A bank machine which caused a kerfuffle in a Kirkcaldy conservation area will soon have to be withdrawn after retrospective planning permission was knocked back.
Members of Fife’s central area planning committee have decided that the number is up for the controversial ATM, which was installed in the shop front of The Cake Corner Patisserie in the High Street earlier this year.
Applicant Jan Clark had argued that the B-listed building and shop front were of “very limited significance” and that the ATM was “not out of scale or proportion” with the building as a whole.
However, after the matter was discussed at committee, councillors voted 7-5 to refuse consent — meaning council officials will now take enforcement action to remove the device.
The ATM is sited on the ground floor of a four-storey tenement on the High Street, and is included within the designated Abbotshall and Central Kirkcaldy Conservation Area.
The machine itself was installed through the existing glazing to the front of The Cake Corner, although the ATM surround, signage and illumination all created a stir among locals.
Council officials recommended refusal of the retrospective application, suggesting that it would “not protect or enhance the character and appearance” of the 19th century listed building, and committee members narrowly agreed.
The issue did spark a lively debate about whether or not the presence of an ATM would make any difference to an area of the High Street in need of additional footfall.
“We’re here to have consistency in terms of planning applications,” said Fife Council co-leader David Alexander, who moved refusal.
“If you don’t like the conservation area, remove it, but at the moment our experts are saying that this is in breach of guidelines.”
Mr Alexander’s motion was seconded by Leven, Kennoway and Largo Conservative councillor Graham Ritchie, who added: “There is merit in preserving this type of shop front because we’ve lost these things in the past.
“Once they are lost then it’s just about impossible to replace them.”
However, SNP Glenrothes Central and Thornton councillor Ross Vettraino was one of the elected members who pointed out that the building had changed use and occupancy numerous times over the decades — and even harked back to the famous Green Cockatoo tearoom and restaurant which was a huge draw in the area in the mid-20th century.
“We must respect the reasons for wanting to preserve and conserve areas of our towns and villages, but I’m at a loss to understand what there is about that building to be conserved,” he explained.
“The glazing is floor to ceiling and that’s characteristic of many modern buildings these days.
“I really do not see that this ATM is prejudicing the historic characteristics of this building at all.”
And Labour councillor Jan Wincott, who represents Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch, said she barely noticed the ATM’s presence, adding: “The High Street needs all the help it can get.”
There had been some suggestions that the ATM could be located around the corner in a less prominent position, although talks with the applicant failed to find a resolution on that score.