AN APPEAL has been lodged after Fife Council's "unlawful" decision to refuse permission for 140 new homes north of Wellwood.

Omnivale Ltd claim the local authority acted illegally by knocking back their application because the developer didn't want to pay any money towards the £14 million cost of the Northern Link Road (NLR).

It's a proposed bypass to serve the new housing estates in the north of Dunfermline and to take traffic away from the town centre.

The council has always maintained it will be paid for by developer contributions but the Nottinghamshire company said they wouldn't contribute or provide land for it.

Omnivale's appeal asks the Scottish Government reporter to overturn the "unjustified" decision and give them the go-ahead to build on 14 acres of land north of Leadside Crescent.

It says: "It is the appellant's submission that the council have misdirected itself in law in respect of seeking direct and in-kind contributions and in reaching its conclusion that the proposed development is contrary to the development plan.

"The appellant takes objection to being forced to accept planning obligations and conditions imposed which are considered unlawful and fail to meet the tests in the circulars.

"Fundamentally, as a matter of law, irrelevant and unlawful matters cannot then be taken into account in determining the application."

The central and west planning committee voted unanimously to refuse Omnivale's application in October.

Planning officer William Shand had told councillors: “They are arguing that the NLR is not needed for their site.

"They haven’t proposed an alternative or any justification as to why they don’t feel it is needed.

“If we were to approve these plans, the site would essentially become a cul-de-sac with no connectivity for the link road.”

One of the reasons given for refusal was because the developer "does not propose to deliver a portion of the NLR".

The council said Omnivale's transport assessment did not "adequately" assess the impact their development would have on the road network and the plans failed to provide footpath and cycle path connections to the north, east and south of the site.

The company's planning agent said the wrangle over money was the "crux of this appeal" and the impact their development would have on services such as education and transport.

Ominvale have agreed to pay £895,707 towards the cost of a new Wellwood Primary School and a contribution towards a two-classroom extension at St Margaret's PS.

They're willing to pay towards increased capacity at Queen Anne High "if the council can justify this" as it believes they are "under-reporting the school's true planning capacity".

They've also agreed to conditions relating to public art and affordable homes.

However, Omnivale queried the £5,223-per-unit contribution towards transport interventions which – discounting the per-unit charge for affordable homes – could add up to almost £550,000.

They said their transport assessment showed the development would have "no significant impact on the road network which requires mitigation alleged by the council" as the increase in traffic would be "negligible".

And they believe it's "unreasonable" to pay for the NLR too, which would amount to "double-counting" and being charged for road improvements twice.

The appeal said the basis for the council seeking transport and education contributions was "unsubstantiated" and added: "There must be a more than trivial connection between the development proposed and the infrastructure to be financed."

As for the footpaths and cycle paths, the company said that as the application was for planning permission in principle, only a location plan was required at this stage.

Omnivale believe that "in light of the complexities", the case should proceed with either oral hearing sessions or a formal inquiry.