Costa wins year-long battle for 5:30am opening of Fife drive-through

A new drive-through coffee outlet has finally secured permission to open early after almost a year of battles with Fife Council and the Scottish Government.

PVY Ltd, run by businessman Gary Stenhouse, has been told its Costa Coffee outlet in the newly crowned Pittsburgh Retail Park on Halbeath's Main Street can open from 5.30am after a new noise assessment concluded the earlier operations would not disturb residents.

Scott Simpson, the planner tasked with assessing the application, said: "The submitted evidence demonstrates that there would be no significant noise impact on Main Street were the approved Costa unit to open from 5.30 am."

The decision brings to an end almost 12 months of bidding for an early opening by PVY, which says it was at the behest of Costa to seek earlier operating hours to facilitate early morning trading and deliveries.

Costa has been battling for a year to secure the early opening time

It had sought a 5:00am opening for the unit when planning permission was first applied for last year, but councillors opted to restrict operations to 7am, concerned about the noise and light from the unit and customers disturbing nearby residents.

PVY's planning agent, Joe Fitzpatrick, then sought another 5am bid that was also rejected by councillors.

He then took this to the Scottish Government on appeal, but government reporters rejected the request on the grounds that the noise assessment was not robust enough to reassure planners of the level of noise, or lack thereof, associated with the drive-through.

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A brand new noise assessment, coupled with the compromise of a 5.30am opening rather than 5am, has done enough to persuade council planners and elected members of the early opening's merits.

The report tested how certain sounds would be picked up by nearby residences, such as voices or radios in cars with windows open, doors opening and closing, and vehicles driving onto the site to make deliveries.

Planners concluded the noise levels were "within acceptable limits" for the time of day and recommended that the council's central and west planning committee give the bid the green light.

However, conditions have been attached to ensure the Costa is as quiet as promised - and the other units are still restricted to a 7:00am opening.