A new affordable housing development will lead to a 10% rise in the population of a Fife village.
Councillors have approved proposals for 30 homes on prime agricultural land on the outskirts of Gauldry, currently home to 309 households.
The application by Kingdom Housing Association proved divisive, with many fearing it would impact on GP practices and other services.
Planning officers received 18 letters of objection, including from the community council.
The community council does not support this for a variety of reasons.”
Councillor Tim Brett.
Concerns hinged on the loss of countryside land, the narrow access road and a lack of public transport.
Locals said it would lead to an increase in traffic on village streets.
A number of people also fear the development could swamp the water and sewage network and lead to a reduction in water pressure in the area.
While most members of the north east planning committee voted in favour of the plan, some were against it.
They said house-building outwith the settlement boundary was against planning policy.
However, officers argued it could be permitted if it met a specific local need.
The field next to Balgove Road is not allocated for development on the local plan.
It is zoned as countryside land and is part of the Tay Coast Local Landscape Area.
‘Identified housing need’
But service manager Alistair Hamilton told councillors there was an “established and unmet need” for affordable housing in Gauldry.
There is a need for more than 38,600 new homes in the TayPlan area by 2036, including 325 in north Fife.
Thirty homes is an acceptable number for a village the size of Gauldry, Mr Hamilton said.
“There is an identified housing need shortfall,” he added.
Mr Hamilton said there were no other suitable sites in the area.
In addition, the education service does not expect the development to affect capacity at local schools.
The new homes will be built in the Passivhaus style – a German concept which uses very little energy for heating.
Passivhaus is something our planet is crying out for.”
Councillor Jonny Tepp.
The 22 houses and eight flats will sit in a horseshoe accessed by a narrow strip of land off Balgove Road.
An existing cottage will be demolished to make way for the development.
Liberal Democrat councillor Tim Brett moved to refuse the plan, saying he could find no justification for it.
“I’m a big supporter of affordable housing but unfortunately I’m not persuaded by the argument,” he said.
“The community council does not support this for a variety of reasons.”
However, his Lib Dem colleague Jonny Tepp said it should be approved, subject to a condition requiring the developer to sort out the water and sewage capacity.
“I would like to applaud Kingdom Homes for bringing a proposal to build to Passivhaus standards,” he said.
“Passivhaus is something our planet is crying out for.”
The committee voted in favour of the application by nine votes to five.