A CONTROVERSIAL housing plan which objectors say will merge two north east Fife villages has been almost fully reinstated by the Scottish Government.
As a result, a site for 60 houses at Durham Wynd in Lower Largo will now be included in the St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan – a document which sets out a detailed picture of how the area should be developed over the next 10 years.
Campaigners fought hard against an initial proposal to create a single site in the local plan for 70 houses at Durham Wynd, on the grounds that Upper and Lower Largo would lose their separate identities.
They had hoped to have been successful when, in 2010, the Levenmouth area committee came up with an alternative to spread 60 houses across Upper and Lower Largo, plus Lundin Links.
However, reporters, who are appointed by Scottish Ministers to determine whether suggested changes to the finalised plans are given the go-ahead, revealed on Monday they have decided to go against its wishes, and reinstated the single site, this time for 60 houses.
Ian Fowler, whose ‘Just Say No to Building on Durham Wynd’ action group led the public protest, said the reporters had ignored the “overwhelming” objections from local people.
He added: “This is a sad day for democracy when the local views of councillors and local people have been ignored and another village is approved for over-development.
“We will be looking further into how we can object to the reporters’ decision and continue our objection to the development.”
Grounds for Fife Council to go against the new recommendation are limited but Levenmouth area councillor Alistair Hunter also vowed to fight on.
He said: “The local communities that will be affected by these developments are angry, feel let down and dismayed at the decision to reinstate this site to the plan.
“Unsurprisingly, I agree with them.
“The democratic will of the Levenmouth area committee and ultimately Fife Council has been ignored by an unelected and seemingly untouchable reporter.
“After similar events, and at my request, the administration of Fife Council has made direct representations to the planning Minister Derek Mackay MSP, to redress what might be perceived as a democratic deficit of the over-riding powers of the reporter in the local plan process.”