Developers and council criticised for no show at Cupar North meeting

© David Wardle
Councillor Bryan Poole opened the meeting.

Fife Council and developers have been criticised for their absence at a meeting to discuss the controversial Cupar North development.

By the start of the meeting in the town’s Corn Exchange, more than 100 people had turned up to make their views known about plans to create a northern expansion with at least 1,400 new homes.

Opening the meeting, which was hosted by Cupar Community Council, Councillor Bryan Poole said: “Since the birth of Cupar North it has been difficult to get any meaningful engagement with the developer or Fife Council and I note that neither have come along today.”

Mr Poole said council officers had offered their apologies ahead of the meeting.

He went on to say there was a question mark over how infrastructure including a new relief road and school would be funded.

“The total cost is around £35 million,” he said.

“This was originally supposed to be funded by the developers and is now supposed to be funded by the council.

“Frankly, given the financial situation faced by Fife Council and the public sector in general, this is pie in the sky.”

In line with a recommendation from Scottish Government reporters, Fife councillors voted to keep the Cupar North proposal within the FIFEplan development strategy.

Council officers had said the local authority would be open to legal challenge if the proposal had been blocked.

An application for planning permission in principal has been submitted for the site by the Cupar North Consortium, which includes Persimmon Homes.

In agreement with the consortium, the council was granted an extension until June 16 to consider the proposal. This was because of delays to the FIFEplan.

Residents have raised concerns over when a new road and school will be built, with the developers not required to start on a bypass until 600 homes are complete.

North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie and Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser turned up to field questions from the public.

Mr Rennie said: “The number of people here shows the degree of anxiety there is about such a large development.

“It will significantly change the nature and character of this ancient town.

“There are a huge number of unanswered questions around transportation, education and health services.”

Mr Fraser added: “I think what’s very clear from the attendance this morning is the level of public concern about the Cupar North development.

“I will certainly be looking to do what I can to ensure that the planners at Fife Council ensure the phasing of any development is such that the necessary infrastructure is delivered.”