Developer bids for flats on site of fire-hit Fife primary school

Plans to demolish a fire-hit former primary school to make way for affordable homes should be refused, Fife Council officers have recommended.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 5:31 pm

Site owners Andrail Ltd wants to knock down the C-listed Roods Road buildings, which was hit by fire in November 2018, and build 28 affordable homes on the land.

While Fife Council typically supports affordable housing developments by default, authority planners have been told by heritage experts at Historic Environment Scotland (HES) that the original school building, constructed in 1874, should be preserved.

It largely escaped damage in the fire, whereas a later building constructed in 1913 was damaged beyond repair and is no longer listed.

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The fire hit former Inverkeithing Primary School

Andrail says the buildings have attracted little commercial interest.

Councillors also set a precedent, the firm says, by being minded to approve a similar application by the site's previous owners in 2017. However, this was withdrawn without a decision being made.

A statement on demolition included with the application concludes: "Whilst unfortunate, without the demolition of this listed building this site will remain vacant and undeveloped."

However, the council says the applicant was "not willing" to mull over an idea, put forward by HES, of demolishing the newer building while retaining the older one.

The Glasgow-based developer has several obstacles to overcome if it wants to see its plans approved on Wednesday, including 24 local objectors who want to see the school retained.

Co-housing charity The Vivarium Trust is working with the Inverkeithing Community Development Group on a feasibility study that seeks to retain the building as a new housing scheme for the over-50s.

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