Controversial plans to create a new settlement of 1400 houses to the north of Cupar have come a step closer to reality.
A consortium of builders has lodged a formal application with Fife Council for an environmental assessment of the land earmarked for the development known as Cupar North .
It intends to submit a full planning application later in the year.
But the move has prompted sharp criticism from Cupar’s Councillor Bryan Poole, who has called for greater transparency over the proposal amid claims that they’re ‘mired in secrecy’.
“The community of Cupar should be in no doubt that this initiative was the brainwave of some local landowners, developers and planning consultants – all with their own individual motives,” said Councillor Poole.
“We should be clear that the motivation of the ‘consortium’ hasn’t and won’t necessarily place the the interests of the Cupar community at the top of its agenda.”
While acknowledging that the development could bring benefits to the town in terms of jobs and much-needed housing, Councillor Poole said that unless the people behind it came out into the open and began to communicate with the local community, then Fife Council should look at other ways of providing the necessary housing and jobs.
“However the devil is in the detail and to date there has been a lot of devil and little detail,” he said.
“The secrecy and discussions excluding the local community has to cease - now. It’s neither right or fair that a small, self-selected group of people with a particular and vested interest should discuss the future of Cupar without talking to the people of Cupar.”
The consortium - Persimmon Homes East Scotland Ltd., Headon Developments Ltd. and VICO Properties Scotland Ltd. - has already entered discussions with the local authority about its plans.
As well as the 1400 houses, it hopes to build retail, business and industry facilities; a care home; a hotel and a primary school. A relief road, while not mentioned in the formal application, is described in accompanying documents as ‘a key requirement.’
The proposed development would cover around 120 hectares and take in an area from the top of Bank Street to the Foodieash road. The assessment was called for amid concerns raised by Fife Council about the ‘significant impact’ the proposed development would have on the landscape along Cupar’s northern boundary; its visual impact, the effect on eco-systems and wildlife and the extra traffic that would be generated.