PLANS to transform a former petrol station at Chapel Level in Kirkcaldy into a small retail development with the potential to create up to 60 jobs have been rejected.
Broughty Ferry-based property developer, Broxburn Ltd, was behind the plans for four shop units and three hot food takeaway outlets at the former Northlea Service Station, which closed around 10 years ago.
But Fife Council’s Kirkcaldy area committee refused the application on the grounds that the intensification of use of the site would be detrimental to the amenity of the area and road safety.
Several concerns – such as the development’s proximity to Kirkcaldy High School, attracting pupils to walk along a busy dual carriageway to the takeaways – were raised, but Councillor Susan Leslie, while expressing sympathy with her colleagues, warned against deciding the application on non-planning issues.
She called for approval of the plans, saying: “At the moment it is a derelict eyesore, so anything would be an improvement.
“I’m concerned that we don’t have good planning reasons to turn this down, opening up the Council to an appeal.”
However, councillors voted eight to four to reject the application.
The site is currently derelict with only the old kiosk still standing. All the fuel pumps have been removed.
Prior to yesterday’s area committee meeting, Ross Morrison, director of Broxburn Ltd, told the Press the development had attracted interest from multi-national chains, a well-known independent sandwich shop, a travel company, a convenience store, a coffee house and a well-known butcher.
He added: “There are similar, new commercial developments proving to be extremely successful – in Dunfermline and Rosyth. They are busy with customers every day, providing jobs and services to the public.”
Mr Morrison said he had attempted to address the objections to the plans. In terms of access and parking, the development met transportation guidelines.
And, while he accepted litter was always an issue with retail developments of this kind, a factor would have been employed – paid for by the tenants – to ensure the site was properly maintained, cleaned and kept free from litter.