Residents vow to fight ‘ill-considered’ housing development in Fife town

A group of residents in a Fife town have vowed to fight plans for new affordable housing - branding the blueprint “ill-considered” and detrimental to the community.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 11:51 am

Kingdom Housing Association’s plans for 44 new homes on a site on the north-western edge of the village reached a significant milestone earlier this month with the submission of a detailed planning application to Fife Council.

The scheme, which has been developed as a collaboration between Fraser/Livingstone Architects, horner+maclennan landscape architects and Dryburgh Associates, could see grazing land along Kinross Road next to Leslie Cemetery turned into a new estate complete with allotments and a community orchard.

But while Kingdom has extolled the virtues of its vision for the site, a groundswell of opposition now means it is likely to be left up to councillors to have the final say on whether or not to give the proposals the green light in the new year.

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How the development could look

The latest application comes 31 years after a similar bid for housing on the site was knocked back.

Local resident Mary Patrick, speaking on behalf of local residents against the plans, said she believed the development will have a “significant impact” on the area and urged people to air their views on the application as soon as possible.

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“Overall, we feel this is an ill-considered proposal that forms part of a much wider attempt to disregard existing environmental policies that prevent encroachment into the rural fringe of our town,” she commented.

The land earmarked for development

“We have experienced ongoing development from the east into our historic town that fundamentally pays lip service to the sensitivity of our cultural heritage.

“By piece-meal, the boundaries of our town and the green landscape that surrounds it have been given over to housing developments and mineral extraction with little consideration of the limited infrastructure that serves our town to support these developments.

“This proposed development would result in a complete loss of connection to the Lomond Hills on the edge of our town - the Lomond Hills falls into a Local Landscape Area, previously a Special Landscape Area, designated by NatureScot and should be protected for future generations.”

Ms Patrick suggests the development would compromise people’s views of the Lomond Hills and believes the area’s infrastructure will not be able to cope with 44 new properties.

She continued: “There is no mention of the cumulative impact that an increase in traffic flow through our High Street will have on existing residential amenity, nor does it consider the cumulative impact of 46 new houses being developed at Leslie House, and 850 houses with a business and retail park at the old Tullis Russell Paper Mill, Oak Park, in Glenrothes, all of which will require access to the A911.

“We remain unconvinced that there are no other suitable sites to develop as claimed.”

A supporting statement submitted along with the application by Kingdom Housing Asssociation had suggested no alternative sites were available locally, with sites at the former Regal Cinema and also Prinlaws Road discounted.

“The new homes are composed around a placemaking ethos with patterns of gathering, sunshine and permeability,” a spokesperson for Kingdom added.

“A shared surface public realm of connected streets, courts and amenity spaces is proposed, reducing vehicle speed, and forming a more pedestrian friendly, safe, attractive, sustainable community of new homes.”

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