180-year-old building to be demolished to make way for home with underground pool

The original building is to be demolished.
The original building is to be demolished.

A 180-year-old building in Fife is to be pulled down to make way for a modern home with underground swimming pool.

At the North East Fife planning committee, councillors agreed to grant permission to pull down a house in Earlsferry to create a new modern, six-bed property which will have an outdoor hot tub and underground swimming pool with a viewing window in the sea wall.

The existing property was built in 1832 as just a small villa and several alterations and extensions have since been made.

Planning officer Alistair Hamilton told the committee: “The site is within the conservation area but isn’t a listed building itself.

“It has been altered a number of times over the years. The justification for approval on this is that the building has been much alternated in a number of inappropriate ways.”

There were nine objections to the application, including one from  East Neuk preservation society.

Councillor Andy Tepp said: “I feel a bit bashful in even asking this, but the new house doesn’t look to be conserving the character of the area, so what is the justification?”

Mr Hamilton told them: “Conservation areas aren’t always about keeping what is there. It’s about looking to the future and whether the quality of what is going in is worthy of being part of that area. I am satisfied with the detail and quality in the proposal.”

But Councillor David MacDiarmid was less impressed with the modern design proposed.

He told the committee: “This looks like something that has been parachuted in from California. Where are our Scottish architects that were renowned around the world for centuries? I can not see this as blending in with the area. Most of Earlsferry is Victorian architecture.”

Mr Hamilton told him: “It is a contemporary design, but at some stage every house that was build was contemporary. Some of the Scottish architects like Charles Rennie Mackintosh were controversial when he first created buildings but now are considered a national treasure.”

Councillor John Docherty proposed a motion to refuse the application. He asked that it be rejected on the scale of the building and the impact it would have on the conservation area.

Councillor Tony Miklinski proposed an amendment that the building should be allowed to go forward, with an advisory to use as much of the remaining stone as possible.

The amendment was carried eight votes to five and planning permission was granted.