Cuparians turn out in force to oppose expansion plans

Campaigners Gina Logan and Ceri Williams fear the flooding problems already affecting the top of Bank Street will be exacerbated by the development
Campaigners Gina Logan and Ceri Williams fear the flooding problems already affecting the top of Bank Street will be exacerbated by the development

A campaign set up to oppose plans for a massive expansion of Cupar is gathering momentum following a packed public meeting this week.

More than 40 people turned up at Volunteer House in Crossgate on Monday night to hear members of the Campaign Against Cupar North group voice their opposition to proposals to build 1480 houses, a school, retail park, restaurant, petrol station and other facilities on prime agricultural land to the north of the town.

An application for planning permission in principle has been lodged by a consortium of developers comprising Geadon Developments, Persimmon Homes and Vico Properties.

People living next to the proposed site - which extends to almost 115 hectares - have until February 29 to lodge their objections, which has been described as ‘unfair’.

“The application amounts to hundreds of pages and to exect people to respond within 28 days is unfair, if not underhand,” said campaigner Jennie Hughes.

“Transport Scotland has asked for the consultation period to be extended because it is so complicated.”

Mrs Hughes also voiced her concerns about the developers’ plans to create a relief road.

“Fife Council’s executive committee has told the Cupar North Consortium that the relief road must be created within five years of the first house being built,” she said.

“But in the application the say that up to 600 houses could be built in advance of the relief road and that it would be done in phases.

“Does that mean that we could have a development of hundreds of houses with no road?

“Cupar will be turned into a building site for at least 20 years with heavy construction traffic trying to negotiate our narrow streets.”

Mrs Hughes described the development as ‘out of all proportion to the size of the existing town’ and felt that it would be more appropriate to develop existing brownfield sites.

Flooding concerns were also raised at this week’s meeting, with doubts expressed about whether the proposed drainage systems could cope with increasing rainfall.

Thus far, no supporters of the project have lodged their comments but opponents have been outspoken in their views.

Spokesman for the consortium, planning consultant David Wardrop, said that Cupar North was designed to deliver long-term benefits to Cupar, with ‘much-needed’ new homes and job opportunities for local people , while also providing infrastructure and considerable economic benefits to existing local businesses. He said that more than 700 jobs would be generated in the town.

“Alongside new homes the proposals aim to benefit the community with a range of education, transport and business opportunities,” said Mr Wardrop.

“Community engagement and a considerable amount of technical work has been key in preparing our application.”