Plans to turn part of a former Fife quarry into a fishing and leisure attraction have been overturned on appeal to the Scottish Government.
Dunfermline-based developer Eden Muir Limited plans to create the trout fishery just off the A91 at Mountcastle Quarry near Cupar.
It relates to part of the site that was previously used for sand and gravel extraction.
In recent years it has benefited from a comprehensive restoration process, which has included the creation of paths and picnic areas.
The pits have also been flooded to form a series of lochans.
Other areas of Mountcastle remain operational.
Eden Muir’s plans to fill these water bodies with trout and install 19 fishing platforms, a pontoon and a reception building failed to win over councillors – who voted 7-6 against the idea in November.
But that decision has now been overruled by a Scottish Government-appointed reporter, who has given the project the green light.
Why has the decision been overturned?
Objectors had argued that the development would have an adverse effect on wildlife, including geese roosting and foraging at the site.
Reporter CJ Leigh disagreed, saying the “foraging range for geese is over a very wide area”.
He continued: “For similar reasons to the above observations regarding roosting, and this wide foraging range, I concur that there would be minimal impact on foraging.
The conservation objectives for the designated sites would be satisfied
Scottish Government reporter
“I thus consider that the conservation objectives for the designated sites would be satisfied.”
It has also been deemed the development would have little impact on the landscape and character of the area.
And with existing access to the site from the A91 being maintained, it has been ruled the facility will not adversely affect roads infrastructure.
Chris Richie, director of Eden Muir Ltd, says “common sense has finally prevailed.”
He said: “It’s been a long three-and-a-half years to finally get the project approved and we welcome the reporter’s decision.
“This is the first of a number of phases in our creation of Eden Springs Fishery at this former quarry site.
Vow to create new jobs
“I hope that this permission will now act as a catalyst for our plans to develop further to create a country park leisure attraction.
“Not only is it bringing back into use the former industrial site, it will also create new jobs and become a welcome addition to the leisure and tourism industry in the area.”
Mr Richie expects to complete work at the site by March next year.