Fife housing development gets green light despite more than 100 objections
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Fife Council's west and central Fife planning committee considered the planning application from Campion Homes at a meeting on Wednesday.
After much debate, councillors voted seven to five to approve the plans despite public concerns.
Objection comments said the development would overwhelm local NHS services, schools, and pharmacies as well as contribute to traffic problems.
However, planning officers dismissed NHS service concerns. A report to the committee stated: “Healthcare is not an issue that can be addressed by the planning system. If a GP has too many patients registered, then funding is available for a new GP as part of that practice's business case to expand services where required to meet additional demand. The funding of healthcare is an issue for the central government.”
Councillor Dave Dempsey (Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, Conservative) responded: “It’s clear that the healthcare issue is of considerable concern to the public. I feel we need to say something, if not do something to address that. I’m sure it’s an accurate statement [that we can’t address healthcare through planning] but it’s not a good situation to be in.”
One of the biggest points of debate was the singular access road planned for the whole site. The FIFEplan specifically states that the development should have two entrances - one from Cameron Crescent and the other via an upgraded link through Durie Place. However, Campion Homes provided ample evidence that the second entrance from Durie Place is not viable now or ever.
“It would be a major disruption to the two homes nearby. It’s not deliverable,” a planning officer agreed.
Although the development runs contrary to FIFEplan in that respect, planning officers fell back on transport guidelines which only requires one point of access for developments with less than 200 homes. As far as traffic congestion is concerned, the development will generate approximately 50 two-way car trips at rush hour times. “That sounds like a lot, but spread out over an hour it’s not much impact,” planning officers said.
An education service consultation further dismissed school capacity concerns related to the site: “School roll projections, including the expected completion rate of known housing sites, indicate that there is currently no capacity risk at Balcurvie Primary School."
The 77 houses range from two to six bed properties and include a mix of terraced, semi-detached, detached and bungalow properties across the site. The proposals also include eight affordable homes.
Councillor Altany Craik (Glenrothes West & Kinglassie, Labour) said: “We need to get the right development in the right place. This is always going to be problematic when people next to a development feel it is going to encroach on their amenities but the site is allocated for housing and if officers can provide a level of certainty that traffic will not be gridlocked at rush hour, I feel okay with this plan.”