THE long-awaited £600 million western expansion of Dunfermline is a step closer with plans approved for 2,180 homes and two primary schools.

Proposals for a massive housebuilding development to the south-west of the town, at Broomhall, will create more than 7,000 jobs and include shops, employment and commercial units, healthcare facilities, parks and green space.

It’s been on the drawing board for almost four years and a planning application was approved by councillors at the west planning committee on Wednesday.

Stirling Developments Ltd, of Guildhall Street in Dunfermline, acquired the land and development rights for the Earl of Elgin’s Broomhall estate and said the £600m project would bring thousands of jobs over the 25-30-year development period.

The vast new estates will house around 4,700 people, a quarter of the properties are to be affordable homes and blocks of up to five storeys are in the plans.

Most of the site is farmland and the aim is to complete the development in seven phases over 30 years.

The proposals for the 223-hectare site attracted 56 letters of opposition, while community councils from Crossford, Rosyth and Charlestown, Limekilns and Pattiesmuir are against the proposals.

The numerous objections included transport concerns, the principle of development, the impact on existing infrastructure – such as doctors’ surgeries and schools – flood risks, loss of prime agricultural land, and the impact on wildlife, the landscape and listed buildings.

A report to the committee said: “The development has the potential to have a significant impact on the road network, however, sufficient mitigation is available.

“These are strategic interventions which requires a significant amount of money to be collected.”

It also said: “Overall, it is accepted that the development would have a large impact in terms of visual amenity and landscape change and this cannot be avoided given the scale of development.

“The change would be gradual and not significant and is mitigated by the large areas of greenspace and planting.”

The developer will be asked to pay £8.7m for “transport interventions” which include traffic lights on Pitreavie roundabout and an additional lane on the A823, upgrades to the Rumblingwell/William Street and William Street/Pittencrieff Street junctions and the completion of the Western Distributor Road and the Northern Link Road.

They’ll also be asked for £18m for two primary schools, contributions towards capacity risks at secondary schools in Dunfermline and St Margaret’s RC Primary School, £425,000 for an extension at Pitreavie Primary School and land for a Rosyth bypass and the Charlestown rail chord.

The site would essentially be split into three areas: the north-west area would be a mixed use area with houses, a commercial centre (including retail, health care and community facilities) and employment uses; the east section would be for employment uses; and the south-western part would primarily be residential but with some employment and community hubs.

The two primary schools would be close to the centre of the site with one to the north and one to the south.

Access would be from Limekilns Road and Grange Road and the plans include a road bridge over the Fife Circle railway to join Grange Drive.

Before the first primary school is built – the council say it’ll be needed by 2023 with the second required by 2035 – the children from the new estate will attend Pitreavie Primary School.

As a result, a new four-classroom extension, made up of modular buildings, will be erected at Pitreavie.

The area is included for housebuilding in FIFEplan, which maps out what can be built and where, and is part of the Dunfermline Strategic Land Area which has allocated sites for 4,200 residential units.

A total of 1,100 homes are being built at Wellwood and with up to 2,180 homes at Broomhall – this could rise to 2,450 in the future – this leaves more than 900 for a site at Berrylaw. Currently, there are no proposals for Berrylaw.

The masterplan drawn up by Stirling Developments Ltd took inspiration from The Grand Plan for Dunfermline, unveiled 100 years ago, which included a major development at Broomhall and spoke of “grand boulevards and regal architecture”.