Concerned Kinghorn residents are asking Fife Council to clarify its position on planning in conservation areas.
They say that, while residents are restricted to strict guidelines on what is acceptable for house renovations, the council is “running roughshod” over its policies.
The row has arisen over the replacement of old lamp-posts in Kinghorn’s conservation area. The council plans to replace the old street lights with modern ones as part of an ongoing programme.
But angry residents living within the conservation area say it will spoil the look of the streets and will be “out of character” with the surroundings.
The dispute follows right on the heels of the plans to build modern style flats on the site of the former Caberfeidh Nursing Home on the main street at the entrance to the village and right on the border of the conservation area which has angered many locals and sparked a public meeting on Monday night.
Suzanne Gilfeather (pictured), a member of Kinghorn Community Council and Kinghorn in Bloom, who lives in Eastgate within the conservation area, said she and many of her neighbours had been horrified when they heard of the plans.
“It would appear that Fife Council has one rule for residents and another for itself when it comes to preserving the character of conservation areas,” she said.
“People have to go through hoops and pay top prices for any alterations to their properties yet the council can just do whatever it wants.”
“In Aberdour they put in new lamp-posts and people complained so they changed them, but they want to put the new ones in here and have told us that ‘Aberdour is a different case’.”
She also claimed that she did not receive any notification about the plans.
Councillor George Kay, who has been supporting the residents, added: “I think it is a shame that we have this conservation area and within it Fife Council is not going to uphold its own standards.
“I have been working with the residents and we want them to reverse this decision.”
Gary Thomson, service manager for roads lighting, said: “I’d like to reassure the community we fully complied with the regulations we needed to follow to replace the street lights in the conservation area.
‘‘Planning permission was granted in June this year. This included consulting with the community council, sending neighbour notification letters to households immediately affected, notifying ward councillors and placing adverts in the local press.”