PLANS to redevelop the former Station Hotel site in Kirkcaldy have finally been given the go ahead - after a wait of seven months.
Property tycoon Robert Kilgour is delighted approval has finally been granted by Fife Council’s planners for a development of 30 retirement flats on the site at Bennochy Road, and he’s now involved in discussions with investors to take the project forward.
But he has been highly critical of the length of time it has taken for a decision to be made on his application.
And he claimed such delays could act as a major deterrent to individuals and companies considering investing in Fife.
His concerns over planning delays are backed up the Fife Economic Strategy for 2013-2023 which is currently being drawn up.
It states that in 2011/12, the average number of weeks taken to make a decision on a major application was 58, and in order to make Fife the best place to start up and grow a business, this time needed to reduce by at least 25 per cent.
Mr Kilgour said: “It’s taken seven months, despite there being no objections, but at least we do now have planning permission.
“I’ve already had discussions with a number of parties interested in either buying the building or doing this project as a joint venture.
“There are also ‘for sale’ signs at the site to generate interest from anyone interested in buying it.”
While he hopes the development will go ahead, Mr Kilgour said planning delays had been a major obstacle.
“It’s one of the biggest deterrents to people investing in Fife.
“If someone is considering a development – and the possibility of creating much-needed jobs – but they see the length of time it takes to get a decision in Fife, then they may well look elsewhere.”
Fife Council’s planning department said Mr Kilgour’s planning application had taken longer than normal as it had to seek more information and clarification on how the retirement units were going to be used.