AN APPEAL against the refusal of a planning application which would have seen a mixed-use development at Prestonhill Quarry has been thrown out.

DDR (UK) Ltd had applied for permission in principle for a development which would have included 180 homes, holiday lodges and a cafe/bistro at the Inverkeithing site.

The plans would have seen the quarry filled in with the removal of the deep pond of water which has been the site of four tragic deaths between 1973 and 2017.

However, members of Fife Council's Central and West area planning committee voted to refuse the application earlier this year and Scottish Government reporter Alison Kirkwood has now agreed with their decision.

In considering the appeal, Ms Kirkwood acknowledged safety concerns around the site.

"The appellant and the council are in agreement that the proposal would provide an opportunity to address existing risks in relation to rock stability, the quarry pond and other public safety hazards," she stated.

"Supporting representations indicate that the proposal would address the unsafe condition of the quarry, which has in the past resulted in deaths, and reduce anti-social behaviour.

"The appellant considers that public safety should be the paramount consideration in the determination of this appeal. Its supporting information indicates that the council has been unable to use its statutory powers to require the landowners to undertake any safety measures, and that fencing and warning signs erected by the council in the past have been repeatedly vandalised.

"In refusing the application, the council has stated that the adverse impact of the proposal is not outweighed by the safety advantages.

"Third party objections indicate that safety concerns are a result of poor practice and behaviour and don't represent the majority of people using the site."

Ms Kirkwood concluded that the development would not "accord overall" with the relevant provisions of the development plan.

"Notwithstanding the shortfall in the housing land supply, there are no material considerations which would justify granting planning permission," she added. "I have considered all the other matters raised, but there are none which would lead me to alter my conclusions."

There had been 162 objections from the community while Inverkeithing Community Council said it "firmly opposed" the plans.

In appealing DDR (UK) Ltd said there was "no good reason" why Fife Council rejected their plans, with their planning agent saying: "If the appeal is not granted, there is no prospect of redevelopment ever taking place and the risk of further accidents at the site, as well as the problems of anti-social behaviour will remain. The site will continue as a significant liability and burden for the council."