A controversial plan for Fife Council to purchase a range of flats and homes for mid-market rent has collapsed after the developer pulled out.
The local authority was hopeful of securing 28 two-bedroom flats and eight three-bedroom houses at Lochty View in Thornton which were to be built by Glenrothes-based house builder Raith Developments.
A public information event, organised to discuss the proposal and to gain the views of local residents, was also arranged for this week but was cancelled on Monday evening after the developer confirmed via a letter sent to home owners in the immediate area that it was pulling out of the plans.
In the letter it blamed Fife Council for acting prematurely and without the consent and prior knowledge of Raith Developments.
It added: “Their actions have caused alarm and unnecessary concerns for our customers, which is deeply regrettable.”
The developer also claimed Fife Council acted “inappropriately” resulting in Raith developments being put in a “compromising position”.
In concluded: “We, as a company, given the adverse reaction to the proposed development have decided not to proceed with the offer made by Fife Council.”
Allan Russell, senior manager, housing condition and supply said the decision to pull out was “unfortunate”.
“We speak with developers from across the region regarding all sorts of sites with an aim to meeting our targets for creating affordable housing in the area,” said Mr Russell.
“We stand by the view that the proposal at Lochty View presented a good opportunity both for us and for the developer.
“It was only a proposal at this stage and we would have sought the views of local people before deciding whether to go ahead with a formal planning application,” he added.
A number of home owners had voiced their opposition to the proposal since it had been first made public.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said that there had been “widespread disproportional and concern” over the possibility of mid-priced affordable housing appearing on the site.
“We bought our homes based on it being a private development and certainly didn’t think that flats and houses would be offered to the Council as part of their affordable housing requirements,” said one resident.
“There has been a lot of concern over whether the move could affect house prices in the area.”
Programme to build 2700 new affordable houses for rent goes on
The move by Fife Council to have a range of affordable flats and houses built in Thornton is part of the local authority’s ambitious target to deliver 2700 affordable homes for rent by 2017.
It’s understood around 900 of the 2700 have already been completed, with the full programme estimated to cost around £300m to deliver.
The Council’s budget for the programme is approximately £150m. The Housing Associations’ budget is approximately £70m.
Both are supplemented by approximately £55m from the Scottish Government through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme and other previous funding.
The Scottish Government also provides approximately £12m through their various funding initiatives as part of the programme.