Login
Get your free website from Spanglefish

Note any views here expressed are not those of the Community Council unless expressly stated ......

 

The Future of Elie and Earlsferry

The Future of Elie and Earlsferry

Elie Estates have proposed some extensive developments in this area - to build some 81 new houses  (25 at Grange Road and 55 at Wadeslea) of which 24 will be “affordable homes” and available for rent.   The balance will be purchased of which the majority seem likely to be second homes or holiday rentals.  Such developments may have a dramatic effect on the villages.    The permanent population of the villages will therefore remain at the same percentage (currently roughly 30%) and it remains to be seen if this will add any economic benefit to the area. Questions have to be asked about the current position of so many rented and week end occupied homes and therefore part time occupation.

Do we wish to consider anything to change that position? If we are content with the status quo we will have to acknowledge that if Elie Estates’ plans proceed, the character of the villages will change.  Would this be for the good ?   Is the percentage of full time residents too low? Should we seek to increase the proportion? If so how? Or should we be satisfied that the current ratio is ideal for those of us who live here permanently and for at least the major part of the year have easy access to first class facilities without the crowds?

Are we content with the current 30% permanent resident population?  What other alternatives might be available?

Comments from Elie Estate’s Questionnaire

This document attempts to summarise the comments which were written on the back pages of Elie Estate Development Plan survey questionnaires. These surveys were available at the Consultation Meeting held by Elie Estate at Elie Church Hall on 17th May. They were also available for a short time for collection from Elie Newsagents but they were not distributed throughout the village, nor were they available on line. A total of 74 questionnaires were completed, representing the opinions of just over 10% of the village population.

Elie and Earlsferry Community Council was given copies of all the comments (34 in total) along with a short spreadsheet showing results of the ‘yes’ ’no’ answers in the questionnaire itself.

It is clear that there was confusion as to what is actually meant by ‘affordable housing’. There was misunderstanding between the terms ‘affordable housing’ and ‘social rented housing’. Elie Estate has indicated that the ‘affordable housing’ means houses available for rent at a mid-market rent to be managed by Elie Estate Trust but there also seems to be a possibility that they could be taken over by Fife Council which was a concern of many – see below.

From the comments the following concerns were as expressed:

  • With regard to the necessity of any development almost 50% of comments expressed the opinion that they were totally against any kind of development. From those who accepted that development was necessary they qualified it as ‘some’ or ‘possibly’.
  • Many who commented stated that they felt that the proposed development was too big.
  • Some expressed concern over insufficient employment opportunities in the area given the proposed size of the development.
  • There was considerable concern that the proposed development would result in an increase in 2nd homes/holiday homes.
  • There were recurrent comments expressing concern over infrastructure problems arising from the development – eg sewage management and water supply.
  • Many expressed concerns over inevitability of increased traffic flow and resulting congestion at both ends of the village. This, combined with the serious lack of good transport links and public transport, was of concern.
  • Many were worried about the control over the social housing. There does appear to be some question over which ‘body’ would actually manage the tenancies.
  • Many were worried that the provision of retail outlets might have a detrimental effect on existing shops in the village.
  • Concerns were expressed over the possible loss of the existing playing fields at Nairn Park.

The majority of comments expressed concern over the size of the development and the issues mentioned above.  There were a few who agreed on the desirability of some development and hoped it would attract new families.

These comments, perhaps, give a more accurate reflection of the community’s thoughts and opinions than a simple agree/disagree questionnaire. However, it is also worth noting that the response to the questionnaire is not truly representative of the constituents of the village and also that this résumé does not take into account any of the comments which were written on other pages of the questionnaire – The CC did not have sight of these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributions from Elie Residents

08/05/18 Graham Meacher

In the absence of the Armed Forces Day flag I donated to the CC a few years ago, I would like to request that the Union Flag be flown on Armed Forces Day (this year Sat 30 Jun).

 

08/05/18 Suzanne Allison

I would like to add my support to the proposal for a charrette in the village.

I think the village needs a full and frank discussion with all parties and groups so that people know they will be heard even if their favourite bugbear is deemed not to be of to priority.

So talking about things that cannot be changed and get on with what is possible.

