Plans to build a new Lidl supermarket in Rosyth are hanging in the balance due to a row over a replacement football pitch.
Fife Council granted permission for a food store, which will create around 35 new jobs, at the former Yard Public House site in Admiralty Road in 2018.
Under the initial planning approval the applicant, Mactaggart and Mickel, is required to replace the football pitch at the site – used by Rosyth Juniors – with a new facility at the Fleet Grounds.
However, the applicant had applied to have that planning condition scrapped claiming that plans to use that land for the site of the replacement of Inverkeithing High School prevent a new pitch from being built there.
Instead, Mactaggart and Mickel had offered to provide funding for alternative plans either at the site or elsewhere.
However, councillors at Wednesday’s Central and West Planning Committee threw out the developer’s proposal after it was deemed unreasonable by planning officers after it was confirmed that the shortfall in funding to provide a pitch would amount to around £350,000.
Planning officer Katherine Pollock said the monetary offer fell below what would be needed to provide a replacement facility adding that Sportscotland, when consulted, had also raised concerns over the funding shortfall.
She added: “It would be unreasonable for the Council to accept a sum less than that required to deliver a replacement pitch.
“The deletion of the condition would not be acceptable as it would leave no enforceable mechanism in which to ensure the required football pitch and associated facilities are delivered in advance of work commencing on the retail store.”
A number of councillors said they feared it would be the football club that would end up losing out.
“I fear that it’ll be Rosyth Football Club that are the losers in all this and that they will end up with nothing,” said Councillor Andrew Verrecchia.
Craig Ormond, director at Mactaggart and Mickel, said: “We have been working with Lidl and Fife Council for some time to agree a way forward for the Admiralty Road site, which provides a new supermarket, jobs and unlocks improved facilities for Rosyth FC.
“Earlier plans to provide a replacement pitch for the club have been affected by uncertainty around the future of the site at the Fleet Grounds, which is earmarked for the potential replacement to Inverkeithing High School.
“This is why we are committing to provide Fife Council with a £175,000 contribution towards the cost of a replacement football pitch for Rosyth FC.
“The financial contribution could be used to construct a new pitch in the future or immediately used to upgrade the current artificial pitch and changing pavilion at Fleet Grounds to meet the specific needs of Rosyth Juniors.
The developer has until April 2021 to find a solution to the pitch provision before the original planning permission lapses.