Developer's plans for fire-ravaged Kirkcaldy high school site set for decision

Plans to build 73 new homes on the site of a fire-ravaged high school could be approved later this week.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 4:26 pm
Updated Monday, 15th March 2021, 4:32 pm

Housing developer Whiteburn - which specialises in regenerating old buildings - aims to reuse as much of Viewforth High School as possible despite the disastrous blaze last summer.

Two teaching wings were spared but the the main block of the Kirkcaldy school - once a C-listed building - was reduced to a shell by the blaze in August last year.

Pupils were moved to a new Viewforth at the Windmill Community Campus in 2016.

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Major fire at former Viewforth High School, Loughborough Road, Kirkcaldy (Pic: Andrew Donald)

Whiteburn has been planning to re-use the school for some time, submitting its original planning application months before the fire, in December 2019.

And while it had originally sought to build 86 homes on the site, including 14 flats within the school building itself, the firm has now removed the fire-damaged structure from its plans altogether.

It has pledged to create a "high quality and progressive" neighbourhood stemming off from Loughborough Road, made up of flats and two, three and four bed homes - including 15 affordable units.

But the plans have been met with resistance from locals who oppose demolishing the extensions.

Viewforth High School firfe in August 2020 (Pic: Chris Graham)

Fourteen 14 objectors have claimed the new development is lacking in parking - one short of the council recommended number - and will lead to a noticeable rise in traffic.

However, planning officers have asked councillors on the Central and West Planning Committee to approve the plans at Wednesday’s meeting.

The developer's proposed Viewforth development

They have proposed that the approval be subject to a legal requirement compelling Whiteburn to contribute £64,408 to an extension at Sinclairtown Primary School.

Case officer Natasha Cockburn concludes in her report to councillors: "The proposed development...would represent the development of a brownfield, derelict site which is no longer being used for education purposes, within the settlement boundary of Kirkcaldy.

"The development is considered to accord with the policy provisions of the development plan and all relevant material considerations."

However, even if the plans are approved, Whiteburn will need to submit a further permit to carry out works that encroach onto the site of Eastbank House to the west, which remains listed despite being damaged by fire in 2017.

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