PLANS to turn farmland near Cowdenbeath into an equestrian centre with stables and a dog walking business have been approved by Fife Council.

The new business providing a home for up to 20 horses will, appropriately enough, be located just north of Cuddyhouse Road.

The application, submitted by Adam Strang from North Berwick, includes the erection of a stable block, with hay barn, feed room and toilet, the formation of access, eight parking spaces and temporary siting of a caravan for three years.

A report submitted on his behalf said nearby liveries were "operating at full capacity" and that horse ownership was generally increasing in Scotland.

The temporary caravan is needed as "the applicants do not own any houses in the area" and "there is a need for an on the ground presence to care for the horses and dogs and to provide a security presence".

The land is part of 63 hectares owned by Stuart McPherson, of Pitkinny Farm, Cardenden, which stretch eastwards from the M90 motorway towards Cowdenbeath.

The holdings have been subdivided for sale into eight plots and the application is for two of the plots, which cover just over seven hectares.

There will be stables for up to 20 horses with owners given around the clock access to the site through a secure gate with access code.

There will be fencing round the site.

As the business develops, they aim to provide assisted livery and caring for the horses between 8am and 6pm.

The dog walking / minding business would operate between 8am and 6pm with owners dropping their pets off at the static caravan.

While there is an existing track to the West Meiklebeath site, the change of use was approved subject to a legal agreement which will require Mr Strang to improve the access from Cuddyhouse Road with visibility splays.

The council said there is no planning history for the site but, on the other side of the road, there is a pending application for a change of use from woodland for 20 huts, car parking and footpaths.

Planning agents McCrae & McCrae had said last year: "They intend on running a genuine livery business and dog care business for three years while living in a caravan before applying to build a modest log house.

“They will lodge business accounts to verify that they are doing what they have said they are going to do which will provide a tourist facility and a facility for the looking after of horses and dogs who live locally to the business.”