A DECISION to refuse permission for 92 new homes next to Townhill Country Park has been overturned on appeal.

Last July, Fife Council rejected proposals from Glasgow-based MacTaggart and Mickel to develop 10 acres of farmland north of Kent Street in Dunfermline.

The site borders the entrance to the country park and national waterski centre.

But they appealed to the Scottish Government in September and the reporter appointed by ministers, David Liddell, intimated in December he was minded to grant planning permission once a legal agreement had been reached.

That's now been done and he wrote: "I allow the appeal and grant planning permission subject to the 42 conditions listed at the end of the decision notice."

The figures were blacked out in the legal agreement but the council had previously asked for total contributions of around £850,000, for transport improvements and to help address capacity problems at local schools.

A quarter of the units will be affordable homes.

MacTaggart and Mickel had also made a claim of expenses against the council, citing their "unreasonable behaviour", but Mr Liddell said he decided they had "not acted in an unreasonable manner" and declined to make any award.

The developer's plans include terraced and semi-detached properties, bungalows and cottage-style flats, “generous” public open space, improvements to Townhill Road and a three-metre-wide footpath/cycleway with links to the country park.

Council officers were in favour and had recommended approval but councillors on the west planning committee voted 6-2 against the plans, arguing it would constitute overdevelopment and complained of a lack of green space and garden ground.

Townhill Community Council had also raised concerns about the impact on the village school’s capacity, road safety and access issues for houses fronting onto Townhill Road.

Community council chairman, Ronnie Cowan, said: "If they had stuck to the original plan I don't think there would have been any objections.

"The problem is the houses will be facing onto Main Street and if they have garages, which they will, they'll be reversing and driving out across the traffic.

"They've made it worse by reducing the width of the road and widening the pavement, adding a cycleway, which these cars will also have to cross.

"It's a busy road for buses and skip lorries, there's a business at the other end of the village, and they have talked about traffic calming.

"However I'm not sure the people who buy the houses will be pleased to be woken up by empty skip lorries and their chains clanking over these rumble strips at 5 in the morning."

He added: "Fife Council's Northern Link Road is supposed to exit near the waterski entrance, just to the north of this development, so I had suggested a roundabout there and all the cars from the new houses could access the main road that way.

"The benefit would be to naturally slow the traffic coming in and leaving the village and the guy in planning said it was a reasonable enough idea.

"But the people from the developers said no, it was far too expensive. If they had made these slight changes, I couldn't see anyone wanting to object."