CONTENTIOUS plans to build two new houses at Crombie Point have been refused by the Scottish Government.

James Corrie, of Blairadam, had hoped the planning and environmental appeals division would overturn Fife Council's decision.

He had taken the matter further, after councillors rejected the proposals in June amid 37 objections, but the government have now sided with the local authority.

Reporter Euan McLaughlin issued a detailed judgement and concluded: "Overall, the proposal is contrary to the development plan policy as it is in the countryside and is not one of the limited forms of development which is permitted in such locations.

"I find no matters which are capable of outweighing this policy conflict."

Mr Corrie had sought consent to build two houses, plus garages and access, in the tiny hamlet near the Forth coast. 

Much of the debate centred on whether the eight existing houses at Crombie Point should be classed as one settlement or two. 

Dunfermline Press: A planning appeal for two new houses at Crombie Point has been refused by the Scottish Government.A planning appeal for two new houses at Crombie Point has been refused by the Scottish Government. (Image: Newsquest)

Planning officers said the site was not allocated for housing and would be "unjustified" development in the countryside.

They stated it was against the council's 'cluster policy', as in it would lead to coalescence between two distinct and separate settlements, and development within a site where flooding occurs should be avoided.

There were 37 objections with complaints that a "devious strategy" had been used to artificially manufacture support for the development.

One of the local residents, Sally Masterton, said that out of the 26 people who wrote letters of support for the application, just a handful were from West Fife with some living as far away as Stow and Henley on Thames in England, as well as Banchory and Aberdeen.

She claimed that six letters of support could be traced to the Edinburgh firm of architects, Yeoman McAllister, who represented Mr Corrie.

When first considered by the west and central planning committee, some councillors argued it could be seen as small scale development on a gap site, which council policy is in favour of.

However, a decision was deferred and when the application came up again in June, councillors agreed with the officer recommendation and refused permission.

Mr Corrie's appeal to the Scottish Government argued that there had been a "concerted local campaign" against the plans which the council had given "undue credence".

It added that the flood risk assessment was "misunderstood and misrepresented" at the committee, said "little weight" should be given to the objections and concluded that development would "enhance the appearance and amenity of Crombie Point" and address a housing shortfall with two additional "high-quality houses".

On reading this, angry residents hit back and a joint statement signed by 10 people maintained that the applicant had "failed to demonstrate" that the plans would not lead increase the risk of flooding in the area, that the pattern of development in the village had remained unchanged since 1856 and the new homes would adversely impact on listed properties.