THE next phase in the £30 million regeneration project in Inverkeithing will be at least a year late, Fife Council have been told.

The building of 61 new homes and the main playpark was scheduled to be finished next summer, as part of the massive redevelopment at Fraser Avenue, but the estimated completion date is now June 2022.

There were already delays before the pandemic hit and, last December and due to a lack of progress, the council had to quash rumours that the £8.9m phase two wasn't going ahead.

In a report to the South-West Fife area committee last week, head of housing John Mills said: "The regeneration of South-East Inverkeithing is progressing, despite setbacks due to the lockdown and subsequent restrictions.

"The few remaining tenants can now look forward to moving into their new homes in the near future, whether that be with Kingdom Housing or with Fife Council."

The £30 million project in Inverkeithing is one of the biggest regeneration projects in Scotland and involves demolishing 236 flats and replacing them in phases with 189 modern homes.

The £7.9m first phase saw 53 new homes and three new shops – a Stephens bakery, Shad Superstore and Goodfryers Chip Shop – built and occupied.

Last October, Mr Mills told councillors that phase two was scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2021.

Kingdom Housing's contractor, Campion Homes, started work in early March but this was halted soon after due to lockdown and did not recommence until July.

Foundation, drainage and concrete slab works are ongoing and the timber kit erection to one of the blocks began at the end of August.

Deborah Stevens, local development officer for housing, told councillors: "There have been delays due to lockdown at the start of phase two but it is under way now.

"They've got quite a few of the properties started and they're working on them now but it's quite a big phase, 61 housing units, so it'll take them probably until the middle of 2022 to complete.

"We're still waiting on a timetable for phased handovers from Kingdom, they're expecting further delays due to COVID, but I'm sure we'll get that information over the next few months."

A report to the committee said Kingdom have estimated completion by June 2022.

The report said the contractor was currently ahead of programme "but given uncertainty within the construction sector regards supply chain delays and how the additional safety site procedures will impact on timescales, they cannot provide more specific information at this time".

There are 10 tenants remaining at Fraser Avenue and three scatter flats in use across five stairwells.

Ms Stevens said: "Six of them are expected to move into the Taylor Wimpey development at Spencerfield.

"The offers for them are expected to be issued over the next few weeks so potentially we'll have three or four moved in by Christmas, which is good in that they won't have to spend another winter there.

"However, four of the remaining tenants are waiting on moving into the phase two development and that is obviously going to take some time."

The council have asked that "they are allocated properties in earlier handovers to allow them to move as soon as possible".

Looking ahead to phase three, Mr Mills said: "Based on current estimates, the rehousing of the remaining tenants should allow for all 54 Fraser Avenue flats to be empty by mid-2022 at the latest, with demolition completing in autumn/winter 2022.

"This will conclude the demolition of the existing Fife Council stock in Fraser Avenue and allow phase three of the development to commence."