A PETITION calling on Prestonhill Quarry to be protected from development in Inverkeithing has attracted more than 2,500 signatures.

It has been set up by local diver instructor Craig Burles in the interest of residents and users of the area who are concerned that a proposed development of 180 homes will result in the loss of natural habitat, coastal path and facilities for a large number of groups.

As reported previously, Craig has been against the plans after applicant DDR (UK) Ltd revealed that the quarry pond would be infilled partially or wholly in autumn.

He said a deal was in place to establish a diving centre at the site but claimed DDR had reneged. He told the Press the proposals will not benefit the community and is calling for the quarry to be protected.

Craig told the Press: "I set up this petition as losing the quarry will be detrimental to the community of Inverkeithing and to safety in the sport of diving in Scotland.

"With over 2,500 signatures in a short space of time, I am not alone in this view.

"To many, it's the only natural accessible greenspace, which is important for many residents' mental health just now, especially with the current COVID restrictions in place.

"Many locals depend on this space as does our diving and water-based sports community as it is an accessible site 365 days a year without tides or currents.

"And last but not least, the flourishing wildlife needs to be protected as the amount of species in and around there is simply amazing."

A Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) has been submitted by DDR (UK) Ltd to Fife Council’s planning department, giving them a 12-week consultation period before a more detailed planning application can be submitted.

The proposals include around 180 new homes, holiday accommodation chalets, associated access, open space, landscaping and infrastructure at the site.

Currently, the plans are for 135 private properties and a further 45 units with Kingdom Housing while chalet accommodation is being looked at for the end of Letham Hill Woods.

It is understood that these luxury log cabins could be linked to the addition of recreational or community facilities in the woods.

Commenting on the petition, Alistair Eberst said: "There must be literally hundreds of divers who had their first open water experiences in Prestonhill or tried their first attempts at underwater photography, tested dive kit, learned safety skills and watched the perch and minnows, the toads mating and pike cruising.

"It's probably the best site in Eastern Scotland for basic training, easily accessible, and diveable all year round. It should be protected and enhanced for all water users."

Jon Wilson added: "More houses is not the answer. This is turning the old town into a commuter hub.

"It makes more sense to turn the quarry floor/pool into a rec centre with diving, rock-climbing, cafe etc along with some holiday lets near to the hidden section facing the sea."

The online consultation period is now open and a public consultation ‘drop-in’ event will be held online at www.prestonhillquarry.com on Thursday, January 21 from 4-7pm.

Donald McCorquodale, of DDR (UK), said: "We are aware that this petition originates from an individual who has a vested interest in utilising the quarry for commercial purposes.

"Significantly, his business partner has refused to sign this document and remains in constructive dialogue with the potential developers.

"The public consultation will take place as scheduled on 21st January. The views of all members of the community will be respected and where possible included in the planning proposals."

Written comments and questions can be submitted on the website or to: Sinclair Watt Architects Ltd, Quayside House, Dock Road, Methil Dock Business Park, Methil, KY8 3SR. Tel: 01333 427705. Email: info@prestonhillquarry.com Final comments must be received no later than January 28.