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‘Save Kilrenny’: East Neuk wedding venue plans ‘will destroy our lives’

Bill Praties, Margaret Townsend and Ann Thomson are against the Kilrenny wedding venue plan
Bill Praties, Margaret Townsend and Ann Thomson are among those opposed to the plans. Image: Steve Brown / DC Thomson.

Almost every resident of a Fife hamlet has joined a campaign to stop plans for a wedding venue amid fears it will destroy their way of life.

‘Save Kilrenny’ signs have been posted around the tiny community, between Anstruther and Crail.

The peaceful conservation village has just 76 houses and there are no shops, cafes or pubs.

‘Save Kilrenny’ signs have appeared in the village since the application was lodged. Picture Steve Brown/DCTMedia.

And a planning application to transform a disused farm steading into a venue for up to 150 guests has provoked outrage.

Almost 190 people have signed a petition against the move by farmers JM Marshall and Son.

The owners say the C-listed building at Rennyhill Farm is no longer suitable for farm use.

And they believe its conversion will bring much-needed employment to the area.

However, residents worry they will be subjected to unbearable noise every weekend.

And they insist Kilrenny’s narrow roads won’t cope with wedding traffic.

‘It will be hell on earth’

One of those with concerns is Margaret Townsend, whose home is just 50 feet from the barn.

She said: “It’s devastating. I feel sick every time I think about it.”

Like others in the East Neuk village, Margaret received written notice of the planning application on April 23.

The proposed Kilrenny wedding venue is 50 feet from Margaret's house.
Margaret Townsend in her garden, with the barn on the other side of the fence. Picture Steve Brown/DCTMedia.

“My stomach lurched when I opened it and I had to sit down,” she said.

“It came completely out of the blue.

“I live very close to the farm building with my husband, who has dementia.

“We thought the peace and tranquillity Kilrenny offers would help us lead the quiet life he needs.”

Margaret said the effect of a noisy venue next door doesn’t bear thinking about.

“I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say I believe, if this is approved, it will devastate our life here in Kilrenny,” she said.

“My husband won’t be able to cope with the disruption it will bring. It will be hell on earth.”

‘It will destroy our way of life’

Margaret is one of 80 members of the Save Kilrenny Residents’ Group.

Fellow member Bill Praties said: “It’s going to destroy our way of life.

“This is a conservation area and we moved here for peace and quiet. This will destroy the peace.”

Aside from the noise of music and guests, Bill is worried about traffic.

Bill, Margaret and Ann say their lives will be destroyed if the Kilrenny wedding venue goes ahead. Picture Steve Brown/DCTMedia.

“The Marshalls say many of the people will come by bus but the road from the north is single track so it’s impossible to come that way.

“The only other way is through the village and past the church.

“We’ll have buses and cars trying to turn in the road and coming against other vehicles on blind bends.

“We’re a tight, close group in Kilrenny and this is having a devastating impact.

“We’re not against wedding venues but putting one right next to houses is unthinkable.”

Another resident, Ann Thomson, added: “A wedding is just one day in two people’s lives but it will be every day, or every week, in our lives.

“They say it will be once a week but they won’t turn down bookings.

“It could end up every night.”

Others living nearby include a 90-year-old man who cares for his wife and families with young children.

The villagers have the support of Kilrenny, Anstruther and Cellardyke Community Council, which has lodged one of 76 official objections to the planning application.

Kilrenny wedding venue will create ‘much-needed rural employment’

However, the Marshalls say their proposal will see the steading brought back to a condition more suited to a conservation area.

They anticipate one wedding per week between April and September, operating between noon and midnight.

And they have included both sound proofing and traffic management plans with their application.

The Kilrenny wedding venue as seen from Margaret's bedroom window.
A view of the proposed Kilrenny wedding venue from Margaret’s bedroom window. Picture Steve Brown/DCTMedia.

A statement submitted to Fife Council’s planning department says they are investing in a proven business model and similar venues in the East Neuk have lengthy bookings.

They plan to hire local contractors to complete and maintain the conversion.

And they add: “The completed venue buildings will create much-needed permanent and ongoing rural employment in the area as well as for events organisers, caterers, cleaners and landscape maintenance.

Any increased volume will not have a continuous effect on the area.”

JM Marshall and Son.

“In order to keep the scale of the development at an appropriate size, the capacity for the venue has been limited to 150 guests.

“The smaller capacity will also keep any potential increase in traffic to a minimum.”

The Marshalls intend to create parking spaces for 40 cars and two coaches and say traffic will only increase just before and just after each event.

“Events are more commonly held at weekends and, as such, any increased volume will not have a continuous effect on the area,” they said.

And they added that they are taking several measures to ensure noise transmission is reduced.