Cupar North development ‘could destroy the town’

Planning consultant David Wardrop shows visitors the Cupar North plan at a public exhibition held earlier this year.
Planning consultant David Wardrop shows visitors the Cupar North plan at a public exhibition held earlier this year.

An ambitious masterplan that would see 1400 new houses built to the north of Cupar has been denounced as ‘a cloud over our town.’

As a consortium of developers prepares to submit an application for planning permission in principle for the controversial Cupar North plan, a fresh campaign has been launched against the development amid claims that it ‘could destroy Cupar’.

Objector Gina Logan has circulated flyers around town that she hopes people will sign in support of the campaign.

The flyer takes the form of an open letter to the developers and Fife Council planners urging them ‘not to destroy the historic town of Cupar by building a massive housing estate to the north of the town.’ It says the town should be allowed grow gradually and not have ‘masses of houses’ imposed on it.

“We have no objection to houses being built in and around Cupar but not by creating this massive building site which will disrupt town life for the next 25 years,” it says.

The consortium - Persimmon Homes East Scotland Ltd., Headon Developments Ltd. and VICO Properties Scotland Ltd. - has been in discussions with the local authority about its plans for some time and held a series of community consultations. It refutes claims that local people have had no say in the plan and says that they will be able to submit formal objections once the application for planning permission in principle has been lodged and validated.

As well as the 1400 houses, the consortium hopes to build retail, business and industry facilities; a care home; a hotel and a primary school. A relief road, while not mentioned in the formal application, is described in accompanying documents as ‘a key requirement.’

The developers would be expected to construct the road and planners have given an assurance that if they did not do so there would be no housing either.

The proposed development would cover around 120 hectares and take in an area from the top of Bank Street to the Foodieash road, but does not include any of the land to the south of the A91 at Gilliesfaulds, which is the subject of a separate planning application.

But campaigners fear that the proposed by-pass and relief road would have a negative effect on existing businesses in Cupar and that the huge increase in population would put pressure on education and health services as well as sewarge, drainage and roads.

The campaigners are also concerned by the fact that Cupar North would be built on prime agricultural land when there were numerous brownfield sites within the town town boundaries.

“As a large artificial ‘add-on’ to the existing town, it will bring no immediate benefits to the social aspects of the community,” says the open letter.

“There is no direct employment benefit other than via the retail park part, which will have negative effect by sucking trade out of the town