Aberdour housing scheme appeal to go before Scottish Government appeals division

Aberdour housing scheme appeal to go before Scottish Government appeals division

The Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) is rethinking a controversial proposal for a housing development in Aberdour.

The owners of Hillside School are seeking to secure permission to build 125 new homes at the site off Main Street in Aberdour, which they say would fund the construction of a fit-for-purpose newbuild school on an adjacent field.

In December, a reporter from the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) said the scheme, which had been rejected by Fife councillors, was set to be approved at appeal.

However, the Scottish Government has recently altered its planning policy, including in relation to sustainable development and housing land supply, and is inviting further submissions from school owner Anne Harvey, Aberdour Community Council and local MSPs.

Annabelle Ewing, SNP MSP for Cowdenbeath, said: “Given the revisions of Scottish planning policy, published by the Scottish Government, it is absolutely right that the reporter look further at this application.

“It seems to be to be self-evident that the proposal does not contribute to sustainable development and the reporter’s decision in initially granting the appeal was based on the mistaken consideration of a housing shortfall which does not exist.”

“This is a controversial application and I welcome the invitation issued by the reporter to those who had taken the trouble to make an initial submission to the appeal process.”

Ms Ewing said it is rare for planning appeals to be revisited, The Courier reports.

She added: “Such an invitation from a reporter in circumstances like this is not at all common and may well reflect the pressure Aberdour Community Council, the local community and local councillors have brought to bear together with my consistent interventions to oppose a development that we feel is unnecessary and unsuitable.”

At the same time, she said it was “not clear” if Scottish ministers had been “properly notified” of an objection from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, who stated that the development had the potential to place buildings and residents at risk of flood.

Ms Ewing said: “All in all, I have strongly suggested to the reporter that he should now refuse the appeal.”

The Scottish Government has amended its planning policy so that it “more clearly supports sustainable development”.

A need for a “single methodology for calculating the 5 year land supply” was also identified, with the aim of making the planning system more consistent.

The DPEA said: “As no final decision has been taken in respect of this appeal, it is necessary for the reporter to seek views from parties as to the relevance of the recent Scottish planning policy changes to the appeal proposal.”

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