Strathkinness’ sense of place and unique community will be put at risk by a proposed new housing development, a meeting of Fife Council’s north-east planning committee was told this week.
The claim was one of a long list of concerns that villagers told the committee at a special, and unusual, pre-determination hearing in the village this week.
Over almost three hours, villagers and developers addressed the committee to inform councillors’ decision making.
Avant Homes has applied for permission to build 70 houses at Nydie Road, including 16 affordable homes.
Of around 50 residents at the meeting, five took to the floor to speak of the village’s sense of community. Robin Baxter, chairman of the village’s community council accused Avant Homes of having shown “no understanding of the village in this application” recalling its history and emphasising its sense of community.
Villagers shared other concerns – the size of the planned development, the ability of the local primary school to cope, access and traffic problems both during construction and once the development is complete, and water, drainage and flooding.
Worries about the drainage solution for the site were repeatedly highlighted, with claims that Strathkinness regularly suffered from flooding, which the villagers dealt with themselves.
There was confusion about the primary school’s capacity to cope with an influx of new children – while Avant claimed there is sufficient capacity, council officials warned that the new development could create a “capacity risk” at the school.
Avant Homes were represented by Andrew Trigger, strategic land manager, and Stuart Salter, from the company’s agents, Geddes Consulting, who presented on behalf of Avant.
Mr Salter spoke from a prepared text which reiterated Avant’s proposals for Strathkinness.
Mr Trigger responded to questioning from councillors revealing that work was scheduled to start on site next year, with a phased programme of building over three years.
The committee will meet again on June 8 to agree a recommendation to the full Fife Council meeting on June 30.
The housing proposal for Nydie Road encompasses two areas designated for housing – one of 16 affordable homes, the other for 50 houses.
Avant Homes plans to develop both sites – a total of 4.2 ha – to create a mixed development of 76 houses.
The developers will use a 20 per cent variance on numbers permitted under Fife Council planning policies. As a result, the number of affordable homes could rise to 18.