Cupar North – Consultation Feedback

New Chair of Cupar Development Trust, Tony Miklinski, has written to Fife Council’s Strategic Development Manager, Planning Services, sharing feedback resulting from the extensive comments from local residents, businesses and community stakeholders that the Trust collated through 2023 as part of their consultation process for a Community Action Plan and Local Place Plan. They have published on their own site and we are happy to share via our Blog to help spread wider public awareness and engagement …

Reference: 15/04279/EIA Cupar North proposed Development

“I write, as the new Chair of Cupar Development Trust (CDT), to comment on the above application for the development at Cupar North.

As a recognised Community-Controlled Body under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, we are mandated to support the growth of a successful and sustainable community within Cupar Ward boundaries, and have conducted extensive[1], recent public consultations as part of the development of our Community Action Plan (CAP) and Local Place Plan (LPP). 

Both consultations attracted extensive comment on the Cupar North planning application, and the results are detailed below for your consideration and action. 

I stress that CDT adopts a neutral position regarding planning approval, but if the development is to proceed, then we would wish to see these community views incorporated.

Delay:  There is strong public consensus that Cupar North has been delayed for too long, stifling alternative housing and economic development within the area.  The application needs to be settled, urgently, for the community to thrive and grow.  We really need to move this on.

Housing:  CDT supports the commitment to 20% of the dwellings being affordable. Our CAP showed a lack of smaller, lower council tax band properties in the wider area and Cupar town. This is preventing those on lower incomes from accessing suitable housing in Cupar. We urge the developers to make a large proportion of the new properties 1- and 2-bedroom units. Local residents are concerned that the development could lack character if the same design and colour scheme is repeated across the entire development. Design and palette should echo the existing Cupar settlement and avoid the impression that Cupar North is “bolted on”.  There is a compelling case for more bungalows and disability adapted properties within the new development; there are very few in Cupar town and demand is outstripping supply, meaning elderly and disabled residents’ needs are unaddressed. Whilst we welcome the additional communal green spaces in the new plans, we seek assurances that the garden spaces for the new dwellings will meet current minimum guidelines.  Local residents feel that new dwellings should have PV provision to reduce rural fuel poverty and to comply with climate mitigation recommendations. EV charging spaces, both within residential dwellings and within any communal parking areas should also be a high priority. EV charging facilities should be available at the proposed new petrol station.  We also welcome the lowering of the height of the higher 2 story properties and the planting of additional tree cover to reduce the visual impact of the proposed new development.

Primary School:   The allocated site must be large enough to cope with projected future pupil numbers. We support the proposal that Fife Council will undertake a review of school provision requirements on completion of the 350th and 450th home, which will determine the size and scale of the new primary school. We assume that the capacity of Bell Baxter High School has also been reviewed to ensure it can absorb the predicted intake increase from the development. In terms of the financial assistance given by the developers to local schools, we would like all local schools to benefit from financial assistance from the developers, including, in particular, special education schools.

Commercial and employment land:  CDT welcomes the increase in employment area to 8 hectares on the new plan. We support a broad range of possible employment/retail opportunities on the proposed development and note the developer’s suggestions as to the type of retail and business provision. Our LPP consultations revealed a lack of hotel space locally, so we would support a new budget hotel in the area. However, whilst we support some retail within the proposed new development (e.g. convenience grocery stores), we feel there should be limited recreational retail (e.g. restaurants) allowed within the proposed development to encourage the use of existing recreational facilities in Cupar town centre (which will also serve to promote community cohesion).  It is vital that existing businesses within Cupar town centre feel the benefit of the expanded population.  Cupar town centre should be the focus and hub of the development and the centre for retail services, and travel routes should reflect that.

We re-iterate the point made to Head of Business and Employability, Gordon Mole, recently, that the community urgently needs more serviced business and manufacturing sites to become available. We are witnessing interested businesses being directed to other areas in Fife due to lack of available serviced land. This is a serious shortfall that Cupar North needs to address.  We advocate ringfencing unallocated land for future commercial and industrial purposes. We also note the re-siting of the roundabout at the east end of the proposed new development.  This potentially impacts on access to the Prestonhall East site (as featured in the current LDP).  The Prestonhall East site offers potential for larger businesses, particularly those in manufacturing and industry where noise and traffic constraints will prevent their siting in the proposed new development, and it must be a priority to allow access to this site as soon as possible. 

Recycling facilities:  It is disappointing that there is no land allocated on the revised plans for recycling facilities. There have been repeated calls for a new recycling centre in Cupar with a larger range of recycling options, an onsite re-use facility and full-time public access. Additional housing will put further pressure on the small existing site. We are aware that funding for a new recycling centre has been allocated by Fife Council, and after consideration of the site options available, our forthcoming LPP proposes that the new recycling centre and re-use facility should be located at the Prestonhall East site. As discussed above, the re-siting of the roundabout at the east of the proposed development would restrict access to the Prestonhall East site. We urge, therefore, that you coordinate with fellow Council Officers and determine whether land for a recycle centre should be allocated in the Cupar North proposal or, whether that should be facilitated at Prestonhall East.  An early decision is needed.

