Planning conditions approved for Halbeath Retail Park expansion

A massive expansion of Halbeath Retail Park in Dunfermline has taken another step forward after Fife councillors rubber-stamped conditions attached to planning consent.

More than 200 jobs will be created if proposals for the development are followed through by applicants Royal London Asset Management, having been granted planning permission back in February.

Members of west Fife’s planning committee went against professional advice two months ago to approve the blueprint for nine new units, which include a Lidl supermarket and M&S Foodhall, and the same committee has now agreed a list of detailed conditions which will help shape the development.

The plans are still subject to the signing of a legal agreement to secure a contribution of just over £700,000 from the applicant for what has been deemed “strategic transport interventions”, although the exact terms of that deal have not yet been finalised.

There had previously been some debate about whether access to land to complete the much-mooted northern distributor route — taking traffic away from the town centre — could be a requirement of any planning permission, but officers have revealed that the approach would not be acceptable as a planning condition.

In addition to that, since the initial planning consent was given, councillors heard that the applicants have queried two conditions placed upon them — namely over the timings of commercial deliveries to some of the retail units, and car parking.

However, council officers reassured committee members that those problems were likely to be ironed out as discussions over finer details proceed.

Planner William Shand had revealed that the applicants had taken issue with a condition aimed at stopping commercial deliveries to or dispatched from any of the class one retail units on Sundays or bank holidays, and outside the hours of 7am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, unless otherwise agreed in writing.

However, Mr Shand said planners were content to keep the condition given the potential impact on residents living nearby.

The applicants had also questioned a condition stating that all 377 parking spaces must be provided prior to the opening of the first unit, suggesting that a phased approach might be considered.

But Mr Shand said it had been “difficult to know how” the car parking could be phased in such a way following talks with the council’s transportation service, and said the condition would remain as is.

The plans should see a mixture of shops, including a takeaway and drive through facility, created on site.