A MAJOR development of 143 new homes next to Stephen’s head offices in Rosyth has been given the green light by Fife Council.

The west planning committee granted planning permission in principle for land located to the north of Primrose Lane Industrial Estate, which will also be used for an extension to the existing bakery (pictured).

However, there were concerns with Rosyth councillor Andrew Verrecchia telling the Press: “I say this every meeting, my concern is that we are approving more and more plans like this and there has to be infrastructure there that can deal with the incoming people coming to live here.”

Councillors on the committee decided that financial contributions will need to be made by the applicant, Edinburgh firm J. Smart & Co, for additional secondary school capacity and to contribute towards the £883,000 cost of two extra classrooms at Camdean Primary School.

Affordable housing will be required as well as a public art contribution. The firm expect to start building in 2021, with an annual house completion rate of 30 homes each year over five years.

The 17 hectares of land is within the site of the second battle of Inverkeithing, but Historic Environment Scotland stated that the development proposal would not have a significant impact on the overall character of the battlefield. However, concerns were raised at the committee about the lack of health care services.

Convener Alice McGarry said: “We also know it’s not the difficulty of getting the actual building in place, it’s that we’ve not been able to recruit GPs for love nor money.”

Seven objections and one letter of support were received. Concerns included; traffic volumes and pressure on transport links, as well as capacity problems at schools and doctors surgeries.

Some objectors argued there was no business case for the development as houses were not being sold and business units were lying empty in Rosyth.

Cllr Verrecchia, a member of the committee, was unable to attend last Wednesday but he said: “High school provision is a hot topic but so is health care, especially when we do not have out-of-hours care at Queen Margaret.

“I have openly questioned this but we are not obliged to turn down plans for this reason (capacity at GP surgeries) – they say it’s a matter for the health authority.

“I find it deeply infuriating. Hopefully we will get it sorted out with this new planning bill as sometimes you ask yourself what’s the point.

“Like in Aberdour we reject it but they appeal – that questions local accountability. It is a worry.”

Councillor Tony Orton added: “For several years now the amount of building that is going on has not taken into account properly the provision of education and health care.

“Education seems to look after itself as we can get contributions for it.

“For health centres it’s different, there is no statutory requirement for builders to include a health centre in the plans. In the Broomhall development they have left room but it’s up for a doctor to come along and say we will build.

“Health care and education are not keeping pace with the number of houses being built.”

A more detailed application will still need to be submitted but will not come back to committee unless it receives more than five objections.