Controversial Lower Largo housing plans have been given the go ahead despite widespread opposition and contravening planning regulations.
Councillors at the central area planning committee narrowly voted to approve an application for 61 new homes on land north of Selkirk Park, off Durham Wynd, primarily because they couldn’t guarantee that the developer, Lundin Homes Ltd., would not be successful if it was to appeal a refusal.
I’m dismayed by the planning system which seems heavily stacked in favour of developers rather than communities.Councillor Alistair Hunter
The application, which included the necessary SUDS drainage pond, was to be included on farmers land out with the officially designated site boundary, which goes against planning guidelines .
The plans had already received 41 letters of objection from the public, while the motion to refuse the application was backed by councillor David Alexander who told members: “There are going to be houses on this site.
“The question is whether or not it is this application or another - if the lines are drawn then we should not cross them.”
Consideration was also given to road safety concerns and the impact increased traffic would have on residents.
Planning officers told councillors the new homes would add an estimated 35 vehicle movements in the immediate vicinity at peak times.
However councillor Marie Penman, who supported the application, said the development could help rejuvenate the town, highlighting that 30 per cent of the properties in Lower Largo were in fact holiday homes.
“I can see why some don’t want change but its happening all over Fife,” she said.
“The community is becoming a retirement village and that is not a reason to turn down housing.”
With the current average house price in the area being £197,000, Mrs Penman also welcomed plans for 17 of the 61 dwellings being affordable homes, allowing young families to move into the area.
Councillor Alistair Hunter who attended the meeting said he was “bitterly disappointed” for the local commnity which opposed this site. He said they will have to live with the consequences of traffic congestion.
He added: “I’m dismayed by the planning system which seems heavily stacked in favour of developers rather than communities.
“ In the words of the planners, ‘the application contravenes the development plan’
“For our transportation department say it expects the junction of Durham Wynd to have an additional 35 traffic movements at peak times from this development is beyond farce.
“They refer to it as ‘reasonably narrow’ - anyone who has lived experience of Durham Wynd would fundamentally disagree.”