Work starts on new Fife housing after years of controversy

Work starts on Lundin Homes housing development at Lundin Links.
Work starts on Lundin Homes housing development at Lundin Links.

Work has started on a new housing estate that will see Lundin Links, Lower Largo and Upper Largo separated by just a couple of fields.

Contractors are currently clearing the site for building to start in three or four weeks, according to builder Lundin Homes’ Alan Spence.

The giant embankment of earth is soil that has been cleared and will be used to provide topsoil for the new homes or removed from the site.

Eventually there will be 60 houses at Durham Wynd, ranging in size from two to five bedrooms, including 18 affordable semi-detached homes which will be rented by Kingdom Housing Association.

Already nine houses have been reserved off-plan with another 20 expressions of interest.

“There is a huge demand for quality family housing locally,” Mr Spence said, adding that the development had allowed the firm to grow: “The site has allowed us to take on a further three apprentices, two joiners and a plumber.

Lundin homes have created a temporary access road to the building site.

Lundin homes have created a temporary access road to the building site.

“The site will support an average of 30 full time jobs over the course of the development.”

Over the years the development at Durham Wynd attracted controversy.

It first emerged in 2009 as part of Fife Council’s East Area Local Plan, when 70 houses were planned.

Local opposition took off quickly. A packed public meeting in mid-December 2009 voted overwhelmingly against the development.

Six months later, protest group Just Say No to Building on Durham Wynd had been formed and took its case against the development to the Levenmouth Area Committee.

That meeting ended in success for the campaigners when, in a surprise move, councillors proposed a change which would see development on three sites across Lundin Links, Lower Largo and Upper Largo.

Lower Largo Community Park Association was also formed, discussing developing the site as a community park with Fife Council.

But in 2012 the Scottish Government decided that the original development plans should be reinstated – although the number of houses was reduced to 60.

Ian Fowler, who led the Just Say No action group, said the decision ignored the “overwhelming” objections from local people.

“This is a sad day for democracy when the local views of councillors and local people have been ignored and another village is approved for over-development,” he told the Mail.

Lundin Homes’ plan was approved in June 2015, despite more than 40 objections, and Cllr Alistair Hunter vowed to fight on: “The local communities that will be affected by these developments are angry, feel let down and dismayed at the decision to reinstate this site to the plan,” he said.

Throughout the process Largo Area Community Council fought against the plan, claiming lack of information from the developer, but Mr Spence defended his company: “We held a public consultation as part of the planning process, this took place at the local library with over 130 people attending over a period of five hours, comments were noted and formed part of our detailed planning application. Our detailed plans were then published for further public comment.”