WORK is finally getting under way on I&H Brown’s plans for 1,100 new homes and a primary school at Wellwood.

The Perth-based firm has permission to develop 62 hectares of land between the village and Parkneuk, which will also contain an urban park, shops, neighbourhood centre, public art, new roads, path and cycle networks.

The first step is ground stabilisation and grouting work, to fill underground voids left by old coal mines, as well as getting a temporary access road, compound and fences in place.

Tommy Devlin, development manager at I&H Brown, said: “All being well, early next year we’ll see building work start on the site.

“We’re very close to signing an agreement with our chosen housebuilder but I can’t say who it is until then.”

He added: “It’s quite a development for the north of Dunfermline. The council planning officers have been really good and we’ve tried our best to keep the local community informed every step of the way.”

The project could create up to 4,000 jobs and has been in the pipeline for years.

Cllr Helen Law, the chairwoman of the City of Dunfermline area committee, said: “There was quite a considerable time with not a lot happening and although people maybe won’t welcome disruption in the immediate vicinity, I’m pleased to see it’s under way.

“It’s the start of the whole development to the north of Dunfermline and we have to make sure it links to the other sites that are in the plans.”

Fife Council had previously allocated land for 4,200 new homes, schools and employment land around Dunfermline but were then asked by the Scottish Government to find land for an additional 2,500 homes in West Fife.

As well as the Wellwood site there are separate plans, which do not have planning permission, for 2,000 new homes at Broomhall and 1,400 between Halbeath and Kingseat.

Cllr Law said: “Fife Council has no option but to deliver on Scottish Government targets for more housing and part of it is finding routes for things like the northern relief road.

“It will go through the Wellwood site, and the exact route is proving the most controversial aspect, but it’s heartening to see the community councils in north Dunfermline working together with Fife Council to discuss this further and try to get a resolution.”

The work at Wellwood will be carried out in three phases, with 560 homes and a six-classroom school to be delivered by the end of phase one. Two classrooms will be added at the completion of both phase two and phase three.

The firm will contribute to various transport improvements, including the northern relief road to take traffic away from the centre of Dunfermline and link to the new estates.

New housing on this scale needs major transport improvements and, as well as the relief road, Transport Scotland said traffic lights at Pitreavie roundabout were “essential” and should also go on the Bothwell Gardens roundabout.

Approval of I&H Brown’s plans means the junction of Nethertown Broad Street with Elgin Street/Moodie Street will be upgraded and there will be signal optimisation at Sinclair Gardens, Carnegie Drive and Pilmuir Street, and the William Street/Rumblingwell junction.

There will also be a requirement for a Grange Drive link road and improvements at the Halbeath Road/Whitefield Road junction.