Permission has been granted for the construction of 34 lodge style caravan pitches, associated access roads, drainage infrastructure, solar panels and landscaping at Fort Springs Fishery, Downfield Farm, near Coaltown of Burnturk.
Fort Springs Ltd, a company formed by Downfield Farm, is the owner of the site, while an experienced Fife holiday park operator is also involved as a second party.
They plan to erect a mix of 31 twin unit lodge style caravans and three single unit lodge style caravans.
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Six caravans around the south side of the lochan will be for short-term holiday rentals, with the remaining holiday caravans being owner occupied. All of the caravans will have decking, with those caravans on the south side of the lochan having decking projecting over the lochan.
A new access road on to the C30 is planned to the north east of the site.
In their report determining the application, the Council planners noted the applicant's supporting statement details that “the current business is not profitable and does not help to support the applicant's farming activities at Downfield Farm”.
It continues: “The proposals would add to the financial future of the existing trout fishing farm and further diversification of the farm itself. The proposals therefore also have a proven need for the countryside location.”
Two representations were received in relation to the application, one in favour and one making general comments.
The submission in favour stated that “the development will bring much needed employment to the area, as well as being a prime site for a recreational development”.
The general comment, while being in favour of the diversification of the business, and welcoming the solar panels and landscaping, highlighted concerns about the development being incongruous with the surrounding landscape, the increase in local road traffic and the lack of interconnecting footpaths linking the proposed development with existing rights of way.
However, planners were happy with the location as the site is relatively well contained by the existing landform and vegetation, and sits within a hollow of the surrounding landscape.
In relation to traffic concerns, Transportation Development Management Officers were consulted and advised that the new vehicular access 200m to the north east of the existing access would bring an improved visibility splay to what exists and will act as mitigation towards the increase in traffic.
And on the lack of a link path, planners noted that the site did not have an opportunity to connect to the surrounding core path network, which is around 600m away, so connections would not be required.
A statement submitted on behalf of the applicants by Montgomery Forgan Associates, architects and town planners, had highlighted the benefits of development.
It stated: “The proposed holiday caravan park is located in a part of Fife that is not well served by holiday accommodation, and the economic benefits of the proposal to Downfield Farm itself, and the wider community have been established.
“The ethos and guiding principle of the proposal is to provide a truly sustainable holiday accommodation destination that makes best use of a locational, landscape and environmental resource, whilst at the same time improving the overall biodiversity of the area.”