A fourth bid to build houses on a vacant brownfield site in Dalgety Bay look set to be given the go-ahead following an appeal.

Muir Homes' plans for 35 homes on the site off Fulmar Way were refused by a Fife Council planning committee earlier this year.

But the housebuilder lodged an appeal - and Scottish Government Reporter Robert Seaton has this week issued a notice indicating that he is "minded to allow the appeal and grant planning permission". 

Nicola McCowan Hill, Land and Planning Manager, Muir Homes, said: “We are very pleased that our appeal has been successful. We are very mindful of the need for more new high quality homes in Dalgety Bay. We are looking forward to working with Fife Council to deliver these homes which broaden the range and availability of homes in this popular area. 

“Our community consultation showed support from local residents.  This brownfield site which has been allocated for housing in the local development plan means that we are protecting green belt land while meeting an established housing need in the local area.  This approach is in line with new national planning guidelines. 

“As well as developments making an important economic contribution in itself, the mixed-use nature to the area provides potential jobs and facilities for new residents.”

The application was turned down by the council on the basis that access from Fulmar Way was not acceptable, stating a new vehicle access in an industrial estate would create "conflicts" between residential and industrial traffic that would pose road safety issues.

There were also concerns that potential residents would be impacted by industrial noise and light pollution.

However, in his notice, Mr Seaton has not accepted the road safety concerns, stating: "Without an explanation from the council as to how it considers conflict might arise in Fulmar Way in particular between traffic from the proposed development and traffic to the industrial and commercial premises of the estate, or what degree of risk would result, I can see no basis on which I can make a finding that there would such conflict, at least to any unacceptable degree."

Dunfermline Press: A site plan provided by Muir Homes for their plans to build 35 houses off Fulmar Way in Dalgety Bay.A site plan provided by Muir Homes for their plans to build 35 houses off Fulmar Way in Dalgety Bay. (Image: Muir Homes)

Mr Seaton also indicated noise and light from the neighbouring industrial area were within acceptable levels.

And other issues, such as the impact of the development on the capacity of local schools, could be mitigated by a contribution being required from the developer to the provision of school capacity.

The Reporter concluded: “Overall, I find that the proposed development accords with the development plan. No other material considerations have been drawn to my attention that would nonetheless justify its refusal. For that reason, I consider that the appeal should be upheld and planning permission granted."

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor David Barratt has expressed reservations over the Reporter's intended decision to grant planning permission.

He said: “Given the serious concerns for road safety and residential amenity, I'm surprised by this decision and I've no doubt the residents and businesses close to this site will be concerned by it.

"I'll be asking the Council to look closely at the proposals again and to see what changes can be made to make this access safer.”

This is Muir Homes' fourth attempt to gain planning permission to develop the 1.6 hectare plot which was designated for up to 50 houses in Fife Council’s 2017 Local Development Plan and has lain vacant for around two decades.

Previous applications for 47, 51 and then 44 properties were refused in March 2015, February 2017 and April 2018 respectively.

Muir Group - based at nearby Inverkeithing since 1973 - says this development supports its regeneration ambitions and its goals to contribute to the local economy.

John Muir, Founder and Chair of Muir Group, said: “As a Fifer and a Dalgety Bay resident myself, I am very aware of the need for more housing in this attractive area.

"As well as providing much needed homes, which will continue our investment in shops, commercials and food stores at Dalgety’s Gateway, I am very pleased that this development will make a further significant economic contribution to the local area, including the creation of a footpath to the existing shops.

“Whilst we are celebrating 50 years of the Muir Group this year, looking back we’ve been based in Fife since 1973 and our headquarters are at nearby Inverkeithing, so it is especially important for us to continue to support the local economy and this is a great way to achieve this.”