FUNDING has been secured to see if the fire-hit old Inverkeithing Primary School can be saved.

Community plans look to redevelop the site at Roods Road but the listed building was damaged badly by a fire last year.

Conservation architects and engineers are set to investigate whether the listed building, which has been empty for more than a decade, can be saved with a study expected to take around a year to complete.

Fife Council and Architectural Heritage Fund have committed £18,500 for the study, which is being undertaken by the Inverkeithing Community Development Group (ICDG) and co-housing charity, the Vivarium Trust.

However, owners of the site Andrail UK Ltd have confirmed to the Press their intention to resubmit plans for demolition and redevelopment of the site.

Previously, plans to knock down the old school and build 28 homes were withdrawn after Historic Environment Scotland opposed and it was handed over to Scottish Ministers for approval.

They indicated that they wouldn’t consider the application until a bat survey had been submitted. Now the survey has been completed, Andrail is ready to go.

The community-led partnership will, therefore, have to move fast to show how the former school does have an alternative future.

Inverkeithing Councillor David Barratt said: “The primary school was one of the most topical items at Imagine Inverkeithing, where locals said how they would like to see the town develop.

“The group is now moving forward the aspirations of the community.

“It is hoped the feasibility study will show one way or another what is possible with the site.

“But it is a bit of a difficult one because they are no way entitled to be given it by the owners.

“The owners will be resubmitting plans for demolition in the coming weeks.

“This really puts the pressure on now and if they want to demonstrate there is another way, they need to do it quickly.

“If they show there is an alternative for it they can uphold Historic Scotland’s argument.

“But do Historic Scotland still have the same opinion in light of the damage caused by the fire?”

Eighty-seven per cent of Inverkeithing residents back community use and community housing for the former school.

ICDG say their understanding is the council will wait for a feasibility study to be carried out and as it stands Historic Scotland believe the building can be used without tearing it down.

Fife Council community manager Alastair Mutch said: “As a council, we are supportive of community-led projects that will provide facilities and services that local people want and need, or which protect and improve the natural or built heritage of our towns and villages. In this particular case, the potential to include much-needed social housing in a community project is also interesting.

“We’ve contributed a relatively small amount of funding specifically to investigate the feasibility of an inter-generational housing project in the Inverkeithing area.

“The Vivarium Trust is also keen to establish if the old school site could be the location for such a project, something local residents have expressed support for.

“In previous discussions, the property owners indicated they may be open to alternatives for the site’s future. But, of course, the owners have the right to pursue any plans they choose.

“Any planning application that’s submitted will have to be considered on its own merits, according to legislation.

“As ever, local residents will be able to comment on any application as part of standard procedures.”