The Scottish Government’s appeals division is rethinking a controversial proposal for a housing development in Aberdour.
Owners of Hillside School want to secure permission for 125 new homes at the site off Main Street, which they say would fund the construction of a fit-for-purpose newbuild school on an adjacent field.
However, the government has recently amended its planning policy, including in relation to sustainable development and housing land supply, and is inviting further submissions from school owner Anne Harvey, Aberdour Community Council and local MSPs.
Annabelle Ewing, SNP MSP for Cowdenbeath, said: “Given the revisions of Scottish planning policy, published by the Scottish Government, it is absolutely right that the reporter look further at this application.
“It seems to be to be self-evident that the proposal does not contribute to sustainable development and the reporter’s decision in initially granting the appeal was based on the mistaken consideration of a housing shortfall which does not exist.”
She said: “This is a controversial application and I welcome the invitation issued by the reporter to those who had taken the trouble to make an initial submission to the appeal process.”
The MSP said it was rare for planning appeals to be revisited.
“Such an invitation from a reporter in circumstances like this is not at all common and may well reflect the pressure Aberdour Community Council, the local community and local councillors have brought to bear together with my consistent interventions to oppose a development that we feel is unnecessary and unsuitable.”
Meanwhile, she said it was “not clear” if Scottish ministers had been “properly notified” of an objection from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, who stated that the development had the potential to place buildings and residents at risk of flood.
“All in all, I have strongly suggested to the reporter that he should now refuse the appeal,” said Ms Ewing.
The government has tweaked its planning policy so that it “more clearly supports sustainable development”.
A need for a “single methodology for calculating the 5 year land supply” was also identified, with the aim of making the planning system more consistent.
“As no final decision has been taken in respect of this appeal, it is necessary for the
reporter to seek views from parties as to the relevance of the recent Scottish planning policy changes to the appeal proposal.” said the DPEA.