 

5/05/18

The current groans, hopes and fears concerning the proposal for 81 houses in Grange and Elie come under the heading of CHANGE. It is an important subject and one over which we appear to have little control. It is like Mother Nature who’s proper name is The Jet Stream, the permanent visitor that changes our weather patterns with amazing rapidity even here in our favoured corner of Scotland. So. like it or not Elie,  Earlsferry and Grange are heading for significant change and I am not convinced that raised voices will carry much clout. Free speech of course. Opinions, yes. But how far are we prepared to go to destroy our current excellent facilities that are available for the world and his wife to enjoy? We are a place with few jobs outwith the excellent Deli, the Pavilion, the the pubs and two golf clubs. Nothing for the young except the beach and of course the excellent  sports facilities.  Question: should we become, or are we already, primarily a depot for the ageing blind and deaf?  How much pulling power does Fife Council possess to affect change?  

 

We have East Neuk Trinity ---- four churches with no Minister --- BUT let us go down on our knees and pray that the new  houses that will be built  in Elie, Earlsferry and Grange are proper homes and not places built to let and stand empty two thirds of each year as in Earlsferry  (a yawning example  of waste). I fear, sir, that we are between a rock and a hard place. More homes, affordable or not, means more families and more families means more cars and more cars means more gridlock and we already have a log jam of cars, lorries, vans, buses, tractors and trailers  as existing houses are re-built or changed. God help us, but Change continues a pace with money, as ever, calling the shots.  Is Nairn a latter day Trump?

 

1/05

No-one can deny that our community is shrinking and our once vibrant villages have become a deserted depopulated place outside the holiday season. Elie Estates are claiming that the building of more houses in Elie and Earlsferry will solve the problem of lack of permanent residents.  The trend of the last 20 years that when our older residents die, their homes are bought as a holiday house. The inclusion of 26 rental properties in the proposed plans will not reverse this trend.  The lack of affordable housing for young people earning the average wage is the main but not the only reason why we have a higher percentage of older people. People of a working age need either local employment -very little and mostly low paid, or to be able to commute - not easy with the lack of decent roads.  Staying with traffic, a minimum of 100 extra vehicles on our villages roads in the summer will add to the problems of our already stressed streets. I'm not sure that increasing the number of second homes will do anything other than increasing our problems.         
 

19/04

Whilst I agree that there is a need for some form of housing provision for local people in Elie and Earlsferry I feel that if Elie Estate were really to want to help the situation then they would allocate the bulk of the housing to affordable or full time occupation. Realistically they are potentially going to make a huge amount of profit from the site at Grangehill and are offering a fixed percentage of affordable rented properties at Wadeslea where the potential profit from development is not so high. Any developer Is duty bound to allocate a percentage of the development as affordable housing. Elie Estate are allocating the required proportion of affordable housing is the least profitable area of their development in order to maximise their profiit.. For them to dress this up any other way is just spin. When the village was consulted in 2014 the proposal was for two sites for housing only. This has been modified to maximise profit for Elie estate. The fife development plan states that the sites do not include the football pitch at wadeslea and that the developer is duty bound to increase amenity provision. Taking away and developing the football pitch and putting smaller outdoor space among the new development does not constitute an increase in amenity provision.. This potential developments main aim is to make money for Elie estate and as a consequence they are required to provide an allocation of affordable homes. Development land around Elie sells for a premium  and for the land owner to do the minimum affordable housing provision required and then sell himself as the saviour of the community is nothing short of insulting to the local communities  intelligence.

18/4

1 - the closure of the bank is not directly related to village population, the RBS business model is to move more towards online banking. Readers will note that the branch in Leven also closed and this is clearly not due to reducing population

2 - whilst some small scale development may be required, the scale of the proposed development is disproportionate to the need and is purely a profit making exercise and is not for the good of the village. Elie estate should consider scaling down the number of homes being built otherwise face a situation similar to Kingsbarns where homes cannot be sold and are being turned over to fife council for social housing.  Is there a need for the number of proposed social housing units?

It is a planning requirement that all new build developments contain social/affordable housing and Elie estates is simply complying with the legislation by proposing social housing units, they are not going above and beyond for the benefit of the village, they are doing the minimum they have to in order to gain planning permission. 

3 - supply and demand. The house values in Elie are partly based on desire and demand, will increasing the number of homes available reduce prices within the village? Have local estate agents been contacted to consider this? If local house prices will be effected, will Elie estates look to compensate home owners?
Similarly, the houses at wadeslea and the grange will be directly effected to the development, will the home owners be compensated if their home values are effected?

4 - commercial units.  The current units for commercial use are located within the estate and for the main part away from homes where noise pollution may be an issue.  Having commercial units within the village will attract commercial traffic, waste associated with commercial units as well as untidiness and noise pollution.  Why cannot further commercial units be built within Elie estate and not within the village?

