PLANS to turn the James Bank Hostel into mid-market flats have been submitted to Fife Council. 

Kingdom Housing Association is seeking permission from Fife Council to transform the property, off James Street in Dunfermline, into 12 new homes.

It's a facility that provides temporary accommodation to those affected by homelessness, as well as drug and alcohol issues, but it has attracted controversy and councillors have previously called for it to be closed.

In a supporting statement, Kingdom said: "The overall aim of the service was to assist people who are homeless to address and resolve their living situation through assisting them to access short term accommodation and providing support to ensure their health, wellbeing and safety.

"The supported flats are now vacant and only a few rooms in the hostel are occupied.

"It is proposed that the remaining services operated from the James Bank Hostel be transferred to other Kingdom support and care buildings and that the existing building be re-purposed to provide 12 mid-market flats for Kingdom Housing Association."

If successful, the plans would see the reception building demolished with an extension built to link the north and south blocks of the structure. 

Kingdom explained: "The James Bank Hostel was registered by the Care Inspectorate in 2017.

"The service is registered to provide a housing support service to adults who are experiencing homelessness and who may have drug and alcohol misuse issues living in temporary accommodation.

"The service provided 24-hour staffing to both a direct access hostel in the northern block and to a number of supported flats in the southern block."

READ MORE: New plans for James Bank Hostel lodged with Fife Council

The proposed flats have been designed to be net energy zero. Air source heat pumps will be installed, providing heating and hot water, and each home will be provided with a 6.0kW solar PV system. 

If approved it would see the hostel, next to the Kingsgate Shopping Centre, close its doors and appease those who have been advocating for it to shut for some time. 

In 2011, calls were made for it to be moved from the town centre so there would be "less temptations" for drug addicts staying there who had been caught committing crimes against nearby businesses.

And back in 2008, then Dunfermline councillor Willie Sullivan said many cases of shoplifting and petty crime in the centre could be traced back to the James Bank Hostel.

His comments were backed at that time by Dunfermline area police chief Bob Baker and Neil Mackie, manager of the adjacent Kingsgate shopping centre.

In July of last year, plans were submitted by Kingdom to turn the existing eight "sub-standard" three-bedroomed supported flats in the south block into eight two-bedroom/four-person mid-market flats and convert the north block into offices. 

That's been replaced by the new plans which would see the north block converted into flats too.

The supporting statement concluded: "The proposal seeks to make a positive contribution and provide much needed high quality affordable residential properties for Kingdom Housing Association."

READ MORE: James Bank Hostel future under consideration as operators confirm alternatives being investigated