Community councillor resigns amid claims that objections are ‘routinely ignored’ by planners

Andy Collins
Andy Collins

A Cupar community councillor has resigned amid claims that local comments on planning applications are dismissed as ‘nimbyism’ by Fife Council.

Andy Collins, chairman of Sustainable Cupar, this week expressed his frustration that objections from the community council are ‘routinely ignored’ by the local authority.

And he alleges that Cupar community council’s views on the controversial former Tesco site in South Road haven’t even been discussed.

Mr Collins – who stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Scottish Greens in the last general election – said that the community council wrote to Fife Council a year ago saying that they wanted to see housing on the South Road site instead of the retail units proposed by London and Scottish Investments, who bought it from Tesco.

“I personally emailed London & Scottish at the time to inform them of this,” said Mr Collins.

“It transpires that Fife Council and London & Scottish have never even discussed the possibility of housing on this site.

“I am forced to conclude that Fife Council planners have a policy of “consult and ignore” regarding community councils.

“This was made very obvious by the St Andrews Madras school development debacle.”

Mr Collins said he didn’t blame Fife planners as they didn’t have the time or resources to investigate what communities really needed and therefore regarded any planning objections as ‘nimbyism.’

“What we need is real local councils,” he said.

“There is absolutely no reason why towns the size of Cupar and St Andrews should not look after their own affairs, as towns of a similar size do elsewhere in Europe.

“The planning system is not fit for purpose. It is landowners and developers who decide what is built and where, and local communities are largely ignored.”

However, Fife Council dismissed Mr Collins’ claims.

Bill Lindsay, Fife Council’s development plan service manager, said: “Fife Council actively seeks and considers the views of the local community for all development proposals through preparation of the local development plan, FIFEplan. All comments from the local community, along with all other comments received, are carefully considered and help inform development plans and proposals.

“FIFEplan has also recently been independently scrutinised by Scottish Government Reporters to ensure that the views of all parties, including local communities, have been fairly assessed.”