Councillors approve plans to replace ‘crumbling’ Fife secondary school

Plans to replace a crumbling Fife secondary school have passed a crucial hurdle.
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Cabinet committee councillors have agreed to relocate Inverkeithing High School to the former Fleet Grounds, in Rosyth. In the same breathe, Fife Council has also renewed its vow to explore all options for swimming and community use facilities in south and west Fife.

As the local education authority, the cabinet was asked to give its blessing for the Inverkeithing High School relocation project. However, the proposal will still need to secure planning permission to move forward.

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Fife Council's education spokesperson, Cllr Cara Hilton, praised the decision, stating: "The relocation of Inverkeithing High School will provide us with the opportunity to create a state of the art, new facility for learning and teaching in South West Fife. While there are still some answers needed on what will happen with the current Community Use facilities at Inverkeithing High School, there was wide agreement between members that a new school building will be a very positive outcome for the children and young people of South West Fife.”

Inverkeithing High School (Credit: Google Maps)Inverkeithing High School (Credit: Google Maps)
Inverkeithing High School (Credit: Google Maps)

An online petition has been active for the past five years, urging the council and the Scottish Government to make the replacement a reality. Now, plans for the new school have finally materialised. A replacement for the existing Inverkeithing High School is necessary because the current B-list building from the1970s is now in poor condition and unsuited for its purpose.

Cabinet Committee councillors were overall very supportive of the plans to replace the high school. However, they were less pleased with the threat of losing the current community use facilities at the current Hillend Road buildings - particularly the swimming pool.

“The loss of the school in Inverkeithing will have an impact on the town and there is a strong community desire for the council to make a commitment to maintain community facilities at the site of the current school,” Councillor David Barratt (Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, SNP) said. “There is no doubt that the new facilities will have educational benefits. That said, there are concerns among residents that the loss of the existing school will not only impact the vitality of the town but could put at risk the valued community use aspects enjoyed on the site.”

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Councillor David Ross, leader of the minority Labour administration, seconded those concerns. His amendment requires the council to examine all of its options for the future development of swimming facilities for south and west Fife. Councillor Barratt passed a complementary amendment to specifically examine the retention, refurbishment, and investment of existing facilities at Inverkeithing as part of the options appraisal. The council had previously promised to bring a report on the retention of the current community facilities to committee, but no such report has ever been presented.

“In summary, there have been some objections to the relocation. But the relocation is still absolutely justified. There’s no reason in educational or other terms not to go ahead with the decision which we, the council, took some time ago,” Cllr Ross said.

The community facilities options appraisal and cost figures will be brought back to the Cabinet Committee in January.