It would be ‘highly regrettable’ if the opportunity to expand Cupar was missed, according to a prominent Cupar North supporter.
Planning consultant Des Montgomery, who is also chairman of Cupar and North Fife Preservation Society, says the controversial plan to build more than 1400 houses, shops, a school and relief road on farmland to the north of the town would bring economic benefits, provide much-needed housing and ease Cupar’s traffic congestion.
“Cupar has changed dramatically since I came to live here in 1969,” said Mr Montgomery.
“Cupar is no longer the county town and administrative headquarters for Fife. There is no longer a thriving farmers market with all the associated weekly supporting business and agricultural activity; no court, no wireless station, no town council, no BSC sugar beet factory,
“But despite this Cupar was and remains a very attractive place to live. There is no doubt in my view that the physical expansion which has taken place together with the incoming population has been hugely beneficial for the prosperity and social and economic diversity of the town.
“The town centre and shops are under stress from changing retail habits, greater mobility and choice and a large increase in internet shopping. The economic benefit from new development and increased population will help to support retail businesses in the town.”
He continued: “A relief road is in my opinion an absolute necessity if there is ever to be a chance to make the centre of the town an attractive destination for retailing leisure or tourism. Removing non-essential traffic and the almost 50 per cent of by-passable traffic which passes through to other destinations is a key factor which can be delivered by the northern development strategy.
“In particular, heavy traffic, HGVs, farm traffic and transporters, which frequently block the narrow Bonnygate placing pedestrians at serious risk, must be removed. Without the congestion, pollution and danger from heavy traffic, new opportunities will emerge to improve the physical town centre environment. While at the moment there is some relief that traffic at least flows through the town since the installation of mini roundabouts, the traffic remains heavy and the volume will steadily increase over the years.
“To abandon the strategy to develop to the north of Cupar would be a return to ad hoc development and a serious departure from the objective of achieving a Development Plan led process. It would be highly regrettable if this opportunity to deliver a high quality planned expansion of Cupar is missed.”