THE ‘Dockyard Digs’ scheme could be extended until 2021 to provide accommodation for workers building five new Royal Navy frigates.

Plans have been lodged with Fife Council to allow the temporary accommodation pods on Castle Road to remain until the summer of 2021.

Applicants Capital and Provincial (Rosyth) Ltd also wish to restrict their occupancy to construction workers for the frigates.

Permission was granted initially in 2014 to build digs for workers on the two aircraft carriers and the Queensferry Crossing.

The pods have been allowed to stay until the end of 2019 but the controversial scheme split local opinion at the time with opponents arguing that it would devalue their property and potentially cause anti-social behaviour.

Councillors rejected the plans twice but the decision was overturned on appeal by a Scottish Government reporter.

Back in September, the UK Government announced Babcock International as the preferred bidder for the £1.25 billion contract for five Royal Navy Type 31 frigates.

These ships will be assembled at Rosyth Dockyard securing what is reported to be “hundreds of jobs”.

Work is expected to start at the end of this year with the first ship set to be in the water by 2023.

Applicant Capital and Provincial (Ltd) stated: "The pod development was to provide accommodation for specialist workers to support the construction of nationally-important projects.

"So far, the pods have been directly linked to two projects of national importance, the aircraft carriers and the Forth Replacement Crossing.

"These projects are now either complete or nearing completion although maintenance work is expected to continue.

"The accommodation pods have proven to be valuable to help the delivery of these projects and justify the planning support given.

"Like the aircraft carriers, the frigates are important components for the defence of the UK and clearly of national importance.

"To support their construction at Rosyth Dockyard, temporary accommodation will be required for specialist workers.

"Companies prefer to have their construction workers housed on a single well-managed site rather than in dispersed properties in an area. It is also difficult to rent houses or flats for a period of less than six months."

Only 69 of the original 76 planned pods were assembled in 2014. The whole site lies on the west and east side of Castle Road and includes a management office.

The pods are a serviced hostel-type accommodation available to rent for one night or, normally, longer.

The applicant has stated that Fifepods East accommodation pods are "not a long-term proposition".

Capital and Provincial (Rosyth) Limited is exploring the feasibility of developing the site for permanent residential development.

This would involve replacing the existing accommodation pods with permanent new-build apartments.

Design and development are at an early stage but the company has submitted a pre-application enquiry to the council and would want to start work on site in 2021.