Development fuels village revival hopes

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PLANS have been drawn up which could effectively double in size the village of Coaltown of Wemyss.

The Wemyss Development Company is pushing ahead with a proposal to build 124 affordable homes on a field opposite Hugo Avenue at the village’s exit point towards Dysart.

The plans, spearheaded by William Wemyss, replace previous ambitions to build 62 luxury detached homes at the site.

Architect David Wardrop, partner of the firm Montgomery Forgan, said a “good turn out” of local residents came to see the plans at a public presentation recently.

“The general feeling indicated that introducing more family homes would inject new life into the village,“ he said.

“There was no great issue with the number of houses given the scale of development. Some people who don’t wish to leave the village are having to stay with their parents, even after getting married and having children.”

Mr Wardrop explained the decision to build more affordable homes had been a pragmatic one for Mr Wemyss given current market conditions.

Furthermore, the new plans were introducing terraced family homes which better reflected the character of the existing village - and paid homage to the Wemyss family’s 600-year legacy in it.

Integration with the existing village was “critical” to the design’s success, said Mr Wardrop.

“We want a development which prompts people to say, when they are in it, that they know they are in the Coaltown of Wemyss.”

Approximately 500 people currently live in the Coaltown of Wemyss and the primary school is close to capacity.

If the plans are approved, Mr Wemyss has pledged to assist Fife Council in expanding the school’s facilities to accommodate extra pupils.

The plans are due to be submitted to Fife Council for consideration at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, Derrick Brown, chair of the local community council, said there were still issues to be ironed out, including difficulties associated with creating a crossroads at the Checkbar junction.

“That’s a terrible junction whenever there’s an accident on the Standing Stane,“ he said.

“I also want to make absolutely sure that affordable housing means affordable.

“Usually that tag only applies to the first buyer, although I am being assured by William Wemyss that whoever sells their house on can only sell for a percentage of the market value.”

He added: “Any resident who has any concerns or comments about the development should contact the community council, so we know what residents really want.”