Planners blasted for holding up flats plan

A model of the proposed retirement flats development on the site of the former Station Hotel in Kirkcaldy.
A model of the proposed retirement flats development on the site of the former Station Hotel in Kirkcaldy.

A PROPERTY tycoon looking to redevelop the former Station Hotel site in Kirkcaldy has blasted Council planners for delaying his application.

Robert Kilgour submitted plans in November last year for 30 retirement flats.

But six months later, despite there being no objections to his plans, he’s still waiting for a decision.

And he says the delay has now resulted in a potential investor walking away from the project.

Mr Kilgour said: “It’s simply not good enough.

“Six months – THREE times as long as the eight weeks that it should take as a maximum – is a totally unacceptable time to take when they know the property so well and there are no objections.”

Prior to submitting his plans for a 30-flat development, Mr Kilgour withdrew a previous application for 40 flats on the site – an application which had been pending for 12 months.

He said planning officials already had considerable knowledge of the site from the previous application which should have assisted them with the current one.

Mr Kilgour also pointed out that the last documents relating to the current application on the Council’s planning website dated back to March, indicating nothing, or very little, had been done since then.

“I think I’ve been very patient so far,” he said. “Six months is a farce.

“Because of the delay I’ve now lost one potential joint venture funding partner.

“If I do eventually get planning permission, I’ll have to see if I can find someone else interested in taking it on, and in the current economic climate, that might not be so easy.”

He added: “I know senior councillors such as the leader Alex Rowley and his deputy David Ross are working hard to promote Fife and encourage business, but delays in the planning process will act as a deterrent to potential investors.”

Fife Council’s planning department service manager Alastair Hamilton told the Press officers had been in touch with the applicant’s agents this week to keep them up to date with progress on the application.

He added: “This has taken longer than normal as we had to ask for more information and clarification on how the retirement units were going to be used.

“It’s our job to make sure that the application process is carried out as quickly and accurately as possible, particularly in light of the current business climate.

“In this case we apologise for any delays but we have to make sure we have all the information necessary before any decisions are made.”