THE £600 million western expansion of Dunfermline could get under way next year with more than 2,000 houses and two primary schools to be built on Lord Elgin's land.

Although the construction industry is about to re-open sites in Scotland that were shut down due to COVID-19, there is still plenty of paperwork to be done before a brick can be laid at Broomhall.

Planning permission in principle was granted by Fife Council in December 2018 and, at that time, the applicant said they had hoped to start work on the site, which is a sprawling 223 hectares in size, this year.

However, Neil Beswick, a director at Stirling Developments, said: "There is still a lot of work behind the scenes to be done before we can get started on a detailed planning application.

"Something of this size, it could take six-to-eight months to get that permission through and then there are site enabling works which could take up to six months.

"We're keen to get going with the development but it could be at least a year before we start seeing houses going up."

The company, which is based in Dunfermline, acquired the land and development rights for the Earl of Elgin’s Broomhall estate and said the massive housebuilding project to the south-west of the town would create more than 7,000 jobs.

As well as new homes which will house around 4,700 people, the proposals include two primary schools, shops, employment and commercial units, healthcare facilities, parks and green space, with the development period spanning 25-30 years.

The plans had been on the table for around four years before being approved, despite 56 letters of objection, by councillors on the west planning committee.

This week, the council's service manager, Kevin Treadwell, told the Press: "Planning permission has been issued for the mixed use development at Broomhall.

"It is anticipated that further applications will be submitted in due course for the various phases of development, once the delivery of the necessary infrastructure has been programmed."

That infrastructure includes £8.7m contributions for transport improvements such as the western distributor road, a £17m bypass to serve the vast new housing estates and take traffic away from the centre of Dunfermline. It will link the King Malcolm roundabout to Rumblingwell, via Grange Drive, Grange Road and Limekilns Road and it will go west of Coal Road, linking to Pittencrieff Street and William Street.

The plans include road bridges over the Fife Circle and Dunfermline to Alloa railway lines.

The developer will also be asked to help fund traffic lights on Pitreavie roundabout, an additional lane on the A823 and upgrades to the Rumblingwell/William Street and William Street/Pittencrieff Street junctions.

Before the first primary school is built – the council said previously it would be needed by 2023 with the second required by 2035 – the children from the new estates will attend Pitreavie Primary School.

As a result, the developer will pay £425,000 towards an extension at Pitreavie Primary, £18m for the two primary schools and provide contributions towards capacity risks at secondary schools in Dunfermline and St Margaret’s RC Primary School. They will also set aside land for a Rosyth bypass and the Charlestown rail chord.

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”.