The Fife Green Party have said the proposed Northern Link Road running through Townhill Country Park must be scrapped, under new planning rules passed by the Scottish Parliament this week (Wed 11th January)
The fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) lays out the policies which councils must use to decide where to site new houses, roads, schools and industrial sites.It says climate and the environment must be a top priority, along with providing active travel routes and protecting green spaces.
The Greens say this is at odds with plans to build the proposed Northern Link Road, a section of which runs along the existing cycle path from Bellyeomen to Townhill, through the country park.
Local activists are now calling for planning to be put on hold whilst the Fife Local Development Plan is updated to align with the new planning rules.
Fife Greens activists and local resident Mags Hall said, “Like many people in Townhill and Dunfermline, Townhill Loch is a special place for me and my family. When my son was a baby, we walked the cycle path up to the Loch every day, and now we still visit it two or three times a week.
We see the same faces all the time, it’s such a well used park, and one of the few bits of nature locally that’s accessible to buggies, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. And yet hardly anyone realises this is earmarked for a major road right through the middle of the park.
The Northern Link Road plans were drawn up over a decade ago now, with very little engagement with the public. Since then we’ve recognised the urgent need to protect our environment and tackle climate change. The pandemic also reminded people of the importance of local greenspaces, and so many people have reconnected with their local parks in the last few years.
This is all reflected in the new National Planning Framework – the first three policies are all about protecting biodiversity and ensuring planning contributes to tackling climate change. Building a road through the middle of a country park couldn’t be more at odds with these policies.
We’re calling on Fife Council to urgently pause any planning for the Northern Link Road, and do a full review of the local development plan, under the new NPF4 policies. This will give people in the local area the time to properly engage with the plans, let the council know what the park means to them, and ensure we can save our precious green space.”