Councillors delay decision on old school site in Cupar

Some residents in Millgate are concerned about the traffic issues that could arise
Some residents in Millgate are concerned about the traffic issues that could arise

A blueprint for the development of the former St Columba’s school site in the heart of Cupar has been put on hold by councillors.

Members of north east Fife area committee agreed on Wednesday to continue consideration of an application for planning permission in principle for eight flats and four houses as well as the formation of a vehicular access.

They want to pay a visit to the site to see for themselves why some of the residents of Millgate have objected.

Cupar Community Council have welcomed the plans, which they feel would breathe new life into the derelict site.

The developer behind the plans, Ciaran Kennedy of KDY Properties, hopes to turn the old school building itself into six flats as well as build another eight in the grounds, together with four retirement homes.

In all, there would be accommodation for up to 40, with each house having one parking space.

The homes would all be available to buy privately and would be priced with first-time buyers in mind.

Residents would have easy access to the town centre, says Mr Kennedy, as well as the train station, shops and buses.

“The homes would be built sympathetically to their surroundings and to a standard that we believe will be acceptable to the community, ” Mr Kennedy told the community council earlier this year.

However, eight objections were received to the application, including one from Cupar and North Fife Preservation Society.

Access would be via a pend in Millgate and it’s feared that increased traffic on an already busy street would cause problems.

Objectors are concerned that the proposed pend would not be wide enough for emergency vehicles and the increased congestion could prevent fire engines getting through from the fire station farther down Millgate.

And some residents say that parking on street is already difficult and that it would be exacerbated by the extra vehicles.

Planning official Alastair Hamilton, who recommended approval, reminded members that Mr Kennedy was just seeking planning permission in principle and that any issues could be addressed at the detailed design stage.

However Cupar councillor Bryan Poole said he had concerns about transportation issues and moved to continue for a site visit.

His motion was carried by eight votes to five, defeating Councillor Donald Lothian’s motion that the application be approved.

The site has lain derelict for many years and part of it is now used informally as a car park.

A development brief was first prepared back in 2008.