5 - falling school role.  There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that children from the village attend different schools nearby due to personality clashes/bullying at Elie primary school.  Instead of accepting the falling school role, why u[i]s this not being challenged with the school head. 

6 - numbers of shops. There are a similar number of shops within the village now as there were during the 1990s so stating that shop numbers are down due to population concerns are untrue.

If the wadeslea proposal is to include a retail unit, this will undoubtedly effect the trade in the high street and I cannot envisage people going out if their way to use such a unit.  A Premier type convenience store u[i]s totally out of keeping with the artisan shops in the high street and should be discouraged at all costs

18/04/2018 response from Elie Estates

“…they would allocate the bulk of the housing to affordable or full time occupation.”

 

The only way of allocating the bulk of the housing to ‘affordable housing’ would be to offer the land to Fife Council for the provision of social rented housing.  The feedback we have received from our public consultation events strongly suggests this is not what the community wants.

 

The concept of building housing only for full time occupation is a fantasy.  There is no way of forcing someone who acquires a house to live in it on a full time basis.  The Reporter appointed by the Scottish Ministers has already addressed this issue in his comments on the allocation.

 

What Elie Estate has proposed is the sale of some high value residential land at the Grange (many of which will no doubt end up as second homes) in order to cross-fund the construction of the affordable homes at Wadeslea which is proposed to be owned and managed by Elie Estate and rented to local people at mid-market rents. 

The balance of the private housing at Wadeslea (31 private houses) will be designed and priced for the local housing market at prices similar to those being achieved at Baird Place, Wadeslea, Woodside Road and Woodside Crescent. 

The development would be ‘tenure blind’ with the affordable houses looking no different to the private housing and dotted around amongst the private housing, avoiding concentration of affordable housing.

If the Community Council would like to explore the possibility of some form of Community Housing Trust owning and managing the affordable housing, this is something we would welcome.

 

Realistically they are potentially going to make a huge amount of profit from the site at Grangehill and are offering a fixed percentage of affordable rented properties at Wadeslea where the potential profit from development is not so high.

 

This is in part correct in that it is proposed that the profit from the sale of the Grange will be re-invested into the provision of affordable housing at Wadeslea.  The more the land at the Grange sells for the more ‘money in the pot’ there would be to design attractive affordable housing using decent materials and potentially energy saving measures (solar thermal hot water, PV panels, triple glazing etc) making the houses as cheap to occupy as possible for the affordable tenants.

 

Any developer Is duty bound to allocate a percentage of the development as affordable housing. Elie Estate are allocating the required proportion of affordable housing is the least profitable area of their development in order to maximise their profit.

 

I hope from my previous comments the author will understand why we are looking to maximise profits from the sale of the Grange in order to improve the quality of the affordable housing provision.

Yes Scottish Planning Policy dictates that in North East Fife 30% of the houses shall be ‘affordable housing’.  Given the lack of shops, services and public transport in Earlsferry it was considered that Wadeslea was a more appropriate place for the affordable housing.  That is why 24 of the 55 houses (43.6%) at Wadeslea are proposed to be affordable houses.

 

When the village was consulted in 2014 the proposal was for two sites for housing only. This has been modified to maximise profit for Elie estate.

 

This is simply not true.  The proposals have always been to provide a mixed use development at Wadelsea.  This process offers the opportunity to consider non-residential uses that will provide jobs and contribute to the economic diversity of the area.  Other land uses such as leaving land for the expansion of the doctor’s surgery, car-parking provision for the Toft and the provision of appropriately located public open space are other benefits to the process and I don’t believe can be seen as profit maximising.

 

The fife development plan states that the sites do not include the football pitch at wadeslea and that the developer is duty bound to increase amenity provision. Taking away and developing the football pitch and putting smaller outdoor space among the new development does not constitute an increase in amenity provision.

 

Since Elie Estate’s original representations to FifePlan, Fife Council have acknowledged that the “football pitch” is under utilised, suffering from lack of investment and becoming a maintenance burden.  This area was resumed by Elie Estate from the Ardross Farm tenancy and rented to Fife Council for use by the community as a football pitch.  However with the changing demographics of the community, there are now not enough children in the village to support its use for this purpose.  Instead local residents have become used to the views that it offers but providing an attractive view for local residents is not the purpose for which it was resumed.

Elie Estate’s proposals do not look to reduce public open space and amenity, instead they look to re-locate the public open space to a more appropriate location, overlooked by surrounding housing (similar to Woodside Crescent/Road) and with appropriate equipment and facilities to encourage its use.

