The developers behind a controversial housing proposal in Aberdour have criticised objectors for making “sweeping, damming statements.”
Felsham Planning and Development, who are taking forward Hillside School’s plans for 125 new homes at its Main Street site, made scathing comments about those who had put their names to a circular letter, stating they “cannot be experts”.
A total of 460 objections have been lodged in response to the plans, with more than half including the circulated template.
Aberdour Community Council adopted a more conciliatory tone and said it was keen to work with Felsham.
But the community council questioned the developer’s assertion that 70 houses at the site had already been agreed.
Felsham director Philip Neaves said: “The objectors have to be satisfied that their sweeping damning statements are well-founded, which they are not.
“If some sensible attempt at a balanced view had been more reasonably worded, we could have agreed the obvious in that, however sympathetically designed, any housing development will have some impact.
“However, simply as one example, it is demonstrably not the case that there will be a devastating impact because much of the development is already allowed in the local plan.
“The impact will be the difference between 125 dwellings and the already permitted 70 dwellings.
“The people who have made these claims, and have encouraged others to sign up to them, cannot be experts given they are in no position to substantiate the statements they have made.”
Felsham said the new homes would help Fife Council address its housing supply shortfall.
Iain Fleming, who chairs Aberdour Community Council, said the 400-plus objections lodged were valid.
He said: “We understand and support the school’s desire to modernise and look to work with them as part of the village or on any possible approved developments.
“However, with such widespread objection perhaps the choice and approach of the developer may have been misjudged.
“Action in the village was not led by lobbyists or organisations, but by concerned residents.
“Over 70 people brought the matter to the last community council meeting where it was agreed that with such as large objection we would support these views in also objecting to the proposal.
“Assertion that 70 dwellings are already agreed is wrong. Potential for up to 70 units, not houses, with employment, on the current footprint of the school is a contingency should it cease operation, not a 55 hectare development of 125 executive units, which is already rejected in FIFEplan.”