SITE works for the £600 million western expansion of Dunfermline could begin next year, developers have confirmed.

More than 2,000 houses and two primary schools are to be built on Lord Elgin’s land as part of plans but progress has been slowed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The team at Stirling Developments are currently working towards a planning application for the first phase of development at Broomhall and say plans are progressing but admitted "albeit more slowly" than they had anticipated.

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, in 2020.

Stirling Developments have also announced there are commercial development opportunities available at Broomhall.

The site has consent for 68 hectares of commercial development and the company want to explore opportunities with interested parties to give them a better understanding of the market requirements and subsequent Broomhall development plans going forward.

Peter Stirling, managing director, said: "We’re hoping to commence site works next year.

“The past 12 months have been challenging for many businesses – including for Stirling Developments.

"Our other major development (Calderwood, West Lothian) had to weather the financial crash in 2008 and is now one of the fastest-selling sites in the Edinburgh region with around 250 house completions forecast in 2021.

"Our project at Broomhall will weather the COVID-19 pandemic – of that we have no doubt.

"Broomhall is a truly unique site, which has been owned by the Bruce family for generations and we are keen to deliver a development we are all proud of.

"Our housebuilding partners have all expressed interest in delivering new homes at Broomhall which is attributable to the site’s fantastic location and overarching vision."

Stirling Developments, 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.

Infrastructure includes £8.7m contributions for transport improvements such as the western distributor road, and 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”.