Plans approved to build homes on site of fire-ravaged Kirkcaldy school

Plans to build 73 new homes on the site of a fire-ravaged high school in Kirkcaldy have been given the green light by councillors, subject to a legal agreement and certain conditions being met by the developer.
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In a report which went before members of the Central and West Planning Committee, it said the application proposed the construction of 73 residential properties and that the units would be a mix of terraced, semi-detached and detached houses, and flats, including 15 affordable units.

The developer had originally sought to build 86 homes, including 14 flats within the school building itself, but the housing developer Whiteburn has now removed the fire-damaged structure in Loughborough Road from its plans altogether.

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A Section 75 legal agreement with Fife Council will see community contributions by the developer to build 15 affordable homes for Kingdom Housing Association, which will provide a mix of two, three and four bedroom properties for rent.

An aerial shot of the Viewforth development site. Pic: Whiteburn Projects.An aerial shot of the Viewforth development site. Pic: Whiteburn Projects.
An aerial shot of the Viewforth development site. Pic: Whiteburn Projects.

Whiteburn will also make a financial contribution towards education to provide for the temporary expansion of Sinclairtown Primary School until a new school is built as part of the Local Development Plan.

During the committee meeting, councillor Zoe Hisbent raised concerns about the sewage system.

She said: “The neighbouring streets have had problems for a number of years and there have been meetings with Scottish Water and environmental services and the owners of the pumping station, given that these issues are still ongoing for these residents, will these new properties be accessing the same network? Has an assessment been carried out to make sure the sewage system can cope with these 73 properties?”

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Planning officer Natasha Cockburn said in terms of the sewage network, Scottish Water had not objected to the plans or advised there was no capacity, so there should not be an issue.

The developer's proposed Viewforth developmentThe developer's proposed Viewforth development
The developer's proposed Viewforth development

She said this issue has been set out in one of the conditions so further information was needed from the applicant before works could start.

Councillor John Beare had concerns about the three-storey flats in the middle of the site stating that they did not appear in keeping with the rest of the development. He also asked about hours of construction work on the site.

Ms Cockburn said: “In considering the site as a whole, we have considered the three-storey building does fit in with the surrounding area and we think it is a feature in the context of this site.”

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The committee was told it would not be appropriate to approve the scheme with a condition refusing the flats in the middle of the site. It was also told site working hours had to be agreed as part of the conditions set before construction could begin.

The fire at the former Viewforth High School building last year. Pic: Ian Graham.The fire at the former Viewforth High School building last year. Pic: Ian Graham.
The fire at the former Viewforth High School building last year. Pic: Ian Graham.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Roger Bainbridge, director of design and delivery for Whiteburn Projects, said: “Working with our architects LBA and following some helpful feedback from various members of the local community as part of our public consultation events, our development design will transform the grounds of the former Viewforth High School in Kirkcaldy

“Importantly, it is hoped that some features from the former C listed school building, which was victim of arson in August 2020, can still form part of our vision for the development.

"We will work with Fife Council to submit a planning application for new homes in this area of the development as part of our masterplan for the overall regeneration of the site.”

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