New area plans clear the first hurdle

An artists impression of homes planned for Whitehill Industrial Estate.
An artists impression of homes planned for Whitehill Industrial Estate.

Ambitious plans to transform an old industrial estate into a vibrant new community took a step forward last week, reports KEVIN QUINN.

The Glenrothes Area Committee approved planning permission in principle for Lincoln Land’s to build over 200 homes and local amenities at Whitehill Industrial Estate. Also given the go-ahead was the construction of a new roundabout on Kinglassie Road to create access to the south west corner of the estate.

Stephanie Brooks from the architects behind the plans, Brooks Murray, is now busy working on a detailed plan for the first phase of the redevelopment (Whitehill Road), which will include 98 residential units, a nursery, a 61-bed care home, a public house and three shops.

She said: “I’m very happy, delighted.

“For the client it means that they can move forward and start the re-development which is what they really wanted to do.

“We have been instructed to start with the detailed plan now. We are hoping that the planning application will be under way before the end of the year.

“Hopefully with the revenue raised from phase one, there will be money to build the roundabout.”

However, local businesses currently situated at Whitehill are not so happy at the news.

John White, a partner at JEA Engineering is adamant they wont be making way for any new homes: “We have private owners here and we are staying where we are. From what I believe there is no grounds for a compulsory purchase.

“I have spent a considerable amount of money in the past few years on these premises. I have no intention of moving.”

Elaine Wright, owner of dog grooming business Paws and Relax said: “All of a sudden I’m going to be worrying about how it will affect my business.

“Like others we have invested in the unit to improve it. I have been here since October last year, I’m a fledgling business, so the last thing I want to do is move.”

A disgruntled resident living in one of the few homes currently there said: “I have worked hard for that house. So I aint moving. I like it here.

“They came and offered us money six or seven years ago but we told them where to go. They are not buying my house.”

Lawrie Hogan, Director of Kingdom Auto Repairs didn’t know the scheme had been given the go-ahead, but welcomed the news.

He said: “I would be happy to move, delighted. But we have not heard from them yet. Nobody has even told us it was approved.

“We were at a stage a while ago when we were going to move early and they had showed us designs for our new premises, but it just fell through.

“We were ready to move, we were at a late stage in the negotiations. Since then we have been expanding here, so we had to spend a substantial of money to do so.”

Stephanie Brooks believes the planning approval is good news for those already at Whitehill.

She said: “This approval gives everyone certainty which is the main thing.

“Without the certainty of planning permission we couldn’t do anything. So this is very positive for those that are there.

“Everybody knew about the application, but they were maybe just surprised it was approved last week without warning.”