Backers of a proposal to lure Fife College into Dunfermline town centre have made an eleventh hour plea.
There has been cross party support for the college to locate its new west Fife campus from Halbeath to a split campus in the middle of town.
However, they were dealt a devastating blow when the college announced some weeks ago it had secured the option to buy land for a campus to replace its current Halbeath base on the Shepherd Offshore site.
The college said it had researched seven options across Dunfermline but the Shepherd site offered “the best opportunity to maximise capacity on all levels”.
The total cost of the new campus is expected to be around £90 million, with £70m coming from the Scottish Government’s NPD programme and the rest from Scottish Funding Council and college resources.
As part of the process the college will apply for planning permission and carry out a 12-week public consultation before any further agreement can be made about buying the Dunlin Drive site.
But City of Dunfermline area committee chairwoman Helen Law organised an event to showcase what the town centre site – estimated to cost £86m to build – had to offer.
“This has been a cross party exercise, it has always had cross party support,” she said.
“I hope everyone has a clear picture of how much everyone wants the college here.
“This is a real opportunity to have it as the jewel in our crown.”
Dunfermline MP Douglas Chapman, who flew from London for an earlier meeting with then education secretary Angela Constance to outline the importance of the town centre bid, said: “This is a crucial point in discussions and hopefully we can make some inroads to have further discussion with the college.
“Everyone who has spoken has talked about our ambitions for Dunfermline and the role the college can play in the future redevelopment of the town as well.
“My message is that Dunfermline is not punching above its weight and we do need to get to the stage where it does punch above its weight.
“Here we have the opportunity to put Dunfermline firmly and surely on the map.”
He urged the college “at this late stage” to have more discussions to try to achieve a “win win” solution which takes in the interests of Dunfermline, the college and the students.
Mrs Law agreed she hoped to keep the discussion going.
“I have the highest respect for the college, I served on the board for 10 years, what I would like is for the college to succeed.
“And to at least consider a town centre location.”