THE population of Dunfermline and West Fife is set to rocket over the next decade with 18,000 new homes to be built by 2026.

It’s part of a “key growth area” for housing development which will pile more pressure on existing infrastructure, such as roads and transport links, health care provision, utilities and education.

There are 7,000 new homes planned for Dunfermline alone in the next decade and Fife Council say five new primary schools and a new high school will be needed as a result.

A spokesperson for Fife Council said: “The majority of new homes planned within the Dunfermline and West Fife area are in large-scale development sites which require to be supported by new infrastructure.

“The local development plan (FIFEplan) sets out the education infrastructure requirements for each, with the direct provision of one or more primary schools often being the agreed position.”

Ultimately, it’s the Scottish Government that determines how many new homes should be built in West Fife.

The council has little choice but to allocate land for more development, which means more children moving into the area and a need for more school places.

There are already issues and last month 95 Primary 7 pupils were told they won’t be able to attend their catchment high school, Woodmill, as it will be full by the end of summer.

The expansion in the east of the town, particularly in Duloch and Masterton, has meant developers being asked to fund £4.6 million of classroom extensions at three primary schools – Carnegie, Masterton and Milesmark.

And pupils at Duloch continue to be taught in the public library due to a rising roll and a lack of space.

But, told to allocate land for more homes, the council have identified sites for 4,200 houses at Wellwood, Broomhall and Berrylaw with three new primary schools and nursery accommodation required.

Building is already under way at I&H Brown’s site in Wellwood.

And in North Dunfermline, a further 3,000 houses are to be delivered at Swallowdrum and Halbeath, which will require two primary schools.

These will be paid for by developers but other facilities, such as new GP surgeries, are a matter for the Scottish Government.

The spokesperson said: “Over the wider Dunfermline and West Fife area, for 20 years from 2006, about 18,000 homes are planned for to meet the housing needs of the area. Some of these already have been built.

“Fife Council require to plan for these new homes and have done so through FIFEplan, which sets out where in the Dunfermline area these new housing sites are expected to come forward.

"There is a national policy presumption in favour of such development and the Scottish Government do approve the overall number of new homes required.”

Even within the council, there are competing pressures with planning officers keen to ensure appropriate housing developments go ahead, for the good of the local economy and helping to meet government targets, while education chiefs have to ensure developers pay the contributions needed to alleviate the capacity pressures new homes will create for schools.

Asked about housing growth for the area, the spokesperson said: “This growth is needed to meet housing needs, including affordable housing, and, across Fife, housebuilding generates over 1,500 jobs each year.

"The impact arising from new development on schools, roads and other related infrastructure is planned for as part of those developments.”