Five years - and still waiting for go-ahead

The proposed Kingdom Park site
The proposed Kingdom Park site

CONCERNS over transport infrastructure have led to councillors again putting off a decision on a major development which could transform the east of Kirkcaldy.

And after five years working with Council officers on the project, the company behind the plans is becoming increasingly frustrated by the delays.

Kingdom Park Ltd, part of Edinburgh-based Murray Estates’ portfolio, has proposed a five-phase development, covering 135 acres at Kingslaw – north of the Boreland and east of Rosslyn Street – featuring up to 1100 homes, supermarkets and retail units, a care home, hotel, primary school, sports and leisure facilities, parks and play areas, and community facilities.

But at a special meeting on Friday, members of Fife Council’s Kirkcaldy area committee expressed reservations about the road network around the site.

Detailed

The same councillors had previously postponed a decision when they met in June, saying they needed more time to study the detailed 50-page report on the application.

Jestyn Davies, managing director of Murray Estates, said: “We are clearly disappointed by this further delay to the project, which we believe is unnecessary.

“We worked with the Council for two and a half years before submitting the application, and it’s been another two and a half years in planning. The issues raised at the meeting could have been dealt with before now.”

Frustrating

He added: “They want to make sure they get this right, but the committee report has been with the councillors for seven weeks and it is frustrating issues are only being raised now.

“We’ve spent hundreds of thousands on this project and every week that goes by costs us more money – money which could be put to good use on this development.”

Councillors appeared to be happy with most aspects of the plans, however, approval is subject to agreement on improvements to the roads network outwith the development site – and this proved to be the main sticking point.

The main concerns raised related to changes to the Redhouse roundabout, including the introduction of a dedicated lane from the A921 Rosslyn Street on the A92 travelling west, but also the removal of the dedicated lane for traffic coming from Glenrothes on the A92 turning left on Rosslyn Street.

While a transport assessment indicated the changes could reduce current peak time delays of around 16 minutes to six minutes, councillors remained sceptical and decided not to give the go ahead until they had explored other options.

As a further complication, though, the A92 and the Redhouse roundabout are part of the trunk road network and come under the responsibility of Transport Scotland, not Fife Council, so councillors won’t have the final say.

Councillor Arthur Morrison, seconded by Councillor Susan Leslie, proposed a motion to approve the application, with Cllr Leslie pointing out: “This issue of transport is not in our gift – it is managed by someone else.”

However, an amendment proposed by committee chairman, Councillor Neil Crooks, calling for a delay to explore further options, was backed by the majority of members.

Cllr Crooks said: “We’re not trying to stop the development but it’s critical we get this right.

“If we are going to pass something which is going to have massive consequences for the next 20 years we need to fully understand what we are doing. We are not in that position right now.”