CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 44 homes in Dalgety Bay have been refused after developers failed to show that noise levels of surrounding businesses would not affect potential residents.

Inverkeithing’s Muir Homes, who had previously been embroiled in a spying row at the site, wanted to erect the properties on the Donibristle Industrial Estate at Fulmar Road.

A previous application was refused in 2015 but fresh plans were approved in February last year, on the condition they could show that future homeowners wouldn’t be subjected to an unacceptable amount of noise.

But the assurance was not provided and the application refused by Fife Council.

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor Alice McGarry said that businesses could have been adversely affected if the plans had gone ahead.

“It was very controversially approved, against the recommendation of officers, on the casting vote of the chair of the planning committee at that time,” she explained.

“When approved, they put in conditions that it would have to satisfy environmental services requirements as to the degree of sound mitigation. They could not meet the required standard so the council have not been able to approve it.”

The report by council planners said that householders in the proposed development “would be subjected to significant levels of noise from neighbouring land uses which cannot be practically mitigated against”.

Plans for the site, with Asda to the west, houses to the south and existing industries to the north and east, had attracted objections from two neighbouring firms.

Dyce Carriers and Grant Construction were concerned that noise from their activities would lead to complaints from residents and, potentially, action to restrict their operations. An agent for Dyce had warned that jobs “would be put in jeopardy” if the plan was approved.

Muir Homes had said that a “landscaped acoustic barrier” would be introduced to cut down noise from the industrial estate.

And their planning statement said: “This site represents an excellent opportunity to provide a broad range of necessary family housing within an area already suited to this type of development. The new neighbourhood provides the potential to reinforce the landscape along Fulmar Way and litigate against potential noise.

“There is also an opportunity to further integrate adjacent footpaths and cycleways into the existing settlement and provide pedestrian links to Asda, the railway station and beyond.”

Chair of the west planning committee at the time, Bob Young, had said new residents would have no grounds for complaint, and added: “If you move into a flat above a pub you can’t then complain about noise from the pub. It would be different if it was the other way round, and the businesses were coming after the houses, but they’re not.”

The proposals have long proved controversial, with residents in Otterston Grove complaining to the Press in August 2015 that they felt “spied on” after Muir Homes commissioned a private firm to attach surveillance equipment as part of a traffic survey before submitting a fresh application.

Homeowners said they were not notified about the cameras. Muir Homes had said they had been told that the company carrying out the work on their behalf had “undertaken the necessary notifications” required.