LAWYERS acting for a quarry company have “very serious concerns” about the manner in which north east Fife area committee conducted itself when considering a recent controversial planning application.
Last month, the committee went against the advice of its own planning officers to refuse unanimously permission for a sand and gravel quarry at Kinloch Farm, near Collessie.
Councillors supported objectors who submitted a 400-signature petition, as well as almost 100 representations, including one from Dr Jackie Hyland, public health consultant for NHS Fife, who was concerned about the health risks posed by dust generated by the quarrying activities.
Legal agents for the applicants, Dalgleish Associates Limited – acting on behalf of Laird Aggregates – said they considered that there were “material errors made by members of the committee in their consideration of the application”.
In a letter to the council’s legal services department, they continued: “Those errors may be categorised as breach of legitimate expectation, breach of natural justice and an apparent unwillingness to afford Laird a fair hearing.”
On a separate matter, the lawyers, Wright, Johnston and Mackenzie, said their clients were “extremely concerned” to note that considerable weight appeared to have been attached to the written submissions made by NHS Fife.
“Their involvement in this application was surprising to say the least,” said the law firm.
The lawyers said they believed the application had been continued by the committee, without final determination.
For that reason, they said there might still be an opportunity to “put right the fundamental irregularities identified in the way the committee considered this application.”
They continued: “If the opportunity is taken to address these issues in a meaningful form, it will avoid the need for our client to pursue a formal complaint against the council in relation to the consideration of this application.
“That complaint would be a necessary precursor to a similar formal complaint to the Ombudsman.”
If the quarry firm appeal the planning decision, they will seek expenses.