The existing football pitch is 2.8 acres.  The proposed open space to the south of the Wadeslea Cottages is 0.9 acres and the proposed public park is 2.6 acres, so it is not true to say that Elie Estate’s proposals constitute “smaller outdoor space that does not constitute an increase in amenity provision”.

 

This potential developments main aim is to make money for Elie estate and as a consequence they are required to provide an allocation of affordable homes. Development land around Elie sells for a premium and for the land owner to do the minimum affordable housing provision required and then sell himself as the saviour of the community is nothing short of insulting to the local communities intelligence.

 

Whilst I accept that this is not a purely philanthropic project, I feel that both the community and Elie Estate can benefit.  Under the current proposals, the community will get well designed, energy efficient affordable housing prioritised for local people which will benefit the school role, will help support our shops and services over the quieter winter months and will offer a more balanced demographic for our community.

The income that the affordable houses will generate can be spent by the Estate on upgrading our existing long-term let accommodation, re-pointing dykes, re-planting woodlands and employing more people in the management of the surrounding area where a considerable proportion of the community derive recreational benefits from.  The point being that the beneficiary is not just the Estate, it adds to the circular flow of income and economic diversity in the local area.

 

 

15/04/2018

The question of further development in the two villages requires consideration of the following factors.

1. There are already a disproportionate number of second homes in each village

2. This has resulted in market pressures that have meant that local families, in particular young     families,have been unable to acquire properties in the villages either for rent or purchase.

3. This has ensured that the average age of residents is becoming too old for a healthy balance of population.

4. The influx of such a large number of new homes at one time will have too dramatic an effect the already fragile infrastructure of the villages.

I THEREFOR PROPOSE THAT:

1. Only one of the proposed developments is supported initially to allow a judgement on the effect on the infrastructure.

2. That a local Bye Law is requested to ensure that only residential properties are allowed. No second homes.

3. The chosen development should be split 50/50 between purchased and rental properties and that the rental portion be run by a "not for profit" Housing Association to ensure that the rents are kept to the level of social housing  NOT "affordable" housing.

Finally, I believe that once the Community Council has come to a decision on what it wants to propose that a ballot among "Residents" should take place to ensure you have the support of the local community. 

Brian Justice

......................................

15/04/2018

Whilst I agree that there is a need for some form of housing provision for local people in Elie and Earlsferry I feel that if Elie Estate were really to want to help the situation then they would allocate the bulk of the housing to affordable or full time occupation. Realistically they are potentially going to make a huge amount of profit from the site at Grangehill and are offering a fixed percentage of affordable rented properties at Wadeslea where the potential profit from development is not so high. Any developer Is duty bound to allocate a percentage of the development as affordable housing. Elie Estate are allocating the required proportion of affordable housing is the least profitable area of their development in order to maximise their profiit.. For them to dress this up any other way is just spin. When the village was consulted in 2014 the proposal was for two sites for housing only. This has been modified to maximise profit for Elie estate. The fife development plan states that the sites do not include the football pitch at wadeslea and that the developer is duty bound to increase amenity provision. Taking away and developing the football pitch and putting smaller outdoor space among the new development does not constitute an increase in amenity provision.. This potential developments main aim is to make money for Elie estate and as a consequence they are required to provide an allocation of affordable homes. Development land around Elie sells for a premium  and for the land owner to do the minimum affordable housing provision required and then sell himself as the saviour of the community is nothing short of insulting to the local communities  intelligence.

.......................................

15/04/2018

I have lived in Elie since I was 3 years old (I'm now 31) and I'm one of the few from my age group who have been lucky enough to be able to stay in the village. I am currently in a 2 bedroom council house which is too small for my family and my son has autism so moving to another area is out of the question as this would cause him too much disruption and this is where my respite care is too. The council are unable to house us in a more suitable house because there is a lack of social housing (there are around 13 2-3 bedroom houses left) and we can't afford to pay the extortionate price for a private rent in the area so I feel that some sort of affordable housing is definitely needed. If nothing is done the village will end up entirely holiday homes and a place to retire to which means we will lose the school, which is a fantastic, close knit village school as it should be although there are a few pupil's from outwith the area. I think it is quite ridiculous that someone brought up that in the winter we have easy access to the shops etc and we may need to book a table at the pav instead of just walking in if more houses were built. I do feel that current proposal from Elie Estate is maybe a bit large however we were told that none of it is set in stone and it can be changed... Hence the reason we are being asked for our opinions. I felt at the Community Council meeting most people understood that some kind of housing is needed to help our local people/families to stay here. I did however think that the Secretary of the Community Council was very biased against the proposal and the way he was trying to "rally the troops" and sway people's opinions whilst pacing the floor and finger wagging reminded me a bit of Mel Gibson and his portrayal of William Wallace in Braveheart. Everyone is entitled to their opinion however his was rather forceful.

