No way back now for Cupar North

A petition against the development was handed to Fife Council earlier this year
A petition against the development was handed to Fife Council earlier this year

Cupar’s community council is to draw up a ‘wish list’ after conceding that the Cupar North development is now almost certain to go ahead.

Hundreds of objectors to the plans were dealt a blow last week when a Scottish Government Reporter concluded that the development should be included in the development plan for Fife.

The report will go before a full meeting of Fife Council in February for ratification – and there’s very little room for manoeuvre as there is limited scope for challenging a Reporter’s findings.

At their meeting this week, community councillors agreed to seek a meeting with the Cupar North consortium and Fife Council before the full council meeting.

They’ll be armed with a list of issues that they say need to be thrashed out before work begins on the development, which includes 1400 houses, shops, a school, care home and other facilities.

“We’re living in cloud cuckooland if we think we’re going to be able to stop it now,” said secretary Douglas Provan.

“We’re going to have to try to make the best of it.”

Near the top of the agenda is the question of how the much debated relief road is to be funded.

Fife Council’s executive committee had made a condition that the relief road should be funded by the developers and constructed in phases as the house building progressed. The committee also wanted the road completed within five years of the first house being built.

But the Reporter has overturned that and has said that the consortium will be ‘largely responsible’ for the funding and construction of the road and that the work should be finished no later than the completion of the 600th house.

“Assuming they build an average of 40 houses a year, it could take 15 years for the relief road to be constructed,” said Fife councillor Bryan Poole, who represents Cupar.

“Or they could stop building at 559 houses and there wouldn’t be a road at all.”

There were also significant concerns about other infrastructure issues, particularly drainage.

Fears have been expressed in the past that Cupar’s Victorian drainage system would not be able to cope with such a large development.

And with Fife Council facing huge pressure on its budget, there is concern about where the money to build the proposed school would come from.

There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon though, with the Chancellor announcing in his autumn statement £800 million worth of capital funding for infrastructure in Scotland and the Tay City deal, in which St Andrews University is involved.

“We can’t end up with a lot of houses and very little infrastructure,” said Councillor Poole.

“The key thing is that the masterplan is brought forward as quickly as possible.”

Cupar North was first mooted around 10 years ago but fell by the wayside when the recession hit.