Town relief road is questioned

Community councillors have differing views on aspects of the controversial Cupar North development. (Photo by Dave Scott)
Community councillors have differing views on aspects of the controversial Cupar North development. (Photo by Dave Scott)

Arguments over whether a relief road is now needed for Cupar surfaced again at this week’s meeting of Cupar Community Council.

The relief road is a major component of the proposed Cupar North development which could see 1400 houses built by a consortium of builders.

Since the completion of the town centre transportation works in the summer - which included the replacement of traffic light-controlled junctions with roundabouts - there has been little or no congestion.

If no relief road or bypass is required, some people in the town have already questioned the need for the houses.

Community council planning spokesperson Loretta Mordi said: “We do not want any road that is going to take people away from the town centre and affect its viability.”

She also spoke of the importance of community engagement and ascertaining the views of as many people and drawing the comments together.

Backing for a relief road came from member Andy Collins, who also chairs Sustainable Cupar.

His vision for the town could not be achieved without such a road, which he said would make the town centre a far more pleasant place.

He wondered what the traffic projections were for, say, 20 years’ time, with developments in other places putting more pressure on Cupar. A relief road was still required, even if the housing did not go ahead.

Fife councillor Bryan Poole said Cupar was a great place in which to live, to bring up children and which benefited from the new traffic arrangements.

He maintained that it was not possible to have housing without the road, warning: “You have to be very careful what you wish for.

“The developers and land owners are not here for the benefit of Cupar. Do not give them gifts by saying you do not want a relief road.”

Council secretary Douglas Provan said the sole reason for Cupar North was to provide a bypass, with the figure of 1400 houses put forward only to fund the road.

Community councillor Jennie Hughes thought the consortium behind the development should be asked when they planned to build the relief road.

She thought it was important to engage with the developers and also ask about the their plans for construction traffic although, at the end of the day, she thought the council would probably be on a “hiding to nothing.”

Fellow member Ed Cook wanted to know who would be responsible for providing enlarged medical and other facilities to cope with the increased population.

“No-one seems to have considered this,” he added.

Mr Provan said that he had raised those points at the outset, but they had not been answered.

Another community council member, David Kirk, commenting on facilities shown on drawings at the consortium’s recent public consultation event, said they were merely indicative diagrams.

Council treasurer Robert Graham said the town must develop and grow and have a long-term sustainability.

Employment was a big issue - and he wondered where was the local industry and business to support more housing.

“Money is going out of the town rather than circulating in it. We need to think about business growth and employment.”