End of the road for carriageway dispute

A BITTER dispute over the building of a new road in Gauldry could be set to land in court.

Councillors on the north east Fife area committee have granted consent for a 75-metre stretch of carriageway along Priory Road that will help pave the way for a development of 20 new homes.

But residents who say the road will encroach upon their land — a claim rejected by developers A&J Stephen — have vowed to fight the decision.

Duncan Mackenzie, who lives on adjacent Priory Lane, said: “I can produce plans, title deeds and so on that prove the road will be on our ground.

“Fife Council’s transportation department agreed that was the case when I met them, and they actually wanted the item pulled from the area committee.

“But that wasn’t made clear to the councillors, and in any case the council’s lawyers said land ownership was not relevant to road construction, which is perhaps correct.”

Howe of Fife and Tay Coast councillor David MacDiarmid urged his fellow area committee members to refuse consent on the basis land ownership was still an issue, but he was unable to find a seconder for his motion.

Council lawyer Alison Marr told members the local authority had taken the land ownership issue as far as it could.

She said the dispute — which has been running for seven years — was now a civil matter.

Clarifying matters, Fife Council’s committee services manager Andrew Ferguson said: “The committee was fully advised by the appropriate services.”

Three residents lodged objections with the council, citing concerns over land ownership, the standard of the road and the possibility of refuse vehicles being unable to access Priory Lane.

Mr Mackenzie added: “If they gave me a better class of road I would walk away.

“Everyone needs a house and I’m not frightened of new development — it’s progress.

“But I believe it’s going to be a substandard road and our property will be diminished.”

In a report to the area committee, council transport chief Dr Bob McLellan wrote that the road would be of an “adoptable standard”.

Developers A&J Stephen hope to build 20 new homes on land north of Priory Road in accordance with the local plan.

James Lochhead, land and planning manager for A&J Stephen, said: “Despite Mr Mackenzie’s claim that he owns the road, no documentary evidence has ever been provided despite numerous requests.

“Our legal advisors assure us that he does not own it and we look forward to a conclusion to this matter now that our road construction consent has been approved by the council.”