Plans to build 60 new homes in a Fife coastal community on land deemed a flood risk by locals have been given the go-ahead by Fife Council.
The development at Motray Park in Guardbridge was approved by members of the North East Fife planning committee despite concerns from some local residents about the site’s proximity to the River Eden and a local reservoir.
Planning permission has been granted in principle for a 2.4 hectare site close the banks of the Motray Water leading to the River Eden in the north east of the town.
Preparations will include the demolition of a former pavilion building which has lain disused for a number of years.
Applicant, John Mchale’s proposal is the fourth planning application to be granted for Motray Park following permissions for various developments in 2005, 2012 and 2014 which were either later withdrawn allowed to lapse.
Concerns were raised amout the potential for harm to both the Motray Water and Eden Estuary Special Protection Area, which is a designated site of specific scientific interest, but planning officers determined the new development would have no direct impact.
Planning officer William Shand, in his report to councillors, said: “Although the site is located adjacent to the Motray Water and a former reservoir, it is not at any significant flood risk.
“The site sits significantly higher than these water bodies with the bank to the north being the likely flood plain.”
Neither Scottish Water nor the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) deemed the site not to be at risk of flooding.
The plans were recommended for conditional approval by planning officers and given the go-ahead by councillors.
However, a technical failure, which meant the committee meeting could not be live streamed to the public resulted in two members, Bill Porteous (Lib Dem) and Linda Holt (independent), walking out of the meeting claiming it to be “undemocratic” after their calls to have it re-scheduled to allow the public the right to watch were ruled out.
Ms Holt said allowing the meating to continue without public access was “disappointing”.
She added: “There is already considerable public distrust in the planning process at Fife Council, councillors choosing to conduct their decision-making behind closed doors which deliberately exclude scrutiny from press and public will only damage that trust further.”