‘Done-deal’ fear over housing plans

The proposed site
The proposed site

23 new homes for up to 110 residents are planned

Residents in Coaltown of Balgonie are fearing a new social housing project in the town is already a “done-deal” despite being told otherwise.

At a public meeting held last week Fife Council planning officials sought to reasure concerned residents that plans for up to 23 new dwellings on land adjacent to Lady Nina Square was just a proposal for consideration.

But residents say they fear the plans are set to put forward for planning approval despite objections from residents whose homes will be overlooked by the new scheme.

And they are citing ongoing groundworks tests conducted on land earmarked for the site as clear proof the local uthority plan to go ahead with their construction plans.

Lady Nina Square resident Daniel Brown says he will be directly affected by the housing project if it goes ahead and fearsthe plans could already be a done-deal.

“There have been contractors on the site in the last few days taking soil samples which rather contradicts our local councillors comment that the housing plans are nothing more than a proposal at this stage,” he told the Gazette.

Planning officials confirmed that investigations on the suitability of the former National Coal Board owned site have been continuing for the last year.

Alan Russell, from housing asset management said: “As part of our plans to deliver 2700 affordable homes by 2017, we have identified a number of potential sites across Fife.

“Before we commit to designing sites we need to make sure that they are suitable for building on. We need to do this work first to avoid wasting money on detailed designs and planning fees.

“We always consult with the local community before plans are finalised and the feedback gained can make a real difference to the site.

“Following our meeting with residents in Coaltown, we are reviewing the site design to take into consideration comments made.

“Over the past year we have carried out investigations into a number of aspects of the site before commissioning an architect. This included taking soil samples and we are continuing standard monthly checks for groundwater levels.”

Revised plans for the vacant site are expected to made public early in 2014.

The former National Coal Board owned site was transferred to Fife Council ownership several years ago.

As part of Fife Council’s drive to tackle a shortage of available social housing the authority is looking at potential sites across the Glenrothes area including Thornton and Woodside.

The Coaltown site will consist of 23 dwellings including one seven bed - nine person property as well as a six bed and a five bed dwelling.