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Major East Neuk developments set for approval despite opposition from ‘overwhelming majority of community’

The sites, marked in yellow, were considered together under the local development plan, or FIFEplan.
The sites, marked in yellow, were considered together under the local development plan, or FIFEplan.

Two major developments in the East Neuk of Fife have been recommended for approval despite opposition from residents.

Next week, North East Planning Committee will decide on Elie Estate Trust’s proposals for a major mixed use development including housing, business units, a care home and retirement accommodation east of Elie and 25 new homes north of Grange Road in Earlsferry.

The Wadeslea site.

The two sites were considered together in the local development plan and a report prepared for the committee said the proposals emerged from the East Neuk Community Action Plan (ENCAP) initiative, an organisation aiming to empower communities in the planning process.

However, Elie and The Royal Burgh of Earlsferry Community Council have objected to the developments mooted for both sites and maintain there was insufficient engagement with local residents.

A spokesperson for the community council said in an objection letter submitted to Fife Council: “The ENCAP process was not followed for this application and there has not been any meaningful consultation to identify the requirements for community facilities and employment provision in the sites east of Elie.

“While the town is not adverse to development in itself, there are genuine concerns over the nature and scale of the current proposals and the overwhelming majority of the community does not support a development of this size and scale.”

A total of 128 objections were received in relation to the mixed use scheme at Wadeslea, which would see 55 new homes built by 2023.

The development north of Grange Road is subject to 185 objections.

While acknowledging a need for more housing in the East Neuk, the report said there was nothing to prevent the new homes becoming holiday lets.

“There are no planning controls that can be put in place to ensure that the homes are not bought by second homeowners,” said the planning report.

“However a condition is recommended to ensure that the homes are not used as Housing in Multiple Occupation. Additionally, the housing market is not a planning consideration.”

Local resident Angus Meldrum said: “There are lots of concerns about this.

“I think the biggest negative from a community point of view is it seems to have been a two way process between the developer and Fife Council, and the community have had no say.

“The objections raised by most people, and the community council, have been on planning grounds. It looks to me like they haven’t taken into consideration any of the objections.”

Over the next 30 years, as many as 190 new homes could be built across the two sites.

“Given the timescale, and the fact that a phased approach to development is required to avoid capacity issues at Elie Primary School, the indicative number of houses to be developed within the Local Development Plan period – 5 years – is 80 houses,” said the report.

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