Campaigners fighting for the future of one of Fife’s most historic buildings fear their cause is lost - and are holding Fife Council responsible.
They claim the fate of Leslie House, the grade-A listed former home to the Earl Of Rothes, which has lain derelict following a fire in 2009, could soon be sealed because of the council’s response.
A reporter is considering whether to grant Muir Homes appeal over controversial plans to build 28 homes in the grounds. It was originally refused in August 2015.
Councillors rejected the plans because an enabling development clause – directing profits to restore the house – which was included in a previous proposal for 12 homes in 2008, had been left off the later application.
In an email to the reporter, council officers suggest any further monetary contribution from the site would be unlikely to lead to the restoration because Sundial Properties, the owners of the building, had sold the land to Muir Homes.
“The council does not consider that a planning condition similar to that imposed in the 2008 permission would be appropriate,” it added.
“How the council can issue such a document which flies in the face of the unanimous wishes of the councillors is beyond me,” said campaigner Richard Graves.
“I fear this battle is lost, as is democracy,” he added.
Mary Stewart, service manager said planners has simply clarified to the reporter the legal situation regarding the cross subsidy aspect of the planning application.