PROGRESS on two West Fife housing developments is at a "critical point" as a funding headache for new schools continues to present problems.

The Press told you in March that up-front cash for a new £8 million primary school in Kelty was required if a 900-home site at Cocklaw Road was to go ahead.

While it is hoped that 'phase one' work may be given the green light, a financial resolution is no further forward neither for the Kelty scheme nor in Wellwood, where the same problem lies.

Perth-based I&H Brown own both sites but an agreement with Fife Council has yet to be reached.

The developer suggested previously that the council could pay for the new primary schools – one is needed at each location – and get the money back from developers once enough houses have been built and sold.

With money tight and the council perhaps fearful of being left in the lurch if a housebuilding firm was to collapse, as happened with Lomond Homes in 2013, they want to stick to their policy of new primary schools being funded solely by the developer.

Allan Miller, development director, told the Press this week that work is under way in Kelty and Wellwood but both projects will hit barriers in the near future.

He said: "Kelty (site) is making some progress and I think we've managed to get into a position where we think we can start the site and build an agreed number of houses prior to the school being required.

"The last time we spoke with you (in March) we were thinking that we couldn't even start.

"It's not finalised yet but I think we maybe have enough to make a site start on what we would call phase one which would be around 100 houses or just a bit more.

"That would allow for the development to commence.

"But, until the school is funded, we couldn't go on to phase two and complete the site – it's a big site, it's 900 houses – but we might be able to make a start on phase one whilst we work out how to fund the school.

"There's a restriction on when that could start, which I believe is within 18 months. That's the timescale required for a development of this size anyway."

Around 150 houses have already been built by Persimmon Homes and Bellway Homes in Wellwood but a cap on the number of homes that can be built is in place until school funding is found.

Mr Miller explained: "We have a limit of 300 houses we can build in Wellwood prior to funding for the new school being in place.

"We're fast approaching that figure and we don't have a resolution in place as to how to fund the school. That gives me more concern than Kelty's position.

"We currently have a position where we can build more houses with a strong market but we're coming up against a barrier where we can't build more than 300 houses until a resolution for the school is found.

"We're probably within 24 months of being there (reaching 300 homes), possibly less.

"We're at a critical point that requires buttons to get pressed to allow for continuity of the site.

"There's a lot of ongoing dialogue between ourselves and Fife Council, and I know they are serious about this.

"I see in local authorities across Scotland that there's primary schools being built in areas where there's housing demand and growth. I just don't see that happening in Fife right now.

"I think there is a solution out there but I don't think Fife Council have found it yet.

"The developments are a success story but it's going to hit a barrier in the not-so-distant future if we can't get resolutions on how to get a new primary school."

Pam Ewen, the council planning department's head of service, confirmed to the Press that "discussions are ongoing with the developer with regards to delivering new primary schools as an integral part of their developments at Wellwood and Kelty".