Aberdour housing development recommended for rejection

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A controversial proposal to build up to 125 homes on the Hillside School site in Aberdour looks set to be thrown out by planners.

The application, which drew over 450 objections, is expected to be rejected because survey reports relating to protected species linked with the area have not been presented, despite several requests from planning officers.

In a memorandum from Fife Council, the local authority confirms that officers have now grown tired of waiting any longer for the site’s owners to submit the information, and it appears they will now move to reject the planning application.

“Since the application was submitted, officers have repeatedly encouraged the submission of the information required to make a decision on the application,” read the memo.

It added: “Unfortunately, we have now reached a point where we doubt the applicant’s willingness or ability to submit this information.

“There remains some outstanding questions relating to European Protected Species and the Firth of Forth SPA, SSSI and Ramsar site.

“These questions require further survey work which cannot be completed timeously because the relevant species are not active this time of year.

“Because Fife Council cannot determine the application without this information, I have indicated to the applicant that we intend to refuse the application on the ground of a lack of information.”

The plans, submitted by Hillside school, a residential facility for boys with behavioural issues, whereby the profits from the development would help provide funds for a new school to be built, have met with widespread opposition from the local community.

However, the council has stressed that no decision has currently been taken on the matter.

Kevin Treadwell, service manager for development management, said: “The application is still under consideration.

“It is not possible at this stage to confirm whether the application would be determined by committee or by officers exercising their delegated powers.”

Commenting on the situation, councillor David Barrett said: “While this news is a set back for the developers and will come as a relief for many in the community, it cannot be considered an absolute victory for local residents who have been fighting numerous large scale housing applications around the village.”