With proposals to develop land on a greenfield site diverging away from the Mid Fife local plan we are reviewing the masterplans that are in place for the Lochgelly area which was established between Developers, Councillors, and Fife Council between 2006-2012.

Please note that the content below was produced by Ryden on behalf of JS Builders (Scotland) Ltd. Any opinion contained below is the opinion of Ryden and not Shining Waters. This forms a series of posts reviewing the long-term plans proposed for Lochgelly.

Lochgelly Strategic Land Allocation, LGY 09

The Lochgelly Strategic Development Area is a long-term growth area which is intended to be developed in a phased manner over the long term, beyond the current five year effective land supply period to 2021 and in the main, beyond the lifetime of FIFEplan. The strategic land allocations are some 174.1 ha of Greenfield land spread to the north/north east and south/south west of Lochgelly, the majority of which is currently used for agricultural purposes.

FIFEplan indicates an increased housing capacity of 800 units taking the total within the strategic allocations to 2,550 houses (LGY 007).

Ownership: The SDA North and North Extension is owned by Ernest McPherson, a local landowner. There are no developers attached to this allocation. The SDA South site is owned by Cocklaw/Omnivale, however, the developer Cocklaw fell into administration in 2015. The remaining allocations to the south and west are in multiple ownerships.

Physical, Contamination, Infrastructure: The sites are currently in agricultural use and generally flat or gently sloping. To the north, the SDA will be subject to noise and access issues given the proximity of the railway line to the site and achieving adequate residential amenity will be paramount. It is assumed that the land will in part at least be subject to ground contamination and stability issues given the history of mining in this area. Moreover, some or part of the sites will be located within the Shell NGL – Pipeline Consultation Zone.

The allocation to the south of Lochgelly has been assessed through the FIFEplan MIR process; there were no major physical constraints identified, however, the eastern part lies within the inner and middle zones of two Pipeline Consultation Zones (Shell UK and Scotland Gas Network).

Deficit Funding: It is noted in the 2016 HLA that Fife Council is listed as the developer for the North site.

Marketability: the SDA has little to no developer interest thus far. However, it is acknowledged that this is a long term land allocation with the majority of development to begin post FIFEplan (2023). On this basis and given that parts of the SDA are in multiple ownerships there is little prospect of land assembly in the short to medium term and the site is not effective. It is noted that Cocklaw, the developer attached to the SDA South site has fallen into administration and another developer has yet to take on this site.

Programming: The Housing Land Audit states that the sites are planned for long term development, with the majority of units to commence post 2023. The SDA South site is programmed for delivery of 24 units per year beginning 2018/19; this would be a total of 72 units by 2021 (five year effective land supply period).

However, the site was first included in the HLA in 2009 with a phased development of 48 units per annum beginning in 2013/14. In each subsequent HLA the projected completion rate has decreased and delivery timescales lengthened. Thus far, no planning applications have been submitted for housing. Whilst the intention is to build a large number of units on the site there cannot be any certainty over when any development will be delivered and the prospects are further worsened with the loss of the previous developer.

Conclusion: As outlined above, the SDA is a long term strategic development aspiration of Fife Council to be developed over the next 20 years. It is clear that many factors require to be addressed across all of the sites before development can take place including; land assembly, developer partnering, and other physical constraints. The SDA will not make a material (if any) contribution to the current shortfall in the five year housing land supply, which exists over and above the established capacity of the SDA.

Additional Documents

Download Full Report: Ryden Sequential Site Assessment – PDF
Download Strategic Framework: Fife Council Design Framework for Lochgelly (2008) – PDF
Download Lochgelly Settlement Plan: Fife Council – Lochgelly Settlement Plan – PDF
Download Supplementary Guidance: Fife Council – Lochgelly Supplementary Planning & Transport Guidance (2011) – PDF

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