Housing plans pass first stage
Phase One of a controversial housing development which it is feared could double the size of Leuchars has been given the nod. Bett Homes and Ogilvie Homes were given the go-ahead in principle to create 125 houses and employment facilities at Dovecot Field/Henderson Meadow, north-west of the village.
The building firms have already indicated that the residential development would be part of a much larger scheme.
Leuchars Community Council warned that the additional houses would put pressure on local services, including the primary school and water supply, and cause congestion and road safety issues.
Fifteen letters of objection were penned but there was also the view that the properties -- 38 of them to be affordable housig -- would help address the area's housing shortage.
Councillor Tim Brett acknowledged there was a great deal of local concern as he proposed outline planning consent be granted, but added, "We are all aware of the need for housing, particularly affordable housing, and this would bring a significant number."
If the detailed plans are approved, a roundabout would be created on the A919 to access the houses on Dovecot Field, which is currently in agricultural use.
While there were predictions of traffic gridlock and a threat to road safety due to the increase in vehicle numbers, council transportation officers said the roundabout, instead of two T-junctions as origionally proposed, would improve safety and calm traffic entering the village.
Worries were also expressed about the A-listed Castle Knowe dovecot in Dovecot field and the adjacent Leuchars Castle, which is designated a scheduled ancient monument.
Historic Scotland said the development avoided the castle but recommended detailed plans should consider the conservation and management of the dovecot and promote pedestrian access to it.
Councillors were told there was a predicted housing shortfall over the next 20 years of 3150 units in the St Andrews housing market area, within which Leuchars sits.
They were also told a financial contribution from the developers of £281,250 would be made for local secondary school, Madras College.
Due to the proximity to RAF Leuchars, questions were raised about the noise levels future residents would experience from aircraft.
The site was accessed in July 2004 by the Ministry of Defense as falling within the 66 to 72 decibel range and as such protection measures would be needed.
A further acoustic survey is to be carried out by the developers to access what mitigation is necessary.
The MoD, however, raised no objections about a fuel pipeline which runs under the site.
In his report to the committee, development services lead officer Chris Smith said the development was compatible with its surroundings and considered acceptable in terms of its affordable housing provision, density and amenity ground provision.
"The scheme could also be designed to complement the landscape character and adjacent urban street scene, whilst protecting and enhancing the onsite listed building and the visual relationship with the adjacent scheduled ancient monument."
source: The Courier and Advertiser,
Friday, February 1, 2008
by Cheryl Wood