Kirsty Barclay

...have tried shouting "freedom" in front of the mirror but none responds !   Gj

..........................................

13/04/2018

I or my family are part. Of the problem being holiday residents only, with the caveat that we have been doing so for generations now as opposed to recently moving in...my  feelings about the village are strong and I hope compassionate to the needs of the community over my needs as a tourist.

We lived in the village adjacent to Buckland Newton in west Dorset that was mentioned in the minutes of the meeting, Piddletrenthide and my friends there still struggle to get on the housing ladder as the houses  in this beautiful part of the world are snapped up.

This is Elie and earlsferry ‘s opportunity to stop those who live there from being ousted out. If you guys let this massive build go to holiday homes and lets then the whole east Neuk will follow suit... st Monans and pittenweem are already being bought over as Elie house prices have  become so ridiculous .

Social housing is I feel the only option.

Karlyn Evans

.................................

11/04/2018 from Elie Estates

Thank you for the suggestion regarding some form of Community Trust that would own and manage the affordable housing.   I feel the principle is a good one in that the community should retain control of it’s affordable housing and the income it generates should be the communities, to spend on community-led projects, such as the Earlsferry Town Hall.

To a certain extent, it is not dissimilar to our original proposal albeit that we had intended that Elie Estate should be the entity giving priority to local people who would contribute in some way to the community.  It is worthy of note that Elie Estate does not have one holiday let property, with all our properties being long-term lets to local people.  If the ‘community’ could adopt a similar approach, we would not be in the crisis we are faced with today!

I would happily discuss this concept further, particularly how it would be funded and managed and not forgetting the significant associated costs in delivering a major residential project (professional fees, planning gain payments, services upgrades, infrastructure costs, development abnormal costs, contingency etc). 

A proposal is just a proposal which is then consulted upon to establish a general consensus in the interests of the community at large.  There are those with their own personal agendas who seek to sway others for their own personal gain which is not helpful and can not be objective. 

The planning system forces houses being built beside existing housing clusters where there is the greatest opposition to development.  But that is not to say that the houses should not be built and certainly should not mean that the community should suffer by the continued loss if its shops and services and even school to protect the views of a minority of residents or second home owners who have a different set of objectives for their chosen second home destination.

.........................................

10/04/2018

It became apparent from last night’s meeting in Earlsferry Town Hall to discuss the proposed Development Plan for Elie, there is a major concern that the sheer size and scale of the development will dwarf Elie and the majority of houses would become second homes. A very hot topic for Elie and Earlsferry where only a third of the houses are permanently occupied.    

Would one of the ways forward be to convert 50% of the proposed housing into affordable homes, not 30% as currently proposed, with these houses managed by a Community Housing Association? Argyll and Bute has established a Community Housing Association and just opened its 30th new build home in Connel. The Community led Housing Association is a registered social landlord providing affordable homes for rent.  Granted charitable status in 2011 they are a not for profit Co-operative and Community benefit society. They work in partnership with Argyll and Bute Council and other housing associations.

In England, Rural Community Land Trusts have been established in response to a loss of services or high house prices. In Buckland Newton in West Dorset where rural wages could not keep pace with house prices, preference is given by the Trust to those with close connections with the village through residency, family or work. The development has been supported by a long-term loan from the council and a grant of £550,000.  The Community Land Trust movement is a young and rapidly growing movement in England and Wales as more communities are taking the future of their village or neighbourhood into their own hands. There are now more than 225 LCTs in England and Wales.  The homes to rent or buy in shared equity are genuinely affordable and based on what people actually earn in an area and will remain affordable for this and future generations.     

Highland Small Communities Housing Trust also ensures people with local connections are prioritised where houses have been built in rent to buy schemes.

Should an Elie and Earlsferry Community Housing Association  be established to manage and rent out 50% of the houses to be built in the proposed new development with preference given to those with local connections with the villages through residency, family or work?

And finally, I believe a push needs to be made to extend the railway to Levenmouth where a park and ride facility could enable easier access to employment for locals in this area.  This may be a longer term goal but every journey starts with the first step!

Angela Johnston

site map | cookie policy | privacy policy