THERE are “critical capacity risks” at two more Dunfermline schools due to the fast pace of housebuilding in the area.

Fife Council said that McLean and St Margaret’s are almost full and, at the latter, it’ll cost £1.05 million to accommodate more pupils.

That’s not an option at McLean, parts of which date back to the 1890s, as there’s no room to build an extension and children may have to go to a different school.

The issue arose at the west planning committee on Wednesday due to plans for 157 new homes in the centre of Dunfermline, at the Pilmuir Works site.

The primary schools in its catchment area are McLean and St Margaret’s and a council report admitted both have “critical capacity risks”.

Shelagh McLean, the council’s head of service, told the Press: “As with any development proposal for housing, the education service has been consulted on the impact on local catchment schools.

“While we would not wish to stop any development, we must look at the current capacity in the area.

“While some work could be carried out at St Margaret’s to accommodate additional pupils, McLean does not have any spare classrooms nor could further temporary classes be accommodated within the school grounds.

“We must then look at further solutions in the area which will require funding by the applicant.

“Should this application be granted, this may require additional accommodation at an alternative local primary school.”

The plan was approved by councillors.

Thousands of houses have been built in Dunfermline in the past decade and pressure on school rolls has seen extensions added to Milesmark and Carnegie primary schools, at a cost of £1.2m and £2m respectively.

And there are plans for more classrooms to be added to Masterton, Touch and Aberdour, at a combined cost of more than £3.7m, as well as a possible £1m extension at Inverkeithing High.

The report to the committee said the Pilmuir Works site had not been part of the latest housing land audit “and so the proposal has not been incorporated in school roll projections”.

With no room at McLean, it said: “Education have confirmed that a solution has been found to accommodate the primary school pupils from the proposed development which will need to be funded by the applicant.

“This will be secured via a Section 75 legal obligation should committee approve the proposed development.”

Byzantian Developments Ltd will also have to contribute towards an extension at St Margaret’s – all primary school extensions are funded by developers.

The council report said: “In relation to St Margaret’s, the solution is to provide an additional two teaching areas at a cost of £1.05 million.”

As well as the issues at primary schools in the area, Woodmill High is already at capacity and the council has been forced to try to re-draw catchment areas to tackle the problems.

The remaining three high schools in Dunfermline are projected to be full by 2021-22.

It’s all being driven by housebuilding and, earlier this year, the Press reported that Dunfermline and West Fife had been identified as a “key growth area” by the Scottish Government with 18,000 new homes to be built by 2026.

While that’s good for jobs and the economy, there are concerns it 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 the council say five new primary schools and a new high school will be needed.