Controversial Crossford housing plan gets backing from Fife Council members

A major development planned for the west of a Fife village has taken another significant step forward.

By Craig Smith
Friday, 21st January 2022, 9:34 am
The plan for 212 new homes has already been given council backing
The plan for 212 new homes has already been given council backing

Stewart Milne Homes’ proposals for 212 new homes to the west of Cairneyhill Road in Crossford have been backed by members of Fife Council’s central and west planning committee – more than three years after a previous iteration was initially turned down.

The council refused planning permission in principle for a residential development back in September 2018, but the developers successfully appealed and had the decision reversed by Scottish ministers.

That led to another application being considered by councillors on Wednesday afternoon and, despite ongoing concerns, it was approved on this occasion.

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Conservative councillor Mino Manekshaw expressed his reservations about the impact the development could have in terms of flooding, particularly on neighbouring Cairneyhill where a flood study is ongoing.

His particular worry was in relation to plans for all surface water run-off from the development to discharge to a proposed detention basin which would then discharge to the Torry Burn to the west.

“It can only make an already bad situation worse,” he argued.

However, his motion to defer a decision on that issue until further clarity was available was deemed not competent, as service manager Mary Stewart noted that SEPA, Scottish Water and the council’s own officers had not raised any objections about the drainage proposed.

“It’s not incumbent on a developer to resolve an existing issue,” she said.

“As far as the development goes, all the technical experts assure us that it will not make the existing issue worse.”

Councillors also heard that no work can start on site until an “enforceable mechanism” is put in place to solve the drainage problem, although the applicant has submitted a copy of a legal agreement between them and the neighbouring third party landowner that will allow an outfall pipe to be installed on this land.

Crossford Community Council spearheaded 15 letters of objection to the proposals, citing various concerns about the layout of the development, traffic flow, drainage, sewage and waste water.

Douglas Hay, Crossford Community Council chair, said: “Crossford Community Council have deliberated over this matter for many many months, held meetings with the developer to try to persuade them of our concerns but have had little impact on changing the developer’s plans.

“We look to Fife Council planning services to not just listen, but act on our concerns and where their powers allow change this proposed development.”

Chris Smith, chairman of nearby Cairneyhill Community Council, also took the unusual step of lodging an objection on behalf of residents there – suggesting the new housing would create a flood risk and increase traffic flow through the village.

“It is not clear from the documentation provided with the planning application how the additional traffic the Crossford development will generate is to be managed in relation to the impact it will have not only on Crossford but on Cairneyhill,” he noted.

“This needs to be clarified and until that is done in a satisfactory manner the development should be halted.”

The development includes a total of 212 detached, semi-detached and terraced houses ranging from two-bedroom to six-bedroom properties.

53 of those are to be affordable units, while the developers said there would be 23 different house types across the site.