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Elie and Earlsferry Capacity Study

Fife, Elie Estate

OPEN was engaged by Elie Estate to help prepare a response to the Fife Council Call for Sites, the precursor to Local Development Plan preparation. This work is ongoing through the planning process.

Elie Estate with the exception of Elie House is owned and managed by the Trustees of the Elie Estate Trust under the stewardship of Sir Michael Nairn. The Nairn family acquired the Estate around 85 years ago and have an active role in the management of the Estate and in the life of Elie and Earlsferry. Elie Estate forms part of the East Neuk Estates Group which comprises a group of landowners in the rural East Neuk of Fife. This group is currently assisting in preparation of a Rural Community Action Plan which, in association with the Council and the community will set out the objectives for “Keeping East Neuk Communities Vibrant”.

Elie and Earslferry are unique places; the sense of identity, relationship of urban environment with the land and the sea and the architectural richness of place are notable even within the East Neuk context. Unfortunately, this special quality alongside easy proximity to the central belt has meant a steady increase in second home ownership which is now at 80% in Earlsferry. This has had impacts on community facilities and local businesses which in the longer term will threaten the sustainability of the settlement as a place to live and work.

The aim of OPEN’s work was to identify areas that could accommodate positive growth. Recent new development has been incremental and unchecked could erode the character of the villages. An ambitious masterplan is being formed which will allow long term growth that is properly masterplanned, can cross fund high quality affordable housing provision and will allow new businesses to form. Links are being established with Fife higher educational establishments.

The Estate will take an active stewardship role in new development and the aim is to create a high quality new development that provides positive expansion and which sustains the community with more people living and working within the local area and breathing new life into the village.