SEPA warns of potential flood risk at proposed Fife housing development
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has joined a list of almost 200 objectors to plans to build 125 new homes on the grounds of a school in Fife.
The Courier has reported that the environment watchdog is warning that some of the properties at Hillside School in Aberdour could be at risk of flooding.
In a letter to Fife Council, SEPA said the objection would be lifted if a flood risk assessment proved the proposal was in accordance with Scottish planning policy.
SEPA planning officer, Diarmuid O’Connor, wrote: “We have reviewed the information provided in this consultation and it is noted that parts of the application site lies within the medium likelihood flood extent of the fluvial and surface water SEPA Flood Map, and may therefore be at medium to high risk of flooding.”
A medium risk was said to be equivalent to a 0.5% chance of flooding over the course of a year, but SEPA said there was insufficient information to properly assess the flood risk.
“We therefore object to this development until a flood risk assessment,” continued the letter.
“We will remove our objection on flood risk grounds if a Flood Risk Assessment demonstrates that the development accords with the principles of Scottish planning policy.”
Currently housed in a 200-year-old building, with extensions built around the 1960s, Hillside School for boys with behavioural problems is in need of modernisation.
Hillside director Anne Harvey hopes the development would fund a new school on land north west of where the existing buildings stand.
The area which currently accommodates the school is a brownfield “housing opportunity” site with an estimated capacity of 70 houses.
But the school owners also want to develop the prominent swathe of land south of the school.
Fife Council has received nearly 200 objections to the proposal, with local residents raising concerns about the scale of the development and the potential impact on wildlife, traffic congestion and local amenities including the local school and medical services.
Aberdour Pier and Harbour Committee fears that construction activities on the banks of the Dour Burn could lead to the watercourse becoming polluted.
The committee highlighted the abundance of wildlife at the harbour, where the burn meets the Forth, including kingfishers, herons, ducks, swans and roe deer.