THE long-running saga over housebuilding at Spencerfield is drawing to a close with permission for 295 homes rubber-stamped last week.

Taylor Wimpey spent years trying to gain approval to develop fields on the edge of Inverkeithing and detailed planning consent has now been granted by Fife Council.

Objectors fought it every step of the way, however – and this could act as a possible warning to Aberdour residents who were pleased that housing plans were refused at the same meeting – the developer wouldn’t take no for an answer.

They’ve now got their way and Pauline Mills, land and planning director for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, said: “We are delighted that the west planning committee approved the application for our Spencerfield, Inverkeithing development.

“Our detailed proposal will deliver 295 new homes, of which 25 per cent will be affordable, allowing us to make sure there will be a wide mix of styles to appeal to a range of buyers, as well as a range of tenures.

“Our development will also provide a range of economic benefits for the local area, including the creation of several hundred new jobs, and it will attract new customers to local businesses.

“In line with our legal agreement with Fife Council, we will also make contributions towards a fund for wider strategic transportation improvements, as well as local traffic improvements and upgrades necessitated by our development.

“We will now work towards finalising our other technical consents and will advise the local community on our anticipated date for starting the development shortly.”

The Spencerfield site is just over 15 hectares of farmland on the east of Inverkeithing, off Hillend Road, and a legal agreement has been reached where Taylor Wimpey will pay the council more than £580,000.

The ‘strategic transport contribution’ of £399,600 and ‘road works contribution’ of £184,000 will go towards relocating speed limit signs, a new toucan crossing at Hillend Road, new bus stops and shelters, upgrading traffic lights at the A921/Hillend Road junction and extending the right turn lane on the A921.

The plans also include a sustainable drainage system, two access roads from Hillend Road, footpaths, landscaping, three play areas and three large areas of open space.

Taylor Wimpey first submitted proposals in 2012 for Spencerfield but the site was not included in the local development plan – the council’s blueprint for what can be built and where.

A Save Spencerfield group was started and the council refused permission consistently, with plans for 450 homes rejected in 2013.

The company persisted, arguing that it would be good for Inverkeithing and new homes were needed.

A subsequent appeal was not upheld by the Scottish Government reporter who said the plans would “harm the character of the countryside”.

In 2015, Taylor Wimpey came back with revised plans for 295 homes and councillors refused it, arguing that approval would result in Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay appearing to merge into one settlement.

More than 170 objections were received but this time an appeal proved successful in June 2016.

The Scottish Government reporter overruled the council and granted planning permission and the site was included in FIFEplan as a result.

At that time, Myrna Venters, of Take A Pride in Inverkeithing, said: “People’s voices were not heard or considered. It’s sad that one unelected individual has the right to override people’s opinions because of what they think is right.”