The wait is over ...but residents still feel cheated

Residents of Lochty Meadows hope the play park will finally now be installed. (Pic: David Cruikshanks).
Residents of Lochty Meadows hope the play park will finally now be installed. (Pic: David Cruikshanks).

A six-year battle by residents of a new housing estate in Fife for a safe play area to be built for their children as promised, could finally be over.

Raith Developments, the developer responsible for the new homes at Lochty Meadows in Thornton, has agreed to put in place a play park, some six years after work on the site first commenced .

Parents on the estate have long called for the play area, because their children had nowhere to play other than in the street.

But they have been left frustrated for years because the planning consent drawn up by council planners had allowed the developer to add the play park only after the final phase had been completed, if they so wished.

A wait that has already meant six years of disappointment for residents.

“Our children literally have nowhere to play other than in the street,” said parent Matt Reid.

“To finally have a commitment is one thing but we’ve been here so many times, I think most residents will believe it when we see it.

“The situation should never have been allowed to happen in the first place and wouldn’t have had council planners been more stringent with the conditions of the planning consent.

Councillor Ross Vettraino, who has dealt with the concerns for a number of years, said he had had many exchanges with Council officers and, more recently, with the developer over the concerns raised by parents.

“Because of the manner in which the planning conditions are phrased, that the Council cannot enforce the provisions of amenities, such as play areas, until the entire development is complete.

“That does not mean, however, that the developer cannot provide those amenities at an earlier stage and I am pleased to be able to say that he has agreed to complete the play area and associated landscaping as soon as the flats, which are currently under construction, are completed and has estimated that that will be in October this year.”

The news had been welcomed by those who have called for the park to be installed to improve child safety.

“We await the outcome, and we’ll be back on to the developer should the play park not materialise,” said Mr Reid.

However, despite the good news regarding improved safety, Cllr Vettraino told the Gazette that concerns about three blocks of flats at the site, were also raised by residents at a meeting on Saturday.

“The concern is that most of the current home owners bought their houses believing that they were buying homes in a development of detached or semi-detached houses and feel betrayed,” said Cllr Vettraino.

“The developer was granted planning permission to substitute the flats for detached bungalows and residents are telling me if they had known that that was going to happen they would not have bought on the site.

“Concerns that the flats may be sold to the Council, or another housing authority, and used as social housing, is a major concern for residents it seems.”