Expansion of caravan site approved despite wildlife fears

An expansion has been approved for a holiday park, despite concerns raised for wildlife in the area.

At the north east planning committee, councillors approved an expansion of Craigtoun Meadows Holiday Park near St Andrews.

The expansion will see an additional 42 static caravans built at the park, on ground that is classed as ancient woodland. There are 400 trees on the site, a number of which will need to be felled, although Fife Council planners couldn’t provide an exact number.

However, the forestry commission did not raise an objection as the owners of the park agreed to a compensatory planting scheme at another site to replace lost trees.

However, Councillor Jane Ann Liston raised concerns to these plans, stating: “If the developers take away 95 per cent mature Scotts Pine, then red squirrels may suffer, so tree loss has to be considered.

“In the so called green belt I’m surprised it’s okay to take away a huge chunk just because you say you’re going to plant it elsewhere.

“Do you know what kind of trees and what size will be planted? We’re talking about mature trees – if you plant these wee whisps of trees, it’s not a suitable replacement.”

However, planning officer Martin Patrick said he wasn’t sure at this stage as that would be part of a future agreement with the developer.

It was also noted that the environmental protection agency hadn’t raised any concerns of protected species in the woodland.

Councillor David MacDairmid agreed, and moved refusal on the proposal, saying: “I’m very uncomfortable that we are coming here to approve the removal of woodland for tourism purposes effectively.”

However, the councillors agreed to approve the plans in a vote of four to three.

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