CROSSFORD families are mounting a last-ditch fight against plans to build 200 new homes to the west of the village.

Following a recent packed public meeting, Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville has written to the Scottish Government's planning minister to highlight the community’s concerns, and ask that they are taken into consideration as a final decision is made on the proposed development.

Villagers had voiced a range of concerns about the proposed development, including flooding risks, loss of green space and an increase in traffic, with 139 letters of objection submitted.

Fife Council rejected proposals from the Stewart Milne Group to build on land south of Pitconnochie Farm in September last year but the company appealed and in March the Scottish Government reporter said he was minded to approve.

However, since the reporter assigned to the proposal, Rob Huntley, gave his notice of intention, Fife Council have made further requests about the justification for, and scale of, contributions towards transport infrastructure.

The reporter therefore requested more information from both the developer and the council which was received on Friday and both parties currently have 14 days to respond to what each other have said.

Now villagers are calling on the planning minister to set aside the Reporter’s recommendation in light of the concerns raised.

Doug Hay, Crossford Community Council chair, said: "What is the point of the various stakeholders in housing development and locality planning spending several years formulating and debating a local plan, compromising where necessary to allow housing expansion to happen, giving up some green space (eg Broomhall) so that other cherished green space may be protected, when a single individual can overturn the plan using questionable data as an excuse to set aside Fife planning policies?

"I hope the minister can demonstrate that communities in Scotland still have the ability to successfully challenge planning decisions when inconsistent, dubious recommendations have been made."

Mr Hay previously told the Press that there had been several occasions over the last 25 years that reporters had been against the development of the Pitconnochie site.

The latest examination in 2016 concluded that "the site should not be allocated for residential development".

New reforms were agreed recently by MSPs which ministers say streamline planning and "empower communities".

The Planning (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament in June but it will be too late for Crossford residents fighting this proposal.

Ms Somerville added: "It’s important that the planning minister has as much information in front of him as possible when he makes a final decision on this appeal.

"It’s extremely uncommon for a minister to go against a reporter’s recommendations. However, the community has raised a number of concerns about these plans, so it’s only right that the minister is made aware.

"Cases like this are a clear example of problems with the current planning system in terms of community engagement, and the Scottish Government has been working to correct this.

"The new planning bill which was recently passed by the Scottish Parliament is designed to deal with issues like we are seeing here, introducing a range of new measures to ensure that communities will have more say in shaping developments in their areas.

"It is regrettable that due to the advanced stage of this particular proposal, these new measures will not be in place in time to affect this application."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The reporter requested more information from the developer and the planning authority in relation to financial contributions for roads and transport infrastructure.

"That information was received on 2 August and both parties have until 16 August to comment on each other’s submissions.

"The reporter will consider any comments when making his decision, which remains subject to a finalised legal agreement."