Potential housing developments in Glenrothes may still be given the go-ahead, despite councillors having backed public calls to scrap them.
Councillors have been told that an independent Reporter, to be appointed on behalf of the Scottish Government when it scrutinises the final FifePlan draft later this year, will have the power to reinstate potential developments to meet the Fife Council’s statutory obligation to build nearly 8000 new homes between 2012 and 2024.
It’s the single most anti-democratic thing I think I’ve ever heardCllr Altany Craik
It means the likes of Milldeans Farm site in Newcastle could be given back-door approval, despite a vigorous campaign and widespread local backing to have the site rejected.
In the latest round of consultation, plans to effectively double the size of Thornton, with the inclusion of sites totalling 900 new homes, attracted more than 100 notes of objection, the highest in the Glenrothes area.
Officers finalising the FifePlan confirmed this week that, should the proposals for Thornton be rejected by councillors and subsequently the Council’s executive committee, a reporter would more than likely over-rule the decision and reinstate Thornton or other similar plans, including the one for 300 houses at Milldeans Farm site to make up the numbers.
The news has angered Councillor Altany Craik, who says the decision could be taken out of the hands of those who know the immediate areas and communities the best.
“It’s the single most anti-democratic thing I think I’ve ever heard,” said Cllr Craik.
“We make the decision as a council, yet an unelected Reporter will now be allowed to put a binding recommendation in, replacing sites that we have deemed unfit,” he added.
Newcastle campaigners bracing themselves for new site application
Residents campaigning against plans to build between 300 and 500 houses on the Milldeans farm site in the west of Glenrothes say they are monitoring the situation closely.
Isa Vance, chairman of the Concerned Newcastle Residents (CNR), has already met with new ward councillor Craig Walker to bring him up to speed on the current situation. The developer AMEC met with Fife Council planning officers two weeks ago and CNR is bracing itself for a formal planning application to be made in the coming weeks.
“We are awaiting the plan to see if there has been any revised design and we will be lobbying councillors to seek confirmation of their continued support in this matter,” said Mrs Vance.