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Plans for 73 new homes at fire-hit Viewforth High School could be approved this week

Viewforth High School
The fire destroyed the building.

Plans for more than 70 new homes on the site of a fire-hit Fife school look likely to be approved this week.

Councillors will consider an application for 73 properties at the former Viewforth High School in Kirkcaldy, which was engulfed in flames in August.

Developer Whiteburn Viewforth LLP wants to build a mix of houses and flats on the Loughborough Road site.

Fourteen people have objected to the proposal, which council planners have classed as a major development.

The old Viewforth High School closed in 2016 and moved to a new site on Windmill Road.

Last year’s fire destroyed the main C-listed school building and Historic Environment Scotland officially de-listed it in January.

Last year’s fire at its height.

As a result, it is no longer part of the development site which now only focuses on the B-listed stables and washroom building.

But Whiteburn Viewforth wants to create a future for the building and expects to submit another application to develop that section of the site soon.

The neighbouring 1870s-built Eastbank House – hit by two separate fires in the last two years – is also not included.

In a report to go before the central and west planning committee on Wednesday, planning officer Natasha Cockburn says the proposal is for a housing development on a previously developed site.

The former school before the fire.

“The site is allocated for education use, however this allocation is based on the historic use of the site as a high school,” she said.

“It is considered that an alternative use needs to be found to secure the long-term future of this brownfield site.”

Potential problems

However, the new homes could create a “critical capacity risk” at nearby Sinclairtown Primary School.

It means the school would need an extra 20 classes for the next five years.

Ms Cockburn said the developer had agreed to pay towards the £610,400 cost of providing temporary classrooms and toilets.

This will be the subject of a legal agreement.

Some neighbours fear demolishing historic buildings to make way for the new homes would negatively affect the area.

Others claim the plan is not in keeping with surrounding houses and cite potential problems with parking and access.

However, Ms Cockburn said it meets the requirements of the local plan.

“The proposal is for the development of a brownfield site which would otherwise lie vacant,” she said.

Councillors will be asked to approve the plans on Wednesday, subject to a number of conditions.

These include payment towards the cost of extra classrooms at the primary school.

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