AN MSP said promises have been broken after Falkirk received money for a new college – while Dunfermline hasn’t. 

Alex Rowley said last week’s Scottish Government plans confirmed the £78 million funding for Forth Valley’s new facility while, more than four YEARS after it was announced, Fife is STILL waiting to find out what’s happening with its proposed £93.5m campus at Halbeath. 

He said: “The budget shows the funding for the new Falkirk college and, given the promise for Dunfermline and West Fife was made in the same announcement, it adds insult to injury that we have no commitment and no funding.

"I can only assume the SNP politicians in Falkirk shouted more as there is no other explanation as to why one went ahead and ours with the greatest need did not.” 

Both are similar projects – the replacement of an existing college with a new-build – and were announced at the same time by the Scottish Government in October 2014. 

Fife Council granted outline planning permission in 2016 for a £90m campus for up to 6,000 students, scheduled to open in the summer of 2019. However, the proposed funding mechanism changed and the money never materialised.

The Infrastructure Investment Plan, which came out last week, says the new Forth Valley College (Falkirk campus) is being funded via ‘conventional capital procurement’ and is at the ‘construction stage’. But for the Fife College (Dunfermline campus), costed at £93.5m, the sections on how the project is to be funded and the procurement route are both ‘to be confirmed’. 

It is still at the ‘full business case stage’ and a note states: “A decision was previously taken to put the project on hold pending assurances about funding. 

“The college is now in discussion with Fife Council on the development of a joint Dunfermline Education Campus, which is looking to locate the new college building and two of Dunfermline’s high schools on the same site.”

The council have now accepted that the “best chance” of getting Holyrood money for the replacement of St Columba’s and Woodmill high schools is if they’re part of a shared campus at Halbeath with Fife College. 

The principal, Hugh Hall, outlined “legitimate concerns” about this plan earlier in the year but the college’s stance softened last month after confirming they had received the money to buy the preferred Shepherd Offshore site. 

This week a spokesperson said: “Fife College has been working tirelessly over the last few years to secure the investment for a much needed replacement for its Halbeath campus.

"We do hope that the Scottish Government will make an early decision on how and when the funding will be made available so that we can press ahead and deliver a modern, fit for purpose campus for our students.” 

Mr Rowley said: “The government seem to have made up their minds that funding will only come if the college and two schools agree to merge onto one campus.

"Fife Council need to clarify their position as they seem to be going along with the government without any kind of consultation with anyone.

“Across Scotland, new schools and new colleges have been built and none of them have had to sign up to this kind of super campus.

"The college have made clear this is not the best way forward yet Fife seems to be being told this is the only game in town.

“SNP politicians all made promises to the people of Dunfermline and West Fife that we would get the funding for a new college and they have gone back on it.

"They also promised the funding for new schools and they are going back on this.

"We are being sold short and it is not acceptable.”

Councillor Fay Sinclair, convener of the education committee, said: “We have had discussions regarding the potential for a shared campus with Fife College but are still considering all options.

“Those discussions have been positive and it is pretty disheartening to see some politicians constantly talking down the fantastic opportunities an ambitious project such as a shared learning campus, which reflects the vision the council has unanimously agreed for our school estate, could bring for young people in the area.

“No decisions have been made at this stage and further detail will be presented to the committee in due course.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is determined to ensure all involved work together to support all viable options to ensure the best possible education facilities in Fife. The original financing model proposed for developing a new campus for Fife College was effectively ruled out as a result of changes in EU accounting rules. 

"That has affected a number of proposed projects, not simply Fife College.”