A NEW nursery in Halbeath moved a step closer this week when councillors agreed to the demolition of the existing community centre.

It is now expected that construction will start in the next few months so the purpose-built facility can be ready for August 2020.

A report to members of the City of Dunfermline area committee from Fife Council Property Services (school estates) team manager, Dawn Cook, said the existing community centre needed to be demolished to allow for the new-build which will include space for the community.

"The Halbeath Community Centre site offers a regeneration opportunity to build a new, high-quality, purpose-built nursery school with a large, flexible shared space which can be used by community groups and booked for events outwith the nursery operating hours," she stated.

"The new nursery school will provide dedicated outdoor play space and upgraded car-parking facilities. The existing football pitches and facilities will be retained and the children’s play area will be upgraded and relocated within the site boundary. The new nursery will bring jobs and opportunities to the Halbeath area."

Ms Cook said council workers had worked closely with Dunfermline Amateur Boxing Club, who had been using the Halbeath community centre as a training base, and they had now been relocated to Woodmill High.

The plans include provision for bookable community space and community access to kitchen facilities while a safe walking route between the new nursery and nearby Carnegie Primary School is also being developed.

Dunfermline South Councillor Fay Sinclair described the plans as "exciting".

She added: "This is a crucial part of delivering 1,140 hours of early learning for the Dunfermline area and I welcome this. 

"The boxing club has been relocated – they were a big worry but they are quite happy in their new home now at Woodmill High School. I would like to thank the officers for the constructive way they have dealt with that."

The creation of the nursery in Halbeath is part of Fife Council's £30 million programme to see a huge increase in childcare facilities across the Kingdom.

More than 700 new nursery places will be provided in West Fife as part of efforts to deliver additional early learning and childcare hours.

With youngsters set to get 1,140 hours instead of the current 600 early learning and childcare hours by August 2020, efforts are being made to ensure more than 700 new nursery places can be created in West Fife.

Two other nurseries are set to be built – one at Rosyth Resource Centre and the other likely to be on the site of the former Pitcorthie Primary – while revamps will take place at Inzievar, Tulliallan, St Serf’s and Touch primaries.

Existing crèches at Duloch and Carnegie leisure centres are also set to be turned into nursery centres.