A REGIONAL plan that would have slashed the number of houses to be built in West Fife “no longer exists”.

And the decision by Scottish ministers to reject the new South East Scotland Plan (SESplan 2), which included a major revision to the homes needed in the Kingdom, won’t be challenged in the courts.

It’s a blow to campaigners who used the impending legislation to back their argument that so many new homes, in places like Broomhall, Halbeath, Aberdour and Crossford, weren’t required.

At a recent meeting of the full Fife Council, Councillor John Beare said the rejection of SESplan 2 was “an unprecedented decision” and added: “The SESplan Joint Committee agreed on June 24 not to challenge the Scottish ministers’ decision to reject SESplan 2 through a judicial review.

“The six constituent authorities are considering the way forward in respect of a City Region strategy.”

Dunfermline and West Fife was identified as a “key growth area” in SESplan 1, approved in 2013, which said that 24,500 new homes should be built in the Kingdom between 2018-30.

Its successor said that should be 11,444 homes.

Cllr Beare’s written statement for the meeting said that SESplan 2 “no longer exists” and added: “The immediate impact is in the consideration and determination of planning applications.

“SESplan 2 is not approved and therefore SESplan 1 is the approved strategic development plan covering Mid and West Fife.”

After the decision, Crossford Community Council’s Doug Hay had said: “With the recent rejection of SESplan 2 by the Scottish Government, the myth of insufficient housing land supply in West Fife is allowed to continue.”

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor Dave Dempsey, who had raised the issue at the meeting, said: “It means that the original SESplan remains with all its daft housing numbers and the rest of it.

“It was out of date when it was published which is why I was taken aback that the joint committee appears to have given up.

“It’s probably all they can do but it’s still a surprise.

“They’re not going to drag it through the courts, I suppose all that would have done is enrich a few QCs.

“It failed on transport grounds, not on housing numbers, but it’s still up in the air whether we can use the housing numbers or not.

“We don’t get to quote SESplan 2 as a reason for rejecting proposals for new housing developments, that’s been taken away, but where it goes from here I don’t know.”

However, even SESplan 1 looks likely to be ditched after the Planning (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Cllr Beare said the new legislation would remove strategic development plans “with no direct replacement”.

Cllr Dempsey said: “I hear there are moves towards greater integration as regards developments, which should be a good thing.

“While the council can deal with the building of houses and schools, when we ask about GP surgeries we’re told, ‘That’s up to the NHS’.

“That’s all very well but it’s not integrated and not being done with the best interests of the public in mind.”