Fife councillors back developer’s bid to ditch 50-yard, £158,000 road
Fife Council's bid to claim over £158,000 to build around 50 yards of asphalt linking a proposed housing development to St Monans should be binned, according to local councillors.
The local authority is locked in a dispute with the owners of a plot of land where 86 new homes are set to be built in the village's north-west, with access from the A917 to the north.
Planning permission for the Lochay Homes development, known as Windmill Gardens, was granted earlier this year.
However, it is contingent on a legal agreement that requires landowner Inverie Ltd to pay Fife Council £153,000 to build a road linking the estate to Queen Margaret Street to the south - turning what would be a cul-de-sac into a through route on St Monans' western edge.
Transport officers say the link, which would be built over an existing playpark, will relieve pressure on nearby Station Road.
But Inverie, having signed the agreement, is now appealing to the Scottish Government to have the cash bid and road plan kiboshed.
Agents acting for the firm said in an appeal statement: "We consider that the link road required by Fife Council from the development to Queen Margaret Street would create a vehicular through route that is neither required by the development nor necessary to access it."
The landowner has the support of St Monan's Community Council, which has gathered nearly 300 signatures on a petition against the link road plan.
Local councillors sided with Inverie at a planning meeting yesterday [June 30] - on the grounds that it incorporates a path for walking and cycling into the southern edge of the site.
East Neuk and Landward Alliance for Unity councillor Linda Holt said of the link road: "It would become a rat run, and people would use that instead of Station Road."
However, some elected members expressed concern that Inverie, having signed the legal agreement just months before in January, was now seeking to back out of it prematurely.
Howe of Fife and Tay Coast SNP councillor David MacDiarmid said: "From a planning perspective, my view is that without the road it doesn't work and the development looks unfinished."
Councillors voted nine to five in favour of backing Inverie's appeal, led by Cllr Holt and Cupar Conservative Tony Miklinski.
The recorded verdict will be submitted to the Scottish Government's planning appeals division to be considered by a reporter.
East Neuk and Landward Liberal Democrat councillor Bill Porteous has welcomed the committee's support.
"I agree with Fife Council's position that connectivity is important - but that doesn't have to be a road," he said.
"It's no more than five minutes from the development to the shore. If you look at the state of the world at the moment surely it's better to discourage people from using the car.
"Children in this village walk to school or go on their scooters and there's no reason why children in this new development can't do the same.
"We're hoping that the reporter see the times we're in and the need to cut down traffic and pollution by using more active travel."