PLANS to turn office space at Carnegie Campus in Pitreavie into a toddler swim centre have been given the go-ahead.

Applicant Gillian Currie's swimming lessons business, Octotots, looked sunk due to the coronavirus pandemic, triggering a search to find her own premises to continue making it viable.

The business has been run out of community and hotel pools for eight years but now planning officers have approved the toddler swim centre.

Speaking on Monday, she said: “We’ve got a few hurdles to jump through yet but we’re absolutely delighted the planning has come through.”

Octotots has worked with Fife Sport and Leisure Trust in the past to hold classes in public swimming pools. However, restrictions brought in to prevent the spread of coronavirus has seen class sizes reduced and schedules moved around.

And while the business is focused on getting toddlers in the water, Ms Currie says there are other positives that have also been impacted by COVID-19.

“Being a new mum and getting out and meeting other mums is a massive thing,” she added.

“We’ve looked into (getting a permanent base) a few times but it has never gone beyond being an idea.

“There’s a massive cost associated with this but at this point in time, COVID has pushed us to make this decision. It was either scale back the business or expand – and there’s such a big demand for this and chlorine means a pool is one of the safest environments you can be in to socialise.”

Under the plans, the office space will have a 1.35 metre-deep training pool installed in its centre, measuring 10m x 5m, and windows around the pool and changing area will be frosted over to safeguard privacy.

Planning officer Scott Simpson approved the application with the condition that the unit will revert back to office use if the unit stops being used as a toddler swimming centre for a period of six months.

“The proposed temporary loss of the (office) use is considered acceptable and would have no significant detrimental impact on this safeguarded employment area as the use would not be permanently lost,” he concluded.

The pool is intended for use by children up to the age of five attending swimming classes.

A planning statement said opening hours would be Monday to Friday, 10am-2.30pm, and Saturday-Sunday between 9am-3pm, for baby and toddler classes with each class having a maximum of six adults and baby pairs.

There would also be occasional later classes between 5-7pm limited to two children per class.

The unit at Dewar House was used previously as a baby and toddler centre and several letters of support were submitted by the public in favour of the swim centre.

A Fife Council report states: "The proposal is considered to be compatible with its surrounds in terms of land use; would not cause any significant detrimental impacts on the amenity of the surrounding area or road safety and is considered to be visually acceptable."