A £250 million masterplan for Dunfermline has been approved by councillors.
The major development includes a 58-acre super-campus to house two replacement secondary schools and a Fife College base.
The major expansion of the Freescale site at Duloch is one of the biggest developments approved for the town in many years and it has been broadly welcomed.
Basically, there’s going to be a truck stop next to a school.”
Labour councillor Helen Law.
However, there was some concern that the schools could only be given the green light if the masterplan was approved in its entirety – including a 16-pump petrol station next to the campus.
What exactly does the masterplan include?
Landowner Shepherd Offshore was seeking planning permission in principle to develop the entire 22-acre site.
It had lain empty since 2007 after failing to attract promised job opportunities.
The entire pale yellow area in the middle of the map is earmarked for the super-campus.
It is due to open in August 2024 and will include replacements for both Woodmill and St Columba’s high schools, as well as a new college building and playing fields.
It will be the first learning campus of its kind in Scotland and will house 2,700 pupils.
Meanwhile, the small dark green area in the north will house a children’s nursery, a care home and assisted living apartments.
However, the main bone of contention with the application rests with the even smaller bright yellow area at the north eastern edge of the map.
It will house the petrol station, as well as a pub/restaurant and coffee drive-thru.
The M90 and the massive Amazon warehouse is just to the east of the development site.
What else is proposed?
The masterplan also includes three vehicular accesses, including a new southern access road which will run along the northern edge of the ancient Calais Muir Wood.
It is shown as a solid pink line, while the dashed pink line is another road running from north to south.
There is also housing in the west, much of which is already approved.
Detailed applications for each aspect of the plan will be brought forward for approval separately.
However, council officers recommended the entire plan as a whole should be approved.
Most people are in favour of the new learning campus and say it is long overdue.
However, there were 82 objections, most of which related to the petrol station, restaurant and drive-thru aspect.
A number of members of the central and west planning committee, which approved the plan, shared those concerns.
Planning officer Katherine Pollock said they were intended to be “roadside facilities” rather than town centre provisions and were therefore acceptable.
This has lead to fears over increased traffic coming off the M90 and into the town.
There are also concerns about the southern access road being so close to Calais Muir Woods.
Those against it say it would have a detrimental effect on the ancient woodland, increase pollution and affect road safety near the schools.
But Ms Pollock said it was considered acceptable as part of the masterplan site.
The rest of the plan is welcome
Dunfermline Labour councillor Helen Law said the Dunfermline masterplan represented a multi-million investment for the area.
“I don’t think there’s anybody on the committee thinking they will vote against this investment,” she said.
“We’re really, really happy it’s going through today. We’re happy to see it progress after all these years.
“However, the petrol station is an area of real concern.
“Basically, there’s going to be a truck stop next to a school.”
Broadly speaking though, Mrs Law and her fellow-councillors welcomed the plan.
“It’s really good news for Dunfermline but we have to make sure we get everything right and not let it run through without taking note of what people’s real concerns are,” she said.