Housing plan up for debate by councillors

Diosynth land
Diosynth land

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to create new affordable housing, along with a care home and other facilities, in Buckhaven will go before councillors today (Wednesday).

For some months the Mail has reported on hopes to develop the land at the former Diosynth plant at Muiredge industrial estate, which is owned by Janette Penman.

However, Fife Council also has its eye on the site and sees it as being key to the development of a new carbon investment park, which would provide a base for companies in the renewable sector.

An £861,000 grant from the European Regional Development Fund has already been secured for its creation.

In July residents across the area were invited, through the Mail, to submit notices of interest in taking on one of the 64 proposed homes.

This, according to the landowner, was met with a very positive reaction.

Councillors of the Levenmouth area committee will be asked to consider the details of the application and form a preliminary view when they meet at Carberry House, Leven, this morning.

The application will also be required to go through a pre-determination hearing by the council’s planning committee before a final decision is made, as it is regarded as being “significantly contrary” to the area’s development plan which has designated the site for employment land.

A report, to be presented to the councillors, says that the application claimed to be working in partnership with Kingdom Housing Association, as part of the Fife Housing Association Alliance (FHAA), although, the firm had indicated that it would be “unrealistic” for it to be involved in the project.

It adds: “In the circumstances, it would be unrealistic to expect FHAA to work with the applicant to deliver what is proposed.

“In Buckhaven, resources would be best focused on small-scale projects which supported regeneration efforts in the Randolph Street and shore areas; building upon past and recent investment.

“As a result, FHAA does not give its active support to this planning application.”

But as well as the feedback received from Mail readers to the proposal, another five letters of support have been submitted regarding the application, the authors saying they are supportive of the re-development of the brownfield land and welcoming the affordable housing being brought to the area.

The Mail has also previously reported on claims made by Fife Council at a Levenmouth area committee meeting that Mrs Penman had been “reluctant” to enter into negotiations with it with a view to taking over the land.

Mrs Penman was issued with a swift apology from the authority, though, after it was revealed that nobody had even approached her about the site.

In conclusion the report suggests that the application goes against the land use based policies of the development plan.