Kirkcaldy councillors have offered one last chance for the developer behind the long-running plans for the town’s Olympia Arcade to finalise plans.
But a deadline for concluding a legal agreement, which must be reached before any work can start, has been placed on the application to build 16 flats and upgrade the glazed roof of the shopping arcade, for March next year.
After hearing that revised financial contributions towards providing affordable housing had been put before the developer’s lawyers, but that there had been no feedback or conclusion of a legal agreement in almost a year, members of the Kirkcaldy area committee were told that officials were recommending it be refused.
However, after a lengthy debate on the merits of maintaining the arcade, on the west end of the High Street, councillors unanimously agreed that the developer be given a final opportunity to comply with the regulations.
The intial application to develop the arcade went before the committee in June 2007, and has dragged on, with various changes, since then.
Alastair Hamilton, development services team leader, told the committee that the financial contribution towards the cost of affordable housing from the developer had been reduced from £74,400 to £14,400, which was agreed in September last year, but there had been no move forward since then, despite them being informed that failure to conclude it within a reasonable timescale would result in it being referred back to the committee with a recommendation for refusal.
Councillor Kenny Selbie asked what efforts had been made to negotiate with the applicant, and he was told that council officers had spoken to legal representatives on two or three occasions since September to try to move things forward.
Mary McLean, a council solicitor said that it had come to light that the applicants had not told the planners that they did not control the whole site and that other title deeds for properties within the arcade needed to be presented.
“We informed them of this and things have gone quiet since then,” she said.
Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of the committee, said: “We met with the developers and we wanted to find out what their investment plans were. There were further discussions about the potential to develop the whole arcade which is something we would all like to see happen.
“It this application’s title deeds haven’t been presented that creates a problem with anyone starting any development.”
Councillor Arthur Morrison, who has an interest in historical buildings, said: “The building has significance in the High Street and it would be nice to bring it up to standard to reflect the original architecture.”
Councillor Kay Carrington said: “I would like to instruct officers to continue negotiations to see if we can solve this amicably to get work done on the building.
Her motion was seconded by Councillor Kenny Selbie who said: “If we could have a cut off point of the March meeting of the area committee. This has been running and running and we need to know whether this is continuing as a serious application.”