Hillpark House: 37 Townhill Road
24 February 2020
Today – over twelve years since the first proposal – saw the arrival of the statutory Neighbour Notifications for a modified development. The background is that, in July 2019, McCallan Homes sold what is now a brown-field site to Steve Williams (t/a Premier Homes Scotland Ltd), a developer who lives in Dunfermline.
The Water Board eventually approved the drainage scheme, allowing the application the developers initiated last July to be taken on board by Fife Planning, and it has now started its public consultation. The Comments Expiry Date is 19 March 2020, and the Date of Decision is set as 17 April 2020. It would be lovely to think that work could start early in May, but we have learned not to hold our breath on such dates!
The current proposal is similar in concept to the previously-approved plans, except that the two houses at the top of the plot also have a shared vehicular access into Methven Drive. The design is in keeping with existing properties and less obtrusive than the original Hillpark House, and the boundary walls are significantly lower in order to improve traffic safety.
For convenience, the images above have been linked to larger images, which your browser should download automatically. You can view and download the full documentation at this link, though be aware that most of it is pretty turgid! If you wish to make a comment on-line, you have to be registered (free), log on to the Fife Planning website and upload your thoughts by Thursday 19 March.
7 December 2017
The site is still a wilderness, but recent weeks have seen the arrival of equipment and storage containers, and all is being prepared for groundwork to start in the Spring. Everyone in the neighbourhood is looking forward to the eventual completion of four detached houses. Amazingly it’s now almost ten years since the original proposal for demolition and development!
Although the information on this project is being kept available on a subdomain of my personal website, I have decided that it’s time to stop renewing the 37townhill.org domain name, which is being consigned to the history books. At least the ongoing struggles have produced a solution acceptable to all parties, so my grateful thanks to all those whose efforts have contributed to this outcome.
30 August 2016
The formal notice has been delivered to neighbours that McCallan Homes have applied for planning permission to build four houses on the site of Hillpark House.
The Design Access Statement at this link gives a good overview of the plans, but you can see what is proposed in more detail at http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/: paste 16/02760/FULL into the search box at the bottom.
As the Design Access Statement puts it: “McCallan Homes has actively engaged with representatives from both Bellyeoman Community Council as well as a local residents group during the development of this proposal. This very constructive process has ensured that the concerns and wishes of interested parties have been taken into account where at all possible from an early stage, and has resulted in a strong indication of support for the development from those involved thus far.”
The redevelopment of Hillpark House has been an ongoing issue since December 2007. As party neighbours, we would argue that this application is by far the best solution to have been proposed, and look forward to an early start to building on what has become an eyesore site.
8 March 2016
An email letter was sent by the DPEA Case Officer to the effect that the appeal has been dismissed by the reporter. The formal notice is at this link, or you can download the Appeal Decision Notice at this link.
3 February 2016
The DPEA website advises that the appointed reporter, Mr Michael Shiel MA (Cantab) BPhil MRTPI, will be carrying out a site inspection of the appeal area on Friday 19 February at 11:00, and the target date for a decision is Thursday 10 March.
There are an enormous number of documents relating to this appeal, which can be accessed on-line at this link: paste PPA-250-2243 into the search box, then click "go". It will then show the case details in a box below. Click the reference number which is highlighted in blue. This will then open the case, where all the documents are available to view. [Note that this particular hyperlink doesn't react in the normal way i.e. the cursor doesn't change from an arrow to a hand!]
18 January 2016
An appeal to the Scottish Executive was lodged by the developers on 17 December, and is currently under consideration by the Reporter. The DPEA website indicates that this will be determined by Site Inspection, and the case has already been assigned to a reporter.
This decision will be final, so your views are important.
Page 11 of the Guide to planning appeals in Scotland states that “Anyone who has already written to the council on an application will have their comments passed on to the reporter (by the council) to be considered in a subsequent appeal.” Note however that, as part of the appeal process, the developer has already had the opportunity to table a new supporting document. You can read this Appellant’s Case on-line on the Fife Planning website (see below), or download it at this link.
In view of this, you may wish to restate your views, or to submit fresh evidence or comment. There is no on-line form, nor the need to choose the binary objects/supports option that is all that the Fife Planning site offers, so you can qualify your comments. Your views must however be submitted direct to DPEA:
The reference that must be quoted is PPA-250-2243, and the deadline for your comments to be received is 4.00pm on Monday 25 January.
3 November 2015
The proposal attracted a large number of objections, with representations being made to the Council on behalf of local residents, and the topic appeared in the Dunfermline Press of 17 September and 1 October.
Although the Planning Department had recommended approval, the meeting of the West Fife Planning Committee on 23 September deferred their decision until after a site visit. That visit took place on the morning of 28 October, and at their meeting later that day the Committee “agreed to refuse the application contrary to the recommendation of officers on the grounds that the proposal was contrary to Policy E2 and E4 of the Adopted Local Plan (overdevelopment of the site, excessive scale and massing, failed to make a positive contribution to the immediate environment and was out of character with the surrounding area).”
