THE approval of an additional access road for Dunfermline’s new £200 million 'super-campus' development was inevitable, according to wildlife campaigners.

Fife Council’s central and west planning committee gave the go-ahead for the north-south route along the eastern edge of the Halbeath site, along with car parks for the new St Columba's and Woodmill high schools, shared use paths and drainage.

Planning officers stressed that there was a degree of urgency, to ensure the campus met its target of opening in August 2024.

However, around half an acre of additional trees will be removed, beyond what was proposed originally, in the eastern part of the former Hyundai site.

Planning officer Bryan Reid told councillors: “This application is primarily for preparatory works. Education have a timescale for this, which is why this has been submitted. A couple of extra trees are proposed to be removed.”

The school car parks will have 249 spaces and 17 bus-parking bays, contained within a dedicated drop-off area. The shared use path will be three metres wide, while the road itself will be populated with traffic calming measures to deter drivers from using it as a rat run.

Prior to the meeting, Martin Willcocks, of the Save the Calais Woods Wildlife group, believed it was already a done deal but added that the group’s campaign for a more considerate approach had yielded results.

Among the 11 conditions attached to the planning permission for the road was one requiring an ecological surveyor to be on site throughout construction.

Mr Willcocks said: “The plans for the north-south road are the most detailed we’ve seen from an ecological point of view and I think that’s because of us pushing them for it.

“There will also be an eco surveyor on site for the whole project, which wouldn’t have happened without us pushing.”

Planning permission in principle for the wider project was granted in May, for a new Fife College campus, replacement high schools for St Columba’s and Woodmill, a nursery, 225 homes, a pub/restaurant, care home, assisted living apartments, a drive-thru coffee shop and a 16-pump petrol station.

Since then, detailed plans have been approved for an east-west access road at the south of the site, bordering the protected Calais Muir Woods, along with 105 homes to be built by Bellway Homes and Persimmon Homes.

Each of the more detailed applications – known as “applications required by consent” due to their link with the planning permission in principle – has come before elected members thanks to the efforts of the Calais Woods group, which has always made enough objections to ensure it cannot be decided by council officers alone.

The group is not against the super-campus project in principle – but it wants the development to be handled sensitively.

Mr Willcocks said he was “more optimistic” about the school now that the council – along with building partners Bam – had engaged with the group to address their concerns about the impact the project could have on local wildlife.