Tory fears over new strategic plan

Conservative councillor Ron Caird
Conservative councillor Ron Caird

THE Conservative Group on Fife Council has raised questions over any future housing allocation in St Andrews in its detailed response to TAYplan, the proposed Strategic Development Plan, whose area includes north east Fife.

The Scottish Government is introducing Strategic Development Plans for the city regions of the four largest cities in Scotland. St Andrews lies in the Dundee city region, which covers north Fife, Dundee, Angus, and Perth and Kinross.

The new TAYplan for the Dundee city region will take the place of the Fife Structure Plan as the strategic plan covering St Andrews.

However, the Tory group’s planning spokesman, Councillor Ron Caird has expressed his “disappointment” at the document which has been the focus of consultation.

FAILINGS

He said:”We are disappointed that TAYplan perpetuates many of the failings of the unlamented Fife Structure Plan. There are questions about the validity of TAYplan for its 20 years’ lifespan when so much could change in that time.”

In particular, the Conservative group on the local authority maintain that it fails the people who migrate into north east Fife.

Councillor Caird added:”It just plans to build houses which, without an increase in local employment, will accommodate commuters or the unemployed. In TAYplan there is no indication of provision of employment. Employment should be the precursor to housing, otherwise you generate commuter activity and increased carbon footprint.”

The Tories say that the housing allocation for the St Andrews SLA should only be developed if and when the science park at St Andrews University comes to fruition, thus fulfilling employment need.

“Although TAYplan allows for a protected green belt area around St Andrews, the master plan for St Andrews West has not yet been declared and discussed. This requires clarity to properly define and establish the green belt,” he said.

The group has pledged to resist any attempt to build large numbers of houses in the Tayport/Newport and Wormit area which would, they claim, in practice convert the area into another SLA, the third in North East Fife.

In the response, the Tories say that the connectivity between TAYplan and SESplan zones is not fully addressed and highlight that while increased traffic suggests that the upgrading/improvement of the A92 between Glenrothes and Forgan roundabout should be a consideration, it is not mentioned.

It is also maintained that the Fife-wide Forum might encounter problems with TAYplan and SESPlan not running to the same timetable and the group stress that it is imperative that the views of local residents are channelled into the Forum, perhaps via community councils or other competent bodies.