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Affordable Housing for Elie & Earlsferry

Thursday 28 February 2013

Elie View

The villages of Elie & Earlsferry are well known for their attractive coastal setting, which coupled with a world-class golf course and extensive sandy beach have made the villages one of Scotland’s most popular second home choices.  As such, a significant proportion of the houses in Elie & Earlsferry are owned as second homes.

Ironically the beauty of Elie & Earlsferry has in many ways been to their detriment.  Although a thriving economy over the summer holiday season, the high level of second home ownership has out-priced many local residents, with young families unable to settle in the village.  Elie Primary School has seen pupil numbers in gradual decline and the High Street, which used to support a Bank, a Post Office and numerous hotels, has also seen a gradual decline in outlets with retailers unable to support themselves over the quieter winter months.

Recognising the problem, Elie Estate requested a meeting in 2011 with members of the Community Council and the East Neuk of Fife Preservation Society to discuss the issues facing the village and whether something should be done to address them.  It was overwhelmingly agreed to encourage a proposal which might better sustain a permanent resident population and provide economic benefits to the community for the long-term prosperity of the village.

Following this, Elie Estate commissioned the services of Optimised Environments (OPEN), a leading Edinburgh-based urban design consultancy to undertake a Landscape Capacity Study to consider the historic growth pattern of the settlements and identify where the most appropriate areas might be for future expansion of the villages.

Good masterplanning takes a long-term view to ensure that any expansion in the short-term makes a positive contribution to the layout of the settlement in the longer-term.  Fife Council require proposals to meet housing and business demand over a 20 year period and this proposal presents a 30 year growth plan for Elie & Earlsferry.   We envisage design principles being established through a “Design Code” which will ensure that any new development not only fits physically but also visually with Elie & Earlsferry.  New development should be sensitive to the special environment of Elie & Earlsferry, and accordingly be of an appropriate high quality.

The study identified two areas for housing development and an area for the provision of economic uses.  The first site identified was to the north of Earlsferry to the west of Ferry Road behind Grange Road.   The other was to the east of Elie at Wadeslea where there are already 20 houses allocated in the current adopted Local Plan.  The field behind a large wall to the north of the A917 road leaving Elie to the east was identified as being capable of providing an area for economic uses.

Click here to view the Landscape Capacity Study and here for our response to the Main Issues Report.

Key to this proposal is the provision of affordable housing.  It is Elie Estate’s intention to retain ownership of the affordable housing and rent these houses on mid-market rents to local people with the objective of achieving a more favourable balance with families, who, in due course, will contribute to the year-round daily life of the community, including the Primary School.  It is also the Estate’s intention that the affordable housing will be of the same design style as the private housing and would therefore look no different to the private housing

Other potential development sites have been put forward through the ‘Call for Sites’ process for the emerging Local Development Plan throughout the St Andrews and East Fife area. They have been included within a Main Issues Report, which was open for public consultation until 10th March 2013.  

We would appreciate hearing from you, so please feel free to email us at elie@eastneukestates.co.uk

 

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