New schools for Dunfermline set to get green light
PLANS for up to 4000 new houses, a new high school and three new primary schools in Dunfermline are set to be approved next week.
Massive new developments to the south-west, west and north of the city look certain to be confirmed by Fife Council's planning committee on Thursday 4th October.
Councillors will be asked to formally adopt the Dunfermline and West Fife Local Plan which has identified sites for a minimum of 3800 houses and 80 hectares of employment land.
It sets out a detailed picture of what can be built and where in West Fife up to 2021 and as well as four schools it also includes £27 million of transport improvements, including a distributor ring road and 'rapid transport corridors' for buses.
After years of consultation, it is finally ready to be approved by the council and will guide day-to-day planning decisions.
However, the 'western expansion' has already caused controversy with Charlestown, Limekilns and Pattiesmuir Community Council saying they "object absolutely" to new homes being built to the south-west of Dunfermline
Dunfermline North councillor William Campbell is on the planning committee and said, "We have to be very careful about where we build and I was pleased the masterplan for the north of Dunfermline seems to have been carefully thought through in leaving some green space.
"I want to see Dunfermline thrive and I'm not going to argue against people moving here but development needs to be done in a way that's measured and takes proper account of the community's needs."
Development could mirror Dunfermline's eastern expansion (DEX), where 4000 houses were built around the Duloch and Masterton areas over the last 10 years, and there are plans for a further 2000 new homes there in the next decade.
Three new primary schools were built - Duloch, Masterton and Carnegie - as well as a leisure centre, Tesco superstore, a small retail complex and a Church of Scotland.
Councillor Campbell said, "The adoption of the local plan sets out what can be built and where but, for example, I know a new high school for Dunfermline is not something in their immediate plans.
"That would be more likely when the majority of the housing is built which, due to the current market conditions, is likely to be a number of years away.
"In terms of a new primary school, one masterplan already approved is for the substantial area between Wellwood and Parkneuk and there's the possibility of a planning application for a new primary in that area towards the and of this year."
He continued, "Obviously the Press recently published the school review about the future of schools in Fife and I think it's a good thing that education is not exempt from the financial difficulties of the next few years.
"Ninety per cent of the budget is on salaries and buildings and it's the teachers and support staff who educate the youngsters so we don't want to reduce what we pay on salaries if we can avoid it.
"If we were to close two or three current buildings that are in poor condition and replace them with a new school that's a way in which you could see some new schools in the local area and reduce spending on tired and C-rated buildings.
"I would certainly encourage people to take part in the consultation so we can agree on the way forward."
On the subject of where any new schools could be built, Bill Lindsay, Fife Council's service manager for development planning, said, "At this stage in the process, no specific parcels of land are identified.
"This will come from the next step in the process which is to develop a masterplan based on the strategic framework in the Dunfermline and West Fife Local Plan which is being reported to the planning committee on 4th October for adoption as council policy.
"The masterplan process requires developers to consult and engage with the affected communities in preparing masterplans.
"Preferred or specific sites are likely to emerge from that stage.
"We are hopeful that community involvement with the masterplanning stages will begin in 2013."
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Sep 28, 09:22
Fife Council have to be very careful in the number of Primary schools being built and planned. In every suburb of new houses, like Duloch Park, you get an influx of families. There is a surge in demand for primary schools for 10-15 years. It then falls away quickly as people age and the area matures. You therefore have falling primary school pupils and you end up having to close a primary school down after 20-30 years service. I have seen this in Glasgow and surrounding areas where new houses were built in the 1960's, loads of primaries hurried lay put up and 20 years later the school is half empty and they are demolished.
Recommend? Yes 11 No 0
Sep 28, 10:49
Absolutely right. They now have some experience of the early stages of this phenomenon in the DEX so should be able to learn lessons from where they went wrong there. The sensible thing to do would be to build schools that are specifically designed to cope with the initial surge through the use of (high quality) temporary classrooms. One or more classrooms within any new build should also be designed so that it can be converted into a 'community lounge' once the school roll starts to fall. One of the classrooms in Masterton was supposed to fulfil this purpose.
The Duloch and, to some extent, Masterton buildings are well used by the community, given the lack of community facilities in the area, and it is this sort of flexible multi-use facility that the Council should be looking to build in due course. I am a big fan of the Duloch campus, which is very well used. Presumably the funding model used will not be PFI/PPP, so they will not be hamstrung in the same way they were at Masterton and Duloch.
The Press could do future residents a favour if it asked Fife Council to explain how they plan to design any new schools to cope with this inevitable phenomenon. It is many years away, but it would be nice if someone started thinking about it at the masterplanning stage.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 1
Sep 28, 21:33
Sep 28, 21:35
Sep 28, 21:44
Ok.... Last week you announced closing schools down in Fife for cuts, this week your telling us your bringing 3 new primary schools and a high school ..You know, nothing like going back on what your saying....Give us a straight answer and stop being stupid! Also do you not think you have built a enough new homes? ... Half of them are empty if you havent noticed either!! Also the old Motorolla factory land had set to announce theirs plans last week, so they did! They are also building houses and a school..... ?????
Someone doesnt know what they are doing here.!
I agree with the schools, we need more, just dont put out a statement the previous week saying your closing schools to!!
Recommend? Yes 1 No 11
Sep 28, 21:57
@davidcolin - the problem is:
1. Some primary schools are in old buildings that are very expensive to maintain. Those built in a hurry in 1960 are falling apart (flat roofs in wet Scotland!). It is cheaper to rebuild then try to polish a turd.
2. Those marked for closure have falling school roles. They are far from the planned developments and are in a poor state of repair. It is more economical to build a school than bus children to it. There is no point in busing children to a run down school.
Recommend? Yes 10 No 4
Oct 3, 09:36