A petition calling for the new Inverkeithing High School to be built in the town and not relocated to a site in Rosyth, has attracted more than 1000 signatures in just four days.
Councillors will choose their preferred site on Tuesday but are facing pressure from the combined forces of Inverkeithing, Aberdour and Dalgety Bay & Hillend community councils who are demanding the school remains in the town.
The options to be considered include a site north of the A921 at Hillend or the Fleet Grounds in Rosyth that would accommodate a 2,000 capacity new school at a cost of around £70m.
In a letter sent to members of Fife Council’s education and children’s services committee, campaigners say removing the school from the town would leave a “gaping hole” in the community’s infrastructure.
It added: “When funding has recently been secured for upgrading and preserving Inverkeithing’s heritage, removing a vital part of the community would seem to be a backward step.
“The present site is central to the catchment and within walking distance for many pupils.
“Increasing bus travel to the periphery at peak times on a busy road network would be contrary to efforts to increase physical activity and minimise climate change, especially given the thousands of pounds spent to promote active travel by constructing a cycle and pedestrian path between Dalgety Bay and the school.”
Questions have been raised over the future viability of the existing B-listed school building and the cost of refurbishing it for future community use, as well making the site secure should it remain vacant.
“The overwhelming public view is that common sense has to prevail here,” said Jean Hutchinson, vice-chairwoman of Dalgety Bay & Hillend community council.
“The Rosyth site is based solely on cost but there are many other factors that need to be taken into account, including traffic congestion, pollution and the extra costs which will have to be absorbed particularly by parents in Aberdour, Dalgety Bay and Inverkeithing.”
However, Carrie Lindsey, executive director of education , said to rebuild on the existing site would require the whole school to decant elsewhere for two years.
She added: “Such a large decant would incur substantial additional costs in the region of £12m for a full decant village, and that would impact on the available budget to deliver a new state-of-the-art secondary school.”
Despite being far removed from the current school site and catchment areas, the Fleet site would cost an estimated £63m plus substantial extra capital from the Scottish Government to keep the community facilities at the existing school.
The estimated cost for the A921 site, excluding acquisition is £69 to -£71m.