The 15-week closure of a busy Fife road was due to a “unique set of circumstances“ say Fife Council, but admits more could have been done to keep communities informed.
The admission follows scrutiny by councillors of the council’s decision to close the B923 Loch Road near Kinghorn between January and May this year, a move widely condemned by residents and local businesses.
Officers brought before the economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee were asked to discuss the circumstances around how the Lovel Homes planning application had come before the planners for determination without the closure requirement first being known,
Councillors Kathleen Leslie and Gordon Langlands, both of whom represent Kinghorn, had called for greater transparency and communication between the council’s transportation and planning departments before planning applications are put forward.
Commenting on the closure, Robin Presswood, head of economy, planning and employability said: “The situation had been a highly unusual one presenting officers with a unique set of challenges, the likes of which I can’t recall having faced before in my years spent in planning.”
It was confirmed that the application had been approved while transportation officers were still in discussion wth the developer over the road assessment.
“It’s not clear in this case that officers at the time of the planning application being determined had the certainty that a road closure was inevitable.”
However, he did admit communication with developers could be improved in future and accepted the calls for councillors and the public to be better informed were valid and noted.
Commenting afterwards Cllr Leslie said: “Communication between developers, communities and the local authority has to be far more transparent and I’m pleased that has been accepted.”
However, while glad that the issue had come to councillors for scrutiny, Cllr Langlands said he was disappointed that many local businesses had suffered from the road closure without any means of redress.