A controversial Kinross-shire housing plan, which was rejected by councillors and led to angry protests, is poised to secure planning permission.
Milnathort residents have learned Scottish Ministers intend to uphold an appeal by Springfield Properties for 59 houses and eight flats at nearby Pitdownies.
The reporter assigned to the case has published his intention to give the go-ahead to the scheme and he is expected to rubber-stamp the decision in the next few days.
Local councillor Willie Robertson (Liberal Democrat) has fiercely criticised the planning process, while members of Milnathort Community Council have expressed their dismay.
Unless Springfield fails to comply with conditions laid down by reporter David Buylla, the controversial development will go ahead.
“This is an absolute joke and an affront to democracy,” said Mr Robertson.
“We have no comeback on this decision and there are serious concerns about the impact this development will have on local infrastructure, road safety and the water quality of Loch Leven.
“It seems that the views of local people who have to live with this mean absolutely nothing.”
Springfield’s application was unanimously rejected by councillors in February after refusal was recommended by planning officials on the grounds of over-development of the site.
Members of the Pitdownies Action Group say the new development will lead to a surge in traffic problems and put extra strain on local health services and schools.
With another 77 houses currently under construction at nearby Pace Hill, it is claimed the Pitdownies development will result in almost 300 extra cars being forced to use a single access point that is already a notorious bottleneck.
Malcolm Thomson, chairman of Milnathort and Orwell Community Council, said: “We fought tooth and nail against this development and we are bitterly disappointed that the reporter upheld the appeal.
“There is just one point of access for both these new developments and that’s over a narrow bridge originally built for horses and carts.
“While of course we recognise that there is a demand for homes, the location of this development is entirely inappropriate.”
In his findings, Mr Buylla concluded the development would “complement its surroundings” and associated impacts on infrastructure and residential amenity could be successfully addressed.
He said claims about phosphorus discharge into Loch Leven were no reason to withhold planning consent.
“I find that the development would deliver an efficient and attractive solution to a long-standing housing allocation,” he said.
“I am satisfied, overall, that it would be in accordance with the development plan and that there are no material considerations that would justify refusing permission.”