Public space becomes private gardens in Fife town

The houses are situated in Mount Frost Gardens, Markinch (pictured above). Copyright Google Maps, all rights reserved
The houses are situated in Mount Frost Gardens, Markinch (pictured above). Copyright Google Maps, all rights reserved

The co-leader of Fife Council has raised concerns after protected open space in Markinch was granted planning permission to become private garden space.

At the central area planning committee, permission was given by a vote of seven to four to allow homes 22-26 in Mount Frost Gardens, Markinch to retain a strip of land at the back of their gardens which faced on to Balbirnie golf course.

The application was deferred from a previous meeting to allow councillors to visit the land in question.

Derek Simpson, lead officer development management, had proposed that the permission be refused on the grounds that the 850 square meter area was protected open space, as outlined in the FIFEplan.

The land in question in this application was sold by Glenrothes Development Corporation to Balbirnie Golf Club and was restricted in use as a golf course. This strip of land was then sold on to the homeowners by the golf club.

Planning permission to turn the section of land into a private garden space was previously refused in 2014 due to the erection of a fence impacting on the appearance of the woodland and the loss of open green space to the public.

But Cllr Ross Vettraino said he saw no reason for the permission not to be granted, adding: “As far as I am concerned it has never been public, open ground.

“It was privately owned by the golf club then sold to another private owner.

“It isn’t within site from Balbirnie House and I see nothing that makes me fear for the management of the tree preservation order.”

But Cllr David Alexander, co-leader,  said that the ownership of the land was irrelevant, as it was still designated as protected open space.

He added: “I believe we should accept the recommendation of the officers.

“This has already gone for review and was refused in the past – why would we not refuse it now.

“This has broken a number of policies, policies we all agreed upon.

“If we set a precedent here, it will apply everywhere.”

He argued that the application should be refused, so it would go to appeals out with the council.

Emma Oneill , Local Democracy Reporting Service