By-pass funding bid faces criticism

The Cupar North plans have received hundreds of objections.
The Cupar North plans have received hundreds of objections.

Local politicians have criticised Fife Council for including a request for funding for a relief road for the controversial Cupar North development in its Tay Cities Deal bid.

The Scottish Government is being asked to pay for the relief road up front, before being reimbursed by the developers.

In a letter to MSP Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government and Housing, MP Stephen Gethins wrote: “I am sure that it will come as no surprise that residents are very concerned about any prospect of public money being used to advance a commercially driven housing development.”

North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie also raised the issue at the Scottish Parliament, saying: “I was surprised and disappointed that it (the deal) now appears to include a by-pass round Cupar especially as this was supposed to be funded by the Cupar North house building consortium.”

Fife Council said the North East Fife Area Committee was briefed before the submission of the deal, which was approved by the local authority in February 2017.

The Tay Cities Deal bid includes a request for “forward funding of transport infrastructure to unlock development”.

The development, Cupar North, comprises of 1480 residential units, commercial units, a primary school, green network and more.

However, the development has received hundreds of objections.

In his letter, Mr Gethins also raised the issue of public consultation, writing: “I have received many letters from constituents concerned about the lack of public consultation over the last 12 years and once again it seems local residents were not asked their views by Fife Council when it decided to submit this application.

“In addition to this the local community have been repeatedly told that Cupar’s economy will benefit from this development yet many remain sceptical and Fife Council are yet to produce a business plan.

“It is very troubling indeed that public money may be spent on a development that brings no benefit to the town.”

Gordon Mole, senior manager for business and employability at Fife Council, said: “The Tay Cities ambition is to ensure that the economic region plays its part in ensuring Scotland meets its ambitions to be a country with an international outlook and where growth is based on innovation and new ways of doing things better.

“At the core of this strategy is a will to ensure that everyone who lives in the Tay Cities region benefits, and that no one who is able to participate is left behind.

“Fife and regional projects form part of the submission for the Tay Cities Deal, including infrastructure proposals. This includes a proposal to advance the strategic growth in Cupar via a repayable grant.”