Fife residents reunite over housing plan revived five years after it was rejected

A group of local residents who came together to see off a controversial housing plan five years ago have reunited after the proposals were resurrected.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 11:08 am

The Concerned Newcastle Residents (CNR) group says it has legitimate anxieties about Hallam Land Management's plans for Milldeans Farm, which are to be resubmitted to Fife Council having been rejected in 2016.

The developer says it has addressed the concerns about vehicle access that dogged the last plan - but CNR says it remains concerned about waste water drainage and road safety in the Newcastle estate, as well as the impact on local wildlife.

After entering the planning process part-way through last time, the group is striking early to raise awareness of the impact they say Hallam's plans could have in the north-western edge of Glenrothes.

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Edith Sheerins, Keri Duffy and Richard Pokara, part of the Concerned Newcastle Residents (CNR) group which has concerns about Hallam Land Management's plans for Milldeans Farm
Edith Sheerins, Keri Duffy and Richard Pokara, part of the Concerned Newcastle Residents (CNR) group which has concerns about Hallam Land Management's plans for Milldeans Farm

While Hallam carries out consultation on what it proposes ahead of submitting a formal planning application, CRN is doing work of its own, commissioning online surveys and carrying out door-to-door leafleting to raise awareness of the plans.

Edith Sheerins, 71, is among those leading the charge.

Her involvement is particularly poignant following the passing of her husband Brian, who saw off Hallam as chair of CNR before sadly dying in 2017.

She remains confused as to why Hallam is putting plans forward for additional access roads when a bid by the owners of Goatmilk Farm, immediately to the south, had their bid for a new house refused in 2019 to "safeguard the countryside from unjustified development”.

Milldeans Farm, Glenrothes

"They [Hallam] think they've answered all of our questions, but there's questions to answer about flooding, and this new road," she said.

"There are some people that say we're nimbys ["not in my back yard" types] but we aren't. We've got reasonable questions and we're getting into the process from the start."

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Richard Pokora, 72, said: "Fife Council says a cul-de-sac shouldn't have more than 200 houses, but there's over 400 here.

“Now Hallam is going to open this road up, add another 350 homes - what's that going to do to the amenities?"

Newcastle Primary School is currently half-full, with 133 pupils and the capacity to take the same over.

However, CRN believes another 350 homes could overwhelm it and nearby secondary schools.

Local mum Keri Duffy says she wouldn't let her daughters out to play in the street if Rosemount Road is turned into a through-road to Kirkcaldy, while construction sector worker Alistair Hynd feels there are still questions to be answered.

Hallam - a subsidiary of 135-year-old construction giant Henry Boot - convinced neither Fife councillors nor the Scottish Government that its plans for 350 homes on the site were acceptable in 2016.

Stuart Szylak, planning advisor at agents Rick Finc associates said: "Milldeans is a highly marketable, sustainable location for much needed new family and affordable housing.

"Ecological and biodiversity value of the site will be protected and improved by new green spaces and features and more diverse habitats.

"Discussions with Fife Education Services has confirmed that there is sufficient capacity at all schools in the catchment, including Newcastle Primary.

"Consultation via the project website and email address will continue until 12 July, so we encourage people to continue discussions with us.

"Residents will have the opportunity to make formal comment once a planning application has been submitted."

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