THERE’S doubt over whether a £25 million development between Crossford and Cairneyhill can go ahead due to an issue with a drainage pipe.

Stewart Milne Homes gained permission controversially from the Scottish Government to build 212 homes but they cannot start until a condition designed to prevent flooding is met.

And their solution, to instal a pipe to take surface water around 700 metres to the west to Torry Burn, already looks sunk as they need consent from a landowner who won’t give it.

Robert Forrester, of the Forrester Park Resort in Cairneyhill, confirmed to the Press: “The last 180 metres is on our land and we won’t be giving them permission.

“So they can apply for planning consent – I could apply to build houses on Asda car park if I chose to – but it can’t be delivered if you don’t have permission from the landowner. And we’ve said no.

“They never even came to speak to us or make any attempt to buy the land.”

Fife Council had refused permission for the housing development, there were 139 letters of objection, but their decision was overturned in December 2019 after an appeal to the Scottish Government.

One of the reasons they rejected the plans was “in the interest of preventing flood risk” but after Holyrood stepped in permission was granted.

However, a planning condition states that work on the housing development cannot start until measures are in place to deal with surface water.

The idea was to instal an underground drainage pipe running from the SUDs (Sustainable Urban Drainage System) at the boundary of the housing site to Hilton Road, roughly 700 metres across farmland to the west.

Crossford and Cairneyhill community councils objected, pointing out that the proposed pipe does not connect to the Torry Burn directly.

Fife Council planning officers said the water would be “deposited into an existing watercourse, where it will continue to travel south-west for approximately 180m to the Torry Burn”.

There were a further six letters of objection.

The final 180m is on Mr Forrester’s land and a report to last week’s west and central planning committee said he hadn’t been notified but added mistakenly that the developer had “resolved” the issue, “gaining permission for the works to be carried out on this land”.

When he was made aware of the report, he contacted the council and told them he had not given permission and would not be doing so.

Mr Forrester said: “They hadn’t notified us as they hadn’t realised that the last 180m was on our land.

“When we spoke to them they held up their hands and said sorry.”

However, there’s been no communication since then with the developer going ahead with the planning application.

At the meeting, planning service manager Mary Stewart apologised for the “error” in the report but also said the council had no “defensible” reason for refusing the application for the pipeline.

While councillors granted planning permission reluctantly, unless Stewart Milne Homes can get Mr Forrester’s consent to run the pipe into his land, which looks very unlikely, they’ll have to come up with a new proposal.

He said: “At the end of the day, we spent a lot of time and money on flood mitigation measures for our own houses, to ensure it didn’t create any issues for Cairneyhill.

“To think they could just run a pipe into our land, without coming to see us or talk about it, was a bit silly. We’re against it.”

A spokesperson for Stewart Milne Homes said: “We have planning permission for a proposed residential development on this site but required a separate application to confirm the precise route for the offsite surface water outfall to a nearby burn.

“This separate planning application has now been granted by the council.

“However, as part of progressing the surface water outfall application, it was identified that one of the options may involve a small parcel of land owned by Mr Forrester.

“We subsequently contacted Mr Forrester’s agent, as a courtesy, who advised that the time was not right to discuss this.

“No work has been carried out on Mr Forrester’s land and will not be carried out until such time as Stewart Milne Homes has the necessary approvals to do so.”