Go-ahead for Fife affordable homes plan

Developers have pledged to contribute �10,000 for play equipment. (Pic: Craig Halkett)
Developers have pledged to contribute �10,000 for play equipment. (Pic: Craig Halkett)

A new affordable housing development is to be built in the Tay coast town of Newburgh despite concerns the site is at the top of a steep road that’s not gritted in winter.

North east Fife planning committee has given conditional approval to plans to build 40 socially rented houses on land to the east of Banklands and have added two more conditions to the 23 already recommended by planners.

They want to see the proposed anti-skid surfacing extended from the 30 metres proposed by planning officials and a £10,000 contribution from the developers – Robertson Partnership Homes and Kingdom Housing Association – to provide facilities at the play park, which also lies on a slope.

Wednesday’s committee meeting was adjourned while discussions were held between planning officials and the developers, who pledged to provide the cash and consult with the local primary school and the wider community as to how it could best be spent.

Councillors voted overwhelmingly to approve the application after hearing that there was a huge unmet need for affordable housing in Newburgh.

The committee heard that there were no other suitable sites available within the town.

A pre-application notice was recently lodged for a development of 200 houses at the other end of Newburgh, a quarter of which would be affordable, but it was felt that would involve too long a wait.

“The Banklands application is exclusively for affordable housing,” said head planner Alastair Hamilton.

“There is an increasing unmet demand for affordable housing in Newburgh and this site would come forward a lot more quickly than the other.”

Fifty one objections were received to the Banklands plan, most relating to road safety.

Fife Council’s own transportation officials also raised serious concerns, which are addressed in the conditions as well as a legal agreement to have a post box removed at the junction of Banklands and Woodriffe Road to improve visibility.

A footpath will also be installed over the Woodriffe railway bridge and the junction of Woodriffe Road with the main A913 will be re-aligned.

The new development will comprise 22 one and two-bedroom flats, 12 two-bedroom houses and six three-bedroom houses.

The homes all have small gardens and, because of the steepness of the site, steps will be provided on the slope and retaining walls built to the south and west.

A motion to refuse the application was defeated by 10 votes to two.