Residents living opposite the proposed site for Kirkcaldy’s new high school claim Fife Council is making “a mockery” of the planning process.
They say the authority does not know who owns part of the land the school is to be built on, and is refusing to give details about drilling tests carried out on mine workings underneath the site.
And they claim if proper channels are not followed, it could lead to costly follow up work having to be carried out – pushing up the overall cost.
However Fife Council says it is still awaiting drilling test results and had to go through a proper process before plans can be finalised.
Derek Calkwell, a health and safety consultant and spokesman for the Windmill Road residents’ group explained: “There is an area of land reserved within the deeds from 1926 when the Earl of Rosslyn disposed of this land. Comments in an e-mail indicate that the Council cannot confirm it owns at least a part of the land it plans to build on.
“I also requested a copy of the report arising from the latest drilling exercise in September. The Council says it doesn’t have this and has not undertaken to provide me with a copy when it does become available. I am interested because I am sure it will clarify the situation regarding mining voids in the land they are to build on. If, as I suspect, they are not significantly filled with rubble, as the Council claims, the costs of infilling are likely to soar above the £1.3m it suggests.”
He said a request for architect’s plans of the school layout to give residents more time to consider them, rather than having to wait until the formal consultation process had also had no response.
“Perhaps I have some mistaken ideas about the consultation process but I always believed that neighbour notification was part of this. The way this project is being handled, with constant references in the FFP to the project having a firm start date, prior to planning permission being granted, surely indicates that a mockery is being made of the process.”
Colin McCredie, programme manager, said the council was waiting on a report from the consultants which would determine the plans for the school.
“No construction work will start until we are completely satisfied that there are no issues with land ownership or ground conditions. Residents will be able to comment on the proposals for the building as part of the planning process and we’re intending to set up a local development group early in 2014.”