A long battle against a housing development in Kingsbarns ended this week when Fife Council rejected an application to build 18 new homes.
The decision came at a meeting of the north east planning committee where councillors rejected recommendations by planners in half of the applications before them.
This is an unnecessary development.Huw Lloyd-Richards, community council chairman
A collective sigh of relief from members of the village’s community council greeted the decision after councillors had keenly debated the application from Ogilvie Homes to build a mix of one and two storey houses.
Planning officials had recommended approval for the Kingsbarns site, arguing the development was not significantly contrary to the development plan for the area – despite the area of the development having increased, cutting further into agricultural land.
Councillor Elizabeth Riches spoke out strongly against the development.
She said: “There is a lot of description throughout the report before us about a high quality development respecting the Kingsbarns settlement.
“What is high quality about these houses and how do they relate to buildings around the existing wider settlement?”
Cllr Riches added: “The need to use more land was justified by the developer by the need for a loop road through the site.
“It is a development of 18 houses – I am finding it difficult to see why this is needed.”
However, Cllr Donald Lothian was in favour of the development.
He said: “There is a lot of history to this site and a lot of emotion, which is never a good starting position, but we have to look at what is before us.
“I am trying to look at it as objectively as I can and the logic of refusing this application is that there would be a greater density of 18 houses in the original smaller site.”
After the meeting, community councillors, although delighted at the outcome, feared Ogilvie Homes would appeal against the decision, as it did for an earlier development in the centre of the village, and in which they were successful.
“This is an unnecessary development,” said council chairman Huw Lloyd-Richards.
He went on to criticise Fife Council planners, saying: “We have very little confidence in council officers and their objectivity in representing the public interest or what is needed in Kingsbarns.”