Concerns over plans for East Neuk villages

What is the future for two East Neuk villages? That is the question residents of Elie and Earlsferry are being asked.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 9:06 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 9:08 am
Elie and Earlsferry.

Dozens of them packed into the village hall last week to discuss two planning applications which could change the shape of the villages.

One, which, if given the go ahead, would be built at The Grange, is comprised of 25 residential units, along with parking, landscaping, drainage and the formation of a new access road.

The second, a larger development planned for a site at the eastern edge of Elie, proposes building 55 residential units, small business units, a care home, retirement housing, additional parking, and community space and facilities.

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While the Elie application has, at the time of writing, received just five comments, the Earlsferry proposal has attracted 44 objection comments.

Among those objecting to the developments is the Elie and Earlsferry Action Group (EEAG), which has raised several concerns about the application.

They are concerned that the scale is too great, noting that the developments equate to a 15 per cent increase in housing numbers; argue that the community was not properly consulted; and that the objections of the community have been ignored.

David Smith, chair of the new group, said at the meeting: “We simply cannot accommodate that size. There are no or few benefits to the village other than affordable housing. The scale of the development potentially ruins what Elie and Earlsferry are.”

Mr Smith also highlighted the results of a public consultation organised by the group. Around 374 people responded to their survey about the plans.

It found that 47 per cent of respondents were opposed to the construction of any new houses, while 72 people said they did not want to see any change to the village at all.

A spokesperson for Elie Estates explained that the plans are in accordance with FIFEplan, and, as well as private housing, would provide 24 “much needed” affordable houses, as well as a care home and retirement housing.

They added: “The public were invited to view the proposals and leave feedback at public exhibitions over the course of 2018. The feedback has shaped the final proposals. Elie and Earlsferry have long suffered from poor sewage infrastructure and at peak times the water pressure often reduces to a trickle. Directly as a result of the proposals, Scottish Water have committed to upgrading the public sewage system and increase the water pressure for the village. A private waste water management system is proposed until such time as the public network has been upgraded.

“The number of objections to the proposals are not surprising given that there have been no meaningful developments in the village for over 60 years.”