A HOUSING developer has withdrawn plans to knock down the old Inverkeithing Primary School at Roods Road.

There was controversy when Allanwater Developments Ltd were given permission to demolish the Grade C-listed former school buildings in December 2017 by members of the west planning committee, contrary to officers’ recommendations.

The flattened site was to make way for 28 homes.

However, the decision needed the stamp of approval of Scottish ministers as Historic Environment Scotland opposed the planning application.

Ministers were notified in February this year but advised they would not consider the application until a bat survey had been submitted.

Fife Council say that such a survey was requested on numerous applications from Allanwater since late last year but, to date, a survey hasn’t materialised.

As bat surveys can only be carried out between the months of May and September, the window to complete for 2018 has now been missed.

Last week, Allanwater formally withdrew their application and confirmed to the Press on Monday that their interest was at an end.

Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay Councillor David Barratt, who did not support the decision for demolition, said: “My understanding through different groups is that the finance for this project no longer stacked up and therefore the developers were pulling out.

“Whatever happens in the future, any further application would have to go through the committee again.

“It will give them another opportunity to look at the plans at a local level.

“It’s also another chance for members to look at other options.”

Allanwater have stated that knocking down the old school is the only way to make housebuilding viable.

The building has been empty for more than a decade.

However, charity the Vivarium Trust believe the buildings can be converted into a community-led housing development, specifically for elderly people.

Despite Allanwater receiving planning permission to demolish, the trust has still have been pursuing ways to see if it can restore the old school.

It has begun lobbying councillors for funding for a feasibility study and say there are 1,100 online signatures against demolition, with a further 350 signatures on a local petition.

“In other countries, co-housing is very common and a pioneer pilot project in Inverkeithing would show how it could benefit many communities in Scotland,” a spokesperson for the trust stated.

Cllr Barratt added: “People may be disappointed but that’s the reality of the planning system.

“But I think this gives us another opportunity for demolition to be rejected at a local level rather than by Scottish ministers.”

An Allanwater Developments spokesperson said: “Allanwater Developments’ interest in the site at the old primary school in Inverkeithing is officially withdrawn.”