Minister calls in Milldeans appeal

Milldeans Farm site Newcastle, Glenrothes
Milldeans Farm site Newcastle, Glenrothes

The Scottish Government has been slammed following a move to now allow ministers to decide the fate of controversial plans to expand the west of Glenrothes.

Lesley Laird, deputy leader of Fife Council has described the move to take the appeal against Fife authority’s refusal to allow 300 houses to be built on the Milldeans Farm close to the Newcastle precinct out of the hands of the appointed reporter, as completely undemocratic and erosion of local democracy.

The plans, which have already been rejected from the FifePlan - Fife Council’s house building commitment over the next decade- as well as at a formal planning stage - have been included in a call in for all proposals of 100 houses or more to monitor how national policy is being implemented.

“Residents, community groups and elected members have already clearly rejected this major expansion,” Mrs Laird told the Gazette.

“The decisions already made after extensive consideration by councillors, as well as the numerous concerns expressed by the public are being ignored by the developer, and, now potentially, by the Scottish Government.

And the deputy leader has called for less centralisation and more devolved powers to local authorities.

“While the Scottish Government encourages engagement with communities, it equally allows for a system that can thwart community views and undermine their efforts to engage in the planning process,” said Cllr Laird.

She added: “Many communities contribute considerable time and effort responding to our requests for their views on a range of issues. It is essential that we are able to show that their involvement is valued, given appropriate consideration and, ultimately, makes a difference in shaping our places

“The present planning system is further undermining that whole premise.”