Victory for residents as Inverkeithing playpark saved

© Tina Norris
Youngsters Eva Goodman, Melissa McIntyre, May Goodman and Jessica Keyte will be able to keep playing at the park on Manse Road, Inverkeithing.

Inverkeithing residents are celebrating after plans to build houses on a popular children’s play area were thrown out.

Kingdom Housing Association had applied for permission to build 16 new homes on land at Manse Road and appealed against West Planning Committee’s decision to reject the proposal.

But a Scottish Government reporter has since upheld the committee’s decision.

Manse Road resident Isla Hopkins, 36, started a petition against the plans which gathered 66 signatures from people living in the vicinity.

Ms Hopkins praised all those who had turned out for the reporter’s visit in March.

“Everyone pulled together to get the message across that we wanted things to stay as they were,” she said.

“The reporter could see people were upset about it. I think everybody’s point of view was taken on board, which was great.”

The decision notice issued by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division acknowledged the need for more affordable housing in the area.

With nearby Fraser Avenue currently under redevelopment, the homes could have accommodated former residents of the street.

But the reporter said the plans involved moving the children’s playpark to a “tucked away” area and parents might be reluctant to allow their children to play in a less visible location than the current facilities.

And he said the development could exacerbate traffic congestion and car parking issues.

Ms Hopkins added: “The play area is so open and safe. When I went to view the house, one of the things I loved about the area was seeing the kids out playing as long as they want.

“Kids used to be out until they got shouted in at night. Not all areas are safe enough for kids to do that.”

West Planning Committee convener Councillor Alice McGarry said: “I am pleased that the reporter agreed with the West Planning Committee that the planning application was contrary to the key provisions of the development plan in regard to the loss of valuable open space and also that the current road congestion problems in Whinny Hill would be exacerbated by the granting of planning permission.

“The loss of 16 houses is regrettable but there are other areas in Inverkeithing, already identified as housing land, which could easily accommodate these houses.”