How do you bolt a major development on to an existing historic small town while guaranteeing that local views are considered?
That’s the question being asked by a new group, called Cupar IF, that’s aiming to make sure local views are heard “loud and clear” if Persimmon go ahead with their long-mooted and controversial proposed Cupar North plans.
Local groups and interested individuals held a Zoom meeting on April 16 and agreed to set up the Cupar IF group.
Many groups were represented at this first meeting, including The Association of Businesses in Cupar and District (ABCD), CuparNow, Cupar Heritage, Sustainable Cupar, Fruit and Blossom (FAB) group, and Cupar Development Trust.
Bill Pagan of Cupar Development Trust says: “Cupar IF is neither in favour of nor against this development.
“Our twin aims are to help Persimmon make this their flagship example of how to bolt a major development on to an existing historic small town, and to guarantee that local views are considered in making Cupar a successful 21st century market town.”
Mr Pagan says CuparNow will be involved in the distribution of information to businesses, encourage more people to become involved in Cupar IF, and will facilitate consultation down the line.
Like Cupar IF, he says CuparNow expresses neither support for, nor opposition to, Cupar North being developed.
He adds: “Cupar IF is keen to involve more local people and organisations and would like to encourage interested parties to get in touch.
“The Covid pandemic has encouraged local residents to look afresh at the town and the many opportunities it offers for walking and cycling.
“Cupar IF supports ‘active travel’, and the ‘20-minute town’, and hopes that the developers will extend these opportunities to the future residents of Cupar North, so that they have easy access to Cupar’s town centre, and feel engaged with the town – they will eventually form a substantial proportion of Cupar’s population.”
Opposition to plans
In March, Cupar Community Council was given an update on the proposals for 1400 homes by Euan McLaughlin, development planner at Persimmon.
Progression of the plans, mooted for decades, have stalled in recent years, but, in the meeting, Mr McLaughlin set out a new timetable and said they were to be “resurrected”.
While most of the comments after the update were positive, Cupar Community Council chair Gina Logan noted that, responding to two previous consultations, around 90% of Cupar residents said they were against the plans.
She also mentioned that more than 500 letters of objection had been submitted to the plans.
“I don’t know if Persimmon has been made aware of this,” she said, “but it is important that the views of the people of Cupar are taken into account,” she said.
Mr McLaughlin responded: “We’ll try and work with the community to create a better masterplan.”