The many planning documents and comments are still available at http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/ (paste 15/01550/FULL into the search box at the bottom); the committee papers are most easily accessed at http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=committee.diary (go to the relevant date).
18 June 2015
200 years after Waterloo today! The notice has come round to neighbours that McCallan Homes have applied for planning permission to build ten flats on the site of Hillpark House. Not as bad as it sounds – you’ll see just two separate large houses at different ends of the site, three storeys high, each with two two-bedroom flats on the lower floors, and a three-bedroom penthouse flat. The buildings are of a scale and design that should harmonise with adjacent properties, despite the intended modular building technique.
The Design Access Statement at this link gives a good overview of the plans, but you can see what is proposed in more detail at http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/: paste 15/01550/FULL into the search box at the bottom.
Whatever your view of the proposal, you can make an on-line comment by registering on the Planning website.
14 February 2015
The last-ever picture of the house before it was demolished. The Dunfermline Press of 22 January included a report, and there was some subsequent published comment – see this link. The lament about waste should perhaps have been addressed to those who had allowed the earlier deterioration of the property to the extent that restoration was not viable.
Kevin Park’s comment about the untypical construction material is easily explained. The house plans show the original owner to have been a Mr T. T. Street. Now Street Brothers were the owners of the Appin Coal and Fire Clay Works in Townhill, and he naturally chose to use his own materials. Other houses in the area have walls with the same unusual tile coping. More about the company at this link.
9 January 2015
Those of you who live close to the property will have received the linked letter from Clare McCabe giving advance warning that demolition of the house will start around 12 January and take around two weeks to complete. Purvis Group are carrying out the work, and will attempt to minimise the inevitable disruption.
Once the demolition has been completed there is unlikely to be any further major work for some months, whilst the owners continue to evaluate options with their architect.
14 September update: a message from the new owners
“We would like to introduce ourselves as the new owners of Hillpark House. Myself, my husband Eric and our business partner Iain Allan have bought the property as an investment with the intention of sympathetically developing the site. We appreciate these matters are best done in collaboration with those affected most and would like to assure you that we will endeavour to communicate with the neighbours as much as possible during this project. In the first instance we plan to demolish the house and garage as soon as we can – at this time we anticipate this could be anything between 2 to 4 months from now. There are very long lead times for having the utilities removed from the site as well as obtaining the necessary building warrant before we are allowed to do any of the demolition work. While we wait for all this to happen, trees will be removed from around the garden at some time next month. In the meantime we will also begin to consider our development options in more detail.”
27 August 2014 update
The appearance of new padlocks last week, and a visit this morning by a demolition company to sample the slates, confirms what was rumoured, that the property has now been sold. We are looking forward to seeing a new planning application and progress on a site that has now been needing TLC for nearly seven years!
June 2014 update
The planning permission in principle was granted on 1 May, subject to the usual conditions, which can be accessed on the Planning Department website, as indicated below. The only item of note is that there is a requirement for a 2 metre wide footway around the frontages to Townhill Road and Methven Drive, with the implication that the existing boundary walls will be removed (if they haven't already fallen down!). Detailed plans will of course need to be submitted in due course, which will give a further opportunity for comment.
Meanwhile, the property was been advertised by Century 21 as a “Land for sale” opportunity at a guide-line price of £150k. Details are available at this link. We look forward to someone taking up the challenge of creating two quality homes on this prime plot.
March 2014 update
Those of you are party neighbours, or within 20m of the property, should have received formal notification on 21 March of an application for planning permission in principle for the erection of two dwellinghouses at Hillpark House, which permission would include demolition of the existing property. The rationale for the latter, a prerequisite for the development, is that Hillpark House is beyond economic repair, and this sadly seems to be the case.
To see what is proposed in more detail, go to http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/ and paste 14/00793/PPP into the search box. Whatever your view of the proposal, please register an interest in the application, and make an on-line comment, which will put members of the local community in the frame for when the property is finally auctioned, a developer buys it, and a fresh application is made!
August 2013 update
Since Hillpark House was sold to developers late in 2007, it was a family home for a year, but has mostly lain empty, becoming increasingly derelict and overgrown, and “benefited from” (as estate agents would say) several visits from the constabulary dealing with unwanted events!We are delighted to report that action has been taken to put it in the care of Devon Property Services, who secured the property on 5 August 2013, and will be performing regular patrols.
Also, after five years of not knowing who to contact in case of trouble, we have a name and contact details. Great news! So, if you have any concerns relating to security, phone James Mills on 07979 628596.
A notice on a window also gives an Edinburgh contact number (0131 272 8355) for any enquiries with regards to the property. We hope that eventually someone may be encouraged to buy Hillpark House, and give our old friend a new lease of life!
What nobody nearby wants is the sort of high-density development whose planning application was rejected on appeal nearly five years ago. If you want to see what this was, and why it wasn’t acceptable, click this link to visit our old site.