Fife MP calls for end to ‘war of attrition’ for villagers

Lesley Laird, Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath MP with East Aberdour residents group has called for a change to the planning process to providea  more level playingfield for residetns - the village has been the constant target for devopers in recent years
Lesley Laird, Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath MP with East Aberdour residents group has called for a change to the planning process to providea more level playingfield for residetns - the village has been the constant target for devopers in recent years

A Fife MP has called for a complete review of the planning process to give more protection to commiunities being besieged by developers.

The move comes from Lesley Laird, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, in the wake of the planners latest decision to reject two major housing applications in Aberdour.

The controversial plans, lodged by both Cala and Campion Homes, for housing developments at each end of the village, attracted more than 1500 objections from local residents.

Mrs Laird told the Press constant targeting by developers had become a “war of attrition” for villagers.

She said: “Residents in Aberdour have consistently turned out in large numbers to make their views known.

“In addition they have actively engaged through the various national and local planning processes.

“The reality in this case is even when a planning application is formally ruled out by the Scottish Government Reporter – as these two applications had been – it simply becomes a war of attrition.

“When developers don’t take no for an answer and come back time and time again it really highlights why the current planning system is long overdue for reform. “

And she added: “No wonder communities have lost trust and confidence in the planning process.

“There is no balance in the planning system when developers can simply dig in for the long haul and get what they want.”

Mrs Laird said the proposed new planning reform bill would give an opportunity to fix the system to give a more level playingfield for residents.

Her coments come in the wake of planners decisions to reject both Campion Homes plans to build 80 houses at Nether Bouprie Farm and Cala Homes’ application for 85 homes at Main Street.

Fife Council planning officers had advised to approve Cala’s Main Street development, despite the site having been previously rejected from the FifePlan – the council’s land allocation agreed to meet the Government’s housing targets by a government appointed reporter following an appeal.

Despite, what had undoubtedly been, a remarkable victory for residents, Ian Fleming, Aberdour Community Council chairman, said he fully expects the developers to appeal the decisions.

He said: “I think that any community that has been under this amount of pressure knows that the planning process leans heavily in favour of the developer and with that in mind we are expecting an appeal by Cala Homes regarding the the Main Street refusal. We now have no more say in the matter but we await the developer’s next move.”

A spokesman for Cala Homes claimed planners had pandered to public opinion in reaching their decision.

“Throughout the process we liaised with council planning officials to ensure that the proposal addressed all technical matters, and this concluded that there was no legitimate planning reason to refuse the application, other than it appears local public opinion.”