Furious residents in a scenic area of Kinghorn are up in arms over a 37-foot high metal chimney which appeared overnight on their doorstep.
The massive structure, which they have described as “a monstrosity”, appeared outside the Villa Attina care home on Ross Place last Tuesday morning, leaving nearby householders confused and angry.
A representative from the McDermott Group which was responsible for its installation, approached people living in the street to invite them to a residents’ meeting where they were told that the contraption was a flue for a biomass burner providing energy for the care home.
But the residents say that, as well as blocking or intruding on the beautiful views out across the Forth from their homes, the chimney will pump out smoke and fumes which, with a prevailing westerly wind, will blow directly into many homes.
John Millar, who lives on the top of the hill at Inchview, says he woke last Wednesday morning after coming home late on Tuesday and opened his bedroom curtains to be confronted by the structure just at eye height.
“I just couldn’t believe my eyes and I was furious,” he told the Press.
“I had spoken to a woman the day before who said they were putting up a flue, but what she didn’t mention was that it was 37 foot high and right in front of my bedroom window! There was no consultation beforehand, no neighbour notification and they don’t even have planning permission.”
The residents have contacted Fife Council’s planning department, asking for the application, which was only applied for after the chimney had been erected, to be refused.
Celia Chishti, who lives in Ross Place at a lower level to the flue, says it dominates the view.
She said: “I don’t think the care home owners expected it to be so huge when they agreed this. It looks like something you would see on an industrial estate. It is not suited to a residential area and I hope it will be taken down completely as soon as possible.”
June Paterson of Inchview said she was concerned about her family’s health.
“I asked what comes out of the chimney and they came out with a complex explanation about the process, saying it is clean and safe, but it is smoke that comes out and it will blow into my children’s bedrooms. That can’t be safe.”
Mr Miller added: “I think the company rushed this through to get an eco subsidy and then worry about planning consent afterwards when it’s more difficult to get them to take it down,”
Attempts to contact the care home and McDermotts brought no response.
Alastair Hamilton, service manager with Fife Council’s development management service confirmed a complaint had been received and it was investigating the issue. “There are a number of options available in the planning enforcement process and we will determine what action is required once our initial investigations have been completed. If development which needs permission has commenced then the owner will be advised of this: initially informally then followed up formally with a notice setting out the action required.”