A LEGAL agreement is in place for a major housing development in Kelty but it's not clear when work will start.

I & H Brown outlined plans to build 900 homes on a site at Cocklaw Street back in 2016 and full planning permission was granted by Fife Council last month.

That was after a deal was signed that will see the Perth-based firm pay more than £2 million for transport improvements in the area as well as provide a new primary school, which will be at least £8m.

Development director Allan Miller said: "We're now progressing towards a site start, getting everything ready and consents in place to begin building the first phase of houses, but I'm not yet sure when that will be.

"I can't tell you when we'll get a house up in Kelty. It could be 18 months.

"Maybe the economic climate will be better then.

"Everyone is trying to limit their exposure but cracking on with sites and not shutting down.

"We're keen to progress but wary of the economic climate."

As well as a sluggish property market, one of the biggest problems is how much the school will cost. A figure of £8m had been suggested but prices have spiralled since then.

Mr Miller said: "No-one can tell you right now.

"To be fair to Fife Council, they don't know either as inflation is such that the price of schools is changing all the time.

"Until we know the size and scale of the school that's needed, and we sit down with a finalised design, I don't have an answer.

"The exact price is still up in the air."

Another major stumbling block – both at Kelty and at I & H Brown's site in Wellwood – is the planning condition that states the school must be provided after so many houses are built and occupied (180 at Kelty and 315 at Wellwood).

The firm flagged up in March 2020 that finding such significant sums of money before the bulk of houses have been built and sold, is problematic but despite years of discussions with Fife Council, a solution has yet to be found.

Both parties will engage in a 'primary education review' after 60 and 120 houses are built at Kelty with the expectation that the school will be needed around the time the 180 figure is reached.

Mr Miller said: "We're not just building 180 houses and ignoring the school.

"We've been looking to find a way of funding the school from the outset.

"Everyone expects it will be required but the full extent and timing of it is not yet known.

"We'll have a better idea in a few years once the 180 houses have been built.

"Together with Fife Council we'll build a school of the right size and scale when it's needed."

The issue at Wellwood, where 1,100 houses and a primary school will be built, is more pressing as housebuilding is well underway.

It's thought the school here will cost £16m, although developer contributions will also be sought from other housing sites and developers in the area.

On the funding Mr Miller said: "We've not managed to get an agreement yet but we are getting closer.

"One of the problems we've got is cost inflation, which everyone is having to deal with, and it means the school has increased quite significantly in cost.

"We're having to revisit all our figures and budgets to try and work out how we fill that gap.

"It was already a massively complicated issue and the increased costs has just complicated it further."

He continued: "We've still got Bellway and Persimmon building houses on site.

"As it stands I think once we get to 315 we'll have to stop.

"That will probably be some time next year as Bellway still have something like 50 to build, that could take 18 months.

"It's not a disaster. We're working on it with Fife Council and we'll get there."