It could be next year until a decision is made on the controversial Cupar North planning application after the consultation period was extended again.
Fife Council has asked for the deadline for comments to be extended to November 30 amid concerns about a number of aspects of the prospective developers’ masterplan.
A Scottish Government Reporter is also currently examining the proposed FIFEplan and is not expected to issue a report until September.
More than a decade after the idea for Cupar North was first mooted, the consortium behind the development – Headon Developments, Persimmon Homes and Vico Properties –lodged an application for planning permission in principle just before Christmas last year.
They want to build what amounts to a whole new community on some 115 hectares of farmland to the north of the town, comprising 1480 houses, a hotel, restaurant and takeaway, primary school, petrol station, business facilities and sports pitches.
A relief road is also included in the blueprint, and the consortium has been told by the local authority that this must be constructed within five years of the first house being built.
So far more than 500 objections have been received to the proposal and a campaign group established to challenge the plans.
Protesters fear that the town would be turned into ‘a building site’ for the next 20 years; that the development would put too much strain on existing infrastructure and would be ‘out of proportion’ to the rest of the town.
And now a further spanner has been thrown into the works with some serious criticisms of the consortium’s masterplan by Fife Council.
In a 10-page document, the council says interpretation of the masterplan is in places ‘difficult’ and ‘confusing’ because of the graphics, while the fact that it does not show hedges, stone walls, trees and watercourses is described as ‘a serious omission.’
The issues that are most likely to need to be revisited are those arising from the environmental assessment, says the council.
However, the would-be developers say they are ‘disappointed’ that these issues weren’t addressed before the formal application was lodged.
They insist that Cupar North was designed to deliver long-term benefits to the town , with ‘much-needed’ new homes and job opportunities for local people , while also providing infrastructure and considerable economic benefits to existing local businesses.
They say that more than 700 jobs would be generated in Cupar and that, alongside new homes, the proposals aim to benefit the community with a range of education, transport and business opportunities.