Cupar North housing plans will put strain on health services

Proposals for Cupar North could seriously stretch health services in the town, says Councillor Bryan Poole.
Proposals for Cupar North could seriously stretch health services in the town, says Councillor Bryan Poole.

Proposals for 1400 new homes in the Cupar North development area will put a massive strain on the town’s health services.

That’s the warning issued by Cupar councillor Bryan Poole, who believes GP surgeries and other services will struggle to cope if hundreds of families move into the area.

Councillor Poole said: “The population of Cupar is expected to increase by a third, yet NHS Fife says there is adequate provision in the town.

“Anyone trying to get an appointment with their doctor just now won’t believe that.

“I want Fife Council officials to meet NHS Fife as a matter of urgency over the potential impact these 1400 houses could have on health services in Cupar.”

Cllr Poole said, generally, there was little support in the town and the surrounding areas for the potential Cupar North development.

Only landowners, consultants, developers and others who would benefit financially were in support.

Speaking at this week’s meeting of Fife Council’s executive committee, Cllr Poole also raised concerns over the proposed distributor road to take traffic away from the town centre, the impact on surrounding villages, and the employment prospects for people moving to the town.

“There are concerns that promises to complete the road within five years of the first house being built, and that it would be paid for by developers, not the Council, will not be kept.

“If it goes ahead, the Cupar North development will be phased over 20 years.

“If the distributor road is not built quickly, we will have contruction traffic going right through the town and going passed the hospital.

“That’s unacceptable. I want firm commitments on the completion of the road and who will pay for it.”

He continued: “I’m concerned the focus is on 1400 houses in Cupar, but none in the surrounding villages, putting rural schools at risk due to declining numbers.

“ And if 1400 houses are going to be built, where are the people who move there going to work?

“There are concerns that Cupar is going to morph into a commuter town.”

Jim Birrell, senior planning manager, said officers had held talks with NHS Fife over the impact of the proposed Cupar North development, and would be happy to continue to engage with them.

“We have been working very closely with NHS Fife,” he told councillors. “Within the proposed masterplan, there are sites identified for the expansion of health care services.”

Mr Birrell said he understood the “hostility” to the plans from many people in the areas, but also pointed out there had been extensive consultation on Cupar North, more than there had been for other development areas in Fife, including Dunfermline North and Kirkcaldy East.

He stressed the consultation process would continue, and said there would be further scrutiny when planning applications were submitted.

Mr Birrell also gave an assurance that the distributor road would have no impact on the public purse.

“The road will be developer funded,” he said. “It will be paid for by developers.”

Cupar councillor Karen Marjoram welcomed confirmation that the distributor road would not be paid for by the Council.

But she said the on-going saga of the Cupar North development was having a detrimental impact on the rest of the town.

“One of the issues over the last 10 years is that this has stopped any other development in the town,” said Cllr Marjoram.

“The house I live in is one of the last new houses in the town. That was 10 years ago. Cupar is stagnating.

“It’s important we get a decision on this so we can move forward as a town.