Relief road:  CDT supports the construction of the relief road in the early phases of the proposed development and do not wish to see any step back from the predicted finish date of 2031. We trust that you will oversee the implementation of a suitable Traffic Management Plan to minimise disruption and inconvenience to local residents, with an emphasis on safety and acceptable air quality.

Roundabout at Cupar Trading Estate (east end of the development):  As mentioned above, the relocation of the roundabout at the eastern edge of the proposed development will now lead to questions about how the present Cupar Trading Estate and the Prestonhall East site will be accessed. We note the suggestion of direct access to these sites from the A91 at Ferniehall cottages. We view the access to the trading estate and Prestonhall East as a matter of the highest priority and access points must be clarified to allow much needed future development to take place. We now seek a firm commitment from Fife Council to open up access to employment and commercial land at the east end of Cupar to support business growth and employment opportunities in the area.  The plans show that the roundabout on the western edge of the proposed new development has been relocated to serve the new Gilliesfaulds development. This removes the possibility of developing land at the western approach to Cupar for business use.

Active travel routes:  We welcome proposals for active travel routes along Kinloss Drive, Bishopgate, Bank Street and St Mary’s Road as a means to allow safe, active travel options and to assist with integration with the present Cupar town centre. These routes should be segregated from vehicular traffic wherever possible to allow safe passage for children. The revised plans still lack a suitable active travel route running from west to east, and this should be addressed. CDT also note from our public consultation exercises that the community have repeatedly called for a connecting route from the Elmwood SRUC site to the proposed new development, as a means to access Bell Baxter High School, the sports centre and the southern reaches of the existing town. We urge you to ensure that this connecting route to Elmwood is incorporated into the plans.

Land allocated for future healthcare facilities:  Please note that our CAP consultation responses mentioned extreme difficulties in accessing NHS dentistry services in our area.

Land allocated for community allotments:  We support this. There have been calls for additional allotment space during our LPP consultation.

Green spaces:  We support the new plans that allow for an even distribution of parks and enhanced green open spaces throughout the proposed new development, with a larger area than on previous plans. We also welcome the provision of playparks and outdoor play spaces for children and families.

Recreation and community centres:  CDT notes that these have been removed from the new plans in favour of more green spaces and open recreation ground. We support this decision as the existing facilities in Cupar town centre would benefit from additional footfall, which will help to ensure their financial sustainability.

Visual impacts:  We note from the LVIA that there are predicted to be severe visual impacts for several properties surrounding the new development and for the wider area, and would encourage the use of appropriate tree planting options as a method to limit the visual impact of the new development.

Flooding:  Fife Council will be aware of the serious flooding issues that continue to plague the eastern end of the proposed new development site (including the Cupar Trading Estate and residences in that locale). With frequent and intense, heavy rainfall, water cascades off the hills to the north of the A91 (within the boundary of the site of the proposed new development) and routinely floods the road and the Trading Estate. We seek assurances that you will examine whether the re-siting of the relief road and the roundabout at the east end of the development will exacerbate the flooding. We also seek assurance that suitable and sufficient mitigation measures are put in place to remediate both current and any elevated risk of future flooding in this area. It is the community view that SUDS will be overwhelmed by these new weather patterns, and more robust measures will be required.

SUDS drainage ponds:  CDT is concerned that no plans for maintenance and cleaning of the SUDS and culverts has been suggested by the developers. There must be a suitable maintenance plan in place for these as the increased intensity of rainfall has resulted in blockages in existing culverts and has exacerbated recent flooding events in Cupar town. SUDS and road culverts of the proposed relief road will not function if they are allowed to block.

CDT have an overall concern about the use of 1:200 flooding event models (with climate change upshift). Recent events have shown that Cupar town may suffer from increased instances of high intensity rainfall events and consequent flash flooding.  We are also concerned that the Flood Report states that the proposed development will cause a loss of floodplain in eastern areas in order to create the road embankment, and recommends compensatory storage elsewhere. We seek assurances that some of the proposed compensatory storage locations (such as possible flooding of sports pitches and the mention of an area close to Kilmaron school) will be fully discussed with the local community. We also seek assurances that flood risk will be fully investigated and mitigated in line with NPF4 guidelines.

Sewerage:  CDT notes that the EIA suggests that the existing sewage system has insufficient capacity for the proposed new development and that an upgraded system would be required. We would welcome an upgrade to the existing provision as a means of addressing existing flooding issues, some of which are felt to be caused by the existing drainage system. When linked with the flooding risk, we feel this is an area of significant concern that should be addressed before proceeding.”


[1] Including consultations in support of Monimail Community Council Local Place Plan.


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