Cupar North: Environment group calls for re-think of Fife town’s controversial masterplan

An environmentally friendly Fife community group has called for plans for a major mixed use development to be rethought.
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Sustainable Cupar says the masterplan for the controversial Cupar North scheme needs to be “fundamentally revised” before it is considered by Fife councillors later this year.

The current blueprint details proposals for almost 1500 homes, a relief road, a new primary school and an out-of-town commercial quarter.

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Dozens of objections have already been lodged with the local authority ahead of the deadline for comments closing this weekend, and Sustainable Cupar argues that the plans do little to contribute to efforts to reach net zero climate emissions by 2045.

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Gordon Pay, chair of Sustainable Cupar, said changes are needed to the masterplan for the area to be consistent with planning policy.

“These necessary revisions relate to a green network concept, a heat network concept, and a street network concept, and Scottish Planning Policy is clear that planning permission should not be granted until this has been done,” he explained.

“The green network is required by the planning system to do the heavy lifting, including the task of flood resilience, which has become much more important in an era of climate change. The flood resilience design needs to be demonstrably robust.

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“At the same time, the green network plan also has to show it is really a core component of the masterplan, with a coherent and cohesive implementation of connectivity and multi-functionality.

“The apparent conflict between the key east-west cycleway and a SUDS basin is just one simple example which shows that this has not yet been done.

“SEPA’s planning guidance is that the onus is on the developer to demonstrate that a heat network is not feasible. No serious attempt to do this work appears to have been done.

“The street network also needs to be revised.

“The Scottish Government definition that “all thoroughfares within urban settings and rural boundaries should normally be treated as streets” pertains here.

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“A street network is not just about the roads for motor vehicles.”

Mr Pay also noted that new Cycling by Design guidance, which aims to shape cycling infrastructure in new developments, represented a “radical change” in Scottish Government planning guidance.

And he added: “The existing masterplan has not been designed in line with Cycling by Design, and it now needs to be updated.

“A better, more thoughtful integration with the existing town is required.”

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Persimmon Homes’ planning application for the Cupar North development is expected to be considered by councillors later this year.

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