Looking around the East Neuk today you may wonder why it needs preserving.
It’s hard to believe that only 30 years ago many of the older
houses were ruinous and in danger of demolition or collapse. Since
then with the Little Houses Scheme and improving purchasers, the historic
buildings of the area have been saved for future generations.
The Harbour, Pittenweem
The focus of the Society has now shifted to protecting the unique
character and charm of the area which has made it so popular with
holiday makers and attracted new residents from all over Scotland.
While planning laws now protect the buildings, their integrity is
under threat from the encroachments of modern life. We reap the
benefit of our predecessors’ hard work in safeguarding our
beautiful surroundings, but the wonderful natural environment that
draws people here in the first place has been put under pressure
from developer-driven intrusions aiming to fill up every spare space
with housing. The accessibility of the East Neuk as a holiday home
destination has seen the housing market in the area boom in recent
years. This has led to the loss of green space, gardens and local
amenities such as shops, pubs, garages, churches even, as premises
are converted into houses or flats. There are no longer any hotels
in Elie, fish sheds have been lost from all the villages, boats
are no longer built in St Monans. Work places and employment opportunities
for residents are reduced, and shops struggle to survive where much
of the village consists of holiday homes.
Yet applications still come in for new developments of large numbers
of characterless bungalows and houses with no thought of reflecting
local vernacular style, and no consideration of the strains placed
upon the existing and fragile infrastructure of the East Neuk, or
where the new owners and occupiers will work or go to school. The
separate and distinct identity of each village is under threat as
houses encroach on the boundaries, with Pittenweem and Anstruther
only one field apart, while Cellardyke and Kilrenny are almost contiguous
We must be vigilant to make sure we preserve this beautiful corner
of Fife and do not allow inappropriate new developments which will
disturb this harmony, overwhelm the old village centres, and spoil
the reasons so many wish to live and visit here. You can help maintain
the charm of the East Neuk by joining the Society, to meet like-minded
people, and comment on issues that concern you.
If you would like to become a member of the East Neuk Preservation
Society please print out and complete this form
and post it to us.