The group behind plans to redevelop the site of the old Inverkeithing Primary School have said they fear that the site could languish as a "derelict eyesore" if their plans are allowed to fall by the wayside.

Co-Housing Scotland hope their Phoenix Project – which has just gone to the Scottish Government to request financial support – will transform the derelict school into an inter-generational neighbourhood which would include a pre-school nursery, community growing space, and 31 co-housing flats and a day care facility, clustered around an accessible public route.

Fife Council previously funded a report into its viability. However local councillor David Barratt has now said that he believes the council will drop its interest and has called for the the land to be bought and used for council housing.

READ MORE:  Project Phoenix hoping to redevelop former school site

He outlined his position in a recent newsletter to Inverkeithing residents from him and his fellow SNP councillor Sarah Neal.

"There have been proposals hanging over the old primary school site in Inverkeithing for many years now with little to no tangible progress made," he said.

"We are aware of local frustration and a desire to see something happen. Co-Housing Scotland were awarded funding to prepare a business case to develop the site as a pilot project to demonstrate how co-housing could deliver on a number of local and national priorities.

"The completed business case showed the project would depend on significant public subsidy and grant funding, delivering a limited number of homes at considerable cost. In light of the severe need for social housing locally, we can no longer support the proposals by Co-Housing Scotland and asked the council to also withdraw support.

"We have also asked the council to consider purchasing the site to develop in conjunction with the neighbouring Roods area for a large council housing project. Together, the two sites would deliver a significant number of much needed homes and would remove what has sadly become a blight on Inverkeithing."

READ MORE: Fife Council backing to revamp old school site

A spokesperson for Co-Housing Scotland said they were "perplexed" by Cllr Barratt's view – which he has also told him about over email – that the council would withdraw support from the project.

Dunfermline Press:

"It is unable to give £100,000 support for the community redevelopment of a site that it sold for £400,000, but it is able to spend many millions buying and redeveloping the site itself for housing," he said.

"That just doesn’t make sense to us and certainly seems contrary to the Council's duties under the Community Empowerment Act and other legislation.

"In reality we know there are competing priorities within the Council, and it looks like the Council’s housing developer interest has outcompeted the wider community benefits of greenspace, health, accessibility, inclusion of diverse physical and cognitive abilities, biodiversity, housing for older people and provision of children’s nurseries.

"Knowing the site as we do after looking at it in detail for five years, I think the Council may struggle to make its own development stack up, just as the commercial developer found, and it will continue to languish as a derelict eyesore following this apparent decision by the Council.

"Because the Phoenix Project was not-for-profit, with a wide range of community benefits, it could access grants and other funding that private developers and the Council can’t.

"The best chance for a thriving future for the old school may just have been scuppered by the Council, but we have written to them asking for clarification so we’ll wait and see."

READ MORE:Outdoor nursery plans for former primary school site

Fife Council's spokesperson for Housing Services, Cllr Judy Hamilton did not rule out the project.

She stated: "Whilst this is not a council-led housing project, and we have not committed any funding towards delivering it, we have taken the opportunity to share the concept with the Scottish Government to gauge if there is any potential support from them to help Co-housing progress their redevelopment proposals."