House builder withdraws threat against Thornton residents

Lochty Meadows - THORNTON - Fife - 
Entrance to housing estate - 
credit - Fife Photo Agency
Lochty Meadows - THORNTON - Fife - Entrance to housing estate - credit - Fife Photo Agency

A house builder has backed down over plans to sue residents of a Thornton estate for £74,000 each because they objected to a planning application.

Gordon Powell of Raith Developments claims “unwarranted media attention” directed at the company and him personally has forced to the business to withdraw its demand for compensation.

In the email sent to shocked residents on Lochty Meadows estate, Mr Powell said: “Whilst the legal position has been absolutely established by my legal team, it is felt we have a moral responsibility in any hardship this may have caused to yourself.”

Nine residents on the estate lodged objections against Raith Developments’ plans to build 12 flats adjacent to their homes.

Fife Council refused the application on September 14 because a mechanical ventilation system for the homes would not provide “an adequate standard of residential amenity”. The Council also said the flats were “out of scale and character” with the surrounding properties.

However, shortly after the decision the householders who objected received a letter from Raith Developments claiming £74,100 from each of them as compensation for loss of profit for the flats.

Mr Powell claimed that each of the residents had breached two of the terms of the contract they had signed as part of their housing missives.

The letter also claimed that if the compensation was not paid in 21 days they would “instruct legal proceedings to commence immediately.”

One householder said: “I contacted my lawyer immediately, who said it was nonsense and be laughed out of court.

“We were invited to lodge objections and we did so because of a noise issue relating to the A92 on our doorstep dating back a number of years.

“I am 74 and I have a neighbour who is 80, and this type of threatening correspondence is beyond belief.”