FIFE Council is to go back to the drawing board in its bid to force developers to re-instate a stretch of historic wall in Falkland after a Scottish Government reporter ruled that an enforcement notice served last year was technically flawed.
The notice had been served on Lomond Homes, who demolished part of the 250-year-old wall in The Pleasance last April, prompting a storm of protest.
The developers joined forces with landowner Wiliam Mill to appeal against the notice – but in his long-awaited findings reporter Michael Shiel has declared the appeal a ‘nullity’ because the council had been too vague in outlining what steps would have to be taken to repair the wall.
Now the council says it is ‘considering its options’ and campaigners say they remain hopeful despite the case being thrown out.
Stuart Haszeldene of the Historic Falkland Action Group said that he understood that Mr Shiel was obliged to abide by the letter of the law but was encouraged by the terms of his decision notice, in which he says: ‘I do not think it would be particularly difficult to reword the steps to avoid the flaw I have identified.’
“Obviously we are disappointed that this hasn’t been resolved,” said Mr Haszledene.
“However, we believe the reporter is sympathetic as he hasn’t actually ruled against the council but has simply nullified the appeal on a legal technicality.”
June Barrie, a solicitor for the local authority, told the Fife Herald: “The council has noted the terms of the reporter’s decision and is considering the options available to secure the rebuilding of the wall.
“Although the reporter ruled that the notice was null, due to uncertainty in the wording, he recognised that a further notice could be issued with amended wording and declined to make an award of expenses against the council.”