, with a greenway round the entire town and pedestrian and cycle routes to its centre.

He suggested that residents “make life difficult” for the developers by stipulating what they wanted to see.

One resident suggested that a planning consultant be employed to fight the development, but Ms Logan pointed out that they had no funds for that.

A collection for a ‘fighting fund’, to produce a leaflet for all households ,was launched, with campaigners also planning to organise a petition and conduct an exit survey at next week’s developers’ consultation.