Strathkinness housing scheme should be smaller, say councillors

© DC Thomson
The Strathkinness field where the houses may be built.

Councillors have recommended that a housing development fought by villagers should only be permitted if it is reduced in size.

Avant Homes wants to build 76 houses in Strathkinness but locals claim it will cause overcrowding in their primary school, increase the flood risk and create a serious road safety hazard.

Fife Council’s north east planning committee recommended the number of houses should be reduced to 66, but the decision on whether to grant planning consent rests with the full council.

It is anticipated that the housing scheme would push Strathkinness Primary School just beyond capacity for a year, before projected pupil numbers drop again.

The village’s community council had suggested that construction at Nydie Mains Road be limited to 50 homes, the number suggested in the council’s local development plan.

Councillor Elizabeth Riches argued for the planning application, which would be an overdevelopment for the village, to be rejected.

She said: “I feel we are trying to fit a peg into a square hole.”

If consent is granted the developer will pay for a feasibility study to determine how education capacity could be increased and construction will be phased in an attempt to control the impact on the school.

However, fearing that an influx of families might bring too many pupils for the school to cope with, Mrs Riches said: “Whatever the outcome, the expense would go to Fife Council to provide facilities to educate these children.”

Councillor Bryan Poole wanted to support the planning application with 76 houses.

He said: “I don’t recall anyone arguing to take this out of the local development plan at the time.

“I don’t see what’s changed and I’m not quite sure how a reporter [for the Scottish Government] would view that.”

The community council previously expressed serious concerns about road safety at the High Road crossroads due to the additional traffic and said proposed re-aligning of white lines was not enough to combat this.

It was also worried about pedestrian exits onto busy Bonfield Road and that a rat run will be created through the residential area of Bonfield Park.

However, it declined to comment ahead of the council’s consideration of the application.

A report to councillors by town planner Martin Patrick said the council was satisfied the development would not cause or exacerbate existing flooding issues and that the impact on road safety would be mitigated by a proposed junction upgrade and traffic calming measures.