THE boss of a rock quarry near Crossgates has persuaded councillors to approve his plans to build a house on the site.

Duncan Collier, who lives in the village, said that having a presence at Goathill was essential for security purposes and to deter thieves from stealing high value machinery.

His planning application was rejected by Fife Council in April but the Fife Planning Review Body overturned that decision last week.

Councillors were told that over the past 12 years there had been "numerous call-outs" where the manager had to go to the site, making a 30-mile round trip from his home each time, which the applicant said was unsustainable.

Dunfermline Press: Goathill Quarry, at Easter Bucklyvie, is to the east of Crossgates and south of the B925 road.Goathill Quarry, at Easter Bucklyvie, is to the east of Crossgates and south of the B925 road. (Image: Fife Council)

Cllr Robin Lawson agreed and said: "I think it's desirable for operations of this size to have security on site.

"We see increasingly reports of theft of farm and industrial equipment and I'm sure they have items on site they would like to make sure are safeguarded.

"Having someone living on site would help in that regard."

Goathill Quarry, at Easter Bucklyvie, is east of Crossgates and south of the B925 road, with Mr Collier submitting plans for a one and a half storey house with a double garage and parking spaces.

The rock quarry has already been in operation for more than 10 years and, in refusing planning permission, the council case officer had said: "This outlines that the business has been able to operate without a permanent dwelling on site and insufficient evidence has been submitted to prove to the planning authority that the permanent dwelling is necessary for the site."

An extension to operations at the quarry, up until December 2060, was granted to Collier Quarrying and Recycling earlier this year and the firm will pay £12,000 each year into a community fund, more than £400,000 over the lifetime of the site.

But officers said the fact there was a "precise end date" meant the business was not permanent and that once operations ceased it would leave an "isolated house in the countryside".

Mr Collier argued it could no longer be viewed as temporary, that "succession planning" would see the manager stay in the property after retiring and when quarrying ended it would still be desirable to have a presence as the area will be restored and turned into a country park.

Cllr Jane Ann Liston asked how they'd managed so far "if the house was so essential" but went on to disagree with the reasons for refusal, while Cllr Alycia Hayes added: "Forty years is not exactly temporary in my mind."

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As well as safeguarding the countryside from "sporadic" residential development, reasons for refusal included visual amenity and the "detrimental" impact on landscape character.

Cllr Liston said: "This is hardly going to be a blot on the landscape. I imagine most people would not even notice it."

It was pointed out that, apart from the quarry, there are nine turbines and a petrochemical plant at Mossmorran in the surrounding area.

And she added: "It's interesting what they class as landscape character and what some consider is going to spoil it.

"There's already a muckle great quarry there with a few buildings round about it and roads with motor cars zooming round the area.

"So I completely fail to see if these are considered alright why a house is going to have such a devastating impact on landscape character."