Jubilation as plans shelved for housing at Tarvit beauty spot

From left - Delighted local residents and campaigners Ron Newton, John Cunningham and Jan Martin at Tarvit Ponds.
From left - Delighted local residents and campaigners Ron Newton, John Cunningham and Jan Martin at Tarvit Ponds.

Campaigners are rejoicing after Fife Council appeared to do a ‘U’ turn over plans for an affordable housing development near a wildlife haven in Cupar.

The local authority announced this week that it was to shelve a proposal to build 49 affordable homes on parkland next to Tarvit Ponds because of ‘tight timescales’.

The development would have been built in conjunction with Thomson Homes as part of the council’s aim of building 2700 new affordable homes across the Kingdom by spring 2017.

However the plans had been met with strong opposition and an action group was set up to campaign against them.

Earlier this year a petition was circulated amid concerns that such a development would result in the loss of valuable green space and impact on the individuals and groups who use the Tarvit Ponds nature area. Opponents claimed that to develop the site would amount to the ‘wanton desecration’ of historic buildings and important wildlife habitats.

This week, Ron Newton, Tarvit Action Group chairman welcomed Fife Council’s decision to scrap plans for the development - at least for the next two years.

The group was told the news in an email from Lesley Brown, of property services.

She said that the site was unlikely to deliver within the planned timeframe, and on that basis the development was not being progressed.

“However, there is the possibility that there will be a further phase of affordable housing delivery beyond the 2017 deadline and we may take up further discussions on this, and other sites across Fife, if and when funding is secured,” she said.

“We are likely to have a clearer position on the future phase in the new year.”

But while expressing their jubilation at the decision, Tarvit Action group are demanding to know what has changed since Fife Council’s executive committee instructed officials to conclude negotiations between themselves and the developer and to enter into legally binding agreements with them to build 49 homes in the field.  

“While we accept that some negotiations must remain confidential, a degree of transparency is surely to be expected in a matter of such public concern,” said Mr Newton.

“This is not the first time that an attempt has been made to develop this sensitive site and it may not be the last.  But TAG’s opposition to it is based upon issues of built and natural heritage which will not go away.

“It would be nice to think that there could be a permanent solution which would respect the continuity of this unique heritage area and protect it for posterity, but until that happens, TAG will continue to fight any future resumption of this proposal whenever it arises and in whatever form, whether that be months or years ahead.”

Mr Newton added that the group and other Cupar residents would prefer to see brownfield sites within the town developed.