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Cupar relief road could be paid for by government advance

Cupar relief road could be built with public money
Cupar relief road could be built with public money

Public money is to be sought for Cupar’s long-mooted relief road, with the town’s expansion forming a key part of the Tay Cities Deal bid.

The Scottish Government is to be asked to pay for the controversial bypass upfront, before being reimbursed by the developers.

A leading critic of the proposed Cupar North expansion, Ceri Williams, said Fife Council had always insisted taxpayers’ cash would not finance the road.

He said: “It would be appalling if government money is used for a half-baked scheme like this.”

The planned construction of 1480 new homes, a new primary school and business and employment infrastructure is one of the key projects for north-east Fife in the Tay Cities Deal to bring £1.84 billion of investment.

North-east Fife councillors were told a similar arrangement was sought as that for Winchburgh in the Edinburgh Cities Deal.

The Scottish Government is to guarantee on a risk-sharing basis with West Lothian to support up to £150 million of infrastructure investment for up to 5,000 new homes.

Fife Council’s senior manager for business and employability, Gordon Mole, said: “The developer would pay for the road but what, effectively, is being proposed here is an advance funding model.

“It’s similar but on a different scale to the proposal for Winchburgh through the Edinburgh Cities Deal.

“What we ask of the Scottish Government is upfront funding to provide the infrastructure for the road that makes the whole scheme viable.

“The developer would be required to repay that money to the Scottish Government as the development occurs.”

The Cupar North Consortium, comprising Headon Developments, Persimmon Homes and Vico Properties Ltd, has applied for planning permission but the scheme attracted around 600 objections.

Mr Williams, a member of the Campaign Against Cupar North, said residents were likely to be angry that the public purse could be delved in to.

He said: “Right from the word go Fife Council has said no public money will be used for this development. Now they are saying ‘we were wrong, it will take public money after all’.

“Why are they talking about a bypass which is not needed yet they are not talking about the sewage infrastructure which will be needed and will take years to complete and would close Cupar down while it is being done?”

Fife’s development plan, FIFEplan, set a requirement that the relief road be built after before occupation of the 600th house, scrapping a previous deadline of five years after the first house was built, potentially setting it back three years.

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