Nursing home plans ‘contrary to policy’

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PLANS for a nursing home and affordable housing development in Cuparmuir have failed to get off the drawing board.

Members of north east Fife area committee this week rejected an application for planning permission in principle for land at Trynmuir Croft, which includes an historic walled garden.

The applicant, Falkland-based Neil Munro, had wanted to build a 52-bed home on the site presently occupied by the walled garden and 19 affordable homes to the north of that.

But despite the promise of around 50 new jobs and a boost for the local economy, councillors agreed with housing officers that the project was contrary to Local Plan policy, which does not permit the construction of new care homes in the countryside.

However Councillor David MacDiarmid, seconded by Councillor Andy Heer, moved that the application be approved with conditions relating to transport issues, road safety and the preservation of trees.

He argued that the site - which has lain derelict for years - had significant potential for development and that it would bring much-needed jobs to the area as well as help ease the demand for care home places.

His motion was defeated by eight votes to five amid concerns about the proposed development not meeting policy criteria and fears that an increase in jobs would result in an increase in traffic through the village.

The site, which extends to just under two hectares, already has planning permission in principle for an affordable housing development of 26 homes, granted in 2010, but councillors were told by planner Mary Stewart that the proposed nursing home did not meet any of the criteria in the Local Plan policy nor would it comply with the broader TAYplan policy.

“Whilst there are examples of these facilities being located in the countryside they are mainly the result of the re-use or re-development of large buildings that have become unsuitable residences,” explained Mrs Stewart.

“It is considered that the merit of the affordable housing development is not sufficient to outweigh the other detrimental impacts and the development as a whole would not be acceptable.”