A Cupar-based environmental group is urging Fife Council to re-think the future of a derelict site in the town earmarked for a retail park.
North east Fife planning committee is due to meet next month to consider an application by London & Scottish Investments for up to seven stores on land in South Road that was previously owned by Tesco.
The site was one of a number bought from Tesco by the property management firm last year after plans to build a new store fell through.
And according to surveyor Chris Collins, some of the country’s biggest names in retail have shown an interest.
If the application is approved, the new retail park could be open by Christmas next year.
Many local people have welcomed the news, but Cupar Community Council has lodged an objection and now Sustainable Cupar has stepped in with its concerns.
In an open letter to Fife Council, the group says it’s ‘appalled’ that there has been no public consultation on the plans and that while its members welcome the fact that the site is to be redeveloped at last, they think that there are ‘serious problems’ with the current proposal.
The site, which was once occupied by Reekie’s, was originally earmarked for a new Tesco superstore until the retail giant encountered financial problems.
“It may have made sense to allow Tesco to expand its store next to the existing building, but that does not mean that large scale retail is a good use for this site,” says Sustainable Cupar chairman Andy Collins.
“If we are serious about meeting climate targets, it is essential to build the right sort of infrastructure.
‘‘One rule of paramount importance is that high density housing should be located close to transport hubs such as railway stations.
“Secondly, as is often the case with plans in Fife, no consideration has been given to pedestrians and cyclists despite this being government policy.”
He continued: “Building large retail outlets on this site will increase the traffic in South Road, which is already a problem, and take business out of the town centre, destroying good jobs and replacing them with poor jobs. These large retail outlets suck money out of the local economy and all the profits will disappear, often into tax havens.
“Alternatively, using the site for a mixed development of high density housing with other facilities, such as small retail, office or hotel, would bring much needed footfall to the town centre, If the current plans are approved we will be forced to conclude that Fife Council is giving priority to big business over the needs of the local community and the environment.”