Dispute continues over Diosynth site proposals

Diosynth land
Diosynth land

AN on-going wrangle over the development of Buckhaven’s former Diosynth site has led to councillors clashing.

A progress report was presented to councillors on Levenmouth’s Strategic Land Allocation (SLA) framework when they met at Buckhaven Community Centre on Wednesday.

Fife Council says it wants the site to be transformed into a low-carbon investment park, as part of the framework to compliment the Energy Park.

However, the site’s owner plans to build affordable homes, a sheltered housing complex and care home facilities.

Council planner Michael Westwater told the Levenmouth area committee that the authority remains fully determined to implement a compulsory purchase order to ensure it secures the land for its proposed use, and claimed the public had fully supported this during consultation.

Councillor Andrew Rodger, though, suggested the council had not taken on board the weight of feeling in Buckhaven for the land to be used for housing.

He said: “Are you really telling me that the people who want housing are in the minority and everybody who responded was in favour of the low-carbon investment park?

“The two areas people want to see improved in Buckhaven are more housing and Methilhaven Care Home moved into other areas.

“The applicant here was offering both. I don’t understand why this park can’t be put down at the Energy Park.”

Cllr Rodger’s comments drew criticism from councillors, particularly Cllr David Alexander, who claimed the landowner was standing in the way of progress, due to them submitting planning applications and also a subsequent appeal following refusal.

Chair of the committee, Cllr Tom Adams, added that “jobs should come before housing”.

Cllr Alexander said: “This (the SLA) is the best thing to happen to Levenmouth in my lifetime.

“The Energy Park and the low-carbon investment park are going to be vital to this area and we’ll also have the new school, which just underpins the whole project.”

Mr Westwater said the authority was attempting to negotiate with the landowners’ agents but they “hadn’t been forthcoming”.