100 homes signed off for Fife village despite concerns over impact on school capacity

Another major housing development has been approved on the edge of Coaltown of Balgonie despite water pressure concerns and school capacity issues.
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Quale Homes Ltd received permission from Fife Council's West and Central planning committee on Wednesday to move forward with its 102 home development to the south of Millburn Avenue. IIt will include 10 affordable houses, and will consist of a mix of two,three and four bedroom terraced, semi-detached, detached and flatted units - most of which will be two storeys tall.

The proposals attracted 19 letters of public objection, and councillors were likewise critical of the plans to expand the village. Concerns were raised about capacity at local schools and GP surgeries, road capacity and traffic, and the impact on existing water pressure and sewage issues i.

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“Water pressure is a known problem in Coaltown of Balgonie,” Councillor Altany Craik (Labour for Glenrothes West and Kinglassie) said. “We know there’s an issue and yet it’s not considered a reason to refuse planning permission or at least say ‘you can’t build until this has been resolved.’ I’m a little concerned about that.”

The plans were approved despite some concerns (Pics: Submitted)The plans were approved despite some concerns (Pics: Submitted)
The plans were approved despite some concerns (Pics: Submitted)

He continued: “We’re effectively giving planning permission for something that can never be delivered if Scottish Water doesn't deliver upgrades to the network that’s there.”

Councillor Derek Noble (Labour for Glenrothes Central and Thornton) added: “This is the second development that’s happening in Coaltown of Balgonie - we’ve got one already under development now and the water pressure is still the same. There’s been no change there and now we’re putting another development in.”

He continued: “This development will go ahead and water pressure is still going to be the same. And residents are showing more and more impatience with lower pressure. The question is, how do we resolve this before we put any more houses in?”

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However, planning officers emphasised that water connections and water issues are subject to a separate approval process with Scottish Water.

Legal representatives for the council said that the duty for water connection rests with Scottish Water - who have crucially not objected to the development plans.

“The problem isn’t caused by this development - it exists already,” legal officers said. “It’s a separate process outside the planning process.”

More importantly, planning officers highlighted that Quale Homes said it has found the source of the village’s low water pressure problem and is planning to fix it for the entire local network as part of the development.

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There were also concerns about school capacity as a result of this and other nearby housing developments.

Quale Homes’ proposals fall into the catchment area for: Coaltown of Balgonie Primary School; St Paul's Roman Catholic Primary School; Auchmuty High School; and St Andrew's Roman Catholic High School, two of which are expected to be at capacity risk within the next two years. As a result, the developer will be expected to pay more than £600,000 to Fife Council education service to mitigate the impacts.

Coaltown of Balgonie Primary School will receive approximately £450,000 to build an additional classroom, and Auchmuty High will get around £166,000 to expand as well. However, despite public objections and concerns, the education department did not object to the proposals so long as the financial contributions are made.

The plans will now go ahead subject to securing other permissions from Scottish Water.

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